Saturday, February 02, 2013

Farm Bulletin: Farmer, Rockstar

Little did he know that when he first saw an ad for flint corn in a seed catalog, it would lead contributor Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm to acclaimed author-dom and, dare I say it, rockstar status among corn cognoscenti. There are two opportunities coming up to meet him and purchase a copy of his book, Beautiful Corn: America's Original Grain from Seed to Plate, the second of which comes with tasty snacks!

Acres is a national magazine for farmers dedicated to "eco-agriculture." The term encompasses organic, biodynamic and permaculture. This month featured an interview with Anthony and it has been interesting fielding the calls from kindred spirits in the corn world. They are scattered across the country, working with traditional varieties similar to ours. We are at the cusp of a re-localization of this wonderful grain. It is also encouraging to hear how our gentle approach to managing the land resonates with other growers.

Chesters ripening at Ayers Creek.

On Monday we gave a tour to 170 members of the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association. They were a more skeptical audience, though over the years we have made a modicum of progress with people at the Oregon State Extension Service. Nonetheless, they still regard Chester blackberries as an unattractive and unpleasant fruit, and remain mystified that we are able to sell them. The problem is that they push their Chester for high yields as opposed to limiting the fruit and drawing out the best flavor. Funny how people understand the idea of limiting fruit load in wine grapes but reject the notion in berries. The same principle holds for corn, as well, where high yields and high quality are mutually exclusive outcomes.

On Saturday, the 9th of February, Anna Stulz of Slow Food Portland, together with Friends of Family Farmers, has put together an evening centered on corn and wine. Anthony will share insights and inspirations from Beautiful Corn, which will be available for purchase. We will be joined by our good friends Kathryn LaSuza Yeomans and Mark Doxtader, who will cook up some corn treats, and Shari Sirkin of Dancing Goat Farm who will enhance the evening with her vegetables. Arcane Cellars will be pouring wine for tasting. It will be a fun evening.

Earlier the same day, we will be at Pastaworks for a Beautiful Corn event co-hosted by Powell Books. A busy day.

Details: Book Signing with Author Anthony Boutard. Sat., Feb. 9, 3-5 pm; free. Pastaworks, 3735 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 503-232-1010.

An Evening of Corn and Wine. Sat., Feb. 9, 7-8:30 pm; $12, tickets available online. Vintage Design Collective, 7126 SE Milwaukie.

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