THANKS TO A PLEASANT CLIMATE and plenty of sunshine, agriculture is deeply rooted in northwestern New Mexico’s San Juan County. It’s why the farmers and ranchers who settled here in the late 1800s named their community Farmingtown.

Now known as Farmington, the name still fits. Across this fertile region—from Aztec to Farmington and Bloomfield to Kirtland—farmers are passionate about their connection to the land. “Agriculture is the one thing that most of our community has in common,” says Bonnie Hopkins, an agent for the San Juan County Agricultural Extension Office, who grew up in Kirtland. “It’s part of the heritage.”

Although the La Plata, Animas, and San Juan rivers all converge in Farmington, the connection transcends geography. “The rivers wind through all of our communities, through the food that we eat, the growing of food, and the history of agriculture in the community,” Hopkins says. “There really is nothing that agriculture doesn’t touch.”

Five seasonal farmers’ markets—featuring a cornucopia of colorful vegetables, herbs, and fruits, along with fresh-baked goods and handmade crafts—are a testament to the strength of agriculture in the area.

The Becksteads sell hydroponic lettuce, tomatoes, and other produce at the Farmington Growers’ Market.


WEDNESDAYS, 4:30–7 p.m., July through October

With about a dozen vendors selling fresh tomatoes, melons, corn, herbs, serrano and jalapeño peppers, baked goods, and cut flowers, the Aztec Farmers’ Market may be small, but the mission is mighty. Consider Brian and Heather McCollaum’s Unique Le Natural farm, which sells whole roasted, pasture-raised chickens along with goat’s milk soap, eggs, and a variety of produce. “The chickens are sparking quite a bit of interest,” says Brian, who relishes in introducing people to the healthy alternative to commercially raised chicken. “We are building the idea of sustainable connections to local food.”


THURSDAYS, 4–6 p.m., July through October

With a gazebo, grassy lawn, flowers in bloom, and fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, this sweet market of 15 vendors invites shoppers to stay a spell. Twila Burkholder and her six children sell a variety of fresh food from their garden, including sweet corn, green beans, and watermelon, as well as baked goods. “I like to do the baking the day of the market,” says Burkholder, whose children gather the garden produce. “I grew up going to market, so it’s kind of in my blood. To me, having a garden is a must.”


SATURDAYS, 8 a.m.–noon, June through September, and 9 a.m.–noon in October; TUESDAYS, 4–6 p.m., July through September

Kevin Beckstead and his wife, Cindy, own KC Gardens in nearby Fruitland, where they grow hydroponic lettuce, five kinds of microgreens, eggplant, jalapeños, tomatoes, cucumber, and sweet corn for the area’s largest farmers’ market. “I’ve had a background in agriculture my whole life,” says Kevin, who grew up in Kirtland. His great-grandfather founded the family-owned General Supply, a feed store in Farmington, in 1931. “My granddad, my dad, and I worked there,” he says. “We have a few vendors at the market that were my customers at the feed store years ago.”


MONDAYS, 5–7 p.m., July through September

Amy and Craig Thomas grow a bounty of beets, peas, and squash on their Summer Moon Farms outside Kirtland. But their main crop is Music garlic, a robust Italian variety. “New Mexico has a fantastic climate for garlic,” Amy says. “It’s dry, with moisture in the wintertime, and it warms up quite early.” Their Carniolan honey, from bees kept on property, and fresh eggs are also big hits at the market. “The whole market has a great vibe,” she says.


WEDNESDAYS, noon–6 p.m., and SATURDAYS, 8 a.m.–noon, July through October

Traditional Navajo foods such as white corn, melons, squash, chile, peaches, and blue-corn cookies are abundant at this market. “People look for the white Indian corn to use for ceremonies,” says Mamie Denetclaw (Diné), who operates a Shiprock farm and cattle ranch with her husband, Milford. “My son started growing white corn, and it was in high demand,” she says. “People came from miles.” Third-generation family farmers, the Denetclaws also sell assorted beef cuts along with Big Jim chiles, watermelon, tomatoes, and other produce on market days. “That’s when we get a chance to talk to neighbors, friends, and even relatives who we hardly see,” she says.