image

Spring 2021: Grain

Spring 2021: Grain

This issue of edible goes back to the basics. We examine the work of those across the state (and beyond) who are reintroducing, rethinking, and reclaiming the very staple ingredients that we depend on for our survival. From Taos, where a baker is making loaves with heritage grains like White Sonora wheat, introduced to the Southwest more than three centuries ago, to Albuquerque, where a distiller is using blue corn to elevate corn whiskey, to the century-old Valencia Flour Mill in Jarales, we talk with New Mexicans who are building markets for local grains. We also explore regional efforts to revive the cultivation of cereal grains, profiling organizations and farmers trialing diverse grain crops in the Navajo Nation and New Mexico. Ungelbah Dávila-Shivers looks beyond cereal grains as she examines efforts across New Mexico to grow amaranth, a hardy and nutritious native plant with deep cultural roots for Indigenous communities in our region and elsewhere.

Breakfast Polenta with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach

Breakfast Polenta with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach 4 cups water1 teaspoon salt1 cup dry polenta...

Blue Corn and Blood Orange Smash

This is the perfect boozy cocktail to pair with brunch. Blue Corn and Blood Orange Smash 1/2 blood...

Blue Corn Polenta with Roasted Strawberries

Blue Corn Polenta with Roasted Strawberries Roasted Strawberries2 pints fresh strawberries (stems...

Grain

This issue of edible goes back to the basics.

We examine the work of those across the state (and beyond) who are reintroducing, rethinking, and reclaiming the very staple ingredients that we depend on for our survival. From Taos, where a baker is making loaves with heritage grains like White Sonora wheat, introduced to the Southwest more than three centuries ago, to Albuquerque, where a distiller is using blue corn to elevate corn whiskey, to the century-old Valencia Flour Mill in Jarales, we talk with New Mexicans who are building markets for local grains. We also explore regional efforts to revive the cultivation of cereal grains, profiling organizations and farmers trialing diverse grain crops in the Navajo Nation and New Mexico. Ungelbah Dávila-Shivers looks beyond cereal grains as she examines efforts across New Mexico to grow amaranth, a hardy and nutritious native plant with deep cultural roots for Indigenous communities in our region and elsewhere. Along the way, we talk to Chef Ray Naranjo about his work with the Pante Project and the Indian Pueblo Kitchen.

Grain is the stuff of everyday meals and exchange, but it is also mythic. The stories in this issue reveal a value of local grains that goes far beyond calories. Growing seeds rooted deeply in a place can help farmers and diners connect with the past and with our farmer ancestors whose legacy remains in those seeds. It is about connecting with the most basic elements of our diet, and being able to understand more fully from where our food comes. It is also about supporting varieties of grains and pseudograins that are well adapted to our place and thus better positioned to adjust to climatic changes to come. Not least, it is about the stories—from ancient and precolonial times to the generation of growers planting them today—that we tell with and through these plants. In short, it is an effort to recover important parts of our cultures here in New Mexico that risk being lost to the wholesale industrialization and commodification of grain crops.

Building a robust grain economy in the Southwest is not necessarily about a vision of sustainable self-sufficiency where every New Mexican eats a diet consisting of all-local grains. While such a vision holds undeniable appeal, New Mexico’s limited water and growing population means that some of the fiber and food calories our population depends on will invariably come from beyond our watershed. With this in mind, we encourage readers interested in grains to consider, in addition to what is produced locally, the growers producing heritage and organic grains slightly farther afield. Building a more resilient food system will likely require a regional, as well as local, approach. We hope these stories help propel and deepen the conversation on local grains in our state, and provide, as always, grist for the mill as we envision stronger, healthier, more resilient times to come.

Breakfast Polenta with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach

Breakfast Polenta with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach

Breakfast Polenta with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach 4 cups water1 teaspoon salt1 cup dry polenta or yellow cornmeal1 cup cheese (we use gruyère)3 tablespoons butter1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or butter1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (sliced)5 cups raw spinach...

Blue Corn and  Blood Orange Smash

Blue Corn and Blood Orange Smash

This is the perfect boozy cocktail to pair with brunch. Blue Corn and Blood Orange Smash 1/2 blood orange, quartered6-8 mint leaves2 ounces Left Turn Distilling New Mexico Blue Corn Whiskey2 ounces ginger beer or blood orange Italian sodaCrushed iceMint sprigs for...

