Fresh, fun and Taos

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It’s summertime in Taos and tasty fresh foods abound from nearby farms and ranches to kitchen gardens and greenhouses. Enjoy the bounty at one of these three cafés that appeal to locals and travelers alike. Surrounded by scenic views, they invite a stroll through enticing shops, galleries and fine boutiques. 

Farmhouse Café and Bakery, 1405 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, El Prado, Open daily, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., 575-758-5683.

Tucked into one of the most pastoral settings that Taos has to offer, the Farmhouse Café & Bakery offers an outdoor patio amidst apple trees, a flowing koi pond, flower beds and a world-class wind sculpture garden with breathtaking views of Taos Mountain. Take a stroll through nearby shops that offer fun home furnishings, local art, and sheepskin jackets, or just sit back and enjoy the scenery. 

This café with a mission serves 600 local, organic school meals every day to local schoolchildren, and sponsors Farm-to-School garden projects and nutrition/cooking classes for first-graders.

Everything on the menu is made with organic and local ingredients, sourced from over 20 local farms and ranches. Choose from breakfasts (served all day), burgers made from local bison or grass-fed beef, sandwiches, and entrees such as Picadillo Bison Empanadas, Curried Squash Pie, and Vegetarian Lasagna. Gluten-free and vegan options are available. 

“This summer we are harvesting fresh salad greens, herbs, and over 20 different vegetables from our on-site garden,” owner Micah Roseberry noted. 

The Farmhouse bakery offers housemade croissants, scones and their best-selling organic, gluten-free carrot cake made with home-grown carrots. These go perfectly with one of their espresso drinks or house-made chai. 

“Eating at Farmhouse supports the local farming network and agriculture tradition. Every bite makes a difference,” Roseberry exclaimed.

This summer, Farmhouse will host a series of Farm-to-Table dinners featuring Grammy-award winning musician and Taos Pueblo farmer Robert Mirabal. The dinners feature local and wild-sourced foods and benefit a collaborative project with Tiwa Farms and Farmhouse School lunch program. 

Manzanita Market, 103 N. Plaza, Tues – Sun, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., (575) 613-4088

Located on the historic Taos Plaza, Manzanita Market is an all-organic community café offering locally produced foods with a menu that rotates with the seasons. 

“We built the Market on the Plaza with the idea of offering a space to locals to be a community and for those visiting our town, a selection of goods to take home with them handmade only by our local people,” said owner Jennifer Hart.   

The spacious one-room café feels like a farmhouse kitchen with its fresh and airy atmosphere, complete with Taos-made rustic chandeliers and artwork. Sit at a shared community table or one of several small private tables made by a local woodworker. Dried, pickled and salted preserved foods displayed in large glass jars add a splash of colorful charm. 

“Our menu is fun and reflective of local ingredients and modern cuisine,” says Hart. 

Manzanita’s serves salads, soups (including a 24-hour nutritious bone broth), one-pot meals and hot and cold sandwiches. Gluten-free bread is available. Quench your thirst with a seasonal elixir, smoothie or blended herbal tea created by an in-house herbalist.

Summer is perfect for homemade ice cream prepared with local eggs, organic milk, raw sugar, local fruits, mints and handmade caramel. Hart’s favorite features wild mint from Taos Pueblo and dark chocolate chips. Manzanita is also starting to make vegan coconut ice creams. 

After a meal at Manzanita, it’s a nice stroll through the Plaza’s shops and galleries, or the John Dunn shops to Bent Street. Enjoy an array of clothing boutiques, galleries and shops with goodies, such as gems and minerals, leather goods, jewelry, books, fine fabrics, yarn, quilting material, toys and games and a delightful collection of Southwest souvenirs. 

Sol Food Café , 591 Hondo Seco Road, Arroyo Seco, Daily, 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m., (575) 776-5765

 Located inside a country-style natural foods market the Sol Food Café has an informal, friendly atmosphere and aims to use natural, organic and local ingredients whenever possible. The market sells food and trendy boutique items, with half their items locally-sourced. 

The farm-to-table café serves local free-range eggs for its to-go breakfast burritos and organic apple slices as a side to the kids’ menu items. Grilled paninis include vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options as well as Niman Ranch roast beef, Applegate turkey and ham. New on the menu this summer are pulled pork sandwiches. A healthy variety of salads, superfood and fruit smoothies, a juice and espresso bar round out the menu.  

“We provide a service that includes a little bit of everything,” says Sol Food owner Anna Woodall. “Lots of people hang out here,” she adds. “Sol Food has become a vital part of the community.”

The village of Arroyo Seco has a number of quaint shops, boutiques and galleries. Next door to Sol Food is Weaving Southwest, owned and operated by the granddaughter of famed weaver Rachel Brown. Stop in and swoon over the colors and textures of their hand-dyed wool and weavings. Then, meander back in time to visit the old adobe church of this small New Mexican village. Restored in recent years, it retains its original character. 

After lunch, grab a beer at Abe’s Cantina or an ice-cream at Taos Cow. Or, head up to the Taos Ski Valley for a mountain hike. Before you go, pack some healthy snacks from the Sol Food Market. 

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