Edible Southwest Colorado Spring 2014

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No. 16 Spring 2014




Where Mediterranean meets the mountains Recommended by Bon Appetit Sunset Magazine The New York Times “Best Food” Award, Taste of Durango


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Natural, Local, Sustainable

46 8 20 22 24 24 30 27 34 38


THE CANCER PREVENTION DIET – an Edible interview with Nasha Winters

| Rachel Turiel



AQUAPONICS | Robbie Urquhart





| Rachel Turiel



here they were, as if recorded only yesterday. Entries in fountain pen ink, filling a hardcover journal. Each word, each entry and each page treated like something of great significance. Graceful cursive learned in a class that was once required. Each accounting carefully noted. Each weekly roll call. The Armstrongs. The Birchers. The McGregors and the Malletts, lots of Malletts. Six of the original 44 charter members of the Mt. Lookout Grange in Mancos were Malletts. “A motion was made to give the returned soldiers a reception and it was voted on favorably. The lecture program was interesting and lunch was enjoyed by all.” Preserved under the heading “New Business” on February 22nd 1919. The Mt. Lookout Grange was a simple rural club where nothing was too unimportant. “Eileen Everett reported she has the rules for the baking contest to be held in Montrose during the State Grange Convention on Sept 26th." [1963] When the world was small, everything had weight. I envy that as I trudge through my world of abundance, mildly homesick and chronically distracted. It is clear that my handwriting doesn’t matter to me. I can't even read it. Shamefully, I have never attended a reception for a returning soldier. I certainly can’t even tell you if I enjoyed my lunch yesterday. I am far too busy living in another yet-to-happen moment to really taste my meal (whatever it was ... I don’t recall). I wonder if I had lived in Mancos, Marvel, Lewis or Paonia around 1919, would I have been bored out of my skull? Or would I have been happy in a life devoid of much choice – free as a bird from the burden of a worldly perspective? And is that what this trend of getting back to the land is really all about? Like the young farmers from Road G (see page 24) and the revival of the Mt. Lookout Grange (see page 34). Are they saying to the world ... thanks for the gifts ... but I am going back to cursive and the plow? It’s like the fish crawled out of the water, and over a few billion years made it to two feet, bought an iphone and a gym membership only to learn that it wants back in the water. I don’t type on my Mac without longing for the Smith Corona I learned on. I prefer our beat up 1971 Ford long bed to my newish temperature-controlled Tacoma – despite the Ford’s staticky AM radio, deeply torn seats, no air, three manual gears and a top speed of 60. I close the door and my options are stripped. I wrestle a steering wheel the size of a hula hoop listening to the cowboy station through one beautifully crackly speaker and I am home. Granted, it also may help my level of contentment to know that there is a reliable truck 2  edible


back at the house. So call me a pretender. Call me nostalgic. Guilty as charged. But the smell of the grange reminds me of my grandmother’s South Texas home, and my grandmother’s home reminds me of my grandfather and my grandfather reminds me of eating donuts just before we headed to his lake cabin ... in the inky purple of dawn. It reminds me of when my world was small. And 90-year-old journal entries stir the same emotions. They reveal how there was a time when everything had relevance, even the rules to the baking contest, even lunch and whether it was enjoyed by all. Even the elegant longhand of the entry itself carried its own import. (As you may have noted, we changed our name. It had come to our understanding that while the San Juans are a big reason why we live here, they are not that famous five minutes outside of the San Juans. Southwest Colorado is much easier to locate on a map. Same stories. Same photography. Same quality. Same philosophy. Same owner, publisher, managing editor and staff.) – Rick Scibelli, Jr.


southwest colorado EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Rick Scibelli, Jr.



COPY EDITOR Chris Brussat

STAFF WRITERS Katie Burford Jaime Becktel Jess Kelley

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John W. Mitchell Robbie Urquhart

PHOTOGRAPHY Rick Scibelli, Jr. Michelle Ellis DESIGN Rick Scibelli, Jr.

We welcome letters to the editor, story ideas or submissions, email us at rick@ediblesouthwestcolorado.com or Rachel at sanjuandrive@frontier.net

INTERESTED IN ADVERTISING? CONTACT US Rick@ediblesouthwestcolorado.com Michelle@ediblesouthwestcolorado.com edible Southwest Colorado 361 Camino del Rio Suite 127 Durango, CO 81303 Edible Southwest Colorado is published quarterly by Sunny Boy Publications. All rights reserved. Distribution is throughout southwest Colorado and nationally (and locally) by subscription. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher. © 2014.

ON THE COVER: Harrison Topp, a kind of community organizer for the farm set, has an IMDb profile. To the unhip (which includes this writer), that means he has something to do with the movies. In Topp's case, it was on the other side of the camera. This wouldn't be that unusual if Topp wasn't now pursuing a career in helping farmers both young and old succeed. For the past year, Topp has been with the Montezuma School to Farm Project. On the side, he has served as the events coordinator at the Mt. Lookout Grange in Mancos, plowed fields at the Wily Carrot, attended all the Mancos Conservation District meetings and was part of the local Rocky Mountain Farmers Union chapter. He is now a full-time employee of the RMFU as a new farmer advocate. "This community has shaped me in so many ways," the Colorado native says. And it is safe to say that he has, in turn, shaped the community.

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Michelle Ellis is a freelance photographer and has lived in different parts of Colorado, but calls Fruita her home now. She loved raising her boys in the Roaring Fork Valley, where skiing was a priority. Now, the garden rules. Good food and good music is most important and, fortunately, these things are abundant in our state.

Ironically, after Rachel Turiel completed the story on eating backyard chickens, one of her hens impaled herself on an elk antler. Into the soup pot she went. (This is why her chickens don’t have names). Turiel raises food and a family and writes about it on her blog, 6512 and growing.

John W. Mitchell has served in positions from sailor to CEO. He lives in Cedaredge, Colorado, where he writes on a wide range of published topics and most days his wife loves him more than her horse. Read more of his writing at snowpackpr.com.

Jaime Becktel is a writer and artist living in the beautiful Mancos Valley. Her love and passion for local food began as a child working the family orchards in San Juan Capistrano, California, where they grew avocados, citrus and persimmons.Â

Chris Brussat is pleased to see the progress being made in the local food and organic food movements in La Plata County and beyond. Owner and farmer for TerraNova Gardens, he is now involved in opening a natural food store and deli in Bayfield. His dream is to see strong cooperative relationships around organic growing and food security.