Blue Corn Polenta with Roasted Strawberries

Blue Corn Polenta with Roasted Strawberries

Blue Corn Polenta with Roasted Strawberries Roasted Strawberries2 pints fresh strawberries (stems removed and sliced in half)2 tablespoons honey2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (high quality)1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste6 fresh thyme sprigs1/8 teaspoon...

Blood Orange Custard and Blue Corn Tart

Blood Orange Custard and Blue Corn Tart

Start this recipe 24 hours before you plan to bake. Oranges need full time to macerate into syrupy goodness. You can use this blue corn pastry recipe with any macerated seasonal fruit. We chose blood orange custard because we are patiently waiting for berries and...

Roasted Carrot and Amaranth Polenta

Roasted Carrot and Amaranth Polenta

  Roasted Carrot and Amaranth Polenta 1 cup amaranth seeds3 cups water1/4 teaspoon salt4 large carrots (peeled)1 tablespoon olive oilKosher salt to taste1/2 cup shallots (thinly sliced)6 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)2 tablespoons butter2 cups vegetable...

Springtime Wheat Berry Tabbouleh

Springtime Wheat Berry Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh can also be made with bulgur wheat and veggies that highlight the season’s freshest ingredients—peas and radishes in spring; cucumbers and tomatoes in summer; squash and cabbage in the winter.

Not Your Grandfather’s  Whiskey

Not Your Grandfather’s Whiskey

By Michael J. Dax · Photos by Stephanie CameronLeft Turn Distilling spirits from left to right: Rojo Light Rum, Rojo Piñon Rum, New Mexico Blue Corn Whiskey, La Luz Vodka, and Old Tom Gin. Over the past decade, whiskey has boomed. For a spirit whose marketers and...

Q&A with Ray Naranjo

Q&A with Ray Naranjo

Executive Chef, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Interview and Photos by Stephanie CameronExecutive Chef Ray Naranjo is of Native American roots from the Ancestral Pueblos of the Southwest and the Three Fires tribes of the Great Lakes. He believes in preserving his...

Fortifying  the Grain Chain

Fortifying the Grain Chain

Andre and Jessica Kempton of Wild Leaven Bakery in Taos, New Mexico are strengthening the local food economy in northern New Mexico by strengthening the links in their local grain chain.

Touch and Grow Seed Starters

Touch and Grow Seed Starters

Get a Jump Start on this Growing Season By Marisa ThompsonArtichoke seedlings. Photo by Marisa Thompson. Starting seeds is an exciting time for highly skilled gardeners. For the rest of us, this process can be burdensome and frustrating. Start too early and your cute...

Southern New Mexico  Grains Resurgence

Southern New Mexico Grains Resurgence

Small Farms Experiment with Landrace Crops By Shahid Mustafa · Photos by Stephanie CameronDe Colores Food and Farms wheat field in Berino in late January. Contrary to what many believe, small grains, specifically barley, rye, and wheat, have a rich agricultural...

Eight Around the State: Artisan Bakeries

Eight Around the State: Artisan Bakeries

There is nothing quite like the smell of bread baking—that warm, nutty aroma that fills your olfactories and makes you toss caution to the wind and reach for yet another slice. After our recent tortilleria visit, we would argue the same can be said for fresh...

Forgotten Superfood of the Americas

Forgotten Superfood of the Americas

The Amaranth Seed is a Grain of Hope By Ungelbah Dávila-ShiversAmaranth harvest in Guatemala. Each year some of these seeds make their way to New Mexico as part of The Garden's Edge's Seed Travels cultural exchanges. Photo by JC Lemus. In a few small gardens around...

The Grain Drain

The Grain Drain

What We Talk about When We Talk about Grain By Briana OlsonTurkey Red winter wheat. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance. Of radishes, I know the French breakfast and the black Spanish and the purple daikon. I can tell a Persian cucumber from an English one,...

Read on ISSUU

Edible New Mexico
Latest posts by Edible New Mexico (see all)

About The Author

Edible New Mexico

Edible celebrates New Mexico's food culture, season by season. We believe that knowing where our food comes from is a powerful thing. With our high-quality, aesthetically pleasing and informative publication, we inspire readers to support and celebrate the growers, producers, chefs, beverage and food artisans, and other food professionals in our community.

#officialediblepartner

Your Guide to Local

Magazine Subscription

Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news, recipes, and events that celebrate local food.

You have Successfully Subscribed!