Recap: Taos Pueblo and Red Willow Center Grand Food Event

The Red Willow Center. Photos by Gulcin Gilbert

Taos Pueblo Red Willow Center launched a special food event the weekend of Oct. 20. I attended, along with about 140 others. A farm tour was followed by dinner at the Pueblo Community Center on Friday evening. It was a delightful fusion of down-to-earth indigenous food with a healthy modern update. The meal was prepared by Native American chefs Karlos Baca (founder of A taste of Native Cuisine), and Brian Yazzie of the Sioux Chef Network, along with local Native chefs. The broader concept was to cook together using locally grown indigenous produce and to discuss cultural and systemic issues related to food. There was also an outreach to include the community outside the Pueblo for participation.

Vegetables were freshly harvested from the Red Willow green houses, located across from the Taos Mountain Casino. The traditional three sisters foods (beans, squash and corn) were featured along with carrots, a kale and wild rice salad, bean and chicos, garlic mashed potatoes, a pork dish and a wonderful porridge which included amaranth and sumac. Organizers plan on repeating this successful event next year at harvest time.

The Red Willow Center is managed by Nick Karhu who is the production manager and Bill Bockbrader who oversees mechanical/maintenance/gardening for the center. The two of them plus additional staff and volunteers, have done an amazing job. The center boasts three heated greenhouses, where they grow vegetables year round. There are also outdoor fields. The green houses are heated by a simple yet ingenuously engineered wood burning furnace.

The Red Willow Center Farmers Market is open every Wednesday, year-round, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s located across from the Taos Mountain Casino on Star Road.

Guest author Gulcin Gilbert is a filmmaker, writer and pilot who is interested in the core issues that will make humans and communities healthier and happier. Her latest documentary, Pink Skies, is about skydiving and cancer prevention.