Love local foods? Then you’ll love Ag Day

Aug. 28 event brings New Mexico foods to tailgate, Aggie Memorial Stadium

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – When farmers and ranchers explain to others that agriculture is responsible for fiber, floriculture, and forestry products, we’re sometimes met with a blank stare.  But in the context of food, agriculture begins to make sense to everyone.

That’s why food will play a starring role during the 2nd annual Agriculture Day happening Thursday, August 28, before the Aggies of New Mexico State University (NMSU) open their football season with a home game against the Cal Poly Mustangs.

Free samples of beef, dairy products, chile, watermelon, and peanuts will be offered during the street fair that takes place from 3 to 6 p.m. in the parking lot between Aggie Memorial Stadium and the Pan American Center.  There you’ll find more than 40 booths representing most every facet of New Mexico’s diverse agricultural community.

The smorgasbord of New Mexico foods continues inside Aggie Stadium.  NMSU foodservice provider Sodexo Education Services put together a special Agriculture Day concessions menu, featuring items containing New Mexico cheese, pinto beans, tortilla chips, salsa, pecans, pistachios, and kettle corn.  Also at the concession stands, Sodexo is offering kids age 12 and younger a free hot dog and soda with the purchase of a $5 game ticket.  People of all ages can print a special Ag Day coupon for a free side of New Mexico green chile to add to their burger, nachos, or hot dog. 

“We wanted to offer food items that really speak to the rich culture here in Las Cruces and across New Mexico,” said Shelly Duran, resident district manager for Sodexo Education Services.  “For starters, we asked ourselves, ‘What would be better than fresh roasted New Mexican green chile?’”

Another important element of Agriculture Day is the food drive that will be hosted onsite.

Roadrunner Food Bank – which feeds nearly 40,000 hungry New Mexicans a week through its partner agencies across the state – will have open its refrigerated truck to collect donations.  Meanwhile, Dairy MAX – which represents dairy farmers in New Mexico and three other states – will be collecting monetary donations by text to its “Great American Milk Drive” program.  Any Milk Drive monies collected during Ag Day will stay in Las Cruces to provide fresh dairy products to hungry people served by area food banks.  NMSU students who donate food items will be registered to win prizes from Barnes & Noble—New Mexico State University; all others who donate will be entered to win other prizes.  Representatives from NMSU’s on-site food pantry, the Aggie Cupboard, will also be on hand to make their program known to NMSU students and staff.

Food aside, families will find plenty of fun at Ag Day: free therapeutic horse rides for the kids; a chance to pet and take their picture with small, friendly farm animals; facepainting and more.  That’s in addition to all the fun activities in the nearby Pistol Pete’s Kids Zone: jumping castles, carnival games, and more.

A group of agricultural organizations and companies across New Mexico is sponsoring the game.  NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) are working with NMSU Athletics and other university partners to coordinate Ag Day.

Tickets to the game start at $10, while tickets for kids 12 and under are just $5 and include a free hot dog and soda from Sodexo.  Tickets go on sale Aug. 21 at the Pan American Center ticket office (575-646-1420) and will also be sold on the day of the game.  This is the first of six home games this year; season tickets are available now starting at $50.  For more information about NMSU Aggie football, please visit www.nmstatesports.com.