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sfnmHome.com – Keller Williams Newest Player in Town

Dee Dee Trosclair and Bruce Milner in front of the Keller Williams Santa Fe Market Center

By: Paul Weideman
Published online: Sunday, November 06, 2011
Appeared in: Home, Santa Fe Real Estate Guide
Edition: November 2011 Vol. 14 No. 8

“Our focus is on the agent first, through training and coaching, technology and marketing, and on our culture, which is an agent-focused model.”  Answering questions inside the building that formerly housed Prudential Santa Fe Real Estate, Dee Dee Trosclair of Keller Williams Realty, Inc., seemed to use the terms “agent-focused” and “agent-centric” in just about every sentence. And that encapsulates the difference between this company and others, she said. “Most real-estate companies see themselves as the brand, where we see our agents as the brand.”

Trosclair is KW’s regional director in New Mexico. The head of the Santa Fe office at 510 N. Guadalupe Street is Bruce Milner, who is spending time away from his home in Memphis to launch the office — or “market center” as Keller Williams calls them. “Smokey Garrett from Arlington, Texas, is our operating principal, our owner, but we do have other investors who are local,” Trosclair said.

Judy Camp, who was the president of Prudential Santa Fe Real Estate, is the new franchise’s qualifying broker, temporarily. “She’s been helping with the transition but she will be in sales, by her choice.”

“Yes, listing and selling property,” Camp said. “It’s really what I love. This is a real high, if you want to know the truth. I did a lot of research about Keller Williams before I ever talked to them about coming here. You needed to have a different business model. It’s not the company and then the broker; it’s the broker and then the company, which is totally different. The owners share their profit. It’s just really fun.  I’m a business person and to me it makes total sense.”

Prudential Santa Fe had about 70 agents when it closed in August. Milner said 12 to 15 of them left at the beginning of the transition. “We will be near 60 agents by the end of November and we’re targeting between 90 and 125 at the end of our first year,” he said.

Keller Williams has another market center in Española and two in Albuquerque. Santa Fe just happens to be market center number 900 for the company that was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Austin, Texas. KW cofounder Gary Keller is chairman of the board and chief visionary.  He and his writing team are the authors of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent (2004), SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle
Tough Times (2008), and Green Your Home (2011).

“In about 1992-1993, the franchise really exploded,” Milner said. “Today we’re number two, behind only Coldwell Banker.  The nice thing about our franchise is it is individually owned. We’re an international company now, yet we have a very specific purpose in the local market, so Gary is very driven by local market dynamics.”

In a late-October telephone interview, Trosclair went into some detail on the difference between KW and “the traditional real estate office,” as she referred to all others. “We’re a company based on systems and models, so we are also very agent-centered. They have a say in the company through the associate leadership council, which is like a board of directors. Each Keller Williams market center has an associate leadership council comprised of the top 20 percent of the agents based on production. All of the agents are stakeholders in the company and we profit-
share.”

She said Keller Williams generally does not hire people from outside industries to run the company, preferring to grow leaders from within.

“Most firms see themselves as the reason why buyers and sellers are doing business with the company, but we see ourselves as the support behind the agents, because the agents are the reasons why people are doing business with Keller Williams.”

How lucrative is this different structure for the company’s agents? “We have a capping system,” she answered. “The agents pay in a certain amount and then they cap for the year. So they have the ability to earn a lot more of their commissions. It’s based on production. Our mission statement is ‘a career worth having, a business worth owning, and a life worth living,’ so the more money they keep, the more opportunity
theyr’e going to have to fulfill that mission.”

Sustainability is a priority for KW, according to its website. Its offices have the technology to be paperless, although Trosclair admitted there are still agents “who are not quite there. Also, we use the marketing program eEdge that has an e-signature program where they can generate
a contract, but the mortgage companies are still requiring hard copies of contracts.”

Keller Williams is not specializing in particular segments of the real-estate market. “We’re doing all price ranges, from entry-level to luxury. In fact, our first luxury referral that came in to KW Santa Fe was a $6 million lead.”

The company supports agents having their own websites. Similar to one of the competing firms in Santa Fe that is known for “Sotheby’s blue,” KW peopleare expected to exhibit some allegiance to another part of the spectrum. “We have a beautiful KW red that you can buy in Sherwin Williams, but we offer a lot of flexibility — as long as you’re using at least 50 percent of the Keller Williams red in your branding,” Trosclair said.

Wall Street Journal reports SmartMoney names Santa Fe one of the Great Places to Retire and Find a New Job, October 30, 2011

Edited by CHRISTINA LOUROSA-RICARDO

This article is syndicated from the Wall Street Journal on line, click here for a copy of the original article.

Not too long ago, the whole point of retirement was not working. But today’s retirees are increasingly counting themselvesamong the job seekers.

That’s why SmartMoney.com’s second annual survey of the best places to retire comes with a twist.  We’ve analyzed tax rates, cost-of-living numbers and real-estate prices to compile a list of less expensive alternatives to several traditional retirement hotspots. But this year we also combed for relatively low unemployment rates and thriving job opportunities for seniors.

Here are some of our picks:

Santa Fe, N.M. Unlike trendier Sedona,  an Arizona town often touted as a best place to retire, unemployment is just 5.3% in Santa Fe, thanks to the state capital’s thriving tourism business and government payroll.

Santa Fe is dotted with 240 art galleries and is the home of Art Santa Fe, an international art fair that attracts buyers and tourists from around the globe.

For retirees who want to work, tourism-related jobs are a good bet, says Steve Lewis, a spokesman for the Santa Fe Convention & Visitors
Bureau.

Lincoln, Neb. This is the quintessential Midwestern town—friendly people, college football and picturesque landscapes. Residents take a brimming pride in their city’s low crime rate and accessible natural beauty, including 10 nearby lakes and more than 99 miles of recreational trails.

And it boasts an unemployment rate of just 3.6%. The University of Nebraska; government jobs; as well as a
sizable corporate presence, including Kawasaki and Assurity Life Insurance, help keep employment stable. Housing prices have remained
relatively flat since 2007, with a two-bedroom home now running for about $115,000.

Portland, Maine. Portland’s culture and natural beauty rivals popular Northampton, Mass.’s, thanks to miles of coastline, the popular fishing area of Sebago Lake and a smattering of islands around the coast.

Unemployment is well below the national average, with many big employers, such as Maine Medical Center, TD Bank and clothing company
L.L. Bean.

Jupiter, Fla.Jupiter has pristine beaches, year-round warm weather, golf courses and shopping as does more popular Naples, but is about half the price to live in, according to data from Sperling’s Best Places.

With a jobless rate of 8%, Jupiter fares better than most of Florida. The area benefits from hosting the spring training seasons of the
Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals baseball teams, as well as biotech companies like the Scripps Institute.

—Catey Hill, SmartMoney.com

The City Different, Houston Chronicle, October 2, 2011

By MELISSA WARD AGUILAR, Houston Chronicle, published 12:01 a.m., Sunday, October 2, 2011

I spent my childhood summer vacations in Colorado. The long, hot drive to get there through Texas and New Mexico was utter chaos, with nine of us packed into an old Chevrolet Bel Air station wagon. We fought over who got the very back seat, where you could look out at where you had been instead of where you were going. We’d dangle our feet out the rear window. Did I mention there was no air conditioning?

Back then, I thought the scenery was pretty boring — until you got past Albuquerque. Somewhere along the highway to Santa Fe, or ”The City Different” as it’s known to visitors, the desert took on a magical glow. Silvery sagebrush dotted the pink landscape. Purple mountains rose in the background. Lonely abandoned adobe structures looked like props from a movie set.

