Corrales Growers Market Sees Steady Demand Despite Limitations

By Amy Byres, Rio Rancho Observer

May 11, 2020 – Corrales Growers’ Market is a business still growing through the pandemic.

Bonnie Gonzales has been the president of the market since 1996. She said small food systems, like in Corrales, are healthy and dependable from a food and economic standpoint.

“Some of our vendors who maybe sell to restaurants and sell to co-ops and Whole Foods and different places, it is harder to do that right now,” she said.

The market provides space and support to traditional agricultural economics in Corrales, Gonzales said. Buyers are purchasing directly from local farmers.

“We support the preservation of farmland, the sustainability of family farms and local agricultural production by providing agricultural producers a marketing facility for the sale of their products directly to consumers,” she said.

Gonzales said this is different from grocery stores.

“You go to a grocery store, and this is food that has gone through packaging plants and has traveled on trucks, and it has been handled and processed,” she said.

Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Schalow said places like the growers’ market are doing well because people want locally grown food.

“There is a concern for safety with our food supply nationwide, and having it locally grown is a local alternative that people are preferring at this time,” he said.

This concern is changing consumers’ shopping habits and creating a demand for local growers, Schalow said.

“I think that it is important to understand the food that we are providing is probably the most nutrient-dense food you can get,” Gonzales said. “This is food that has not traveled, that hasn’t been out on a field, been in a truck, been through a processing plant from hundreds of miles away. This is food grown right here from the person you’re buying it from. As a result, this is what we consider to be very, very safe food.”

Although Corrales’ farmers and growers are doing OK through the pandemic, they are not immune to its economic effects, Schalow said.