Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta 2014

August 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Farmers' Markets, Kids

Tomatoes photo by Manjith Kainickara; Creative Commons licenseThe tomatoes have been delicious already this season, in my avid tomato-fiend opinion. But now they’re arriving more abundantly in the August harvest, we’re devouring fresh tomatoes like crazy here at Cheap Central.  I read that if you eat avocados at the same time, you absorb up to seven times as much of the antioxidant lycopene from the tomatoes. New Mexico already knew this. This is why we all eat salsa and guacamole, isn’t it?

Health benefits aside, at the peak of summer nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato and I only wish I could grow them myself. We aren’t growing tomatoes this year as we have been moving home so we haven’t been able to keep up with a garden. But in any case we don’t have green thumbs for tomatoes. We only yielded a handful of cherry tomatoes last year. They ripen one cherry tomato at a time, which we solemnly cut in half to share. They taste delicious but watching Mr Cheap eat half a cherry tomato is like giving a peanut to Daizy the elephant.

Still, if you’re as fond of tomatoes as we are, you won’t want to miss this very juicy annual event. It’s cheap too!

The 2014 Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta takes place Sunday, August 17 from 11 am – 3 pm, at the Albuquerque Garden Center.

Presented by the Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners, the Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta offers lots of activities for a $5 admission fee, and kids aged under 12 are FREE! (Or rather their admission is, I don’t suppose they’re growing kids beside the tomato plants to give away.)

Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta includes:

  • Free gardening seminars  at 11:30 am (Tomatoes 101) and 12:30 pm (Waffle Gardens with Sean Ludden)and at 1:45 pm Master Composters.
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Heirloom tomato tasting
  • Free plant clinic by the Master Gardeners
  • Kids’ activities
  • Music by the Alpha Blue Trio
  • Fresh produce for sale

The Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta is sponsored by Jericho Nursery, Osuna Nursery and Montano Acura.

  • When: Sunday August 17, 2014
  • Time: 11 am – 3 pm
  • Where: Albuquerque Garden Center
  • Price: $5 adults, free for kids aged under 12

Albuquerque Garden Center is located at 10120 Lomas Boulevard NE, at Eubank.

— Tania


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Free Composting Classes

July 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Events, Freebies

Free composting classes and vermicomposting classes too? I’ll need my rubber gloves for this one!

As far as I’m aware, there are three advantages of composting.  Firstly, it’s a good way to dispose of veggie peelings and other food and organic waste, including leaves and cut grass. (The smart people at the Open Space Visitor Center tell me that food waste is the single largest and least recovered waste stream in the USA.)

Secondly, composting is great for mulching and aeration if you’re into organic gardening, rather than buying commercial fertilizers. And last but not least… it’s free!

I’m no gardening expert. (Mr Cheap has the green thumb around here. With the exception of my lovingly-tended herbs, I usually only have to look at a plant and it withers… even if I have my make-up on.) But I’ve planted a strip of green beans, kale, Swiss chard, and broccoli this season, all nourished by our own compost, and they’re doing pretty well so far. Fingers crossed!

If you’re interested in learning about composting, Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters offer a bunch of free composting classes for all ages at various locations, including vermicomposting or composting with worms.

Although the classes are free they usually require registration before the event, so check details at the link to see where to phone or email to register for each class, as well as full info on times and locations.

Updated dates for summer 2014: These are the upcoming free composting classes for the next few months, but check the schedule in case of additions or changes:

  • July 23 : Home Composting in the Desert 6:00 pm (UNM Continuing Education)
  • July 26 : Home Composting Basics 10:00 am (Palo Duro Senior Center)
  • August 7 : Home Composting Basics 5:00 pm (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • August 9 : Composting with Worms (Vermicomposting) 10:00 am (Palo Duro Senior Center)
  • August 17 : Home Composting Basics 1:45 pm (Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta)
  • August 30 : Home Composting Basics 10:00 am (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • September 11 : Composting with Worms (Vermicomposting) 5:00 pm (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • September 18 : Home Composting Basics  5:30 pm (Loma Colorado Public Library)
  • September 27 : Composting with Worms (Vermicomposting) 10:00 am (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • October 9 : Bucket Composting with Bokashi Method 5:00 pm (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • October 15-November 8 : Master Composter Training Wednesdays and Saturdays (Bernalillo County Extension Office)
  • October 25 : Bucket Composting with Bokashi Method 10:00 am (Los Volcanos Senior Center)

–Tania

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Free Bee & Pollinator Awareness Day: June 22

June 21, 2014 by  
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Free honey tasting, meet beekeepers, and learn all about making your garden bee-friendly, or even keeping bees yourself, at the Bees, Bats, and Butterflies event on June 22, 2014.

