Local Business “The Feasting Place” Named As One Of NM’s Outstanding Businesses Of The Year

The Travel Channel films at The Feasting Place. Norma Naranjo, Andrew Zimmerman  and  Matthew Martinez, Lt Governor of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.

Local Business “The Feasting Place” Named As One Of NM’s Outstanding Businesses Of The Year

The State of New Mexico’s Small Business Development Center will be naming the Ohkay Owingeh based “The Feasting Place” as one of New Mexico’s Outstanding Business of the Year.

The Feasting Place is located in Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo where owner Norma Naranjo welcomes people from all over the globe into her home to experience a pueblo feast meal, a hands-on horno baking class and a traditional cultural experience. The Feasting Place takes participants to centuries past where families and neighbors gather to share a meal, tell stories of old and share generations of tradition.  The proven past still exists in our community today; The Feasting Place is creating innovative cultural entrepreneurship by sharing and preserving their traditions.

The New Mexico SBDC Network will be awarding Norma Naranjo owner of The Feasting Place and 19 other outstanding businesses from across our state at the 19th Annual New Mexico Small Business Development Center (NMSBDC) Star Client Reception on Thursday, Feb. 8. Norma Naranjo will also be recognized at the state capitol on the senate floor. Governor Martinez will also honor and meet the NMSBDC Star businesses.

Norma Naranjo grew up in Ohkay Owingeh, and is a Navy Veteran.  Norma also retired from her job as a social worker in 1999.  She began a traditional catering business because she had so many requests for her cultural food.  The late Speaker of the House Ben Lujan ordered pastelitos every year for the legislative opening session. Norma catered for the Governor and legislative events and because of the demand she decided to expand her business to include sharing her native traditional feast day celebration.   Norma also included horno baking classes has part of the cultural experience. 

Norma has been working with the Espanola Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for the past 17 years.  Norma was also awarded the SBDC Business of the Year Award in 2005 and the Espanola SBDC wanted to recognize the Feasting Place again for sustaining a successful innovative cultural business.  Espanola SBDC focuses on creative cultural entrepreneurship.   “The Espanola SBDC has helped The Feasting Place with international exposure, marketing and building international and congressional relationships.” Says Naranjo.  “ Julianna Barbee, Director of the SBDC has involved me through the years with the International Visitors Program where I hosted groups from Africa, Bosnia, Russia and Asia.  Julianna also invited me to be a guest presenter during her training presentation for the University of Economic Development Association National conference and also invited me to Washington DC to testify before a Congressional hearing in support of SBDC and Native American small businesses.”

Norma Naranjo Owner of Feasting Place and Julianna Barbee Director of SBDC host   International Visitors Program –Africa

When U. S. Senator Udall heard about The Feasting Place he had to experience it for himself.   “The Feasting Place is a great example of local businesses finding a creative way to address a local need and create jobs in the process. Supporting economic development in New Mexico is my top priority, and I’m excited to see the Espanola SBDC in New Mexico helping businesses like The Feasting Place become even more successful, Udall said.  “By working closely with the community and seizing on opportunities for federal investment, our local SBDC’s are helping businesses grow into sustainable, innovative organizations.”

Most recently, the Travel Channel hosted by Andrew Zimmerman will be featuring an episode on national TV of the Travel Channel’s experience at the “The Feasting Place” to air sometime soon.   “Julianna Barbee is helping me with my marketing specifically producing YouTube Videos, updating my website, photography and social media, says Naranjo.

The Feasting Place hosts visitors from around the globe, visitors pick fresh vegetables from the garden, bake traditional bread and pastelitos (little pies) help make a traditional Pueblo feast meal, learn about adobe horno baking and traditional farming, harvesting and preserving the food.  Visitors also listen to Norma share the ancient past while her ancestors seem to be walking beside her.  “It’s important to respect how the food was grown, I prepare the meal with love because it is nourishment and a time to enjoy family and community says Norma.

“Northern New Mexico’s interwoven cultures, traditions and landscape are key to developing new creative economic development. I believe the key to our sustainable future is reawakening our sustainable past,” says SBDC Director Julianna Barbee.   “Our ancestors seem to walk beside us, our roots are intertwined, and our home has meaning and purpose. Every time I present training at national conferences I showcase a few of our cultural entrepreneurs, the response is amazing. People are interested in seeing more and learning more. The Feasting Place is a great example of innovative job creation through creative cultural entrepreneurship”