The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute (SFFMI) joins markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from August 2-8, 2020. Founded in 2002, the SFFMI was created to support the Santa Fe Farmers Market’s efforts to make healthy, locally grown food easily accessible to the Santa Fe community.

Originally, the Institute’s mission was to provide the market with an affordable space where farmers could sell their goods year-round. Since the Farmers Market Pavilion opened in 2008, the Institute has expanded its endeavors to include economic resources for farmers and Santa Fe locals.

In the midst of a global pandemic, farmers—like all other small business owners—have to be innovative and quick to respond in order to continue providing for the communities that depend on them. SFFMI has been paramount in supporting farmers with resources and solutions. The Emergency Cash Flow Program was developed to provide farmers with $2,500 in short term temporary emergency loans to help alleviate cash flow challenges. This program is in addition to the Institute’s long-standing business aid resources, such as the Microloan Program that funds seasonal startup and capital improvements. To date, SFFMI has provided over $750,000 in loans. For farmers looking to grow their technical expertise, SFFMI provides scholarship funds via their Training Program.

To ensure the Santa Fe community’s access to healthy food, the SFFMI has implemented Double Up Food Bucks. A program that doubles EBT/SNAP transactions to increase shoppers’ purchasing power. Since the start of the pandemic, the number of new program participants has grown by over 500%. From January to July 2020, SFFMI has provided over $100,000 in Double Up Food Bucks to the community.

“When conventional food supply chains failed both the providers and the community at the start of the pandemic, SFFMI was able to expand upon the programs that help to feed our community by supporting farmers and families,” said Kierstan Pickens, Executive Director of the Santa Fe

Farmers’ Market Institute. “During National Farmers Market Week, we invite the community to support our work by making a donation, visiting the market, volunteering, or following us on social media.”

Vegan Beet Pesto

For Tender Fire Kitchen’s vegan pizza, they experimented with replacing the tomato sauce with creamy beet pesto and it’s so good that the pizza has been dubbed the “beetza” by their customers. It’s easy to make and can easily be turned into a dip or hummus. We make our pesto fresh every couple of days, but it will last up to a week refrigerated. We shop the ingredients fresh at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. This recipe feature’s items from Annie’s Herbs, Green Tractor Farm, and Paradox Farm.
Author: Tender Fire Kitchen in Santa Fe


  • 5 medium beets
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • ½ to 1 whole lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of walnuts or pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 2 medium to large garlic cloves


  • Prep the beets by washing and cutting off the ends (Pro Tip: Leave a little root so the beets do not bleed too much). Put beets in glass baking tray half full of water and cover with aluminum foil.
  • Bake at 425°F for about 2 hours depending on the size of the beets. Beets are ready when a fork goes through like butter.
  • Once cooled, peel off beet skins and keep beet water.
  • Put beets and all remaining ingredients in a blender. (Pro Tip: Blend while beets are still warm for extra creaminess).
  • Blend until creamy and smooth. If pesto needs more liquid you can add the beet water, lemon, or olive oil.
  • Taste and adjust.

Photo credit Chamisa Going


BEET DIP: To make a beet dip, just leave out the nutritional yeast and top with some green herbs.

PICKLED BEETS & GRAPEFRUIT SALAD: Save some beets, slice them thin, and marinate them in salt and white wine vinegar (any vinegar will work). While they marinate, slice some grapefruit or blood oranges in a similar shape and thickness. After 20-30 minutes you can take the beets out, drying them a bit and layer them with burrata. Top with mint and you’re all set!

BEET HUMMUS: Add tahini, chickpeas, and leave out yeast and/or other nuts.

PIZZA: Simply replace the tomato sauce with the beet pesto. We use pickled red onion to give the pizza some pop. Other topping suggestions include vegan or regular cheese, pickled jalapenos, fresh tomatoes, veggies, and herbs.

About Tender Fire Kitchen

Through Tender Fire Kitchen’s goal of creating the best pizza experience in the southwest, we hope to show that truly care for the soil and those that tend it (our beloved farmers), is not only what makes food better and healthier, but also what makes our community stronger.

The secret behind the Sourdough Crust: Our dough rises for 48-72 hours. It’s a practice of patience, trust, and unpredictability. It’s the listening and attention to the weather, the moisture in the air, the texture of the dough. And then when it comes time to eat, we cook the pizza in 60-90 seconds flat in an 800-degree oven, turning the raw ingredients into a universally understood and enjoyed the experience.

This balance between slowness and speed, tenderness, and fire can be found in the quintessential essence of the heart, timing.

Tender Fire Kitchen is currently located at the El Rey Court in Santa Fe. Order online for pickup.

+ other stories

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.