Whether tailgating at the Santa Fe Opera, listening to music at the park, sitting by the Rio Grande or on a mountaintop, a picnic is the perfect way to enjoy New Mexico’s balmy summer evenings. Summer is all about enjoying the outdoors, and packing a picnic gives us an excuse to linger in an especially beautiful spot. Here are a few simple, fun and portable recipes centered around our fabulous local fruits and veggies that make a great outdoor meal. You can prepare everything ahead of time, bring all the components in separate containers and assemble each dish when you’re ready to eat. For a zero-waste picnic, bring your own reusable plates, cups, silverware and cloth napkins. Bamboo plates are reusable and biodegradable, a smart option, and you can also buy compostable cups and silverware made from corn or potato starch. A classic picnic basket is pretty, but a cooler is more practical. Lots of stylish insulated picnic totes and backpacks are available this season, and many come already packed with lightweight reusable accessories.

Agua Fresca

No picnic is complete without a watermelon – although you could experiment with other fruits for this Agua Fresca: Pineapples, peaches—even cucumbers make tasty and refreshing substitutions.

1 mini-watermelon or half of a large watermelon, seeded and diced (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 C. water
1/2 C. sugar, plus more to taste
Juice of 2 or 3 limes
Pinch of salt

Puree chosen fruit in a food processor or blender. If you prefer to remove the pulp, pour through a strainer. Add water, sugar, lime juice and salt. Chill thoroughly and pack in a glass bottle on ice or fill your Thermos.

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Edible celebrates New Mexico's food culture, season by season. We believe that knowing where our food comes from is a powerful thing. With our high-quality, aesthetically pleasing and informative publication, we inspire readers to support and celebrate the growers, producers, chefs, beverage and food artisans, and other food professionals in our community.