Katie Burford left a 15-year career in journalism to make ice cream for a living because ice cream makes people happy. She admits to having fed it to her children in lieu of meals.

Robbie Urquhart is a freelance writer in Fruita, Colorado, where she is on staff at the Fruita Area Chamber of Commerce. A native Chicago suburbanite, Robbie settled in Colorado for the many climbing, biking and skiing opportunities.

Rick Scibelli Jr. is a freelance photographer working throughout the Southwest. Prior to that he worked at newspapers. And before that, a battery factory. And before that he owned a restaurant. It failed. Thus the factory gig. He is grateful to everybody on this page (and the advertisers throughout). His work can be found at rickscibelli.com and rickscibelliweddings.com.

tan¡gi¡ble adjective 1. discernible by the touch; material or substantial. 2. real or actual, rather than imaginary.

Print is alive. Print resonates. Print is tangible. At edible Southwest Colorado, our business is telling stories. In every issue we introduce our 40,000 readers to the innovative people, places, businesses, and organizations that exemplify change and creativity in our local foods economy. Our advertisers are an essential part of that conversation. We value good journalism, outstanding photography and design, quality paper stock, and a publication that conveys warmth and credibility. We craft every issue to be collected. The time and attention means it costs more, but it's worth it. Readers can see and touch your ad in an environment that communicates your commitment to quality and to community. It simply works. We are helping to grow a strong local foods economy that creates jobs, keeps the dollars here, and makes our communities more sustainable, healthy and prosperous.

Grow your business in the pages of edible Southwest Colorado and be part of the revolution.




ort Lewis College and its on-campus food provider, Sodexo, have committed to serving 20 percent "real food" by 2020. While serving only 80 percent non-real food might not sound that ambitious, their goal and its potential impact are significant. First, their criteria for "real" food are fairly lofty: local, fair, ecological and humane. Second, right now, less than 5 percent of the food served at the college meets that definition. The push to make the change is being driven by the FLC Environmental Center (EC), which last year conducted a line-by-line audit of Sodexo's invoices to determine a baseline for its real food target. The invoices were from 2012. The EC expects to complete a review of 2013's invoices by the end of the summer. EC Coordinator Rachel Landis says that the Real Food Challenge is a national campaign that leverages the buying power of higher education. "Universities also happen to be populated with incredibly impassioned students who want to see change," Landis explains. She says 76 percent of FLC students surveyed named sustainable food as their top environmental priority. The Real Food Challenge provides a "calculator" to help institu-

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tions determine whether food meets the definition. Third-party certification of organic or free-trade status gives foods a green light. Containing high fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes disqualifies them. Landis says coffee and tea represent a significant proportion of what currently meets the real food definition at FLC. A hurdle to getting more local food at the college is that there simply isn't enough of it. "Our local food system cannot feed 10,300 people a week," Landis says. And there's Sodexo's corporate culture to overcome. Earning vendor status with the provider can take months. But Sodexo and the Environmental Center have been working together to provide monthly "chow downs" that feature local food. These have given the EC an opportunity to "figure out what [Sodexo's] rules are so we can play by them," Landis says. She called this period a courtship and is confident the relationship will lead to the altar. "At my core, for better or worse, I'm an optimist," she says. Sodexo Executive Chef Pedro Ulibarri, who took over in September, said he's not daunted by the 20 by 2020 goal. "That's 6 years. If we can't do that in 6 years, something's wrong," he says.



Dr. Nasha Winters

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THE CANCER PREVENTION DIET An Edible Interview with Nasha Winters | Rachel Turiel


asha Winters is a Durango naturopathic doctor specializing in the field of oncology. Winters aims to support the whole person via Hippocrates’ credo: “Let food be thy medicine.” While not expecting cures, she believes cancer can be a manageable disease, and has supported patients out of stage IV cancers. Winters and her team are currently leading nationwide workshops teaching their specialized cancer support protocols to other health practitioners. If you could sum up her philosophy in a sentence, it might be: Live more like Laura Ingalls Wilder. Edible Southwest Colorado is fortunate to get the scoop (tip of the iceberg, really) on her cancer philosophy and protocol. Edible Southwest Colorado: How long have you been treating cancer patients? Nasha Winters: I first started learning about nutrition and cancer 24 years ago when dealing with my own cancer diagnosis. At that time, all information available in alternative cancer care pointed to raw food, juicing, and a vegan diet. There is much good in this and it did work for some people because of its profound cleansing effect. But cancer patients can’t get their blood sugar low enough on a vegan diet nor replenish some key nutritional deficiencies or build/repair tissue and adrenal function. In fact, I no longer work with vegan clients because of the roadblocks I have faced with trying to support their terrain. There was a lot we didn’t understand then that we are just beginning to grasp now with regard to nutritional biochemistry and therapeutic diets. What is the first thing you tell a new patient about diet? We want patients to understand that we can enhance their conventional therapy by enhancing nutrition. You encourage your patients to do chemo, radiation and surgery? Oh, yes. The majority of my patients are already doing conventional therapy. There is so much we can do to optimize their nutrition, which in turn offsets side effects, and, in many cases, allows the chemo/radiation/surgery to be more targeted and effective. All my patients keep a diet diary. I use lab markers, physical symptoms, body mass index and consider the type of chemo and cancer to determine their program. I don’t expect cures ever, but I think this can be a manageable disease like diabetes. We all have cancer cells all the time and we are learning that we can manipulate their expression.

