Monte Vista Farm's David Fresquez, cultivating greens. Courtesy image
Farmers’ Cooperative Market Partnering With Coop Stores To Sell Locally Grown Food
In an effort to provide more locally grown food in coop grocery stores, the members of the Farmers’ Cooperative Market are partnering with the Los Alamos Cooperative Market.
The four local farms that make up the Farmers’ Cooperative Market members are making limited products available daily inside the Los Alamos Co+op Market grocery store. In addition, each Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM, the Farmers’ Cooperative Market sets up outdoor booths at the Los Alamos Co+op Market. The outdoor booths started in May with meat, dairy, strawberries and fresh veggies.
The Farmers’ Cooperative Market is comprised of four local farms: Camino de Paz, Monte Vista Farm, Tesuque Pueblo Farm, and Shepherd’s Lamb.
Each farmer sends products to the market with a Farmers’ Cooperative Market representative. In addition, the farmers make a rotating presence at the market so that customers have an opportunity to meet the growers. This collaboration allows each farmer more time to devote to their growing.
Farmers’ Cooperative Market – Greg Nussbaum, Farmer’s Cooperative Market General Manager (left)
and Clare Crane, FCM Sales Manager (right). Courtesy image
Camino de Paz Montessori Middle School (open since 1999) is one of the founding members of the Farmer’s Cooperative Market. Forming the Cooperative is part of their mission to support local farming and the local economy while empowering adolescents to contribute as full members of society and as food producers. The students sell products at farmers markets and independent and locally owned groceries from Taos to Albuquerque. They participate in the operation of a USDA inspected goat dairy and a produce farm, while managing a full academic curriculum.
Camino de Paz – Patricia Pantano, Camino de Paz Education Director (center)
training students Reyes and Roy. Courtesy image
Monte Vista Farm, owned and operated by David and Loretta Fresquez since 1995, joined the Cooperative to help promote local, organic markets. David sees organic farming as integral to building a healthy future, and is eager to share his food and knowledge. They currently provide corn meal, garlic scape powder, and kale to the Saturday market.
Tesuque Pueblo Farm is owned by Tesuque Pueblo and managed by Gaily Morgan and Emigdio Ballon, who earned a PhD in plant genetics. Emigdio was glad to join the cooperative. “It as an opportunity to help other communities” says Emigdio. Sprouts, asparagus, strawberries, oil, vinegar, and powdered spices from the farm can be purchased at the market.
Tesuque Pueblo – Emigdio Ballon, cultivating strawberries. Courtesy image
Shepherd’s Lamb, the main meat producer in the cooperative, is owned and operated by Antonio and Molly Manzanares. Antonio joined after being approached by Greg Nussbaum, from Camino de Paz, because he “thought it was a good idea.” “We used to attend all the local markets, but the time demand and increasing fuel costs made it too difficult to maintain. It [the Cooperative] allows me to get back to Los Alamos,” said Antonio.
Antonio Manzanares, training new shepherds. Courtesy image
Founding the Farmers Cooperative Market was an effort to solve long standing problems in farming: The marketing and distribution of products takes a significant amount of time away from growing. Small farmers are confronted with artificially low prices due to subsidies to large agribusiness. Finally, there are no longer enough locally owned groceries to sell our products. The Farmers Cooperative addresses all of these issues.
Over the summer, look for an article and photos on each of the participating farms.