Raspberry Romp

Published in Sunset Magazine 2010

By Michelle Pentz Glave

If summer has a taste, it's locked deep inside a fat, juicy red raspberry, plucked straight off the vine. And every year, Salman Ranch, said to be northern New Mexico's one and only U-pick berry farm, welcomes help with harvesting its 5 acres. Late summer is the best time to spend a morning filling a bucket in the green fields flanked by a mesa on one side and an 1863 hacienda on the other.

Head out early from Santa Fe and stop for a coffee and vegetarian picnic items in downtown Las Vegas at Second Tome Around used bookstore and cafe (131 Bridge St.; 505/454-8511).

Continue 25 miles north for berry picking at Salman Ranch; wear long sleeves and pants, plus sunscreen and insect repellent. Picnic next to the hacienda's historic acequia (irrigation ditch) and old flour mill ? former supplier to Fort Union, a garrison on the Santa Fe Trail ? or in the flower-filled, high-walled gardens, once corrals designed to house teams of horses and mules. Salman Ranch Cafe (closed Mon) specializes in homemade tamales if you don't want to picnic. On your way out, stop at the ranch store for fresh produce and Salman's homemade preserves, raspberry vinegar, and our favorite: chocolate-filled raspberry cremes.

Take your time and make your trip a loop drive by heading back to Santa Fe on a scenic section of State 518 toward Taos. At Mora, a short detour brings you to Victory Alpaca Ranch (10-4 daily; $3 to feed alpacas, $2 ages 12 and under; mile marker 1 on State 434; 505/387-2254), where 200 alpacas roam. Feed and pet these furry South American animals, try spinning wool and weaving, or take home hand-spun baby booties.

Stop in Chimayó for a casual meal to end your day. Dine on traditional New Mexican fare ? enchiladas, stuffed sopaipillas, tamales, carne adovada ? at Rancho de Chimayó ($-$$; 300 County Rd. 98; 505/984-2100). In summer, it's hard to find a lovelier spot for an alfresco meal than the parasol-shaded garden terraces of this rambling 1800s hacienda.

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 »