Tell me more about that. Our bodies are constantly making new cells. We make new skin and gut cells every 24-72 hours. One of the things that happens with cancer is that a mixed message comes in and tells the cell to grow up into a different cell altogether. When the “cruise director” of our cellular matrix is guiding appropriately, we make new healthy tissue. When she’s on break, that’s when the cancer cells get out of hand. The number-one nutrient that differentiates our cells into healthy cells is Vitamin D3. Everyone should get their Vitamin D levels checked. The average Vitamin D at the turn of the century, which we know from soldiers’ records, was 115 ng/ml. Today it’s 30. Vitamin D3 comes from grass-fed animals, lard, supplementation (must be D3, in an oil source, preferably non-soy, taken with a fatty meal and leafy greens for the vitamin K2 that enhances its absorption), and being outside for periods of time without sunscreen. Vitamin D takes three days to synthesize in skin, so I tell my patients: no soap anywhere, except pits and parts (so as not to wash away this lovely fat soluble molecule). What’s the worst thing to eat if you have cancer? Cancer lives on sugar. Tumors require large amounts of glucose. Some patients do well on a short-term ketogenic diet (not the same as keto-acidosis): high fat, some protein, no carbs. Some require an intermittent fasting. Others may simply need to cut back on sugar, and processed and conventionally-grown foods. Even registered dieticians say we should be getting no more than 25 grams a day of sugar. Most Americans eat three days’ worth of sugar in their first meal of the day. Vanilla yogurt with granola, a banana and a glass of orange juice have over 70 grams of sugar. One hundred years ago, Americans ate 5 pounds of sugar per year. In 2013, 175 pounds. How important is it to watch your sugar intake if you don’t have cancer? Very. The National Institute of Health and the CDC says half of us will have diabetes by 2020 and one in three of us will be diagnosed with cancer. On our planet today, you’re most likely to die of three diseases: cancer, Alzheimer’s, and/or diabetes. They’re all sugar-based diseases. The oxidative stress that sugar brings into the mix is why our DNA is unraveling and exploding into obesity, diabetes, mental disorders, heart disease, and cancer.

IN THE OVEN Do all your patients get the same diet plan? Diet is based on lab blood values. We run labs monthly until someone is stable, then go to every three months. Seventy percent of all cancer patients die of cachexia, which is metabolic muscle wasting process. You can only build muscle with fat and protein, not carbs. And you can’t treat cachexia by stuffing yourself with calories. It’s the nature of the calories. I’ve actually had people gain weight on 250 calories a day of nutrient-dense food, not a gram of sugar, starch or carbs. Conventional oncology often gives TPN (total parenteral nutrition) through IV to severely cachexic patients. The first three ingredients are sugar in various forms. Is gluten a problem? Another big fuel for cancer is insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Gluten directly raises IGF-1 for all of us. It raises blood sugar, NF kappa beta (mother molecule of inflammation) and pokes holes in the gastrointestinal tract leading to a whole array of issues. Dr. Bharat Aggarwal, famed MD Anderson oncology researcher, says, “If we quell inflammation, we cure all the diseases of today.” How do you get your patients to change their diets? We lead cancer retreats, where every meal is provided, demonstrated, and recipes are shared. People learn quickly that this food is delicious and makes them feel better. We do blood work at the beginning and end of the retreat and you can literally see the lab values change after four days of altering the diet. What sort of guidelines do you give patients for eating meat? We know that iron is another major fuel source for tumors, along with sugar. We do labs to check for ferritin, which is iron storage. If they have high ferritin, then no red meat for a while. (And only if the patient wants to eat red meat, has adequate digestive function to break down and absorb it, and has a quality source of organic, grass-fed and grass finished meat or pastured poultry and/or pork). Red blood cells, hemoglobin and hematocrit are almost always low in cancer patients and especially low while undergoing treatment. This indicates anemia but rarely iron-deficient ane-

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mia. Probably only up to 10 percent of cancer patients are actually iron-deficient. There are 26 different types of anemia. The majority of cancer patients are B-12 deficient, which is often low in people with diets high in Omega 6, which includes most Americans [Ed: Omega 6’s come from grains, grain-fed animals and vegetable oils]. Most patients, within a few months of our treatment, get their ferritin levels perfect, and then they can have moderate amounts of grass-fed red meat if they so choose. Why grass-fed? It’s anti-inflammatory, filled with Omega 3s, CLA, Vitamin D3, B12, zinc, vitamins and minerals. What about fat intake? I recommend plenty of healthy fats. Coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia oil, nuts, avocados, non-GMO pastured eggs from a local source, ghee, pastured buttered. If you can get raw, organic, local, pastured dairy, that is great. If not, Kalona and Strauss are good brands available at most natural food stores. Only full-fat dairy products, no low-fat. The fat lowers the glycemic index, slows down absorption. Plus many vitamins are fat soluble (A, E, K, D). I had one woman on a feeding tube for cachexia and a partial bowel obstruction who could only manage to eat yogurt. She was at stage IV with ovarian cancer and is doing quite well today. Low fat, conventionally-raised dairy high in IGF-1 and inflammatory markers are well known to drive metastasis of various cancers. The pastured, organic version actually lowers the IGF-1 thanks to the conjugated linoleic acid content. Is it unusual to have people with stage IV cancer turn around? I was at a conference last year and a researcher asked a room of 300 clinicians, “How many of you have had stage IV clients go into remission?” Only three of us raised our hands. I’ve worked with a lot of stage IV people that are now NED [Ed: NED: no evidence of disease] or living well with the disease. I work with a lot of stage III and IV ovarian cancer patients and though we still lose folks to these aggressive cancers, we do see a higher incidence of better quality of life, longer duration of survival, and, for some, overall maintenance of the disease process. Is there any room for grains or legumes? Absolutely. If inflammation and blood sugar are stable, there are no food allergies or cross reactivities, or issues digesting lectins, which, for most of us is a problem at least some of the time. If grain were the same as it was prior to World War II, we could probably get by on small amounts. But, we’re inhaling it. Everything’s on a bun. Once my patients get their blood sugar levels down, they can introduce small amounts of beans: black, lentils, mung, adzuki (Note that these are smaller by design as they aren’t as starchy). But I’m talking a quarter cup cooked, no more than a couple times a week. Same with

grains: small amounts of quinoa, buckwheat, rice if tolerated. I advise to never go back on gluten. All my patients see and feel the biggest negative impact on their physical and mental well being as well as on their labs after trying to reintroduce gluten. Corn is second worst: pure sugar and mostly GMO these days, which impacts our DNA, hormones and immune function. Great books with more information on grains are Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis and Grain Brain by Dr. Perlmutter. What about fruits and vegetables? Avoid the Dirty Dozen [go ediblesouthwestcolorado.com to read about the dirty dozen]. I had a patient get arsenic poisoning from eating tremendous amounts of non-organic spinach that he was putting in his “healthy green smoothie” every morning. If a patient’s blood sugar is stable, they can have unlimited sweet potatoes, winter squash, beets, purple potatoes. I recommend, for everyone, nine cups of veggies per day: 3 cruciferous (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), 3 colorful, and 3 leafy greens. Dr. Terry Wahls’ TED talk, “Minding Your Mitochondria,” inspired this veggie protocol after she cured herself from a serious form

