Friday, July 15, 2011

In From the Cold

Frikeh harvest began in earnest this week at Ayers Creek Farm. Anthony and Carol Boutard farm with precision, well, actually a precision that is directed by the grand mother, Nature, herself.

The frumento is right now; the kernels are green, milky and still simple in their sugar structures. In a bit, the kernel flesh will begin to convert to complex carbohydrate chains. Exactly this week, 2011, between rains, is the time to arrest the conversion. It is an especially good year. The crop wintered over well and the seed heads are fully developed. No rust has invaded the stalks and the Oregon House Bill 2336 passed successfully. This year, frikeh legitimately joins other small farm products in the marketplace. Read Anthony's description of frikeh and the bill on Good Stuff NW.

Frikeh is a traditional food in both the cultural and agricultural sense. Whether harvesting or cooking, working with frikeh is a seasonal pleasure. It tastes as good as Dungeness crab in December, strawberries in June, chickories in Winter. Foods are simply their best when they are eaten in season and harvested and handled right.

Today frikeh landed on the lunch table in two ways. First, a cold soup made with buttermilk, followed by a salad, tabbouleh style (nix the mint), with home canned albacore in tomato sauce and chili flakes. The soup was all about the fields in July 2011, the year spring stalled out. Fresh dill, spring onions, fresh cilantro and purslane. The tomatoes and cucumbers were from vendors at the market with jumper cables on the season.

And so, despite hand wringing over odd weather patterns and fickle fields, the plants follow their order and we tag along. Really.