Dad never wanted to stop along the way. It was a pretty expensive proposition to let seven kids loose in a Running Indian roadside store. He hated driving through Santa Fe; the highway routed you right through town. We would watch the shops and restaurants pass by, beckoning. The town looked like something from the past. It begged to be explored.   I vowed that when I grew up, I’d stop at every one of those spots.

I’ve been working on it. With nearly 300 galleries and 200 restaurants, it’s hard to distill the perfect itinerary. But if I were showing you around the Santa Fe area, here’s where we’d go:

Galleries

Leroy Garcia has assembled a vibrant collection of contemporary American Indian artwork at Blue Rain, including work by his wife.  Tammy Garcia’s clay pots are amazing for their stature and beauty.  Schooled by her mother and grandmother at Santa Clara Pueblo, Garcia has forged a contemporary style in clay and bronze that honors her Indian heritage and challenges tradition, too.  The gallery also shows the intricate works of glass artist Preston Singletary, who has collaborated with bead and glass artist Marcus Amerman, both of whom are American Indians.

Nedra Matteucci Galleries is a beautiful place.  The rooms are filled with important historical and regional works from artists like E. Irving Crouse, Henry Balink and Gustave Baumann.  The sculpture garden, with pieces by Glenda Goodacre and Dan Ostermiller, includes a koi pond and waterfall.

Gerald Peters Gallery’s expansive pueblo houses a museum-quality collection of American masters. For the best of Southwest pottery, check out Andrea Fisher Gallery, which has works by the legendary Maria Martinez of San Ildefonso Pueblo and Nancy Youngblood, who carries on the Tafoya tradition.

Museums

I always try to visit my favorite flower painting, “Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur” (1930) at the graceful Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, devoted to the artist whose studio is in Abiquiu, north of Santa Fe.

Gustave Baumann’s woodcut prints, on display through December, at the New Mexico Museum of Art aren’t to be missed either.  His landscapes include yellow aspens, lilac trees and mountain scenes in vivid colors.  The museum shop sells affordable posters of his very expensive prints.

The Poeh Museum at Pojaque Pueblo north of Santa Fe is devoted to the works of the Pueblo people, including artist Roxanne Swentzell.  Her expressive, whimsical sculptures illustrate the pueblo way of life. Swentzell’s work is for sale next door at the Tower Gallery.

Shops

Sure, the historical plaza is filled with tourists, but, face it:  That’s what we are.  It’s fun to window-shop at the upscale Packard’s on the Plaza.  But if I’m buying jewelry, I head to the Rainbow Man, which sells vintage and pawn turquoise as well as contemporary pieces. Be sure to ask what mine the stones are from. This is also the place to buy historical Edward S. Curtis photos.

Keshi, a co-op for arts and crafts from the Zuni Pueblo, has a vast menagerie of collectible carved animal fetishes, as well as artist Effie Calavaza’s snake pendants and rings.

It’s a mighty big brag, but Back at the Ranch boasts the world’s largest collection of handmade boots, made in El Paso.

Hikes

The 3-mile trail at Kasha-Katwe Tent Rocks National Monument is home to fanciful volcanic rock formations and ribbons of narrow canyons. Climb to the top of the Canyon Trail for a view of the Rio Grande Valley and the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez and Sandia mountain ranges.  It’s on the Pueblo de Cochiti, 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe.

Back in Santa Fe, the half-mile hike up Canyon Road is enough exercise for some.  (Going in and out of the 100-plus galleries adds mileage.)  You’ll see everything from historical works and American Indian pieces to contemporary paintings and sculpture, folk art, jewelry and, of course, junk. Lots of restaurants line the stretch.  A favorite is the Garden at El Zaguan.  The Victorian cottage garden, tended by the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, is shady and inviting.

Bandelier National Monument is one of my favorite hiking spots. (Fire damage has temporarily closed most of the trails.)

Restaurants

For breakfast, Tia Sophia is delicious and reasonably priced.  Order your ”huevos rancheros” “Christmas” so you can try both red and green chiles.

For lunch, there’s El Ferol, Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant and saloon.  Sitting on the patio overlooking Canyon Road with a glass of Chilean wine and a crispy avocado, bacon and tomato ”bocadillo” is a pleasant respite from a day of gallery hopping.  Make reservations for the restaurant’s flamenco evening.

Another lunch favorite is Cafe Pasqual‘s, with its signature turquoise screen door facing the corner of Don Gaspar and Water streets.  Try the grilled chicken breast sandwich with manchego cheese on toasted chile bread. It’s Santa Fe comfort food.

For dinner, splurge at the Compound, Santa Fe’s most elegant restaurant.  James Beard Award-winning chef/owner

Churches

The exquisite Loretto Chapel at the end of the Santa Fe trail is famous for its miraculous staircase, which makes two 360-degree turns and has no nails. Built in 1878, the chapel is now a private museum and concert venue.

Santuario de Guadalupe, built in 1781, houses the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s collection of ”santos” — painted and carved images of saints — as well as a large oil painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe by Jose de Alzibar, one of Mexico’s 18th-century master painters, and the iconic 12-foot sculpture “La Virgen” by Mexican artist Georgina “Gogy” Farias.

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi towers over the historic district. Its Romanesque Revival style contrasts with this adobe city.

San Miguel Chapel, built between 1610 and 1626, is said to be the oldest church in the United States. It is currently undergoing restoration.

If you go

Andrea Fisher Gallery: 100 W. San Francisco, (505) 986-1234

Back at the Ranch: 209 E. Marcy, (888) 962-6687

The Compound: 653 Canyon Road, (505) 982-4353

El Farol: 808 Canyon Road, (505) 983-9912

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: 217 Johnson St., (505) 946-1000

Gerald Peters Gallery: 1011 Paseo de Peralta, (505) 954-5700

Kasha-Katwe
Tent Rocks National Monument: 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe off
Interstate 25. Open year-round. No camping. Admission: $5 per car; (505)
761-8700

Loretto Chapel: 207 Old Santa Fe Trail, (505) 982-0092

Nedra Matteucci Galleries: 1075 Paseo de Peralta, (505) 982-4631

New Mexico Museum of Art: 107 W. Palace, (505) 476-5041

Poeh Museum and Tower Gallery: 78 Cities of Gold Road, Pojaque, (505) 455-3334

Rainbow Man: 107 E. Palace, (505) 982-8706

St. Francis Cathedral: 131 Cathedral Place, (505) 982-5619

San Miguel Chapel: 401 Old Santa Fe Trail, (505) 983-3974

Santuario de Guadalupe: 100 N. Guadalupe, (505) 955-6200

Tia Sophia: 210 W. San Francisco, (505) 983-9880

Air quality earns Santa Fe high marks in world list by The Associated Press, Sept. 26, 2011

Reprinted from:

The Associated Press
Posted: Monday, September 26, 2011 -

New Mexico’s capital, which regularly tops rankings for its quality of life, has something new to brag about. The first-ever World Health Organization survey on air pollution said Santa Fe’s air-quality readings are among the cleanest in the world.

Santa Fe Mayor David Coss said he’s pleased but not surprised, as the city consistently gets high rankings from the American Lung Association.

“It’s one of the things we love about living in Santa Fe,” he said.

The high-mountain desert city is used to ranking high on lists of best places for living, visiting and playing. In fact, Coss said he is traveling to New York next month to find out whether it will win Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s No. 1 ranking of places to visit.

“We were voted in the top three best cities to visit,” he said. “I am going to see if maybe we are No. 1.”

Santa Fe and the Canadian Yukon Territory’s capital Whitehorse were among the cities with the top rankings in the global survey from WHO, which measures the levels of airborne particles smaller than 10 micrometers — so-called PM10s — in almost 1,100 cities.