Two-Day Menu Plan – Based on Namaste Health Center’s Intuitive Sustenance Diet™ Jess Kelley, Master Nutrition Therapist

of Multiple Sclerosis. Cooked or raw veggies? Both. If digestion is weak, just cooked to begin with. Fruits? The only fruits my patients can have until their blood sugar is stabilized are small amounts of organic berries and one green apple daily. If you’re on the ketogenic diet, you don’t even get fruit for a period of time. There is no chance of successfully treating brain, liver or pancreatic cancer if you’re eating sugar. Limited amounts of raw honey are okay for some (especially for things like mucositis). Typically our sugar cravings are dehydration. First, drink water. Next, try some fat and protein, some avocado, grass-fed cheese, walnuts. If someone’s still wanting carbs after ingesting those things, I look at what’s going on emotionally. Basically, I ask my patients to eat well, sleep well, exercise and manage their stress. If we all did this, I’d be out of a job. (Dr. Nasha Winters is on staff at Namaste Health Center in Durango, CO)

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream 2 bananas, diced and frozen 1 can full fat coconut milk 1 tablespoon coconut oil


3 tablespoons creamy almond butter

Grainless granola made with soaked slivered almonds, shredded

1 cup tightly packed raw organic spinach

coconut, cocoa nibs, macadamia nuts, and Brazil nuts with coconut

½ cup cocoa nibs

oil, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and topped with organic blackber

1/2 tablespoon peppermint oil or 1 cup fresh mint

ries Mediterranean Frittata - pastured eggs baked with kale, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and shallots

In a food processor, blend spinach with 1/4 of the can of coconut milk, nut butter and coconut oil until spinach is well blended. Slowly add the rest of the coconut milk and peppermint oil. Stir in the cocoa nibs. Enjoy right away! – Jess Kelley, MNT

Lunch Shaved Brussels sprout coleslaw with pistachios, pomegranate, and organic nitrate-free bacon crumbles Thai Tom Yum Soup made with bone broth, canned full-fat coconut milk, cabbage, organic tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, fresh basil, cilantro, ginger, garlic, curry and turmeric

are magnesium, vitamin D, B-12, zinc and selenium." – Dr. Nasha Winters High-magnesium foods: avocado, dark chocolate, spinach, Swiss

Snack Almond flour rosemary crackers with James Ranch cheese and rosemary pesto Blueberry-lime “Jell-O” made with Great Lakes gelatin

chard High-vitamin D foods: organic lard, pastured butter, clean animal livers, cod liver oil High-B-12 foods: sardines, salmon, cod, lamb, grass-fed beef, eggs, grass-fed dairy

Dinner Poached wild-caught salmon steaks with sautéed wasabi fennel and cauliflower mashed potatoes Grass-fed beef or organic turkey burgers served on grilled portabella “buns” with sauerkraut and beet turnip fries

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"The nutrients in which cancer patients are most commonly deficient


High-zinc foods: oysters, grass-fed beef, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lentils High-selenium foods: Brazil nuts, tuna fish, turkey, chicken, sunflower seeds ( Want more information? Visit www.ediblesouthwestcolorado.com.)

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HENOPAUSE | Rachel Turiel


f the writing industry ever tanks, my next career move (after professional dog-walker) will be opening a retirement center for senior chickens. There will be space for any hard-working girl who’s come to the end of her productive life, for whom the egg-laying lights have gone out, who’s reached, if you will, henopause. During the past decade, in which chickens became, according to a 2009 article in The New Yorker, the “It Bird,” hundreds of thousands of urbanites fledged their own backyard flocks. Membership on Backyard Chickens.com soared from 50 to 200,000. Books were published (City Chickens); urban municipalities (Boston, Oakland, Manhattan) adopted chicken-friendly ordinances; chickens were cuddled and given precious names (Sunflower, Little Buddy, Cowgirl). The chicken boom was on. There are myriad reasons to get your own backyard laying flock: eggs, manure, leaf-shredding, entertainment, participation in the cycle of life. And there is one immutable, inconvenient truth: a female chicken produces a finite amount of eggs. The exact number varies depending on breed and health, but after three to four years of popping out approximately 600-900 eggs for your culinary pleasure, girlfriend is done. Your senior hen is now ready to assume an elder’s role in the flock. She can live out her retirement pecking around, scratching for insects, dust-bathing and absolved of all labor, provided she’s given space, food, water, and protection for the rest of her days. This will cost you $84 in food per chicken per year (organic chicken scratch, Basin Co-op). Plus $312 in purchasing (local) eggs (1 dozen/week, Durango Natural Foods). Now, that’s not very sustainable, is it?

PLAN B The other option, besides taking your hens on a one-way drive to the woods, or to my yet-to-exist chicken shelter, is the obvious: (whispering, here) bring them to the soup pot. The job of killing our last flock went to my husband, Dan, because I can barely kill a grasshopper camped out on my garden lettuce without a convulsive shudder. One night after the kids were asleep, we watched a video about humanely killing chickens, like date night for murderers. (YouTube: “respectful chicken harvest”). And then we put off the killing for three more months. Next, it started snowing, which is a chicken’s biggest insult. One morning, Dan, in green apron, ghosted through falling snow from chicken coop to shed-turned-abattoir, a chicken (bearing a precious name) cradled in his arms. That same night we feasted on surprisingly delicious chicken enchiladas, nobody bringing up Little Buddy’s name, as if she were some estranged, unmentionable relative.

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"HOW TO KILL A CHICKEN" (A GOOGLE SEARCH) SECOND ONLY TO “HOW TO KILL BLACK WIDOWS” These days you can download a YouTube app on How to Butcher a Chicken into your brainstem in less time than it takes to read this article. Foregoing great detail, it’s not rocket science; the hardest part is likely reckoning with your own emotions. The priority is a quick kill, minimizing suffering. This requires an unfailingly sharp knife, a solid plan, and some understanding of chicken anatomy. Michael Rendon, former mayor of Durango (serving while Durango City Council gave the thumbs up to city chickens), has a small flock scratching around his downtown Durango backyard. He maintains that everyone who imagines themselves the future shepherd of a backyard flock should have a well-thought-out plan for the day their chickens’ reproduction registers a flashing N/A. Rendon places his chickens upside down in homemade killing cones nailed to a wall. Blood rushes to their heads, rendering them


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calm and drowsy. He burns sage and offers prayers of gratitude to soften some of the discomfort. For the humans, at least. Then, he cuts off their heads with garden loppers. “It’s sure and secure,” Rendon says, also noting that this is a kinder death than by the usual predatory urban suspects: raccoon, dog, skunk, bear.

