Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why is a Farm in Sonoma County Called Quetzal Farm?

The Quetzal is a beautiful bird and the national Symbol of Guatemala. In the 1990's Guatemalan refugees were trying to get back to live in Guatemala from Mexico, unfortunately their government considered them guerrillas and the long civil war there had not yet ended.  At the time, I was thinking I would go to law school and become a human rights lawyer.   I ended up living in the first refugee resettlement as "accompaniment,"  someone who would stay in their community and let the outside world know if anything happened.   The refugees began to re-establish agriculture, which unfortunately meant the burning down of the rainforest to plant corn.  This began my education in sustainable agriculture and led to me planting my first garden in the jungles of the Ixcan region.  A career change was slowly taking place, next I planted a garden in South Texas where I did para-legal work on political asylum claims, then I was enrolling to study sustainable agriculture at the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.  I never made it to law school, and 15 years later the name Quetzal Farm still helps me remember the idealism that started this crazy and wonderful farming adventure.

If you are interested in learning more about the current struggles in Guatemala is doing great work, support them if you can.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dried Chile Descriptions

Quetzal Farm
Dried Chiles

Ancho Generally mild with a raisiny flavor.  Ancho adds depth to lots of dishes and is the base for Mole Poblano.  Also available smoked.

Espelette A Basque chile  from Southern France, it is very hot and sweet with a bright fruity flavor.

Chipotle A classic Mexican chile that is a favorite in many dishes, including salsas and dips.  It is a red jalapeƱo that has been smoked in apple wood.

Cayenne ‘Joe’s Long’   A cayenne that is long and sweeter than traditional cayenne, not quite as hot either tends towards the milder side of hot.

New Mexico A lot of different varieties that are bred in all regions of New Mexico.  They generally are of mild to medium spice with  the classic “Red Chile” flavor common in New Mexican cuisine.  A favorite for enchilada sauce, it is believed to originate from the Guajillo chile from Mexico.

Sweet Varieties  (Gypsy, Carmen, Jimmy Nardello) There is no heat in these varieties, great for Romesco sauces or bringing down the heat level by mixing with hotter chiles.  

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