I spend a fair amount of time researching stories and ideas online, and time and time again recently, three Instagram accounts caught my eye. As I delved deeper, I noticed they all shared something specific beyond the food and knack for design: Their messages were about health, healing, happiness and accessibility.
I also noticed each of these accounts was local to Santa Fe. Who are these
people? I had to know!
The secret of success on Instagram is "dogs, Cerrillos and cake: the three things most important to me," laughs Leslie Thompson of Momo & Company
(@momoandcompany). Many Santa Feans know Momo & Company as the much-loved gluten-free vegan bakery formerly on Johnson Street. It may have closed its doors, but the woman behind its mouthwatering offerings is still very much in the business of baking. Thompson now crafts baked goods, ice cream, candies and more at Kure Cannabis.
"Kure has so many clients who don't want to get high but find that the edibles really help them, so it gives me a different perspective," she says. "I love the marriage between tasty treats and medicine. I try to make things healthier but still delicious."
Thompson also makes the desserts for Black Bird Saloon in Cerrillos as well as special orders for those in search of vegan and gluten-free options.
"I'm always trying to up my game with recipe development," Thompson tells SFR. "From vegan 'Twix' bars and ice cream to a healthier version of the Fig Newton. I'm originally an artist and I haven't painted in so long, this kind of takes the place of it. I have so many ideas that I tell friends, 'Please let me make your birthday cake because I have this really great idea!'"
Katelyn Hilburn, owner of Madre Foods (@madrefoods), also began with a great idea, but one that started as more of a problem. After the birth of her daughter which "kicked my ass way more than I expected it to," admits Hilburn, she quit her job and began cooking as a way to work through her recovery. She soon realized she had a cooking problem.
"I was cooking like crazy for people who weren't coming to our house," she says jokingly. "I had to start feeding other people because the amount of food I was making was almost irresponsible."
A pattern emerged between what she loved doing and what people requested.
"People in equally as vulnerable places, but different than post-partum, were approaching me saying they needed nourishment—they needed help," she explains. "How I could serve someone who's going through chemo or a mother who just had twins, from both a nutritional and life standpoint, was through my broths."
Hilburn's rich and healing sipping broths and stocks, available direct, at the farmer's market and at Terra Verde (851 W San Mateo Road, 780-5151) soon became the stars of her efforts.
"They've allowed me to serve so many more people at different points in their lives, so that's been a really cool journey to be on with people," she says.
As for Instagram, taking a photo of broth can be a challenging thing, but
Hilburn's exquisitely styled photos truly fulfill her goal of "making pictures come to life."
The same goes for Lauren Stutzman's colorful creations. Her businesses, Picnic Catering & Events (@picnic_nm) builds creative, custom cheese plates, grazing boards and other "epic" spreads. The business also focuses on developing classes, tastings and food events centered around cheese across Northern New Mexico.
"There are not that many people who don't like cheese," Stutzman points out.
Through her company, Stutzman, who also works at Cheesemongers of Santa Fe (130 E Marcy St., 795-7878), and her husband, who manages the cheese department at Whole Foods, aim to make fine cheese more accessible to people outside of Santa Fe's downtown core.
"We focus on real, artisan cheese produced sustainably by conscious, committed farms and creameries all over the US and beyond," Stutzman says. "We make a point to serve cheese that's accessible in all kinds of places—from specialty cheese shops to your everyday grocery case."
Social media was a bit of a foreign concept for Stutzman, but she dove into it with stories about cheese that she found "funny, weird, cute or historical."
"It's an amazing product. You're connecting the animal, the terroir, the farmer, and the producer with the public," she continues. "It's so fun to talk about."
This is one of those columns where I wish I had more words to share about the stories behind local small business owners as their combined inspiration reaches far beyond pretty pictures. Do yourself, and your taste buds, a favor and search them out—and not just on Instagram.