Alternately, one can sit with the hen placed upside down, between one’s legs, thighs pinning the wings. After a few relaxing strokes against the chicken’s neck, offering the additional benefit of parting the feathers and locating the jugular, a quick slash with a single edged razor blade closes the deal. The chicken bleeds out into an awaiting bucket. At this point, you’ll want a large pot of very hot, but not boiling, water. A camp stove, or other outdoor option, is recommended. Holding the feet of your now-dead bird, dip it in head first and hold underwater for approximately 30 seconds, long enough to loosen the feathers but not long enough to begin cooking the skin. Pluck feathers quickly. Birds can also be skinned, avoiding the labor of plucking. Next, make a slit up from the anus and pull out the internal organs, to be set aside for the luckiest dog you know. Finally, cool the birds in ice water. Then transfer, in covered pot, to the refrigerator. Let the meat “rest” in the fridge for 1-3 days, tenderizing the rigor mortis that sets in about twenty minutes after death.

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IN THE KITCHEN A henopausal chicken rounding the bend of her fourth year is not a tender young thing. Commercial meat birds are slaughtered at between five and seven weeks, and they taste like it. Becoming a master of tenderizing tough meat is a lost art, one which will earn you a notch in your frugal, DIY belt. A pressure cooker, which cooks at very high heat for a short time, or a crock pot, which cooks at a very low heat for a long time (and can be recreated with a stove-top pot on low heat), are the requisite kitchen tools to soften the years in the meat. With either method, add a cup or two of liquid (water, wine, vinegar, tamari), spices, and garlic. Bones, skin and other fowly bits can be saved for a golden, oily broth; the best you’ve ever tasted. Pull meat off the bones, then cover bones with three times as much water, a splash of vinegar to loosen the minerals into the broth, and simmer on extremely low heat for 12-24 hours. IF YOU CAN’T KILL YOUR LIVESTOCK-PETS Because backyard chickens live at the sticky intersection between pet and livestock, and because eating meat is a universe removed from killing meat, a 4-year-old, non-laying hen is precisely where things get tricky. Sarah Syverson, Director of Montezuma Farm to School Project and owner of a small farm in Mancos, is on her third flock of laying hens. She grew up in a Montana hunting family, eats meat, and yet, hasn’t yet been able to bring the knife to the chicken. Currently, out of 17 chickens, she’s receiving about 3 eggs a day. “Talk about the golden egg,” she jokes. “Each one is worth about $30.” Previous senior flocks of Syverson’s have been offered free on Craigslist. Syverson is not opposed to the idea of killing chickens, and believes it can be done respectfully, but is not “there yet” for herself. “It’s awesome in a way to be in the middle of this quandary. It brings it right in your face. I value meat more than ever before.” Katie Burford, owner of Cream Bean Berry in Durango, tends a sizable flock in her urban yard. She, like Syverson, is in it for the eggs and knows her non-layers will not be “living out their lives here.” She’s comfortable with someone else killing her flock, especially knowing that she “gave them a better life than the average chicken.” Still others, once enthusiastic riders on the backyard poultry train, have disembarked permanently. After three years of raising hens, Jennifer and Parker Jardine, of Durango, have given away their last chicken. For them, all the local eggs in the world couldn’t mediate the effects of vicious raccoon attacks, poop on the lawn, and early morning squawking. CONCLUSION If I ever start my retirement home for chickens, I’ll call it Lady Love. You can bring your birds, no questions asked, to live out their days on sweet, green pasture and rambling weeds. Everyone is a sister here. Leave your chicken and your check in the holding pen. What happens next I’ll never tell.

LOCAL CHEF'S SHARE – Vera Hansen, chef at Cyprus Cafe in Durango, CO

MOROCCAN CHICKEN TAGINE INGREDIENTS 1 whole chicken cut into four pieces, or four chicken breasts 1 medium yellow onion, medium diced 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced ¼ cup diced preserved lemon rind (sub 1 whole lemon zest and juice) * ¼ cup chopped green olives 1/2 cup dry white wine 4-6 cups chicken stock 1 pinch saffron 1 teaspoon each cumin, coriander, toasted and ground caraway seed Salt and pepper to taste METHOD Cut whole chicken into pieces. Salt and pepper. Heat braising pan to medium high heat, add olive oil and sear chicken to a golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside. To same pan, add onion and ginger. Sauté until translucent. Add spices and deglaze pan with white wine. Return chicken to pan and cover with chicken stock. Add preserved lemon rind and olives. Cover pot and braise in oven at 300 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Serve with Israeli couscous, brown rice or grain of your choice, or serve over vegetables for a grain-free option. PRESERVED LEMON RIND Four lemons cut in wedges ¼ cup salt Place lemon wedges in a large bowl, add salt and smash lemons until most of the juice is extracted. Place in container that has room to place a weight on top of lemons. Anything heavy enough to press the plate against the lemons is fine. If there is not enough juice to cover, add water until just covered. Leave out 24 hours. Place in refrigerator for 1 week. When ready to use, discard inside of lemons, saving the rind. Rinse well. – Vera Hansen

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rank Zappa once uttered in part: “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline.” While Zappa was taking a swipe at our testosterone culture, he did live and die in a time before the current golden age of locally-brewed beer. Zappa, who advocated entrepreneurship and capitalism, surely would not have objected to this twist on his infamous sentiment: “You can’t be a real town until you have your own craft beer brewery.” Southwest Colorado is awash in locally-brewed beer. Durango, Montrose and Grand Junction, the “big cities” of the region, boast at least ten breweries between them. Durango, a city of 18,000, has five. But many of the region’s small towns such as Ouray, Ridgway, Paonia and Palisade – some with less than a thousand people – make delicious craft beer. Talk to any of the brewers in these towns and you will hear a variation on the same story: they had a dream to make better beer to drink in fellowship with their friends and neighbors. Many of these artisan brewers were accomplished in other professions, but they didn’t go to work happy until they became fulltime brewers. What is evident from a tour around this corner of the state is that happy craft brewers make for really happy civic leaders. Craft beer, it turns out, is good for small town economies. Neal Schwieterman, mayor of Paonia for seven years, attributes the opening of Revolution Brewing as a contributing reason that the town got through The Great Recession as well as it did. “The recession just slaughtered many small town budgets. We saw a fall in sales tax revenue at most of our businesses. But the 20  edible