Oh yes, it’s a free bee freebie!

So no, you don’t get free bees, but when you buzz down to the Bee, Bats and Butterflies Pollinator awareness day at the Open Space Visitor Center on Sunday June 22 between 10 am and 3 pm, you do get to taste honey and see a bee hive. You can also learn about pollinator-friendly plants to grow in your garden, and meet an Albuquerque beekeeper to find out how you could do it yourself.

Other activities for adults and kids include:

  • Put on a beekeeping suit and have your photo taken (sounds fun! How will anyone know it’s YOU though?)
  • Make a native bee house
  • Make pollinator plant seed balls
  • Make rolled beeswax candles
  • See the Wings of Enchantment Butterfly Life Cycle display
  • 10:30 am: Presentation on the Butterfly Life Cycle, Wings of Enchantment
  • 11:30 am: Bats as Pollinators presentation by William Gannon, a UNM Biologist
  • 1 pm: Mead Making presentation with Phil Grosfblatt
  • 2 pm: Basics of Beekeeping Presentation

They are also promising pollinator plant giveaways. See all the Bee, Bats, and Butterflies Pollinator Awareness Day info at the link.  The bee celebration takes place:

  • When: Sunday June 22, 2014
  • Time: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Cost: Free!

This is part of the National and New Mexico Pollinator Week, an initiative to raise pollinator awareness of species vital to our food systems and economy. We love the bees here at Albuquerque on the Cheap, and if you’re interested in keeping bees yourself, don’t forget to check out the Albuquerque Beekeepers Group which is a great resource for anyone interested in urban beekeeping.

Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW (between Montano and Paseo del Norte).

–Tania

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National Public Gardens Day Free Admission ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden

May 7, 2014 by  
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National Public Gardens Day is on Friday May 9, 2014, and Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden joins in the celebrations with demonstrations, talks, and giveaways. The Santa Fe Botanical Garden is also involved.

You can get free admission to ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden on National Public Gardens Day, May 9 when you print out the free admission coupon at this link – click the yellow Get This Offer button. You will need to enter an email address and a zip code, but they don’t email the coupon to you – you’re taken straight to a page where you can print or download the coupon.

Last year the free admission tickets were via the Better Homes and Gardens magazine website and one coupon covered up to 10 people. This year I can’t see any info on how many people are covered by the coupon. So to be on the safe side, I suggest you download that coupon then print out one for each member in your party. That free coupon saves you $9 – $12.50 per adult admission!

The Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill is the other participating New Mexico garden. You can go free on May 9 using the Santa Fe Botanical Garden free admission coupon. That saves $7 per adult admission.

If you’re traveling elsewhere, there are many other gardens in other states across the country participating in the National Public Gardens Day free admission offer.

National Public Gardens Day events at the ABQ Botanic Garden will run from 10 am – 2 pm on May 9, with demonstrations and talks on gardening in the southwest, including water-wise gardening. Activities include making a koi kite and recycled notebooks.

The ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden free admission coupon does not include the Aquarium – sorry! Stay outdoors and enjoy the spring scenery instead.

Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden is located at 2601 Central Avenue NW.

–Tania

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Local Food Festival and Field Day: October 13

October 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Events, Food, Kids

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The Local Food Festival and Field Day at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House is a celebration of Albuquerque history, culture and farming.  It’s true to its name, with family fun including free food tastings from Albuquerque chefs, gardening and food preservation workshops, kids activities, tours, live music, and even a homemade pie contest!

