The Farmers & Crafts Market of Las Cruces

November 27, 2021

The city of Las Cruces, New Mexico, dates back to 1849, when it was founded after being surveyed by the U.S. Army. The land on which the town sits was ceded to the United States as a result of 1848’s Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). The city was named after three crosses that used to be located north of town.

The year 2021 marks the fiftieth anniversary of a farmers market in downtown Las Cruces. The Farmers & Crafts Market of Las Cruces, a nonprofit organization, conducts a market along seven blocks of Main Street each Wednesday and Saturday morning throughout the year. Nancy and I enjoyed visiting the vendors on Saturday, Nov. 27. There are more than a hundred vendors selling everything from fresh tomatoes (we bought some) to pistachios (we bought some) to bread (we bought some) to handcrafted pottery and glassware (we didn’t buy any; we live in a home that moves down the road at 65 MPH every couple of weeks).

There are many permanent vendors at the market, as well as a long list of temporary ones, in addition to entertainers along Main Street.

To be honest there weren’t a lot of people selling actual farm goods, but the growing season, even in southern New Mexico, is nearing its end. I was impressed with all of the good smells (mostly from breakfast burritos) and incredibly vibrant colors of the clothes that some of the people were wearing.

They’re doing amazing things with cacti nowadays. Nancy was buying a pound of pistachios from the out-of-focus man in the upper right when I took this photo. We returned to the market a week later, and Nancy bought another pound of pistachios! From the same man!
Chile ristras are not hard to find in New Mexico, especially at farmers markets, but they’re always fun to see. Those are the Organ Mountains in the background.
It’s always fun to see old movie theaters in downtown locations: they’re usually very ornate buildings. The Rio Grande Theatre dates to 1926 and is on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The theater (“theatre” if you’re feeling fancy) survived an urban renewal project from the late 1960s and early 1970s that destroyed many of the older buildings in downtown Las Cruces. The Rio Grande still shows movies, and had a slate of holiday-themed films on its schedule when we were there.
I don’t know when this Woolworth’s on Main Street was opened, but it’s been closed for many years and now the building serves as a church. The door handle is really, really cool, and I wonder how many ring-bedecked fingers it took to give it that wonderful wear. Nancy and I have noticed many references on billboards and business signs in Las Cruces to something called “refrigerated air.” As far as we can tell, it’s the same as air conditioning.

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