I’ve lived in Albuquerque for almost a decade now, and I had never been to Los Poblanos in the North Valley. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the historic inn and farm, a place where folks can take a break from the city and enjoy the peaceful farm. The owners recently reopened Campo, the casual fine dining restaurant located in the farm’s newly restored dairy buildings. After visiting for this interview, it was better than everything I’d heard.
I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the intoxicating Los Poblanos farm to talk to Campo’s Executive Chef Jonathan Perno about the farm-to-table movement in the culinary world, reducing our carbon footprint and why we should understand the kind of food we eat.
Perno began his culinary career in the Bay Area when he was a teenager, before farm-to-table became the trendy craze that it is now. Back then, Perno was learning how to seek local producers and save vegetable scraps to give farmers to make compost.
“When I started out, the chefs I trained under were already doing this before it was being publicized. So I’ve always had my hands in the dirt. It’s the way we work and how we’ve developed the concept of farm-to-table,” Perno said. “I mean, I was taught this way without actually knowing it, making organic dishes and reducing carbon footprint. And now it’s an established thing. I feel lucky to be in that environment and to be in a position for when this movement became prominent.”
For almost 15 years Perno has developed Campo into one of the most sought out farm-to-table establishments in New Mexico, developing relationships with locally owned farms.
“What I’ve seen since I’ve been back in the state is watching it start with these small independent farms, and then seeing how many more have been developing over since the time I’ve been back,” Perno says. “We’re really lucky, in fact. I’m setting up contracts with a southern grain producer. The importance of what our state has to offer is significant, and if we look at where we’re at and who’s producing food for us gives New Mexicans a connection to all those local resources.”
Campos’ menu is 100 percent organic-aligned with ingredients from local producers. One of the key components of the menu is trust. Perno emphasized his assurance in his sources and not just seeing it as an organic source but a bond he has been able to develop with the community.
“It’s nurturing a relationship, that’s what farm-to-table means to me. It’s all fall in line with supporting each other,” Perno says.
With a divine selection of organic and delectable dishes, Campo is a place every New Mexican should indulge in. A combination of food and environment, a pair that go hand-in-hand, it’s an area of New Mexican culture we should be proud of. While it is a commitment that will force us to pay a little extra, it’s a price I’m willing to pay. “It’s a relationship and an investment; but to me, the simplest way is a relationship through New Mexico and local sustainability.”
Campo at Los Poblanos
4803 Rio Grande Blvd. NW
Neighborhood: Los Ranchos de Albuquerque
Category: Fine Dining
Phone: (505) 338-1615