The 2013 Local Food Festival and Field Day is held this Sunday October 13  from 11 am to 4 pm at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House and Demonstration Farm.  In previous years, the organizer told me around 3,000 people went, so it should be lively down on the farm!

Admission is free to all, and celebrations at the sixth annual Local Food Festival and Field Day include:

  • Free food tastings and Albuquerque chef demonstrations
  • Free tours of the historic Historic Hubbell House and farm, and walk the nature trail.
  • Free homesteading workshops and talks on food preservation, gardening and urban farming, and beekeeping, plus a seed giveaway.
  • Kids’ activities include a climbing wall, face painting, petting zoo, story time, kids’ sack races, and seed spitting contests.
  • Workshops for kids include leather crafting!
  • A Youth Showcase Parade.
  • Free film screenings.
  • A South Valley cycling tour
  • Live music including Mala Mana and Cactus Tractor.

If you want to enter the home cook pie contest sponsored by Edible magazine, sign up fast! Admission is free and there are prizes to be won. The emphasis is on local pies featuring at least one ingredient grown or produced in New Mexico, such as fruit, pecans, or pumpkin. There are categories for adult cooks and for kids too. You have to register online for the Edible Pie Contest by 5 pm on October 10, then take your pie to the Local Food Festival on Sunday.

The Local Food Festival and Field Day is held at Gutierrez-Hubbell House, 6029 Isleta Blvd SW, Albuquerque, 3 miles south of Rio Bravo.

–Tania

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Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta 2013

August 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Farmers' Markets, Kids

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Tomatoes photo by Manjith Kainickara; Creative Commons licenseThe tomatoes have been late this season, in my avid tomato-fiend opinion. But now they’re arriving, we’re devouring fresh tomatoes like crazy here at Cheap Central. I read that if you eat avocados at the same time, you absorb up to seven times as much of the antioxidant lycopene from the tomatoes. New Mexico already knew this. This is why we all eat salsa and guacamole, isn’t it?

Health benefits aside, at the peak of summer nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato and I only wish I could grow them myself. Our current attempt at cherry tomatoes has yielded exactly two so far in 2013. Last year we did better, with a grand total of four cherry tomatoes over the entire summer. They ripen one cherry tomato at a time, which we solemnly cut in half to share. They taste delicious but watching Mr Cheap eat half a cherry tomato is like giving a peanut to Daizy the elephant.

Still, if you’re as fond of tomatoes as we are, you won’t want to miss this very juicy annual event. It’s cheap too!

The 2013 Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta takes place Sunday, August 25 from 11 am – 3 pm, at the Albuquerque Garden Center.

Presented by the Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners, the Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta offers lots of activities for a $5 admission fee, and kids aged under 12 are FREE! (Or rather their admission is, I don’t suppose they’re growing kids beside the tomato plants to give away.)

Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta includes:

  • Free gardening seminars  at 11:30 am (Tomatoes 101 with the Tomato Guys) and 12:30 pm (Preserving the Harvest with Cindy Davies.) At 1:30 pm Peter Sinanian will be sharing advice on Raised Beds and Fall Gardens.
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Heirloom tomato tasting
  • Free plant clinic by the Master Gardeners
  • Kids’ activities
  • Music by the Alpha Blue Trio
  • Fresh produce for sale

The Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta is sponsored by Jericho Nursery and Montano Acura.

  • When: Sunday August 25, 2013
  • Time: 11 am – 3 pm
  • Where: Albuquerque Garden Center
  • Price: $5 adults, free for kids aged under 12

Albuquerque Garden Center is located at 10120 Lomas Boulevard NE, at Eubank.

— Tania

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Herbfest 2013: May 11 – 12

April 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Events, Sport & Leisure

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The Rio Grande Nature Center is one of my favorite places to escape from the bustle of town and hang out on a sunny day. And I love herbs, so let’s go…

The Friends of the Rio Grande Nature Center present Herbfest 2013 on Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12. This free event is an Albuquerque celebration of native plants, herbs, and wildflowers at the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park and the weekend includes a bunch of family-friendly activities:

  • Bird walks
  • Nature walks
  • Gardening and herb talks, and garden tours
  • Arts & crafts vendors
  • Herbs and plants for sale
  • Kids’ crafts
  • Live music and a raffle

Check out the entire PDF schedule of free Herbfest 2013 events for more details and to decide which day (or both!) you want to attend.