Whitehorse had a yearly average of just 3 micrograms of PM10s per cubic meter, while Santa Fe measured 6 micrograms.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” said Whitehorse Mayor Bev Buckway. “A lot of people come up north and they smell the air and the say, ‘Oh wow. Amazing. The air smells so good,’ ” she said. “And we tend to take it for granted because we just have that all the time.”

Washington, D.C., had a level of 18 micrograms, Tokyo measured 23 micrograms, and Paris had 38 micrograms of PM10s per cubic meter.

Cities in Iran, India, Pakistan and the capital of Mongolia rank among the worst on the planet for air pollution.

The southwest Iranian city of Ahvaz walked away with the unfortunate distinction of having the highest measured level of airborne particles smaller than 10 micrometers. Ahvaz’s annual average of PM10s was 372 micrograms per cubic meter. Heavy industry and low-quality vehicle fuel are the main causes of air pollution in that desert city of 1.3 million people.

Lamb the Conquistadors Would Recognize

By Julia Moskin, The New York Times, April 19, 2011.  This article is syndicated from The New York Times, click here for a copy of the original article.

Antonio Manzanares and flock by Mark Holm of The New York Times

ANTONIO MANZANARES was not supposed to be a rancher. Growing up here in the Chama River Valley in the 1960s, the goal for his generation of rural New Mexicans was education: enough, his parents hoped, for him to avoid the hard work of raising animals.

In this high, empty country — green with pasture and mostly populated by pine, aspen and juniper trees — many families like the Manzanareses are descended from Spanish settlers who began ranching here in the 1600s. Even the characteristic sheep of the region, the light-boned, longhaired Navajo-Churros, are said to have arrived here with the forces of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who claimed this region for the Spanish crown in 1540 on a doomed sweep through the Southwest looking for the Seven Cities of Gold.

“People here still consider themselves ranchers, but they can’t make a living at it,” Mr. Manzanares said at his 200-acre ranch, overlooked by the Tusas Mountains.

Mr. Manzanares and his wife, Molly, 51, are trying to change that. They “run a band” — the local term for raising a flock —of about 900 ewes, both the Navajo-Churros and the fatter Rambouillet breed. Under the label “Shepherd’s Lamb,” the Manzanareses are the only producers of certified-organic lamb in New Mexico, and among the only ranchers in the United States who still graze sheep on wild land, moving from low country to mountains and back to pasture according to the season.

Navajo/Churro Sheep by Mark Holm of The New York Times

Last week all the sheep had to be sheared, and the lambs needed vaccinations. Almost all the ewes are heavily pregnant, and are expected to give birth to about 1,100 lambs that will be raised for four to nine months, until they reach about 110 pounds. The lambing will begin the day after Easter, though a few little outliers have already been born.

“Easter always seems to come at a difficult time for us,” said Mr. Manzanares, 59.

He grew up here, went south to the desert flats of Albuquerque for college and graduated from the University of New Mexico with a master’s degree in psychology in 1973. But when he came back to figure out the rest of his life, he met his wife whose family has been ranching cattle in the area since the early 1900s.

Using a combination of education, love for animals and the land, and sheer bullheadedness, the Manzanareses have spent the last 30 years trying to figure out what a modern, sustainable family ranch might look like. Of their four children, the one who may be likeliest to come back to ranching is their daughter Luisa, 23, who is in her second year of veterinary school at Colorado State University.

Although far-flung, the family is very close. (“It might have something to do with how we threw away the TV set when they were little,” Mr. Manzanares said.) Their son Agustin, 28, is stationed with his Army unit in nearby Fort Carson, Colo.; Lara, 27, is in San Francisco, studying for a master’s degree in design. One afternoon last month, Raquel, 25, called from her dorm in Greenwich Village, where she attends New York University Law School, disappointed because she couldn’t get a decent bowl of pinto beans anywhere in New York City. Mrs. Manzanares talked her through making a pot in a slow cooker, reminding her that the family trick, a good one, is to add two tablespoons of vinegar to the soaking water.

Costillitas or Lamb Ribs by Mark Holm of The New York Times

Most of the extended family will gather for Easter dinner, with at least one leg of lamb as the centerpiece of the meal. But costillitas, the small ribs that form the breast, are the family’s favorite cut. They will be roasted slowly so the fat renders out and bathes the meat in succulence. “I like to cook them almost forever,” Mrs. Manzanares said.

Dessert will be the province of Antonio’s mother, Natividad, an excellent and prolific baker. She is also the president of the local V.F.W. Ladies Auxiliary (Antonio’s father, Tony, served in the Philippines in World War II) and a pillar of the local Catholic church, St. Joseph’s. Using lard for baking, as has long been traditional here, she will make melting, anise-scented bizcochitos; pastelitos, a traditional slab pie filled with dried fruit; and likely arroz dulce, a traditional Easter dessert of rice pudding lightened with beaten egg whites.

At 79, Natividad Manzanares remembers when many Catholic fiestas in Los Ojos included the ritual slaughter of a lamb, and the town would feast on sangrecita, lamb’s blood mixed with onions, oregano, lard and chile caribe, the crunchy, toasty local chili powder. When she was growing up, it was her daily task to turn whole dried chilies into a smooth brick-red sauce. “I would roast and soak and mix them until my eyes and hands burned,” she said recently, sitting at her kitchen table in Los Ojos.

She observes Lent every year, abstaining from meat on Fridays in favor of the vegetarian dishes she grew up with: panocha, a pudding made from sprouted wheat flour and brown sugar; egg patties in red chili sauce; and chicos, roasted corn kernels. In New Mexican tradition, chicos are roasted on the cob in hornos, ubiquitous beehive-shaped mud-brick outdoor ovens.

Mr. Manzanares that he saves some of his less marketable cuts for the local Navajo. Over centuries, the tribe have incorporated the Churro sheep into their theology and their daily life, using the long, soft belly fibers for blankets. The meat is especially flavorful and lean, he said.

At this time of year, he also does a brisk trade in lamb shank bones.

“I guess people celebrating Passover want the best organic lamb bones for the Seder plate,” he said. Many Christian churches in the area, as well as the small Jewish community in Santa Fe, now hold annual Seders, he said.

Tending the flock by Mark Holm of The New York Times

Like his ancestors, Mr. Manzanares tends his sheep daily, breeds them annually and worries about them constantly. The long views are spectacular, but close up, at 7,200 feet above sea level, Los Ojos is a hard place: once a robust agricultural town, now lined with sagging porches and fallow fields. The logs that Mr. Manzanares’s grandfather split to build the barn (you can still see the ax marks) are falling in on themselves behind the small house.

He and Mrs. Manzanares tend the sheep themselves all the way from birth to slaughter, and as organic farmers, their options for healing a sick sheep or feeding a hungry one in winter aren’t much different from those of their grandparents: no antibiotics, careful nursing and a little organic grain.

The ewes are bred in the fall and give birth in spring, in time for their mothers to begin eating the new grass and buds. (Any “spring lamb” in butcher shops now was most likely born last spring.)

To eke out a profit from them, Mr. Manzanares also spends much time on the road and online: driving to farmers’ markets in Los Alamos and Santa Fe, delivering shoulders and shanks to restaurants, doing paperwork for organic certification and nagging his Web masters to streamline the ordering system.

At one time, says local lore, this county shipped more lamb than anywhere else in the world, along a narrow-gauge railway nicknamed the Chili Line that ran up the Chama to Denver with animals, beans, corn, wheat and chilies. (It is now the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad.)

These days the flocks in the Chama are counted in the hundreds rather than the thousands, and New Mexico is only the sixth-largest producer of lamb in the United States. In January, the United States Department of Agriculture released figures showing that domestic lamb production is at an all-time low, down 13 percent over just one year. On the ranch and on the plate, beef cattle are elbowing out sheep by a little more each year. The average American now eats over 60 pounds of beef annually, but consumption of lamb is just over 1 pound per person.

