fbpx

Spring 2019: Groundwater

Spring 2019: Groundwater

With the desert sky an unreliable source for moisture, New Mexicans have long depended on groundwater to quench their lands and livestock. However, as several stories in this issue demonstrate, these reserves are increasingly under threat from contamination and overuse. We look to the East Mountains, where a well-worn story of development pressure at odds with agriculture has taken a new form. In Carlsbad, we examine how a booming oil and gas industry has transformed a once sleepy ranching town into a hotbed for fracking and controversy. And we learn how efforts to conserve depleting aquifers in Union County are helping locals ensure that their multigenerational farms and ranches will be in operation for generations to come.

A Vital Solution

Mike Lisk Helps Ranchers Redistribute their Most Valuable ResourceBy Nora Hickey Cattle at a Remote Well drinker. The drinkers conserve groundwater, pumping only what is needed. Photo courtesy of Mike Lisk.The history of New Mexico is one inextricably...

Culture of Subdivision

Creating an Uncertain Future for the East MountainsBy Michael Dax · Photos by Stephanie Cameron Purebred Mangalitsa piglets at Polk's Folly.It shouldn’t be surprising that one of the most renowned books about New Mexico, John Nichols’s 1974 The Milagro...

A Steak Different

Market Steer, Modern Take on the Classic SteakhouseStory and Photos by Gabriella Marks “You like what you like.” Words of wisdom from Market Steer chef and co-owner Kathleen Crook. A big cabernet with your sea bass? Rosé all winter? Why not be true to your...

Searching for Sochan

by Ellen Zachos Rudbeckia laciniata is known by many names. You may hear it called cut-leaf coneflower, tall coneflower, green-headed coneflower, golden glow, or sochan. Historically, sochan has been gathered by Cherokees and other Southeastern tribes,...

Sochan in Phyllo Dough

by Ellen Zachos Sochan in Phyllo DoughServes 8 1 box of phyllo dough 4 cups tender sochan leaves, roughly chopped 1 cup chopped onions, finely chopped 1 tablespoon dry, crumbled bee balm or oregano 1 cup Greek yogurt 1 cup crumbled feta cheese 2 eggs,...

Broccoli Fritters and Fennel Yogurt

Broccoli Fritters and Fennel Yogurt Fennel Yogurt1 bulb of fennel (with stalks and fronds)6 ounces full-fat Greek yogurt1/2 lemon (juiced)1/4 teaspoon kosher salt1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oilBroccoli Fritters2 medium heads...

Pureéd Fava Beans with Caramelized Leeks

Pureéd Fava Beans with Caramelized LeeksServes 42 cups fresh fava beans (about 2 pounds of pods)*1 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon black pepper1 leek sliced in 1/4-inch rounds, both white and green partsZest of 1/2 of a medium lemon1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 2...

Brewing in the East Mountains

Ale Republic Taps Into Unique FlavorsBy Robin Babb Although Albuquerque has no shortage of breweries, I regularly make my way to Cedar Crest to visit a little brewery and taproom with big mountainside charm. I like to go to Ale Republic after a hike in the...

Eight Around the State: Coffee Shops

By Stephanie and Walt CameronPublishers Stephanie and Walt Cameron are sharing some of their finds around New Mexico in edible’s new department, Eight Around the State. Traveling the state in search of great food and stories demands a good cup of coffee...

Green Gravy Disco Fries

Green Gravy Disco FriesServes 4Fries5 sweet potatoes, julienned or spiralized with skins on3 golden beets (save tops for Salsa Verde; see previous recipe)2 tablespoons olive oilSalt to tasteGravy4 tablespoons butter2 tablespoons flour6 large chard leaves...

Ask any New Mexico farmer or rancher what their biggest concern is for the long-term viability of their business, and it’s likely you will get a one-word answer: water. Water is life, goes the common adage, and here in the drylands of New Mexico, such words never seem more apparent.

Although drought conditions have improved this winter, thanks to welcome rain and snowfall, sustained drought over the last several years has left regional surface water levels low. New Mexico’s largest reservoir, Elephant Butte, stands at only eight percent capacity—though this is an improvement from last fall when it stood at three percent. One wet winter and an El Niño-aided spring, experts warn, will likely not be enough to alleviate our current water woes and combat the long-term effects of higher temperatures and drier conditions brought on by climate change.

With the desert sky an unreliable source for moisture, New Mexicans have long depended on groundwater to quench their lands and livestock. However, as several stories in this issue demonstrate, these reserves are increasingly under threat from contamination and overuse. We look to the East Mountains, where a well-worn story of development pressure at odds with agriculture has taken a new form. In Carlsbad, we examine how a booming oil and gas industry has transformed a once sleepy ranching town into a hotbed for fracking and controversy. And we learn how efforts to conserve depleting aquifers in Union County are helping locals ensure that their multigenerational farms and ranches will be in operation for generations to come.

