Farm land has been disappearing rapidly in Albuquerque’s North Valley in the last few years. New high-end residential development is taking its place. Matt Rembe and family, owners of Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, are doing something about it…
Barn – Los Poblanos – Photo by Susanna Starr
Often Taos or Santa Fe are thought of when contemplating an ecologically conscious and laid back vacation in northern New Mexico, where dreams of locally grown, gourmet organic food is par for the course. Think again! Located in the North Valley area of the city of Albuquerque, Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm is a treasure to be discovered by those looking for a philosophy as well as just a lovely place to stay, whether for a weekend or a week or longer. According to Matt Rembe, Executive Director and one of the present family owners, it’s a place to re-connect.
Los Poblanos Garden Rooms – Photo by John Lamkin
In the 1930’s, when the influential Simms family purchased the property, they had a vision of it being a center for cultural activities, and in addition to using it as their family home, created another building for special events. Employing the talents of acclaimed architect of the region, John Gaw Meem, the beautiful and graceful building reflects the sensibility now known as Santa Fe Style.
Later, during the 1990s as farm land disappeared, the Rembe family decided to buy the property that had already been used for many decades as a working farm, at first using it as their own private home. Their vision later became that of providing an experience for guests that would put them in direct contact with the agricultural aspect of what they term “progressive farming,” with a beautiful place to stay that would offer the opportunity to participate in some of the finest in organic cuisine, as well.
Lavender Field – Photo by Susanna Starr
Now, the building originally created for special events still serves the community, catering to weddings and other kinds of gatherings. As well as an ample and beautifully appointed dining room, there is an art gallery and an extensive library. The food served is one of the most important features.
Executive Chef Jonathan Perno and Sous Chef Jaye Wilkinson run the kitchen that serves the whole gamut of fresh produce from the area, as well as local meat and poultry, all of which is lovingly and creatively prepared. They are genuinely thrilled to be involved in this very special enterprise of working with local farmers and growing some produce themselves. They consider it a privilege to be involved in presenting gourmet organic cuisine that always reflects the seasonal availability, rather than a fixed menu that’s repeated and may contain food trucked in from long distances. It’s working with the community that provides the enthusiasm they bring to the buying, preparation and presentation of food. At the core of their work is the pride in a philosophy that continues to support local farmers and keeps farming alive in the area.
Chef Perno and Assistant – Photo by Susanna Starr
Breakfast is included in the room rate, but dinner is optional. However, it seems that the guests who are familiar with Los Poblanos would never consider dining anywhere else, with good reason. To stay at one of the beautifully furnished casitas and be able to relax without having to leave the premises, is part of the allure. This is especially nice considering that the Inn is just a short drive from the Albuquerque airport, but far away from the atmosphere of a city. It’s definitely country living.
In addition to the fine food and casually elegant private casitas with luxurious beds and cozy kiva style corner fireplaces, there is a swimming pool and an exercise room. For those who want that shopping hit, the gift shop provides an array of lavender products from the lavender fields on the property, as well as an assortment of locally prepared products such as chili-glazed pecans and local honey. Children will enjoy visiting with the various farm animals, including goats and rabbits.
Many of the guests who come to Los Poblanos are return visitors. Once they have discovered this charming inn, they feel that they’ve “found all they’ve ever looked for.” The couple we spoke with, in their mid-fifties, love its homey feeling and have stayed several times a year over the past five or six years. They know and love the staff and feel well taken care of. That’s the best testimony to providing the special kind of hospitality that makes for a lasting connection.
Gourmet Fare – Photo by Susanna Starr
With the help and inspiration of Los Poblanos and the Rembe family, Albuquerque’s North Valley is retaining some of its rural qualities, and small farmers are still able to pursue their way of life. And, now, with Los Poblanos, there is an excellent place for quiet-seeking, food-loving travelers to get away from it all.
– Photo by John Lamkin
If You Go
Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm
4803 Rio Grande Blvd. NW
Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107
New Mexico Tourism info: www.newmexico.org
Albuquerque Tourism info: www.itsatrip.org
John Lamkin and Susanna Starr often work as a team, photographing and writing about the food, culture and more of the places they visit in the world.