The competition to supply that lamb is stiff, especially from Australia and New Zealand, where inexpensive lamb racks are essentially a byproduct of the vast and profitable wool industry. The lambs are slaughtered young so that the flavor of the meat does not get too strong, but many cooks find the texture limp and the fat too wet to roast. Typically wet-aged in Cryovac on its journey to American markets, the lamb tends to be soft and spongy.

“We will never be able to compete with them on price,” said Brent Walter, an owner of Fox Fire Farm who raises about 2,000 lambs each year on a family-run ranch just across the border in Ignacio, Colo.

The taste of pasture-grazed lamb is clean and meaty, with a firm texture. The fat of a healthy, mature lamb is white and crystalline when raw, light-textured and delicious when grilled or roasted. In many parts of the world, lambs are bred with an eye to getting the most fat loaded onto their tails, considered the most sublime morsel of all.

Brian Knox, the chef and owner of Aqua Santa in Santa Fe, cures the lamb he buys from Mr. Manzanares overnight in salt, juniper and cumin before braising it for six hours and mixing the big chunks of shoulder with wilted rapini, chicken stock and crisp leeks. Smaller nuggets go into a concentrated ragù with lamb broth and fresh chanterelles, all tossed with whole-wheat spaghetti and a dusting of pecorino, aged sheep’s milk cheese. Mr. Knox said that only this meat matches an ideal for lamb that he carries around in his mind: herbal, earthy yet ethereal. “The terroir of what the animal eats really comes through in this meat,” he said.

In the spring, the Manzanareses’ sheep eat shoots of wheat, grass and sand dropseed. Later, on the summer range, the lambs eat plumajillo (yarrow), palo rosario (snowberry), Arizona fescue and mountain mahogany. They are browsers, not grazers: not only grass but also buds and many leaves, especially aspen, are tasty to them. All the shrubs around the ranch are nibbled down to chin height.

Next week, the Manzanareses will escort the bred ewes, horses, dogs and assorted equipment to the lambing grounds west of Taos. During June, the ewes and lambs make their way about 30 miles cross country to summer pasture in the mountains above Canjilon, part of Carson National Forest, where they live all summer with guard dogs and a full-time shepherd, who stays in a small trailer.

At the end of the summer, the whole band is trailed back to low country, where the lambs are weaned. After a couple of months the ewes are bred, and the cycle begins again.

“I just hope we can keep it going, you know?” Mr. Manzanares said.

By Julia Moskin, April 19, 2011, The New York Times.

Try Molly Manzanares’ lamb rib recipe, and if you can, use Shepherd’s lamb.  For the past 2 years, I have ordered a whole lamb from Shepherd’s Lamb.  It is the most delicious lamb I have ever tasted.  For a description of what I received when I ordered my first lamb, click on the link to my Santa Fe Railyard article.  Most Saturday mornings Antonio and Molly Manzanares can be found selling their wonderful produce at the Santa Fe Railyard.

2010 Santa Fe Business and Real Estate News Roundup

Bob Quick | The New Mexican
Posted: Tuesday, January 04, 2011  This article was syndicated from the New Mexican, click here for a copy of the original article.

Business news made headlines in 2010, mainly because of the weak economy and persistent unemployment, which was the biggest business story of them all, especially if you lost your job and tried looking for another.

In Santa Fe, the October Labor Market Review indicated that the local unemployment rate was 7 percent, compared with 6.9 percent a year ago. The highest unemployment rate in Santa Fe in 2010 was 7.4 percent in March.

Through October, there was a loss of 100 jobs in Santa Fe in 2010.

For that same time period, three industries gained jobs. They were education and health services, government, and miscellaneous other services.

Losses of 100 jobs each were reported by professional and business services, wholesale trade and construction.

“The Santa Fe job market has been weak for over two years but is improving,” according to the state Labor Market Review.

But Larry Waldman, an economist formerly with The University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, said recovery will take years.

Retail

Vacancies popped up downtown and in shopping centers around town. Closures included Simply Santa Fe on the Plaza, which was owned by Armand Ortega. Negotiations are said to be under way for a new tenant.

Also closing were several restaurants, including A La Mesa, Railyard Restaurant and Cafe Paris. One downtown businessman said he’d heard more restaurants will close in this first quarter of 2011.

El Nido also shut its doors but promises to reopen soon. The Pink Adobe shuttered its doors after filing for bankruptcy but then, happily, was taken over by the Hoback family, which had started the Pink and vowed to keep it open for good.

Also, Whole Hog Cafe is moving from Cerrillos Road to Guadalupe Street.

In downtown Santa Fe, the Nancy Brown Custom Jeweler shop closed, and other jewelry shops experienced problems with the steadily rising price of gold. A higher price of gold for jewelers, of course, means a higher price for buyers.

Among the new galleries on Canyon Road is Vivo Contemporary.

Southwest Cash and Carry, a wholesale grocers supply store, also closed, but could reopen in Santa Fe in a different location.

Stores opening in 2010, included a second Sunflower Farmers Market, several cupcake bakers and two frozen yogurt businesses. And don’t forget the gelato shop at DeVargas Center.

Also opening was Monte’s of Santa Fe, a cigar, pipe and tobacco store near downtown.

Sienna’s Furniture on Cerrillos Road celebrated its first anniversary in 2010.

In the works for local retail are the new Super Walmart and a renovation of Santa Fe Place that could result in another name change for the shopping center formerly known as Villa Linda Mall.

Given the strength of the recession and the need to economize, it was no surprise that some new thrift stores opened in 2010. Among them were Back to the Rack and The Good Stuff.

Banking

Several Santa Fe banks ran into problems in 2010 and found themselves either being taken over by the feds or following orders from Washington, D.C.

Among them was Charter Bank of Santa Fe, which in January was purchased by Texas-based Beal Financial Corp. for an undisclosed amount after the bank ran into problems with its commercial and residential loans.

The new Charter Bank assumed all deposits of the former Charter Bank.

Beal’s $10 billion in assets were apparently what allowed it to take over Charter when no New Mexico bank could.

A few months later, federal regulators determined that New Mexico’s oldest bank, First National Bank of Santa Fe, had to reduce its commercial real-estate lending as part of an agreement with regulators.

First National Bank President and CEO Gregory Ellena said at the time of the feds’ intervention in the bank that the bank was profitable and well capitalized.

At about the same time, Los Alamos National Bank, the region’s largest, signed a similar agreement.

The Los Alamos National Bank plan called for the bank to come up with a new staffing plan for loans and to name a new senior lending officer.

First State Bancorporation, the parent company of First Community Bank, reported difficulties with non-performing real-estate loans and entered into talks with some investors. But the bank remained independent at year’s end.

Smith’s

Smith’s and its employees union started negotiating a new contract in May, but it wasn’t until October that they made a deal.

The agreement covers 2,000 New Mexican workers in 26 grocery stores and 11 fuel centers. The four-year contract was unanimously approved by workers.

A union representative said he was happy about reaching an agreement “in these hard economic times. Our employees will enjoy the best benefits around over the next four years.”

The president of Smith’s said the deal provided workers “one of the best total compensation packages in our industry.”

The union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1564, also reached an agreement with Albertsons workers.

Real estate

Santa Fe real-estate sales were mixed in 2010, with the number of sales rising for the most part as prices dropped.

In the city in the second quarter, the median sales price dropped from $307,500 to $288,000, according to the Santa Fe Association of Realtors. Prices in the county also fell, from $450,000 to $411,250.

