The popularity of farmers markets is finally growing in El Paso! The farmers market at Ardovino’s Desert Crossing was the only one I had ever been to, and that was a couple of years ago. Last week, I finally had the chance to revisit Ardovino’s. I was pleasantly surprised that it had grown so much. A couple of years ago, you could walk through the market in 5 minutes. Even though it has grown, it still seems like the artisans selling non-food items are outnumbering the food and produce vendors. Some new and interesting booths that I noticed were fresh whole chickens, goat cheese, and a craft table for children.
One of the best things about farmers markets is that you can sample most of the products before you buy them. Kind of like Sam’s and Costco, but better! Sometimes this can lead to overspending. One of my first purchases at the farmers market resulted from sampling a product called The Red Chile Recipe. The company sells two sizes of bags containing tiny pellets of dried red chiles that are available in mild, hot, and extra hot. The bags are priced at $3 for 1 cup and $8 for a pound that equals 5 cups. This is a really good price considering the quality and convenience of the product. It even comes with directions for soaking the chile and a recipe that I have never strayed from.
If you have ever attempted to make red chile sauce from scratch, then you know what a hassle it can be. All you have to do is soak the chile pellets and blend them with a few ingredients to make a rich, flavorful sauce. You can strain the sauce if you like, but it’s not completely necessary. So far, I’ve made enchiladas and chile colorado (I used Gardein’s beefless tips) with the sauce, but that will have to wait for another blog post. I wish they sold medium, because sometimes the hot tastes like it’s extra hot.
Take a look at my other purchases:
I bought 1 bunch of basil for $1 and 1 bunch of “cooking herbs” for $3. It included lemon thyme, mint, rosemary, oregano, and chives. The flowers were free! Hand picked carrots, Japanese eggplant, round zucchini, pattypan squash, lemon cucumber, garlic, and small yellow tomatoes are also pictured here. Details about the produce and what I made with them will be disclosed in another post when I’ve used all of the ingredients.
The view after leaving Ardovino’s Desert Crossing: