Fall Harvest in New Mexico

Published on Beyond Doorways Travel
by Jeanne Tasker

The leaves are turning orange and gold, the nip of fall is in the air, and my thoughts turn to - Raspberries.

At the end of September - or the beginning of October, as this year - my friend and I plan our annual trip to the Salman Raspberry Ranch, in Mora, New Mexico. The Ranch has a u-pick operation, allowing visitors to get back to the earth and participate in a personal harvest.

It is a beautiful drive north and east from Santa Fe, through Las Vegas, NM, and on to Mora, traveling what is known as The Enchanted Circle. Leaving the drier surroundings of Santa Fe behind, the terrain becomes dramatic and lush. Towering buttes line one side of the road, fertile fields the other. Picking at the Ranch begins at 10am. We usually pick for about two hours and harvest 6-10 lbs of berries, apiece, depending on the size and amount of ripe fruit on the vines. The Salman Ranch management has a posted sign that invites pickers to enjoy eating some raspberries as they pick, but, please, not to make a meal of them!

We often have lunch or a snack at the Ranch Café, which make a delicious raspberry milkshake. In the gift shop, one can buy berries, jam, raspberry vinegar and more. And it always seems to be a gorgeous, sunny day for picking.

Homeward bound, but the labor is not over. Now all of those beautiful, delicious berries must be processed, if not immediately eaten. The easiest thing to do is to quick freeze the raspberries on cookie sheets, in a single layer, then pack by the pint in plastic bags. Then, as winter sets in, they are available for use in jams, jellies, and sweet and tart raspberry pies.

History and Details:
The Salman Ranch lies in the area known today as La Cueva Historical District. In the early 19th century the governor of the New Mexico Territory granted 32,000 acres to Vicente Romero and his wife, Josefa. The Romeros tended their flocks of sheep and fished the streams and rivers on the land. They slept at night in nearby caves ("cuevas," in spanish). Vincente named the area, "La Cueva de los Pescadores" (Cave of the Fishermen). After Vicente's death in 1881, his heirs sold off in parcels all of the Romero land holdings.

The original Romero land grant would not be restored until after the second World War. Looking to move his family to safe harbor following the war, Colonel William Salman bought the separate parcels and rejoined the original 32,000 acres.

Salman Ranch has been growing raspberries for over 25 years. The harvest runs from early August until the first killing frost (generally the middle to end of October).

Other Recent News

Use Harvest Time to Grab Kids’ Interest in Gardening – and Eating Right
One of my favorite memories with my husband and daughter was a trip to Salman Raspberry Ranch near Mora, N.M. , to pick our own raspberries. Despite the heat and bees, we all had a great time! And she enjoyed helping me preserve the fruit and find recipes for enjoying our bushels of fresh raspberries, which were so much fresher than any we could ever purchase in the store. Read more »

Salman raspberry fields a slice of ‘heaven’
LA CUEVA – When Michael Weathers gazes down the rows of leafy, green plants that make up the Salman Raspberry Ranch, you can almost see the tension dissolve into the muddy ground under his feet. “When I’m out here by myself, it feels so good,” he said. “I feel alive. No memories. This is heaven.” Read more »

Day Trip to Salman Raspberry Ranch
From mid-to-late August and through October (until the first crippling frost) is prime pickin’ season at Salman Raspberry Ranch! And it makes for a perfect, easy day trip, only an hour and twenty minute drive from downtown Santa Fe, north through Las Vegas to La Cueva. They are also within easy reach of Taos, and the Enchanted Circle Scenic Route. Read more »