20th Annual Dia del Rio! Fall with the Open Space Division

Rio Grande River

by Kent Swanson, Associate Planner, City of Albuquerque Open Space Division

Ours is a city of contrasting landscapes, with vast desert scrublands giving way to the lush river forest of the Rio Grande bosque, and piñon/juniper foothills leading to the majestic Sandia Mountains. These special places help to define who we are as a city.

Join the Open Space Division, the Open Space Alliance, REI, the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, and other local organizations for a variety of conservation projects that nurture and protect the bosque and river, including trail work, re-vegetation, and trash clean up. There will be activities appropriate for all ages.

Please arrive at the Rio Grande Nature Center, 2901 Candelaria NW, Albuquerque promptly at 8:30am on Saturday, October 18th to sign in and enjoy snacks provided by our other generous sponsors. At the end of the event, make sure to stick around for a fabulous prize drawing!   Parking is limited so PLEASE CARPOOL! Bring gloves, sun protection, plenty of water, and a sack lunch. Free snacks will be provided during morning sign in.

REGISTER: Register online with REI at www.rei.com/albuquerque or by calling 247-1191. The first 80 people to pre-register will receive a free t-shirt the day of the event, courtesy of REI!

Organize your own clean up the day of the event.  Do you live near the bosque?  Or do you have a favorite area near the river?  Open Space will provide trash bags and haul off the collected trash. Call 452-5216 or email kswanson@cabq.gov to sign up your group for your own cleanup.

Santa Fe Farmers’ Market: Fall Fiesta!


Celebrating Local Food, Culture and Community

October 11 the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Pavilion

Enjoy a beautiful evening of delicious local food, honor fine local producers, and share the joy of community with the local agricultural community as you help generate vital operating funds for the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute’s farmer and community outreach programs. This year, the event has a special focus in that it is raising funds for the EBT Double Vale Program.  Two local foundations will match donations for this important program that provides under-served members of the community with access to fresh, local food by doubling the value of their EBT dollars.

  • Dinner made by an eclectic collection of Santa Fe’s top chefs using locally grown ingredients
  • An awesome variety of Silent Auction Items
  • An amazing collection of Live Action Items
  • A Raffle drawing for your choice of live Auction Items
  • An honoring of three beloved agricultural producers

For more information, to RSVP, or make a donation to support their programs, go to www.farmersmarketinstitute.org or contact Kierstan Pickens: kierstan@farmersmarketinstitute.org at 505-983-7726 ext105.

Cheese Classes Continue!





Jade McLellan, our Santa Fe Cheese Department head will continue her workshop series on cheese on the third Thursday of the month, for the next three months. While you won’t make cheese at these workshops, you will receive a coupon to make a purchase from the cheese department during the following weekend.

October 18, 6:30-8pm

  • Say Chevre!  – Explore more than cow’s milk! We’ll be talking about (and tasting) varieties of goat, sheep & buffalo milk cheeses.

November 20, 6:30-8pm

  • Anatomy of the Cheese Plate – Learn the basics for assembling your own cheese plates, just in time for the holidays!

December 18, 6:30-8pm

  • FUNdue! – Learn the basics for making your own fondue from scratch!

You must RSVP to attend.

  • Seating is limited. Please fill out the form below to reserve your space, or call Jade at 505-984-2852
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



Local Food Festival and Field Day


Local Food Festival

& Field Day

Discover the Many Faces of Local Food

Sunday, October 12, 2014 from 11am-4pm

At Gutierrez-Hubbell House
6029 Isleta Blvd. SW, 87105

By Tiffany Terry, MRCOG Agricultural Collaborative

At the sixth annual Local Food Festival & Field Day, we invite you to enjoy fun with your friends, family and neighbors while you “Discover the many faces of local food.” This year’s festival offers so much! New events and offerings include:

  • a beer garden by Marble Brewery,
  • horseback rides by 4-H,
  • a community seed mural project with the SEED Collective and ABC Library mini “seed library”,
  • “Ask a Gardener” by Master Gardeners, and
  • food drive collection stations for Road Runner Food Bank!

This is in addition to festival favorites like the Edible Santa Fe chef demos and pie contest for kids and adults, FREE cooking and gardening workshops, live music, storytelling, poetry reading, horno bread baking, 4-H petting zoo, face painting, rock climbing and more!

Appreciate the crisp fall morning and scenic views when you join the coordinated BikeABQ ride to the festival. Park your bike with the bike valet, stroll and shop on grassy fields with booths by local farmers–like Wagner Farmsand other local food entrepreneurs lining the way. Make sure to bring your reusable bags and take advantage of all the great local products these small business owners offer! You can sit a spell in the ample shade with refreshing options like cold local beer from Marble Brewery’s beer garden, tasty meals and beverages from the ABQ Food Truck pod and enjoy chef demos, live music, storytelling, poetry, workshops and more.

Qualifying “local food” vendors (e.g., farmers, salsa makers and other value-added producers) and community organizations interested in participating can still reserve a space at the festival. Read about the “local food” criteria and sign up at bit.ly/1sc94R7.

In the new, outdoor art exhibit, “Faces of Local Food,” you will find beautiful photo posters of people you know and care about from farmers to eaters, community builders to policy makers, parents to children and many more sharing why local food matters to them. We hope these “many faces” and personal insights will increase awareness of how we are all part of the greater local food community in New Mexico, and how it is a part of each of us. There is still time to participate in an online version of the “Faces of Local Food” exhibit, too. Submit your own photos and join the “Faces of Local Food” online exhibit at www.ediblesantafe.org.

