Food Heritage and History

Sonorans harvest bounty of acorns before monsoon

By Jonathon Shacat
SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP)— Each year, before the monsoon rains come, people in this region of northern Mexico harvest acorns known as bellotas from Emory Oak trees and sell the nuts along the roads here.Bellotas are brown and measure about 3/4 of an inch long and about 1/4 of an inch wide. Wick Communications environmental liaison Dick Kamp describes the taste as “tannic acid, and kind of rich.”

Emory Oak trees grow in isolated portions of Arizona, ...

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Hot on the trail of climate change

Ethnobotanist looks at extreme weather’s effect on chili peppers

By Aaron Kagan

 

PATAGONIA, Ariz. — Some of the best known symbols of climate change are belching smokestacks and polar bears adrift on ice floes. A lesser known symbol is the chili pepper. Gary Paul Nabhan set out to change that.

In the new book “Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail,’’ Nabhan teams up with agroecologist Kurt Michael Friese and chef Kraig Kraft to examine the relationship between food production and ...

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The Levantine Connection to the Southwest’s Flour Tortilla

The Levantine Connection to the Southwest’s Flour Tortilla

by Gary Paul Nabhan

While at a Palestinian café in Ramallah on the West Bank recently, I was surprised to find the waitress was bringing me a flour tortilla much like the pale, medium thin ones used for burritos throughout New Mexico, Arizona, Chihuahua and Sonora.

“Did I order these?” I asked my Palestinian hostess. “I thought I ordered a purslane salad with some saj flatbread on the side.”

“To the right of you is your ...

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Climate Change, One Pepper at a Time

By Aaron Kagan

Ethnobotonist Gary Paul Nabhan is following food resilience in the desert Southwest.

Gary Paul Nabhan wears many hats, but when we recently spoke in his hometown of Patagonia, Arizona, he had on a khaki ball cap emblazoned with a caricature of a horned toad.

An ethnobotanist by trade, Nabhan is an enthusiastic desert dweller and a research scientist at the Southwest Center at the University of Arizona, where he helps run the program Sabores Sin Fronteras, aka Flavors Without ...

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High, dry, and up against a wall: Why water and food justice are key to ending border conflicts

Grist.org / Gary Nabhan

For someone who lives within 12 miles of the infamous wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, it was an odd feeling to travel along the wall between Palestine and Israel last week just as Osama bin Laden’s death was announced to the world. Odd, because the parallels between the two desert regions are so remarkable. Palestinian farmers I spoke with were not interested in talking about the wall itself, nor the killing of bin Laden, nor the ...

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Ohio’s Rich Food Diversity

Interview with Gary Paul Nabhan at the George Jones Farm in Oberlin on April 17, 2011. Gary talks about Great Lakes and Appalachian Food Traditions. Ohio was the center of apple diversity, due in part to Johnny Appleseed. Appalachia has more diversity of fruits, vegetables, and grains than the rest of North America combined.

Filmed by LESS Productions and edited by Brad Masi.

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Hot on the Trail of Chili Peppers

THERE was a frost expected here two weeks ago, but Gary Paul Nabhan, a conservation biologist and inveterate seed-saver, was out in his hardscrabble garden anyway, planting his favorite food, hot chilies.

Chiltepin, chile de árbol (the one that scrambles up trees), Tabasco, serrano, pasilla, Chimayó. These are only a few of the pungent peppers that Mr. Nabhan and two other chili lovers — Kurt Michael Friese, a chef from Iowa City, and Kraig Kraft, an agro-ecologist studying the origin of ...

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Chile crisis of 2011 reveals need for more resilience and diversity on the farm

by Gary Nabhan

What a difference a few days of aberrant weather can mean to our food security, our pocket books, and our penchant for hot sauce. The record freeze that hit the U.S. Southwest and Northern Mexico in early February is still affecting vegetable availability and food prices in general more than 6 weeks after the catastrophe. Restaurants across the U.S. are rationing peppers and tomatoes on their sandwiches and in their salsas. Prices for peppers have jumped as much ...

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A Rollicking Quest for Chiles ‘Along The Pepper Trail’

Authors trace history of chile on ‘spice odyssey’ starting in Mexico

Jill Koenigsdorf | For The New Mexican
Posted: Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Everyone loves a book that has a good quest at its center, be it a great white whale, a holy grail or, in the case of ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan, chef Kurt Friese, and agro-ecologist Kraig Kraft, rare and heirloom chiles.

