Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Food Farmer Earth: A Passion for Peppers

There are many farmers in the Northwest who are, intentionally or not, building an incredible new agricultural system here, one that is starting to garner rave notices from around the country for its quality and innovation. One farm in particular that has bowled me over for just those reasons has been Viridian Farms in tiny Grand Island. Here is my interview with co-owner Manuel Recio for Food Farmer Earth.

When Manuel Recio and his wife, Leslie Lukas-Recio, had the sudden opportunity to buy her family’s farm on Grand Island in Oregon, they saw it as an opportunity to work for themselves as well as a way to include their love of food and the culture of Spain.

Fortunately for them, no one else in the area was growing the special peppers, beans and other vegetables used in Spanish cuisine, so they tore out farm’s old berry bushes and called their new venture Viridian Farms. Planting the seeds they’d brought back from Spain, that first harvest they started selling their produce at the farmers’ market.

Their market goods got the attention of the city’s chefs, who haunted the market’s stalls for new and different ingredients to feature on their menus. Word eventually leaked out about some of the extraordinary produce grown on the farm like ficoide glaciale (glacier lettuce) and oyster lettuce—it actually tastes like oysters—and they now count nationally known chefs from California to New York among their customers.

Read the rest of the story here. Get regular updates on this series about our local food scene by subscribing. This week's recipe is for easy homemade tamales.

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