In the third quarter, sales in the city of Santa Fe increased a little as the median sales price rose about 11 percent to $318,000.

The price in the county, meanwhile, fell to $389,000, according to the Realtors group.

Foreclosure issues played a part in local real-estate sales, but no satisfactory information about Santa Fe foreclosures was available.

Alan Ball, a local title company executive, said in his real-estate blog that Santa Fe real estate at the end of 2010 was “only slightly better off” than it was in the summer of 2009 — the depth of the downturn in the market.

American Eagle

The airline disappointed local travelers when on Aug. 23 it reduced the number of flights between Santa Fe and Dallas/Fort Worth to two round trips per day.

The discontinued flights were 2760, which left Santa Fe at 8:15 a.m., and 2761, which left DFW at 7:40 p.m.

Jim Montman, Santa Fe airport manager, protested the move, saying that the early flight to DFW “was our most popular flight” because it allowed for timely connections in Dallas to the East Coast.

The late flight from Dallas eliminated the ability for travelers to get to Santa Fe in the evening, he added.

American Eagle said it plans to resume the dropped flights April 5.

American Eagle still has two daily round-trip flights to and from Santa Fe and Dallas and another flight to and from Santa Fe and Los Angeles.

Minimum wage

Santa Fe’s minimum wage — $9.85 an hour — looks like it will stay the same this year as it did last year.

A city employee familiar with the wage issue said, “It doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.” The final decision will come in mid-January.

The city’s mandated minimum pay is linked to a government measure of price inflation. If inflation remains low, as it is now, the wage floor is likely to remain unchanged.

Even though the wage has been in effect since June 24, 2004, some business owners still don’t like it.

“I had to go from $15 to $17 per car wash,” said Squeaky CleanCar Wash owner Jay Ritter. “It also cut down on my volume.”

Manufacturing

Santa Fe’s small manufacturing sector — with only about 800 workers — made the front page in May when the giant Caterpillar Emissions Solutions, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Corp., bought Clean Air Systems, a manufacturer of emission-control devices.

Clean Air was started in 1993 by Michael and Louise Roach and employed about 30 people at the time it was purchased.

Caterpillar said it planned to expand and hire more people because the company expected an increase in business.

Another local business that changed hands in 2010 was Santa Fe Southern Railway, the short-line railroad that runs between Santa Fe and Lamy.

It was bought out by the Australian company STI-GLOBAL. STI provides solutions to rail-safety issues in Europe, Australia and the U.S.

Purchase prices were not available for either transaction.

Tourism

Santa Fe welcomed two new hotels, Hyatt Place on one side of town and Luxx Boutique Hotel on the other.

The city’s hotel/motel occupancy rates were slightly better in 2010 than in 2009.

Another hotel, the Santa Claran, opened on Santa Clara Pueblo land near Española. The property has
124 rooms and suites.

Star Tribune, Your choice: red or green? October 6, 2010

Autumn means fresh chiles in New Mexico, and the traditional recipes that use them are hearty and rich in flavor.

By Lee Dean, Star Tribune, October 6, 2010.  This article is syndicated from the Star Tribune, click here for the original article

A ristra of dried chiles. Richard Swearinger, Special to the Star Tribune

SANTA FE, N.M. – The fragrance of roasting peppers was as effective as a trail of bread crumbs as I looked for the farmers market on Guadalupe Street. The closer I got to the railroad station, where the vendor stalls began, the more pungent the peppers’ aroma.

By the time I reached Reynaldo Romero and his wire roaster on the outskirts of the plaza, the chile oils in the air were making me cough and my eyes burn.

Romero seemed unaffected by the volatile oils or intense heat. His safari hat and long sleeves protected him from the sun and roaster as he quietly and constantly turned the wheel to rotate the chiles. Each batch took about five minutes to blister, at which time the chile skins could be easily removed and the peppers were ready to eat, freeze or cook.

It’s chile harvest season in New Mexico, a glorious time when 40-pound burlap bags of chiles are sold in markets and from the backs of trucks. Some chiles are hung and dried in the colorful strings of peppers called ristras. But many are sold in quantities to be roasted en masse.

My cabdriver pointed out the bags of chiles for sale in vacant corners of parking lots as we zipped through the city. It was a good year for chiles, and he and his wife expected to spend a weekend roasting and canning peppers to carry them through a year’s worth of recipes — an annual fall event in kitchens throughout the region.

Not surprising in a state where a U.S. senator entered the official spelling of “chile” — not chili or chilie — into the Congressional Record. Or where state legislators voted on an official “question” as a symbol.

“Red or green?” is asked at any New Mexican restaurant, signifying “red or green sauce.” For those who can’t make up their minds — or who simply like the taste of both — there’s another possibility: “Christmas,” meaning both red and green sauces.

The New Mexican chiles — green in the summer and red in the fall as they ripen — offer two very different choices, depending on their color, the green being more, well “green” and vegetative in flavor, and the red a much deeper, darker and more complex taste.

Green chiles are standard fare in New Mexico, added to everything from tuna to pizza, says Cheryl Alters Jamison. She and her husband, Bill, are prolific cookbook authors who live in the area. The red, most often used dried, is either ground or cooked whole in sauces.

The chiles grow well in the bright sun, low humidity and high altitude of New Mexico (Santa Fe’s elevation is 7,000 feet), with specific varieties grown in different regions — think wine and terroir. Chiles are no different, with the Hatch chile coming from Hatch, N.M., and the Chimayo from the region of the same name. Outside New Mexico, the green chiles are often called Anaheim.

Their skins are tough because of the weather, which is why they are roasted first to make the skins slip off easily.

To do this at home, put the peppers in a single layer under a broiler and, turning them occasionally, let the skins blister and blacken, which will take about five minutes. Remove the peppers from the oven and put them on a clean towel and fold over the top (or put in a paper bag and close it); let the peppers rest for a few minutes. The skins then can be pulled off with your fingers with or without running water (don’t worry about removing all of the black bits). If they are to be frozen, the skins can be left on and removed when defrosted.

Both red and green chiles are used extensively at Rancho de Chimayo, a 45-year-old restaurant nestled in the rural hills 30 miles outside of Santa Fe. The restaurant was one of the first to offer a menu that reflected the way New Mexicans ate at home — a novelty at the time — with its mix of chiles, posole and beans in a variety of dishes. The recipes can be found in “The Rancho de Chimayo Cookbook,” by the Jamisons.

If you pay attention to terroir — and Anaheim simply won’t do — you can order the real pepper fresh (in season), frozen, dried or ground from the Santa Fe School of Cooking, 116 W. San Francisco St., Santa Fe, NM 87501, 1-505-983-4511.

As for me, I plan to cook my way through “The Rancho de Chimayo Cookbook,” one chile pepper at a time.

Old Santa Fe: 400 and still evolving

By:  Chris Reynolds, Los Angeles Time Staff Writer, October 4, 2010

Reporting from Santa Fe, N.M.– “Oldest house,” panted Robert Chavez, steering his pedicab past a 17th century adobe.

“Oldest church,” he added a moment later, nodding left toward the 17th century San Miguel Mission Church.

Santa Fe — rich, tan, relentlessly artsy and frequently artificial — is really old, by American standards. The city turned 400 this year.

When I visited recently, my mission wasn’t really to chase after old buildings, odd galleries and new restaurants. I wanted a look at Santa Fe’s newest downtown neighborhood, a once-blighted railroad zone whose revival is nearly complete. But in the middle of such history and atmosphere, a tourist gets distracted.

Before long, I was seated in Chavez’s pedicab, hurtling down a historic alley near the ditch that carried the city’s original water supply.