Paonia budget was stable for four years. The fact that Mike and Gretchen King [Revolution Brewing’s owners] showed up right before the recession to open a brewery was important in our town getting through the recession as well as we did,” says Schwieterman. He noted that Paonia has a diverse tax base, including tourism, lumber, hunting, agriculture, and retail. It’s also headquarters for the High Country News. But even while grocery store sales tax revenue declined in the Great Recession, Schwieterman noted that beer sales persevered. Schwieterman’s sentiment that alcohol sales, especially craft beer, stay strong in hard economic times is supported by many sources. According to the research group Minter, which tracks trends in several industries, a quarter of craft beer drinkers reported drinking more craft beer in bars and restaurants from 2007-2012, during the depths of the recession. According to the Brewer’s Association (BA), the largest trade group for craft beer manufacturers, from 2011 through the first half of 2013 craft beer sales, by volume and dollar, grew approximately 12 to 14 percent a year. The BA places the number of breweries in Colorado at 154 in 2012, and that number has grown in the past 18 months. The economic value of all the flowing beer was measured at $446 million in a mid-2012 report commissioned by the Colorado Brewer’s Guild in April of 2012. For a local small town economy, the direct financial impact comes from sales tax on each pint sold. Privacy provisions in the tax code make sales tax a confidential issue and brewers are not

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Erik Maxson samples a new brew at Brew in Durango, CO. eager to divulge numbers, but with a little bit of math, it is possible to arrive at a good estimate. According to a Beer Advocate, there are 1.24 million 16-ounce pints in 5,000 barrels of beer, with a barrel of beer holding 31 gallons. If a small town brewery is producing 1,500 barrels of beer annually, it is selling 372,000 pints. If the average price of a pint is conservatively $4, annual beer sales will net about $1.5 million. At a town tax of 2 percent, this yields approximately $30,000 annually. Add in food that most small breweries sell, and that figure will be even higher. But, town officials stressed that breweries contribute much more to a local economy than sales tax. They provide jobs. And, as with wineries and distilleries, craft breweries are becoming part of the travel destination economy. “I would find it hard to believe that they [tourists] would just come to town for a couple of beers and not find something else that they couldn’t live without,” says Jen Coates, town manager in Ridgway, which is home to Colorado Boy Brewing (and restaurant). She noted that 20 percent of local tax revenues are derived from restaurant and bar sales. According to Kelly Flenniken, Executive Director at the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, an average tourist will spend between $500 and $750 during a two-to-three-day stay. Such spending is vital to the region, affirmed Patrick Rondinelli, city administrator in Ouray, home to two breweries. “We are a tourist destination and it’s important to have something for people to do when they’re here. Breweries help contribute to our economic well being,” he says. “Local craft beers are key supporters for the summer concert series here in Ouray, Ridgway and Paonia that draws visitors from around the region and even the Front Range.” Rich Sales, town administrator in Palisade, says that his town could not afford to hold its annual Bluegrass Festival without the support of Palisade Brewery. The proceeds from the beer the

brewery donates help pay for much of the expense of the event. “When you see a town with a brewery, you know something creative is going on,” says Laura Grey, Director at Colorado Heritage & Agritourism Program. “These breweries integrate into the community. Local breweries pass their spent grain along to farmers as hog feed and they use local graphic designers to create their labels. It all has a ripple effect.” Most breweries also organize charity events in support of their community, such as the Monthly Firkin Fundraiser night at Kannah Creek Brewing Company in Grand Junction. According to Katlin Lubeley, Marketing Coordinator, Kannah Creek donates 100 percent of the proceeds and has raised more than $14,000 for 15 different local nonprofits since it started the event in late 2012. For Erik Maxson, who opened Brew, Durango’s fifth brewery, last year, the very essence of craft beer is to make the community a better place. Maxson’s unique beer-making philosophy seeks to move beyond defining beers by color, but rather by the range of taste influenced by the malt, hops and yeast which is possible with any color of beer. He buys as much as he can from local producers, including produce, beef and pork. “We’re not trying to take care of the world,” Maxson says. “We’re trying to take care of our neighborhood. The very essence of a brewery is about community. Our history is that of the old public houses where people would meet to trade news and gossip over a pint. That’s the foundation of craft beer.”



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Dave Banga of Banga's Farm

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n 1874, seven gold miners from San Francisco found themselves knee-deep in the tall grass of the Mancos Valley. After beholding the bowl-shaped symmetry of Mesa Verde’s jutting claw and the dioramic perfection of the La Platas, they collectively declared the expanse of grass and marsh their new home. Established officially in 1881, Mancos wasn’t so much a boomtown as a steadily burgeoning community of homesteaders, farmers, ranchers and families. One hundred and forty years later, there’s an element of pause in the air, like the frozen moment of a Winslow Homer painting. Down Weber Canyon, past the cemeteries and before County Road 41 turns to dirt, you hit Montezuma County Road G. Turn right at the yard of Jurassic Volkswagen carcasses and Mesa Verde smacks you in the lens. Bent before you, a runner of dust, gravel and marsh is home and farm to a handful of talented young growers making a hearty contribution in the local food system. To the east, Mountain Roots Produce, owned by Mike Nolan. Down yonder a bit, the lady of the bunch, Kellie Pettyjohn, runs the Wily Carrot. Then there’s Miles Gallagher of Food For All and Dave Banga of Banga's Farm. Good people these farmers. Hard workers. Dreamers. Travelers.

