Serving the High Plains

Farmers market opens its season on Saturday

The Tucumcari Farmers Market opens its season Saturday with a new person in charge of the twice-a-week event.

New manager Raine Miller, who owns Wild West Enterprises farm in rural Tucumcari, will oversee the market when sales begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Wailes Park on the city’s east side along Route 66. Opening day typically draws several hundred people, and vendors sometimes sell out well before closing time.

Miller said last week he has 13 to 14 vendors lined up to sell their products at the market this season, though not all of them will be present at Saturday’s opener.

He said several types of peppers, cabbages and onions should be in season by Saturday. Miller said sweet corn and fruit probably won’t be ready until late July or August.

Miller said Las Chaparritas restaurant will bring its food truck so it can offer breakfast items on Saturday.

Also on opening day, the Quay County Health Council will offer the tasting of a recipe and will give other information.

Licensed massage therapist Sherra Miller will bring her table and offer massages to attendees.

Miller said he and several other area vendors were affected by the May 25 hailstorm.

“A lot of us got hailed out and put a damper on it,” he said. “I had a couple hundred cabbages, potatoes and sweet corn plants, and pretty much all of it got hailed to the ground. Some vendors said they had no hail and will be there (Saturday).

“Even the people who did get hail, they said a lot of their crops came back pretty strong. I replanted a whole bunch of stuff, and people down the road from me did as well. But there is going to be a whole lot of variety throughout the season.”

Miller takes over from the market’s longtime manager, Sandra Groves. He said he received a little advice and help from her, but she’s been on vacation during the final weeks leading up to the market’s opening.

“It’s been kind of rough, to be honest,” he said of the transition. “I got no training, so everything is off-the-cuff. We have to get our SNAP benefits expedited by the state so we can have them ready. There’s a lot of paperwork involved in this.”

The market will run from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays and from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through about mid-October.

In 2020, the Tucumcari Farmers Market was honored as the Farmers Market of the Year during the annual New Mexico Food & Farms Day and School Nutrition Day Awards in Santa Fe.

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