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Border Farmers’ Market a Year-Round Hit

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Estela Flores is an earth artist. On Saturday mornings, you can find her work, courtesy of Mother Earth, on display at Ardovino’s Desert Crossing Farmers’ Market in Sunland Park, New Mexico.

“These used to be popular in the ‘70s,” Flores said on a recent market day, as she showed off her biodome terrariums to the reporter. “It’s a real way to learn how to garden. These are easy to take care of.”

Flores’ stand offers an inspiring inventory of garden art and potted plants ready for the backyard or front porch. Visitors behold herbs, native landscape plants, organic vegetables, succulents, and a garden dragon fly fashioned from wrought iron and embodied with peat moss and soil.

Flores said the Sunland Park venue has been generous to her this year. “I actually did very, very well in the winter,” the horticulturalist said. “I actually switched to garden art and I was busy through Christmas.”

Abutting El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the border market is a product showcase for creative souls and small farmers like Flores.

Flores’ good season at Ardovino’s, which extended the normal summer-fall market to the winter and early spring for the first time this year, was shared by other vendors as well.

“We’re on the tail end of the winter market, which was incredibly successful,” said Ardovino’s owner and market manager Roberto Ardovino. While the number of vendors averaged about 30 per weekend-the same as the summer months-the ratio of farmers to local food or art producers actually increased, Ardovino reported. “I think more people are doing it because there is a market for it,” he added.

The longtime restaurateur and community activist credited the growing use…

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