We also explore how a startup in Cloudcroft is creating better water management solutions for rural ranchers through solar technology. And we look at how using groundwater has presented limitations but also opportunities for a local brewery tapping into the unique flavors of the mineral-rich aquifer beneath the Sandias.

Because water affects so many facets of food production, in these pages we can only skim the surface of a handful of water issues in our state. But we hope these stories illuminate why groundwater is precious and needs our careful stewardship. As the well-documented case of the Kirtland Air Force Base fuel spill illustrates, the impacts of water contamination are incredibly costly, lasting, and far reaching. We encourage you to be proactive in protecting this vital resource and, with this issue of edible, raise a clear, half-full glass to the source of life beneath us.

A Vital Solution

A Vital Solution

Mike Lisk Helps Ranchers Redistribute their Most Valuable ResourceBy Nora Hickey Cattle at a Remote Well drinker. The drinkers conserve groundwater, pumping only what is needed. Photo courtesy of Mike Lisk.The history of New Mexico is one inextricably...

Culture of Subdivision

Culture of Subdivision

Creating an Uncertain Future for the East MountainsBy Michael Dax · Photos by Stephanie Cameron Purebred Mangalitsa piglets at Polk's Folly.It shouldn’t be surprising that one of the most renowned books about New Mexico, John Nichols’s 1974 The Milagro...

A Steak Different

A Steak Different

Market Steer, Modern Take on the Classic SteakhouseStory and Photos by Gabriella Marks “You like what you like.” Words of wisdom from Market Steer chef and co-owner Kathleen Crook. A big cabernet with your sea bass? Rosé all winter? Why not be true to your...

Searching for Sochan

Searching for Sochan

by Ellen Zachos Rudbeckia laciniata is known by many names. You may hear it called cut-leaf coneflower, tall coneflower, green-headed coneflower, golden glow, or sochan. Historically, sochan has been gathered by Cherokees and other Southeastern tribes,...

Sochan in Phyllo Dough

Sochan in Phyllo Dough

by Ellen Zachos Sochan in Phyllo DoughServes 8 1 box of phyllo dough 4 cups tender sochan leaves, roughly chopped 1 cup chopped onions, finely chopped 1 tablespoon dry, crumbled bee balm or oregano 1 cup Greek yogurt 1 cup crumbled feta cheese 2 eggs,...

Broccoli Fritters and Fennel Yogurt

Broccoli Fritters and Fennel Yogurt

Broccoli Fritters and Fennel Yogurt Fennel Yogurt1 bulb of fennel (with stalks and fronds)6 ounces full-fat Greek yogurt1/2 lemon (juiced)1/4 teaspoon kosher salt1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oilBroccoli Fritters2 medium heads...

Pureéd Fava Beans with Caramelized Leeks

Pureéd Fava Beans with Caramelized Leeks

Pureéd Fava Beans with Caramelized LeeksServes 42 cups fresh fava beans (about 2 pounds of pods)*1 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon black pepper1 leek sliced in 1/4-inch rounds, both white and green partsZest of 1/2 of a medium lemon1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 2...

Brewing in the East Mountains

Brewing in the East Mountains

Ale Republic Taps Into Unique FlavorsBy Robin Babb Although Albuquerque has no shortage of breweries, I regularly make my way to Cedar Crest to visit a little brewery and taproom with big mountainside charm. I like to go to Ale Republic after a hike in the...

Eight Around the State: Coffee Shops

Eight Around the State: Coffee Shops

By Stephanie and Walt CameronPublishers Stephanie and Walt Cameron are sharing some of their finds around New Mexico in edible’s new department, Eight Around the State. Traveling the state in search of great food and stories demands a good cup of coffee...

Green Gravy Disco Fries

Green Gravy Disco Fries

Green Gravy Disco FriesServes 4Fries5 sweet potatoes, julienned or spiralized with skins on3 golden beets (save tops for Salsa Verde; see previous recipe)2 tablespoons olive oilSalt to tasteGravy4 tablespoons butter2 tablespoons flour6 large chard leaves...

Edible New Mexico
Latest posts by Edible New Mexico (see all)

About The Author

Edible New Mexico

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.

#officialediblepartner

Your Guide to Local

#WeLoveOurPartners

#SupportLocal

Magazine Subscription

Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news, recipes, and events that celebrate local food.

You have Successfully Subscribed!