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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Buy New Mexican for the Holidays

LAS CRUCES -- In New Mexico, you don't have to travel far to find unique gifts for the holidays. The local grocery store or farmers' market can provide a bounty of gift ideas using New Mexico products.

"We have a whole variety of New Mexico products that can be purchased this time of year including ristras and processed food items," said Bill Gomez, economist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. "You could use a variety of these things in care packages to send to people out of state."

Salsas, jellies, jams, tortillas and many chile products can be purchased at grocery stores across the state. Many towns also have farmers' markets that handle specialty items like ristras, wreaths, pottery, silver and turquoise jewelry and woven rugs. Nambe dishes, unique wines, cheeses, nuts and pasta also are popular gift ideas.

"I think the beautiful thing about New Mexico products is that everyone who's been in our state loves to receive food items they can use to make their own dishes," Gomez said.

He suggests shoppers buy in bulk to receive volume discounts. "Make your holiday gift list ahead of time. Buy products by the case and put them together into gift baskets yourself."

According to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, there are certain restrictions on mailing in-shell pecans and Indian corn to other states. However, red and green chile are not restricted. Contact your county Extension office if you have questions about shipping New Mexico produce.

Gomez said you should get an early start if you plan to ship products out of state. Pack glass jars and pottery carefully to prevent them from bumping together during shipping. Some vendors may have special boxes or methods for shipping products like ristras or wreaths. Ask if the item can be shipped directly to the person receiving the gift.

Gomez cautions that some ristras are sprayed to preserve them for decorative purposes. If the person receiving it will be using the ristra for food, select one that has not been sprayed.

Whatever New Mexico products you choose for your holiday gift list, you'll be helping boost the state's economy.

"Buying gifts manufactured in New Mexico creates more jobs, helps our processors build their small businesses and makes the state's economy stronger," Gomez said. "By sending these items to people out of state, it reminds them to look in their supermarkets for New Mexico products."