Banga started the migration to G six years ago from Durango. Originally from Florida, farming didn’t register for him until moving to Chicago where he worked for The City Farm, a one-acre heirloom tomato operation adjacent to the Cabrini-Green Projects. “I liked it more than anything else in my life, and decided that farming was it. It met my social and political needs, as well as being outdoors and providing something of value. I figured if I liked farming in Chicago with sirens, pollution, crackheads, the subway under the farm and people throwing rocks at my head, then I could probably do it anywhere.” Banga began leasing land up the Florida River Valley near Durango in 2006. “That first year was rough and most of what I know I learned from trial and error,” he says. In 2009, he moved to Mancos and bought a swamp at the bottom of the valley. “People in Florida joke about idiots who buy swampland,” says Banga, but with water an increasingly hot topic, his swamp has proved a blessing. “Around here,

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water is full on until it’s gone. To make a living in this you have to do a lot in a short amount of time. It’s hard on the body, hard on the mind and you have to be organized.” Now in his eighth year of food production, Banga is pleased with the influx of new farmers to his neighborhood and the amount of food they are cranking out for both Montezuma and La Plata counties. Six years ago he was a lone wolf on this isolated strip of backcountry road. “Now I can’t go a day without someone stopping by to visit or borrow something.” Kellie Pettyjohn grew up a military brat, bouncing around the US before heading to colleget in Virginia. After graduating, she bought a Willing Workers on Organic Farms catalog on a whim and the first farmer she contacted was Banga in Mancos. That year, she became his 2010 farm intern, living in a refurbished chicken coop on his property. When the season ended, she traveled to Afghanistan, working in schools and hospitals until Miles Gallagher offered her a portion of his property on G to start The Wily Carrot. “That first year was

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Kellie Pettyjohn of the Wily Carrot, above. Liz Potter drags well-worn row covers out to the fields at Banga's Farm. 28  edible


challenging because it was raw land. I had to start from scratch with no infrastructure, hauling water and washing greens in a small salad spinner.” Now entering her fourth season, Pettyjohn is focusing on a higher volume of fewer crops for local restaurants and grocery stores and is excited to learn tractor-farming techniques from Mike Nolan. “There’s a lot of collaboration on Road G," she says. “We’re always borrowing tools from each other or stopping by to complain about flea beetles. The community and the friendships make it all worth it.” When asked, “Why farming?” Pettyjohn responds with, “I love being outside with my hands in the dirt. I get bored easily and with farming there’s a new challenge every single day whether I want it or not!” This lot is a pack of travelers. In the winter of 2012, Pettyjohn lit off to spend the season in Antarctica, while this past winter, Banga escaped to Morocco. Miles Gallagher, owner of Food For All Farm, was unavailable for an interview while gallivanting about India and China. Gallagher is another Banga farmhand turned farm owner and his farm was created around the premise of producing food to serve those in need within the community. Each season, he donates onethird of his harvest to local soup kitchens in Durango and Cortez while the other three farmers contribute food donations throughout the community as well. Mike Nolan breaks ground on his first Road G season this year. Born and raised in Australia until moving to California when he was eight years old, Nolan got the farm itch while attending school at UC Davis where he worked at a community garden. After graduating, he helped run a small CSA amidst the expanse of Big Ag farming operations. “I realized that I really liked farming but I wanted a more technical understanding of it so I applied for the Santa Cruz Apprenticeship in Agro Ecology and Sustainability,” he explains. During this six-month apprenticeship, he met farmer Gabe Eggers of Twin Buttes Farm, who would later introduce him to Durango. Nolan spent the next few years traveling and working on a farm in Las Trampas, New Mexico, cultivating 10 acres with draft mule before moving to La Boca Center for Sustainability, south of Ignacio. He later helped lay the foundation for the Old Fort Market Garden Incubator Program in Hesperus, alongside Beth LaShell, of Fort Lewis College. It was there he began Mountain Roots Produce, growing beets, turnips and rutabaga. “Farming for me has never been a hobby. I look at it as a profession and a business. It’s hard work and can be profitable if done well and it’s all about systems management and problem solving.” Now on G, Nolan is tractor farming and focusing on storage crops that will carry through the winter. “In general, I focus on root and storage crop varieties, minimizing a high water need and seasonal extension.” He’s fired up about his new country road community. “Everyone on the whole span of Road G is cool. I can’t think of another place within 100 miles of Durango where four farmers doing such different things in such different ways are in this close a proximity. I think being here is going to be really fun.”

The common thread linking these four farmers together on this gem of a road is that they’re all good friends. The competition between them is healthy and playful, and like the early pioneers of this hidden valley pocket, they help each other out. There’s constant heckling, borrowing, building and laughing. Their contribution to the local food system is commendable, as is their stubborn passion for raising produce at 7,000 feet.

Mike Nolan of Mountain Roots Produce.

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Photos by Michelle Ellis

Rick Kenegay, the consummate educator, at Canyon View Gardens.

t’s a bright January afternoon, and the temperature is attempting to reach the double-digit mark. I feel as though I’ve fallen through the rabbit hole, in my shirtsleeves, sweating, and stuffing my face with the most luscious salad. First course is the nasturtium blossom (tastes just like radish), then to the Thai basil, the butter crunch lettuce, and the wing bean. The sweet stevia leaf is last; I swipe two of them. The idea of plucking plant parts and popping them in my mouth without washing them first or checking for bugs is definitely a wonderland treat. I’m inside the Canyon View Gardens aquaponics greenhouse, grazing on a consortium of fresh greens straight off the plant while Rick Kenegay, overseer of operations, explains why there are fish tanks in the building and no soil. The greenhouse (and the adjacent community garden plots) sits on the property of the Canyon View Vineyard Church in Grand Junction. Aquaponics, a food production system combining conventional aquaculture (where fish are bred, reared and harvested) with hydroponics (where plants are grown in water), utilizes the waste excretions — the “pee and the poo” as explained by Kenegay — from fish to feed the plants. Bacteria break these byproducts into nitrates and nitrites, which are nutrients needed by the plants. The plants then oxygen-

ate the water, which is recirculated to the fish tank. Once the balance between fish and plant is established, there is no need to clean the water, weed or fertilize. Put your feet up and watch the garden grow. Plants are either rooted directly in the water or placed in beds containing organic material such as cobblestones, clay or lava rock. Water from the fish tanks is continuously fed into these beds. Once the water reaches a certain level, it is flushed back to the fish, cleaned and oxygenated. The Gardens’ aquaponics system mainly raises tilapia and some koi. Tilapia, known as the “aquatic chicken,” is easily farmed. Koi, a bit more expensive, is hardier in colder temperatures. Unlike tilapia, koi, a bony bottom-feeding carp, is raised more for ornamental purposes than for food. Most commercial tilapia found in grocery stores is harvested from farms in Latin America or Asia where the industry is typically unregulated. Ratings by Seafood Watch, an unaffiliated consumer guide to buying sustainable fish, put the United States as “best choice” for farmed tilapia; Latin America as “good alternative;” China, “to be avoided.” In a non-commercial environment like Canyon View Gardens, the tilapia is raised on a healthy diet of aquatic plants and algae resulting in a good source of protein and containing a much higher amount of the omega-3 fatty acids (though still less than salmon) than farmed