And then I was in front of a jewelry shop on San Francisco Street, where a cowboy guitarist named Wily Jim yodeled like a coyote who’d put in a semester at Juilliard. A few blocks over on Marcy Avenue, the Mira! Boutique was offering a stylish patio chair, crafted in Togo from an old oil barrel — only $$250. In the front yard of a gallery on Canyon Road, a woman with a blue scarf daubed white spots on a painting of a dancing pig. Planning your trip

THE BEST WAY TO SANTA FE

From LAX, Southwest and United offer nonstop service, and US Airways, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United offer connecting service (change of planes) to Albuquerque, which is about 60 miles from Santa Fe. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $$218. Since late 2009 American Eagle has been offering one daily nonstop flight between LAX and Santa Fe Municipal Airport. The flight takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes. The jet, an Embraer ERJ-140, seats 44 passengers. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $$210.

 ”I’m just putting dots on her panties while the artist goes and gets a cigarette,” explained Deborah A. Higgs, director of All My Relations gallery. A moment later, artist Robert Anderson returned, took back the brush and regarded the pig anew.

“She represents to me a sort of welcoming, motherly femininity,” Anderson said.

So goes the good life in Santa Fe, and much of it is conducted among the city’s beloved earth-toned adobe and faux-adobe buildings (because the real adobes can melt like mocha ice cream in the rain). At their roof lines, carefully carved wood vigas — the ceiling beams — protrude, and red-pepper ristras dangle. The handsome blue doors and window frames look nice too, but their first purpose (so the folk wisdom goes) is to repel evil spirits.

If only there were a color that tourists could wear to repel high prices. But because there isn’t, be grateful that fall is here and room rates are falling.

If you visit in October — when the aspens and cottonwoods put on golden displays of fall foliage — you’ll probably pay 15% less for your room than the August hordes (who paid $$144 nightly on average last year). In November, you might pay 30% less, but you will need a heavier jacket; Santa Fe is about 7,000 feet above sea level, and the average November high/low is 52/26.

No matter when you arrive, you’ll want to check out the dozens of galleries along Canyon Road, where landscapes, portraits, American pottery and Australian aboriginal abstracts abound, at price points of $$100 to $$10,000. You’ll also want to pay respects at the Palace of the Governors, the long, low structure that faces the plaza, where the Native American merchants lay out their wares along the shaded walkway.

It’s not only the oldest building in town (and a genuine adobe that requires careful maintenance), but it’s also billed as the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States. Inside, you can browse historical exhibits. Just behind the palace stands the New Mexico History Museum, which opened last year.

The palace has been tweaked and renovated over the years, but this is where the Spanish set up headquarters when they showed up around 1610. When Native Americans rose up and chased the Spanish out of town in 1680, this building was here. When the Spanish retook the town in 1693, it was still here.

And in the late 1870s, when New Mexico territorial governor Lew Wallace turned away from his day job to scribble, of all things, a novel about a chariot-racing Jewish slave/prince named Ben-Hur, this is where he did it. (Long before the Charlton Heston movie, “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ” was a 19th century bestseller.)

The St. Francis Cathedral Basilica two blocks away will demand your attention as well. It’s a massive stone structure that was put up by 19th century Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy, who came from France and didn’t care much for the adobe look. (Locals persuaded him to leave standing a part of the old adobe church, which is now connected to the cathedral.) In front stands a sleek sculpture of a native maiden, added in 2002, whose beauty might distract you from noticing that the cathedral builders never got around to putting up spires.

Still, of all the handsome old buildings in Santa Fe, the one that stands out for me is the New Mexico Museum of Art, even though, as I’ve just learned from a $$1 museum pamphlet, it’s a copy of a knockoff of a facsimile.

It stands just across Lincoln Avenue from the Palace of the Governors, its walls bulging like muscles, vigas jutting smartly, shadows collecting in the courtyard, the works inside telling the story of Santa Fe’s growth as an art colony in the last century or so.

Its inspiration was San Esteban del Rey church at Acoma Pueblo (about 125 miles southwest of Santa Fe), which state historians say was built in the 1630s. But the line that connects them zigs to Colorado, then zags to San Diego.

The zig came in 1908, when Colorado businessman C.M. Schenk hired I.H. and William M. Rapp, a sibling team of architects, to use the Acoma church design as a model for a commercial building in Morley, Colo.

They did it, a group of New Mexico boosters saw the result (which has since been demolished), and soon the brothers were hired to adapt Acoma again, this time as a “cathedral of the desert” to represent New Mexico at the 1915 Panama- California Exposition in San Diego.

Again they did it, to great acclaim. Next came Dr. Edgar L. Hewett, an organizer of the San Diego exposition who was also director of Santa Fe’s fledgling museum. Hewett hired the Rapps to deliver yet another variation on the Acoma theme. So they did in 1917, and that, bolstered with expansions over the years, is the building I’ve been gawking at. (The inside is good too; during my visit, it included a witty exhibit on cowboy boots in popular culture.)

Meanwhile, the original church remains at Acoma, and the San Diego version survives as well (in Balboa Park, though it’s been changed dramatically). But my guess is the Santa Fe art museum building gets the most visitors, inside and out. When I hear somebody say “pueblo revival” or “Santa Fe style,” it’s what I see.

It was tempting to do my eating at the tried-and-true Santa Fe institutions — lunch at the courtyard of the Shed, for instance, or breakfast amid the bustle of Café Pasqual’s. And it would have been another sort of fun to tangle with the fragrance police at Trattoria Nostrani (which has been serving upscale Italian cuisine and banning perfume and cologne for several years). But I was most interested in how Santa Fe renews itself, so I focused instead on new places.

At the Hotel St. Francis, whose small rooms and spacious lobby were renovated in 2009, the new Tabla de Los Santos restaurant served me a spicy Pastel de Los Santos (poached eggs, spinach, corn and chile). At Vinaigrette, a salad-based bistro with a pun-intensive menu and metal chairs of fire-engine red, I had a great lunch salad with pears, pecans, bacon and blue cheese.

I had three excellent dinners. The first was pork striploin at Restaurant Martín, in a low-key bungalow with high-end food, placed just far enough from the plaza to feel more local and less touristy. The second was a farmers market sampler from Max’s, another high-end restaurant with a smaller, and even more casual, dining room. Then there was La Boca (which has been around since 2006), where I sat at the bar in back and tucked into a few tapas and a dessert of fresas de Barcelona (strawberries and liqueur).

Now it was time to see about that neighborhood rebirth along the tracks.

To reach the Railyard District, you head a few blocks west from the plaza on San Francisco, then a few blocks south on Guadalupe, passing such nightlife hot spots as the Cowgirl BBQ and the Corazon nightclub. Then look for the tracks, and the buildings that aren’t adobe.

After decades of civic hand-wringing over the area, the Trust of Public Land stepped up in 1995 to help the city buy the land. Now the nonprofit Santa Fe Railyard Community Corp. manages 50 city-owned acres, having attracted 10 art galleries, four restaurants, one big REI store, several nonprofit arts organizations and the city’s main farmers market. A wood-barrel water tower stands in the middle of it all, a long, shaded walkway slices past, and 13 acres of landscaped open space will eventually connect with a citywide trail network.

Most of those spaces opened in 2008, as did the Railrunner commuter rail service, which connects Santa Fe and Albuquerque, charging just $$7 an adult for a 70-mile, 90-minute ride. (If you’re flying into Albuquerque, you can catch a free shuttle from the airport to a rail stop and continue by Railrunner train to Santa Fe.)

The Railyard is also home to the Santa Fe Southern Railway, a tourist train that offers round-trip sightseeing excursions Wednesdays through Sundays on a spur between Santa Fe and Lamy, about 20 miles south.

