“Eating local food is powerful… not only is it the freshest, most delicious option, it creates a ripple effect that strengthens our economy, and protects the vibrant culture of farming in New Mexico.” –Nina Yozell-Epstein, Founder, Squash Blossom Local Food
For years, a wide array of creative and hard-working non-profit organizations have been defending New Mexico’s land, water, and farmers. Now we see an evolution built upon a strong foundation of community service in which a healthy exchange of goods and services for money might be the solution for its longevity. Squash Blossom may be the first true high social impact, low environmental impact, legitimate social enterprise to be developed in Santa Fe.
Santa Fe’s Farm to Restaurant program has come a long way over the last seven years. It went from merely promoting the concept of eating and buying local in 2008 to piloting a local produce-to-chef distribution system in 2010 with the assistance of non-profit sponsors including Farm to Table and others, and on June 1, 2015 it was launched into a stand-alone business called Squash Blossom Local Food Inc. Founder and president, Nina Yozell-Epstein, who has been on the project since 2011, states:
“It is with awe and appreciation to the farmers and chefs for their dedication and contributions over the years, and enormous gratitude to Farm to Table for letting me incubate this project there for the last three years, that I am confident this work is ready to graduate out of the non-profit model into something that can stand as a long-term solution towards reclaiming our local food system in Northern New Mexico.”
Squash Blossom will continue wholesale operations to restaurants in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. This fall they will launch sales of local harvest boxes available to all, including fresh fruit and vegetables, local kimchi, bone broth, breads, cheeses, and much more.
Farm to Table, Executive director Pam Roy says:
“We are proud of the assistance we were able to provide to Farm to Restaurant over the last three years that it was housed at Farm to Table, and we couldn’t be happier to see it now take form as Squash Blossom under Nina’s leadership. Through this new model, we see the possibility for a long healthy continuation of the farm to restaurant work.”
Already recognized for its potential, Squash Blossom was selected as a finalist in this year’s BizMix start-up business competition that is sponsored by the City of Santa Fe’s Economic Development Department, the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, and others.