Their new book, Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along The Pepper Trail (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011), is a rollicking ride, ...

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Chasing Chiles Across North America

Chasing Chiles is both a rollicking travelogue from three guys on the hunt for authentic food and cultural experience and an adventure with a larger, sobering mission: to understand the effects of climate change by zeroing in on one critical crop and the people whose lives are most deeply intertwined with it. Kraft, Friese, and Nabhan seek out and listen to farmers, chefs, and others who rely on the chile, and document ...

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A Masterpiece Written In Our Own Era

Old Southern Apples by Creighton Lee Calhoun, Jr. (with Edith Calhoun)

Without question, the most remarkable horticultural history book of this decade was released in late January, some fifteen years after its first edition astounded orchard keepers and agricultural historians everywhere. The second edition of Old Southern Apples is not simply expanded to include 1800 apple varieties, but it is an altogether more significant book, thanks to the extraordinary research accomplished by Lee and Edith Calhoun, and the ...

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Food security at historic watershed

The New Mexican
Posted: Monday, February 07, 2011

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, the farming capacity and food security of the border states are at an all-time low, and are likely to get worse before they are fully transformed to more sustainable and cost-efficient systems.

Recently, with a dozen experts from four states, we conceded that our capacity to feed ourselves and the hungriest of our neighbors has been compromised more than ever before. At the same time, experts ...

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UA Report Looks at State of Southwestern ‘Foodsheds’

Ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan is behind a collection of essays that analyze the decline and rise in interest in locally produced food.

By: Jeff Harrison, University Communications, February 2, 2011

Unprecedented pressures exist on food security and farming capacity in the U.S. borderland states, according to a new regional food assessment by University of Arizona researchers and their colleagues.

The economic downturn, water scarcity, rising oil prices, climate change and the loss of prime farmlands ...

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State of Southwestern Foodsheds

A Special Publication of Sabores Sin Fronteras of the Southwest Center with Edible Communities
Edited by: Gary Paul Nabhan and Regina Fitzsimmons

While this publication began as an imaginative exercise to chart the successes and joys of sustainable food, farming and ranching initiatives in the Southwest that began over the last decade, it now appears that such innovations may no longer be a luxury, but a necessity.

As this special “Edible” edition on the State of Southwestern Foodsheds goes to ...

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Chasing Chiles – Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail

Chasing Chiles looks at both the future of place-based foods and the effects of climate change on agriculture through the lens of the chile pepper—from the farmers who cultivate this iconic crop to the cuisines and cultural traditions in which peppers play a huge role.

Why chile peppers? Both a spice and a vegetable, chile peppers have captivated imaginations and taste buds for thousands of years. Native to Mesoamerica and the New World, chiles are currently grown on every continent, since ...

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The Wild Foods of Our Region with Gary Nabhan

Marcie Sillman

There are over 180 foods that are distinctive to the Northwest and only found here. Things like the Ozette potato, Hooker’s sweet corn, Camas root, the Marshall strawberry, the Orcas pear and of course the Chinook salmon. Most of these foods are at risk of extinction because of environmental destruction, pollution or over harvesting. Scientist and writer Gary Nabhan knows just how we can save these foods — by eating them. He encourages ...

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Kyl, McCain could boost economy with Santa Cruz heritage area

Gary Paul Nabhan Special To The Arizona Daily Star

With elections behind us, I hope politicians will get out from behind the rhetoric and actually help Arizonans – especially rural Arizonans – overcome the problems of poverty, hunger and limited economic opportunity. There is one immediate way to do this – by jump-starting rural economic recovery and creating jobs through a Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area designation.

In Southern Arizona, all local, county, and tribal governments and ...

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An Agrarian Land Covenant: Food for Thought, For Becoming at Home in Our Place, For Thoughtfulness in Producing Food

With future generations in mind, my family will never leave the land we steward poorer, nor its water scarcer than conditions were before we acquired responsibility for their care.

My family will seek to enrich the soil, diversify its plant cover and deepen its roots both within and beyond its harvested fields, grazed pastures, and streamside areas.

My family will think of how our practices affect those who live above and below us in our foodshed and watershed— not only the human ...

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