Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Great Summer Projects Funded by NRGNHA

Espanola Farmers’ Market is a seasonal weekly market open every Monday from10am-5 pm mid-June through October. We also host a Friday afternoon market from 2-7pm during the height of the harvest. Farmers come from Santa Cruz, Chimayo, Peñasco, Nambe, Abiquiu, Velarde, Chile, Tierra Azul, Chamita, Cuyamungue, Lyden, La Puebla, Taos, Kewa, Hernandez and other communities to sell their fresh produce including a wide variety of heirloom and traditional vegetables, fruits and herbs. Espanola Farmers Market has received two grants from Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area (NRGNHA). 

The first grant in 2010 was for the construction of an horno, a traditional clay oven, within the Market’s Wildflower Garden area, a community flower garden with eleven oval flowerbeds. Dexter Trujillo from Abiquiu worked with five local students to construct the horno throughout several consecutive Monday Markets. The students made over 300 triangular shaped adobes from the clay rich soil found at theMarket site, then worked with Dexter to construct the horno and apply a finish coat of mud plaster. The horno construction attracted a variety of visitors and volunteers during each work day, watching, helping mix mud or lay adobes, or sharing stories about how their grandmother or another relative used to bake food with this clay oven.
This year the Market received another grant for a Cooking Up Traditions project. This series of cooking demonstrations is funded for the 2012 season through NRGNHAand Farm to School with in-kind matching provided by Espanola Farmers’ Market. Each week during ten Market Mondays students will cook a variety of foods in the horno and also learn about preparing dishes with wild plants or other vegetables under the tutelage of Dexter Trujillo, Brenda Coriz, Norma Navarro or other cooks. We hope to continue developing the use of the horno and to honor and nurture a variety of land-based traditional practices with these cooking demonstrations. There are a variety of wild food plants already growing in the Garden including quelites, purslane, wild licorice as well as an abundance of wild dye plants. 

Traditional gardens have often included both wild and cultivated foods as well as outdoor methods for cooking or preparation. We plan to cook bread, chicos, pies, squash and other foods, utilizing the nearby NNMC Commercial Kitchen for food preparation & the horno for baking. Students will learn about how to use a traditional oven and how to identify and prepare traditional food. Customers will also benefit from seeing the horno used and sampling foods. On the Chile Roasting Day, various farmers will prepare displays from their farms and identify the variety of heirloom chile they grow. Visitors can have any chile purchased at the Market that day roasted free. One of the cooks will also be roasting chile in the hornoand offering tasting samples. We will have musicians performing throughout midday to add to the celebration. The project will culminate in a potluck feast on the last Marketday in October.

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