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Upon entering this tiny store-meets-kitchen you will be greeted by the owner-meets-chef be sure you have time available, as he is a chatty soul. Joe makes approximately twenty varieties of sausage and five of ravioli, all of his own conception. His original creations include Jamaican Jerk Sausage, Garlic Habanero Hot Link and ravioli stuffed in ways that could only be conceived in New Mexico, with ingredients that include pinon (pine nuts) and green chili. The ravioli does not come cheap at about $2 a piece, but they are handcrafted and each one is enormous. Sausage will set you back $8 per pound. Joe's takes cash only.
If you're feeling flush, stop into this locally-owned home accents store to pamper yourself. Stocking a mix of collectible items and modern lines, Bella Home offers top-of-the-range furniture, candles, diffusers, bath and body, bedding, lighting, jewelry, table ware and much more. The bath, body and make up products are from the Deep Steep, Thymes and Lady Primrose lines, and gentlemen get a section too. You can theoretically order from the website and have items shipped back home, but attempting to do so can be a frustrating experience, as many products that are on the shop floor are for some reason unavailable online. - Pip Lustgarten
The parking lot of a highly commercial and large shopping center might seem an incongruous destination for a farmers market, and there must certainly be locals who resent the Albuquerque Uptown Farmers Market's 2009 move to this new location. Certainly it's not as scenic as the markets in the more rural parts of town, but it does offer the advantage of making fresh local produce available in the heart of the city, reaching those who might not otherwise have access to it. Best of all, it has Tuesday hours where most farmers markets are only open weekends, so you can replenish your stocks midweek and eat only the freshest of produce.
The Village of Los Ranchos Growers Market is truly a local community endeavor. Staffed by volunteers, the market rents its booths at a very affordable price and on a week to week basis. This means that the vendors you will encounter run the gamut from local homeowners who found they had a few too many cucumbers on their plants that week to certified organic farmers to local businesses that import exotic seafood or bake pastries. On average, there are ten to fifteen special events at the market every year, which may include guest chefs, face painting, clowns, free gifts, pancake breakfasts or ice cream socials.
Peruvian Perfection is more affordable than its rival, Peruvian Connection, but the clothing is still 100% alpaca and handmade (not to mention still far from cheap!). Sweaters, cardigans, scarves, gloves, hats, shawls, coats, vests and jackets are available for both men and women, mostly in bright colors and unique patterns. The Peruvian-New Mexican couple who own and operate this family-run store design the clothing and travel to the Andes to forge personal relationships with knitters there. They assert ethical trade principles and have started a fund which directs a percentage of their online sales to the families in the communities where they operate. - Pip Lustgarten