We recently asked our members and supporters to send in their chile stories, and Brooke Pickrell of Ann Arbor, MI, shares her fascinating experience of growing the plants in the middle of Midwest winter (yes, it's possible!).
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By Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Conservation Program Manager. Published on February, 20, 2015.
Whether it is red or green in New Mexico, spicy jalapenos of Tex-mex recipes, or fiery chiltepines of the borderlands, chiles are synonymous with Southwestern cuisine and central to our culinary identity. Chiles are also a large part of the agricultural economy of our region. The hot summer climate and sandy soils of southern New Mexico and Arizona come together to create a million dollar chile industry. However, you may be surprised to learn that chiles are a relatively recent part of the 4,000 year old Southwestern agricultural history and were not commonly grown or eaten until the last several hundred years.
By Joy Hought, NS/S Research & Education Program Manager and Melissa Kruse-Peeples, Conservation Program Manager. Published on January 23, 2015.
The earliest varieties of maize must certainly have had small kernels as hard as glass.
– Edgar Anderson & Hugh Cutler, Races of Maize
In many ways, popcorn growing in a farmer’s field today is an anachronism: an organism that stubbornly belongs to another time, a time not only centuries past, but millennia. Small, glassy kernels on compact little cobs were the first identifiable domesticants to emerge from corn’s wild ancestor, teosinte (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis) and haven’t changed all that much in 8,000 years. Right here in our own back yard in the Tucson Basin, some of the oldest archeological evidence of corn in North America was found dating to over 4,000 years ago. This ancient corn was similar to the modern caramel brown Chapalote flint corn but was only an inch or two in length with a very thin cob, about the size of your pinky finger. The Chapalote race of maize is still used today for pinole as well as for popping but the last few centuries the variety now produces much larger ears.
By Sheryl Joy, NS/S Seed Distribution Coordinator. Published on December 23, 2014.
‘Tis the season … when the humble cowpea has its moment of fame! For those with African-American or Southern roots, Hoppin’ John is the traditional meal on New Year's Day. There are many variations on the Hoppin’ John recipe, but one ingredient is absolutely necessary: black-eyed peas.
By Sheryl Joy, NS/S Seed Distribution Coordinator. Published on October 28, 2014.
So what’s the trick?? All squash grows in the summer time! But squash terminology is undoubtedly a bit confusing. It’s not unusual for us here at NS/S to get questions like "What sort of winter squash should I plant in Phoenix in November?" But winter squash isn’t like winter wheat; even in Phoenix it doesn’t grow well in the cool of the year. All squash plants need the heat and long sunny days of summer to be productive. So why do we use this terminology?