Note that while admission to the event is FREE for all, there is a parking fee of $3 per car,  unless you’re a member of The Friends of the Rio Grande Nature Center.

Rio Grande Nature Center State Park is located at 2901 Candelaria Rd NW.

–Tania

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Free Rose Pruning Demonstrations

March 19, 2013 by  
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The Albuquerque Rose Society is on hand to help with your thorny questions about growing roses on several weekends this spring 2013…

I am by no means handy at gardening, although I do take very good care of my herbs. My rosemary bush is flourishing so fast and growing so huge it will probably eat me before I have chance to eat much more of it. So I must be doing something right.  But show me a rose and I’ll just sniff it – I’m not sure how to tend the things.

If you’re looking for help with your roses, the Albuquerque Rose Society is giving free rose pruning demonstrations and answering questions about growing roses at the Tony Hillerman Library Albuquerque Rose Garden from 10 am to 3 pm on these weekend dates:

  • Saturday March 23
  • Sunday March 24
  • Saturday March 30
  • Sunday March 31
  • Saturday April 6
  • Sunday April 7

They’ll also have rose care products for sale, such as pruners, gloves, fertilizer and potting soil, with all proceeds going to maintain the Albuquerque Rose Garden.

The Tony Hillerman Library, surrounded by the Albuquerque Rose Garden, is located at 8205 Apache Avenue NE.

–Tania

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Free Christmas Tree Recycling

January 2, 2013 by  
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Yeah, it’s sad, but the Christmas trees have to come down some time, and now what do you do with them?

If you haven’t heard about this Free Christmas Tree Recycling service from the City of Albuquerque and Public Service Company of New Mexico, you’ve got until January 6 to dispose of your tree for free, and recycle to save landfill space. That’s an earlier date than in previous years, but hey, that’s the deal.

The Christmas Treecycling – ha ha! – is available through Sunday January 6, 2013. Drop your tree off between 8 am and 5 pm, at the locations below. Note that this is only for residential customers – if you’re an Albuquerque business you’ve gotta make other plans.

Each person can drop off up to five Christmas trees – Five? Do they think I live in a palace? But I guess you can team up with neighbors and one person drop off several trees – save gas and recycle trees to save landfill space.

Plus, as the Christmas trees are chipped at each location, you can also take away free tree chippings to use as mulch. Sweet!

Free Christmas Tree Recycling locations:

  • Eagle Rock Convenience Center, 6301 Eagle Rock NE
  • Montessa Park Convenience Center, 3512 Los Picaros SE
  • Ladera Golf Course, Coors and Ladera NW

Maps and phone numbers for each location are at the above link.

–Tania

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Free Composting Classes

November 5, 2012 by  
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Free composting and vermicomposting classes? I’ll need my rubber gloves for this one!

As far as I’m aware, there are three advantages of composting.  Firstly, it’s a good way to dispose of organic waste, including leaves and cut grass. Secondly, it’s great for mulching and aeration if you’re into organic gardening, rather than buying commercial fertilizers. And last but not least… it’s free!

But what do I know? Mr Cheap has the green thumb around here. With the exception of my lovingly-tended herbs, I only have to look at a plant and it withers. (Even if I have my make-up on.)

If you’re interested in learning about composting, Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters offer a bunch of free composting classes for all ages at various locations, including vermicomposting or composting with worms.

Although the classes are free they require registration before the event, so check details at the link to see where to phone or email to register for each class, as well as full info on times and locations.

These are the upcoming free composting classes for the remainder of 2012, but check the schedule in case of changes:

  • November 6: Backyard Composting Lecture at 7 pm (Rio Rancho)
  • November 10: Advanced Composting forum for those with composting experience (Gutierrez-Hubbell House)
  • November 14: Basic Composting Class
  • November 17: Vermicomposting / Worm Composting Class
  • December 1: Basic Composting Class
  • December 15: Vermicomposting / Worm Composting Class

–Tania

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I WISH YOU A GOOD LIFE.