The idea is to preserve the Railyard’s old grit but also to bring in plenty of free-spending locals and visitors. And clearly the project isn’t done yet: Plans for a Railyard cinema multiplex have stalled for lack of financing, and the tiny old depot building could use some sprucing up.

But on Saturdays, the farmers market draws as many as 7,000 shoppers. And on the last Friday of every month, year-round, the Railyard galleries open for “art walks.”

“This is where contemporary art is really happening in Santa Fe,” said Fiona MacConnell of the Charlotte Jackson Gallery, which recently moved from the plaza area to the Railyard.

With that in mind, I spent a few hours browsing galleries and SITE Santa Fe, a nonprofit exhibition space whose biennial exhibitions since 1995 have won international respect in the art world. The current show, up through Jan. 2, is called “The Dissolve,” and it’s all about the joining of high technology with homespun techniques from the early days of animation. In other words: looking back while looking forward.

Of about 25 mostly video artworks in the show, half a dozen grabbed my attention. That’s a good batting average for me and contemporary art. As I reemerged into the bright light of the afternoon, a few preyed on my mind, especially the miniature drama of Oscar Muñoz’s endless efforts to complete a portrait in water on a fast-drying surface.

While the video camera rolled, the artist would add a new line to the water portrait, but as he did, an old one would evaporate. Then he’d add another new detail, as another evaporated. The watery face was forever evolving, like a slow-motion cartoon, or an old city in subtle but perpetual renewal.

New Mexican hotties: Want your chiles red, green or Christmas?

By Jill Wendholt Silva, The Kansas City Star, posted September 14, 2010
This article was syndicated from the The Kansas City Star, click here for the original article. 

Photos by Richard Swearinger | Association of Food Journalists

Nearly every New Mexican cookbook offers a recipe for both green and red chile sauce. The sauces are used like gravy.
To get to the Saturday morning farmers market from the Eldorado Hotel & Spa, hang a left on South Guadalupe and keep walking until the rail yard.
“You’ll probably smell the market before you actually get there,” a fellow food writer calls after us.

Under a cloudless blue sky, I head out with Lee Dean, food editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Nancy Stohs, food editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The 10-minute walk takes us past a park, a knot of day laborers, a church, restaurants and plenty of trendy boutiques with chunky squash blossom necklaces and turquoise bracelets.

On the edge of the market, a man with sun-baked skin roasts Hatch chiles in a latticed metal drum. The pungent, vegetal smell of the green chiles shedding their skins makes me hungry, but it also stings my eyes and throat.

During the first week of September, 54 members of the Association of Food Journalists gathered in Santa Fe. We arrived at the height of the chile harvest. Some years the season lasts two weeks; other years it spans two months. Locals say it has been a long time since the arid scrub-brush landscape has been so green. The bounty of chiles this year is expected to be nothing less than “voluminous.”

But why is it de rigueur to roast chiles?

“The skin of chiles grown in the desert can be texturally unpleasant — like eating celluloid film,” says Rocky Durham, culinary director of the Santa Fe Cooking School.

“When you are here, you are at the epicenter of chiles,” Durham says. “The hotness of chile is what people want to talk about, but there are very deep, profound flavors in chile peppers, and they represent the specific terroir they’re grown in.”

At 7,000 feet in altitude, the sun is hot and the air is dry.

“The whole cuisine is based on dry: drying chiles, drying corn, drying mud,” says Katherine Kagel, chef/owner of Café Pasqual’s, an iconic organic restaurant at 121 Don Gaspar Ave. that has been serving up distinctive Santa Fe fare since 1979.

Christmas combo

Forget state songs, birds, flowers or trees, New Mexico’s unofficial state question is of culinary import and boils down to this: red or green?

To which there are only three appropriate answers: Red. Or green. Or Christmas, a combination of the two.

For a true taste of Christmas, head to Rancho de Chimayò, a restaurant nestled in the mountains 30 miles north of Santa Fe. Run by the Jaramillo family since 1965, the adobe hacienda is decorated with strands of ristras, red chiles hanging from the ceiling to dry. These are fresh chiles (green chiles turn red), not to be confused with the varnished ristras and wreaths sold to unwary tourists. Of course, a varnished one is probably easier to get through airport security.

Both red and green have their merits; just don’t try to judge heat by the color.

Cheryl Alters Jamison, a New Mexico-based award-winning food writer, is better known for writing barbecue tomes with her husband, Bill. They recorded the recipes for the restaurant’s cookbook, their first foray into food writing.

“Ladies from the village used to work in the restaurant,” Jamison recalls. “There were no recipes, so you got various variations, depending on who was cooking. … I had to sit in the kitchen and take notes and make a composite recipe and go back to ask, ‘Does this taste right?’ ”

Jamison notes that the late New York Times food critic Craig Claiborne once visited the restaurant. Claiborne was enamored with the hearty carne adovada, a sassy dish of marinated and baked pork seasoned with chile caribe, a dried chile pod that is ground and cooked down into a fruity sauce with hints of raisin and cranberry.

The restaurant’s combo plate features carne adovada served with cheese enchiladas topped with green chile sauce, pinto beans cooked with chicos — kernels of sweet or tender green corn cooked in a horno, a beehive-shaped earthen oven, then removed from the cob. Sopaipillas, those warm pillows of bread fried in very hot oil, arrive in a bread basket.

Tastemakers

2010 marks Santa Fe’s 400th anniversary as a city, but there have been native people living in New Mexico for much longer. The Anasazi, for instance, were apartment dwellers and farmers in the region thousands of years before white settlers.

As Spaniards made their way into the region, Santa Fe was a culinary crossroads. “When the Old World collided with the new, the blend of agriculture and foods was, without a doubt, the most significant blending of cultures in the world,” said William Dunmire, associate professor of biology at the University of New Mexico.

But how does a modern city of 80,000 people support more than 200 restaurants?

In part, by continuing to celebrate indigenous foods.

“I am really done with industrial food. Done,” Kagel says. “I think America is about ready to take a good hard look after this egg scare (when many Americans were sickened with salmonella). We need to go back to the way things were grown before World War II.”

The Café Pasqual menu offers plenty of New Mexican specialties with chiles, but the restaurant also sources from local farmers such as Talus Wind Ranch, a 260-acre ranch 30 miles southeast of Santa Fe producing heritage meat, including heritage turkey, as well as five breeds of heritage lamb: Navajo-Churro, Finnsheep, Rambouillet, Southdown and Miniature Southdown.

Café Pasqual’s lunch menu features a Talus Wind Ranch lamb burger on a brioche bun with mint-garlic Greek yogurt accompanied by a watermelon salad or field greens.

Native nosh

Chef/culinary anthropologist Lois Ellen Frank sees a Native American Foods Movement on the horizon — one similar to the Slow Foods Movement. The goal, Frank says, is to present modern interpretations of simple, ancient foods.

Born to a Kiowa mother and a Sephardic Jewish father and raised in Long Island, N.Y., Frank grew up in a multicultural world of native seders and Jewish feasts.

Frank began her career as a professional food photographer. When an elder watched her cast a positive light on chicken nuggets, he asked: “Are these the poetry from within?”

Frank had to admit the food she was photographing did not reflect her upbringing. Looking for a new line of work, she contacted iconic Santa Fe chef Mark Miller and together they birthed “The Great Chile Poster,” a popular poster depicting a variety of chile peppers. She has also written the James Beard Award-winning cookbook “Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations” (Ten-Speed Press) and owns the Red Mesa Cuisine, a catering company that combines native foods and contemporary techniques.

Before Spaniards began colonizing the region, the Native Americans had few sweet foods in the diet — watermelon was a treat. Nor did they drink alcohol.