The Local Food Fest strives to be as sustainable and low impact as possible with efforts from community partner, Knowastethe “resource recovery rangers.”

See you on Sunday, October 12! For more information:localfoodnm@mrcog-nm.gov or (505) 724-3619.

Kombucha: “The Tea of Immortality”


By Amylee Udell

Kombucha now occupies an entire refrigerated section in the Co-op. Kombucha is sweet, fermented tea. It is fermented by a SCOBY, a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, also known as the mother or the mushroom. The SCOBY grows by consuming the sugar and changes the tea into an acidic, fizzy drink, often compared to champagne or cider, moving closer to vinegar in taste the longer it ferments. It’s been around for awhile, with references to it made in China in 221BC.

As with many supplements, its proponents believe it has health improving abilities. Due to its lactic acid fermentation, it’s a probiotic with digestive and immune boosting benefits. It’s full of beneficial yeasts, anti-oxidants and enzymes, offering a detoxification effect. It contains high amounts of glucosamine, benefiting joint health. Its many amino acids and several B vitamins also boost its nutritional properties. Most people using it for detoxification are seeking its glucaronic acid, a naturally occurring acid produced by our liver to bind up toxins and poisons and carry them away. The Chinese, who first wrote about kombucha, attributed many additional healing properties to it. The list is much longer than this, but includes alkanization of the body, alleviation of constipation and headaches, improved skin conditions, improved eyesight, and reduced ulcers.

My main reason for consuming kombucha, a.k.a. the “Tea of Immortality,” is it’s taste. My kids also enjoy it. When made at home, it’s very affordable but I’m so very glad it’s available commercially. Prices begin at around $3 for 16oz and go up to almost $4. If making your own you’ll spend $.50-$1 per gallon! Beyond price, when you make your own you can control ingredients.

Kombucha is only sugar and brewed tea. Many commercially produced kombuchas have added fruit juices and sugar AFTER fermentation to appeal to a broad audience, but you can adjust for sweetness in your own brew. Some commercial brews may also be pasteurized, killing the beneficial bacteria and altering some of the constituents. Finally, it’s very easy to do. If you can boil water, you can make kombucha.

Making Kombucha

To make kombucha you need sugar (white works the best, some people are successful with honey), water, black tea (some people use green, but no Earl Grey or teas with flavoring oils) and a SCOBY. You can get a SCOBY from a friend; each batch of kombucha makes a new SCOBY layer so there’s usually plenty to share. You can also make one from bottled kombucha. This takes a little time, but if it’s your only option, it will be worth it. Finally, you can buy a SCOBY. La Montanita carries Oregon Kombucha’s starter kit for $13.99. It contains a live culture, organic black or green tea, and a brewing guide.

Making kombucha is as simple as making sweet tea, letting it cool, and then adding your SCOBY. Your SCOBY will take the shape of your container and most people suggest a glass jar (a gallon pickle jar works great) or a ceramic crock, but never metal. Kombucha needs air so a wide container works very well. Cover it with a cloth to keep out any dust and debris. Let it sit for several days to weeks. In the summer, mine starts to ferment in a few days. In the winter, it will need a week. The longer it sits the more sour it gets, and less sugar and caffeine it contains. If it gets too sour use it like vinegar in salad dressing, to marinate meat, etc.

Most people will bottle their kombucha when it’s to their taste. You can strain it as you bottle to filter out yeast floaters and “blobs” of loose SCOBY, using mason jars or rubber sealed, wire-top bottles. Airtight lids help achieve and maintain a nice fizz. Before closing the lids, many people will add a little sugar, fruit juice or fruit, as well as herbs or spices, and leave their bottles out for a second fermentation and stronger fizz. After the second fermentation, refrigerate your bottles.

To save space and time, I now do a continuous brew. This means I take mine straight from the crock into my glass. When it starts to get low, I brew more tea, let it cool and add it directly to the crock. Those who promote this method say having the mix of older and newer kombucha gives you a more beneficial blend of enzymes, bacteria and yeasts. But I simply find it much more convenient.

Kombucha works by the process of lacto fermentation, not alcoholic fermentation. But it CAN contain .5% alcohol. If you are extremely sensitive to caffeine, you may also need to take a test run. Green tea has less than black tea and the finished kombucha will have 1/3 to 1/2 as much caffeine as the tea used to make it. If you do struggle with too much caffeine consumption, research using different types of teas, a second steep of tea to decaffeinate, longer brew times, and more.

As with any food preparation, make sure you have clean hands and clean tools. Should you see any mold, discard your batch and the SCOBY and start over. A SCOBY will feel rubbery and be light and consistent in color, though you may see stringy brown yeast threads. The newly growing one will be transparent. A black SCOBY should be discarded. Extra SCOBYs can be given away, composted, fed to chickens and other pets, added to smoothies or made into jerky.

As with all fermented and homemade products, have fun experimenting to find what is right for your family. Kombucha is a great soda replacement! You can customize it in so many ways, including adding lavender mint , blueberry or other juice and the ever-popular ginger flavor. There is no shortage of kombucha variations online to spark your creativity!