Farm Market Hums Along

There were more incredible flowers this week at the farm market brought by the couple who had those first-in-market sunflowers a month ago. This week they had giant zinnias and an almost purple rose, plus pink Echinaceas. The husband, who’s handling the sales, says it’s all his wife’s doing, that she is the queen of flowers. I’m convinced of that. She is sitting in the back, but enjoying the praise.

This brings back memories of my garden in Ketchum, Idaho, that had a lot of Echinaceas. I do have the cosmos you see in the upper right starting to bloom now. It will eventually dominate my front flower garden.

Jeff and Tanya at Talpa Gardens had these adorable Rhode Island Red chicks for sale, a big attraction at their booth. Of course I wanted to take them home but my landlord has forbidden keeping chickens. Don’t ask me why. I’ll wait for a better situation…but it’s one of my visualizations. I had them when I was living in the California back-woods back in the 70s.

I loved seeing this wild arrangement decorating the Hanuman Temple’s produce booth. The dark red is amaranth I’m pretty sure. The temple property has a huge garden area, not surprising since they focus so much on cooking and feeding people. You can bet this time of year their meals are full of really fresh ingredients, plus their secret ingredient, love and devotion.

The most exciting discovery of the day was meeting a farmer, Juan Sebastian, who’s part of White Mountain Farm in Mosca, CO. He explained that this was his first trip of the season down to the Taos Farm Market. What caught my eye were these 1 lb. bags of quinoa. He also had 5 lb. and 25 lb. bags. He explained that his farm is now specializing in organic quinoa crops and they were the first in the country to grow marketable quantities back in the 80’s. If you visit their website, linked above, you can learn more about the history of this San Luis Valley farm. Interestingly I’ll be passing by Mosca on my way to a family reunion in Colorado tomorrow.

Juan Sebastian also shared that he came here from Huehuetenango, Guatemala. He had a wife and son with him but he seemed to be the only one in the family who was speaking English. The farm also specializes in organic potatoes and is shipping their quinoa and potatoes through the site. If you’re lucky enough to live in Alamosa his farm sells produce weekly there. I’d like to see how the quinoa crop looks in the ground and take photos but not sure I’ll have the time this trip. He showed me some leaves from the plant and they looked very much like lamb’s quarters or the red-leaf orach, which I have growing. The quinoa leaves are edible raw or cooked as you would spinach.

If you haven’t cooked quinoa I highly recommend it. It is one of nature’s most perfect foods. It is not a grain but rather a small round seed, similar to millet. It cooks quickly (15 – 20 minutes) and has a delicious nutty flavor. I eat it now more often than rice and it substitutes well for it. It is amazingly high in protein and is especially helpful for those who do not eat meat, or not much of it. I felt we were very fortunate to have this helpful ancient plant growing so regionally. Sadly they can’t compete with the grocery store per pound price of quinoa, but for those who can pay more it would be a wise thing to do, to support this endeavor.