When Navajo and Hopi tribes were later relocated to reservations, they changed their diet from healthy, indigenous foods to government rations, including bug-infested flour. Making do, the women concocted fry bread. “Fry bread is native, iconic food. But you can’t eat it every day and be healthy,” Frank says.

More recently, trading posts on reservations have become food deserts where less than healthful foods are sold. American Indian youth suffer from a high rate of overweight and obesity.

Tequila 101

As owner of Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen, Al Lucero sells 3,000 margaritas a week during tourist season. The restaurant’s eight-page list features more than 170 margaritas ranging from $6 to $75 a glass, depending on the quality of the tequila.

After 30 years as a radio and TV broadcaster, Lucero was able to ride the emerging premium tequila trend, becoming an expert on margaritas. His “The Great Margarita Book” (Random House) — with a foreword by Robert Redford — has sold more than 100,000 copies. Yet despite his expert credentials, I was shocked to learn that Lucero makes his margaritas with fresh lemon instead of lime.

“Lemons are more abundant and less expensive,” he says. Plus, “they have the same sugar content, regardless of the time of year.”

At Maria’s they dilute the fresh-squeezed juice with 10 percent tap water to mellow the tartness.

More tequila facts:

•Tequila is made from the blue agave plant. The desert plant is not a cactus; instead it’s related to the lily and takes eight to 12 years to mature.

•Agave is grown primarily for use in tequila; it’s also used as an alternative sweetener.

•If it doesn’t say 100-percent agave on the label, it’s not authentic. “Tequila has to come from Mexico,” he says. “If it’s 100-percent agave it must be bottled at an estate.”

•“Don’t ever hesitate to put a good tequila in a margarita.” In other words, your cocktail is only as good as your ingredients.

•“Be careful not to pay for the shape of the bottle. It should be in a relatively plain bottle.”

•Remember, tequila does not have a worm in the bottle. Mezcal is the “moonshine of Mexico.” It’s made from agave but is processed to take on a smoky flavor — and a worm.

Want to try a tequila tasting at home? We sampled Jose Cuervo Gold Mixto: a blend of 51 percent agave and 49 percent cane sugar dissolved in water; El Tesoro Silver (blanco): 100-percent agave fresh from the still; El Tesoro Reposado: 100-percent agave aged in oak for at least 60 days; and El Tesoro Anejo: 100-percent agave aged in oak for at least one year.

Go to Santa Fe Recipes for Carna Adovada, Red Chile Sauce and Maria’s 100 Percent Agave House Margarita.

10 Reasons To Buy a Home, The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 16, 2010

Enough with the doom and gloom about homeownership. Brett Arends explains why owning a home is a good thing.

By: Brett Arends, The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2010.  This article was syndicated from The Wall Street Journal, click here to see the original article

Sure, maybe there’s more pain to come in the housing market. But when Time magazine starts running covers that declare “Owning a home may no longer make economic sense,” it’s time to say: Enough is enough. This is what “capitulation” looks like. Everyone has given up.

After all, at the peak of the bubble five years ago, Time had a different take. “Home Sweet Home,” declared its cover then, as it celebrated the boom and asked: “Will your house make you rich?”

But it’s not enough just to be contrarian. So here are 10 reasons why it’s good to buy a home.

1. You can get a good deal. Especially if you play hardball. This is a buyer’s market. Most of the other buyers have now vanished, as the tax credits on purchases have just expired. We’re four to five years into the biggest housing bust in modern history. And prices have come down a long way– about 30% from their peak, according to Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Index, which tracks home prices in 20 big cities. Yes, it’s mixed. New York is only down 20%. Arizona has halved. Will prices fall further? Sure, they could. You’ll never catch the bottom. It doesn’t really matter so much in the long haul.

Where is fair value? Fund manager Jeremy Grantham at GMO, who predicted the bust with remarkable accuracy, said two years ago that home prices needed to fall another 17% to reach fair value in relation to household incomes. Case-Shiller since then: Down 18%.

2. Mortgages are cheap. You can get a 30-year loan for around 4.3%. What’s not to like? These are the lowest rates on record. As recently as two years ago they were about 6.3%. That drop slashes your monthly repayment by a fifth. If inflation picks up, you won’t see these mortgage rates again in your lifetime. And if we get deflation, and rates fall further, you can refinance.

3. You’ll save on taxes. You can deduct the mortgage interest from your income taxes. You can deduct your real estate taxes. And you’ll get a tax break on capital gains–if any–when you sell. Sure, you’ll need to do your math. You’ll only get the income tax break if you itemize your deductions, and many people may be better off taking the standard deduction instead. The breaks are more valuable the more you earn, and the bigger your mortgage. But many people will find that these tax breaks mean owning costs them less, often a lot less, than renting.

4. It’ll be yours. You can have the kitchen and bathrooms you want. You can move the walls, build an extension–zoning permitted–or paint everything bright orange. Few landlords are so indulgent; for renters, these types of changes are often impossible. You’ll feel better about your own place if you own it than if you rent. Many years ago, when I was working for a political campaign in England, I toured a working-class northern town. Mrs. Thatcher had just begun selling off public housing to the tenants. “You can tell the ones that have been bought,” said my local guide. “They’ve painted the front door. It’s the first thing people do when they buy.” It was a small sign that said something big.

5. You’ll get a better home. In many parts of the country it can be really hard to find a good rental. All the best places are sold as condos. Money talks. Once again, this is a case by case issue: In Miami right now there are so many vacant luxury condos that owners will rent them out for a fraction of the cost of owning. But few places are so favored. Generally speaking, if you want the best home in the best neighborhood, you’re better off buying.

6. It offers some inflation protection. No, it’s not perfect. But studies by Professor Karl “Chip” Case (of Case-Shiller), and others, suggest that over the long-term housing has tended to beat inflation by a couple of percentage points a year. That’s valuable inflation insurance, especially if you’re young and raising a family and thinking about the next 30 or 40 years. In the recent past, inflation-protected government bonds, or TIPS, offered an easier form of inflation insurance. But yields there have plummeted of late. That also makes homeownership look a little better by contrast.

7. It’s risk capital. No, your home isn’t the stock market and you shouldn’t view it as the way to get rich. But if the economy does surprise us all and start booming, sooner or later real estate prices will head up again, too. One lesson from the last few years is that stocks are incredibly hard for most normal people to own in large quantities–for practical as well as psychological reasons. Equity in a home is another way of linking part of your portfolio to the long-term growth of the economy–if it happens–and still managing to sleep at night.

8. It’s forced savings. If you can rent an apartment for $2,000 month instead of buying one for $2,400 a month, renting may make sense. But will you save that $400 for your future? A lot of people won’t. Most, I dare say. Once again, you have to do your math, but the part of your mortgage payment that goes to principal repayment isn’t a cost. You’re just paying yourself by building equity. As a forced monthly saving, it’s a good discipline.

9. There is a lot to choose from. There is a glut of homes in most of the country. The National Association of Realtors puts the current inventory at around 4 million homes. That’s below last year’s peak, but well above typical levels, and enough for about a year’s worth of sales. More keeping coming onto the market, too, as the banks slowly unload their inventory of unsold properties. That means great choice, as well as great prices.

10. Sooner or later, the market will clear. Demand and supply will meet. The population is forecast to grow by more than 100 million people over the next 40 years. That means maybe 40 million new households looking for homes. Meanwhile, this housing glut will work itself out. Many of the homes will be bought. But many more will simply be destroyed–either deliberately, or by inaction. This is already happening. Even two years ago, when I toured the housing slump in western Florida, I saw bankrupt condo developments that were fast becoming derelict. And, finally, a lot of the “glut” simply won’t matter: It’s concentrated in a few areas, like Florida and Nevada. Unless you live there, the glut won’t have any long-term impact on housing supply in your town.