What to Expect: Hands-On Horno Baking in a Puebloan Home from Santa Fe

After meeting at the Inn and Spa at the Loretto, we will head north through the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo (The Blood of Christ) Mountains. Sandstone formations carved by wind, water, and time articulate this rose hued moonscape. As you marvel at the undulating horizons, your heart’s compass will reorient to the rhythms of nature and the mystic of ancient traditions. Soon we will arrive at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, formerly known as the San Juan Pueblo. Recognized as the first Spanish capital of New Mexico, this historic Pueblo is situated at the confluence of the Rio Grande, Ojo Caliente, and Chama rivers.

The first thing you’ll notice as you walk into Naranjo home is the yeasty aroma of rising Horno bread and the welcoming smiles of Norma, Hutch, and daughter Nina. You will be offered a hot drink and  have a moment to take in your surroundings: traditional and contemporary art, family photos, woven baskets, and a turquoise cast iron stove.

Norma will then guide you on a unique culinary adventure. You will relax instantly as your hands knead the dough for seasonal treats and stuff them with locally harvested prune and cherry filling. In this intimate setting, Norma, with grace and warmth,  will share the rich history of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, “the place of strong people,” and their efforts to preserve their culture.

Later, you will join Hutch as he tends to Horno ovens. His smile and humble nature will instantly put everyone at ease. You will learn how these beehive shaped adobe ovens were invented by the Moors, and introduced by the Spanish settlers to the Pueblo communities in the 1600s. The ovens are heated by hot river stones encased in the floor which warms the adobe to an even temperature. Hutch will show you how to load up the ovens with bread, pastries, and gourmet surprises. You will be surprised how quickly they turn a golden crispy brown.  Lunch will be a delicious confluence of laughs, stories, and locally sourced dishes made with seasonal ingredients.

In the afternoon, we will travel just a few miles north to the Los Luceros Historical Site which borders the Rio Grande River. This area, has been home to indigenous peoples and was later settled by the Luceros and Ortiz families in the 1700s.  Then socialite turned farmer, Mary Cabot Wheelwright, took ownership of the ranch in the early 1900s where she hosted shamans, artists, and writers.  A docent led introduction will illuminate and deepen these colorful stories. Afterwards, you will have a chance to explore on your own acres of fruit orchards, groves of Cottonwood trees, and the historic buildings, which include a restored Capilla (chapel1886 AD), a 5,700 square foot Territorial Style hacienda (1860-1870 AD), a Victorian Guest House, and River House.  You will travel back in time as you take in rare views of the Jemez mountains and decompress on the pristine banks of the Rio Grande.

During this full day tour your senses will be satiated with the taste of local flavors, the sight of dramatic landscapes, the warmth of sun baked adobe walls, the sound of  rustling leaves, and the graciousness of New Mexico’s people. We hope to lift your soul and ground your heart as we peel back the many layers of our culture, and immerse you in an experience that is as deep and wide as our boundless blue skies. Space is limited, reserve your spot for this extraordinary experience today.



Norma & Hutch Naranjo

Norma and Hutch Naranjo’s business, The Feasting Place, hosts people from all over the world who come to experience the culture, traditional knowledge, and sustainability of their way of life. The Feasting Place has been named Small Business of the Year twice by the Small Business Development Center. Norma and Hutch regularly cater events for large organizations such as SWAIA, the National Governors Conference, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Wheelwright Museum, and the Poeh Museum. The Feasting Place is certified by New Mexico True. The business has been featured in New Mexico Magazine, Local Flavor, Edible New Mexico, Land Water People Time, and other magazines.

Hutch and Norma are also farmers and ranchers, growing chicos, chile, squash, watermelon, and other vegetables. They also raise cattle and chickens that sustain them through the winter. Their way of life reflects sustainable traditions long held by Pueblo and Hispanic communities in Northern Mexico for centuries. Don’t forget to take home Norma’s Cook Book “The Four Sisters,” a wonderful collection of her most memorable recipes.