Justin West tilapia fed on corn and soy. Because of its affordability, farming tilapia is expected to increase each year with consumers purchasing the cheaper frozen fish in lieu of the pricier fresh fish. The industry is slowly improving standards and initiating fish certification programs that give participating farms “responsibly farmed” labels once they pass scrutiny. Kenegay and several other Canyon View parishioners started the community garden four years ago on an unused plot of church property. Today, the Gardens involve over two hundred community volunteers, and produced over 25,000 pounds of vegetables last year. Two years ago, in an effort to produce food year round, they built the greenhouse. Designed by architect Rob Breeden and constructed by Kenegay’s father, John, this 1,100-square-foot structure houses over thirty plant species. Their niche is Asian plants including Thai chili, bok choy, water cress, ginger, Thai eggplant, Kaffir lime, bit32  edible


Photo by Rick Scibelli, Jr. ter melon, Chinese kale and Vietnamese coriander. Outside of Durango in Hidden Valley, Justin West is also experimenting with aquaponics food production. Surrounded on three sides by national forest, Sacred Valley Farm also utilizes tilapia and media beds with river rock. West dug his greenhouse by hand early last year and is now supplying his watercress to local restaurants. He began dabbling in gardening as a college student where he fell in love with plants. After graduating from Fort Lewis College in 2008, he traveled to Southeast Asia, Central and South America. While surfing in Costa Rica he says he was called back home, choosing Durango as his residence. His plant knowledge expanded tremendously when he became a raw food chef at the Turtle Lake Refuge, a raw food café in Durango specializing in wild foods. He is fascinated with wild plants and their medicinal properties,

Dijon Tilapia Cakes with Greens Serves 4 – 2 cakes each Clean two 1 1/2 pound fish and leave whole (you can Google this subject if not sure). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper the fish. Bake for 40 minutes or until fish is flaky. When cooled, debone the fish (again, Google if not sure). INGREDIENTS Fish prepared as above

Remove chilled tilapia balls from refrigerator and flatten into cakes.

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Saute in butter, olive oil or coconut oil on medium high heat until

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

golden brown, approximately 3 minutes on each side.

3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (gluten-free option: a mix of coconut flour and crushed pistachios)


2 eggs

4 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons dried dill

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons dried oregano


2 teaspoons dried parsley

In a large bowl, combine and mix all the ingredients well. Form mix

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

ture into 8 balls. Set up in refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Juice of 1/2 lemon

While these are chilling, wash your greens. Use greens of your

Shake in jar, drizzle over greens

choice, but our suggestion includes a mix of red sorrel, watercress, assorted lettuces, and micro greens.

Nasturtium flowers can be thrown on top as they are edible too, and a beautiful touch of color.

claiming that is his driving force. It’s quite apparent that his relationship with the natural world is what keeps him happy and healthy. After scrimping and saving for several years, West purchased his 3.3 acres two years ago. Although he does traditional farming as well, West likes aquaponics because it’s self-sustaining. And, in his words, “really different, geeky…. It involves lots of science; it’s an experiment.” He’d like to expand his greenhouse to grow mushrooms since the high humidity is the perfect environment for them. He’d also like to grow a perennial garden with basils and lavender. Canyon View Gardens strives to be a training center for agricultural food production in an effort to provide healthy food for people in need. After volunteers take their bounty of produce, a portion is donated to several nursing homes. The rest of the produce is sold at its Saturday market for one dollar per pound. Selling the farmed fish entails a rigorous certification process through the Mesa County Health Department, which the Gardens has not done yet, so the fish is used for church dinners. According to Kenegay, the education component to the Canyon View Gardens is integral to the mission of alleviating hunger through community outreach. At the community level, students

from Caprock Academy, a charter school adjacent to the Gardens, are offered two six-week sessions of gardening from planting seeds to harvesting vegetables during the year. As both Kenegay and West know, aquaponics farming is in its infancy. Whether for community or commercial production, this method has some obstacles. Winter food production in Colorado is difficult since the winters can be harsh, and heating a greenhouse can be expensive. Canyon View Gardens utilizes a propane tank connected to a forced-air heater, a costly method of heating. The Sacred Valley Farm greenhouse is heated through an in-floor system that runs under the fish tanks, heating the water. West plans on acquiring hot water solar panels to run his system. The initial set up may be expensive, but the savings will be recouped quickly once the system is operating efficiently. Rob Breeden sees the aquaponics system more viable for the small home grower right now. Forever the architect, he envisions homes designed with family food production in mind, utilizing passive solar or geothermal applications. He also would like to explore other urban gardening methods such as rooftop gardens and vertical gardens — anything that brings local food fresh and healthy to the table.


Betsy Harrison, one of the forces behind the resurgence of the Mt. Lookout Grange in Mancos, CO. “Talk on bloat in livestock. Discussion on how to make things convenient for the housekeeper. Also there were some other interesting discussions. The lunch was enjoyed by all.” – Meeting notes, Mt. Lookout Grange, Mancos, Colorado, May 25, 1919 (the local organization’s inaugural year).


ow plow forward just south of 100 years. As many as 60 people could be showing up within the hour for a community dinner in the very same building on the corner of Grand Avenue and N. Spruce Street. Ten-year-old Lizzy White is trying to puzzle out how to cover six long folding tables with four time-tested tablecloths.

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Adults are in the kitchen, elbow deep in the evening’s offerings, feeling the heat of the pressing deadline. “Put the tables end to end,” an anonymous voice calls from the kitchen. With that problem solved, Lizzy promptly sets up her Girl Scout cookies. Tonight, dinner is being served at the Mt. Lookout Grange. Friends will catch up. Announcements will be made. And dinner will be enjoyed by all. Around 1864, following a failed career as a farmer (drought), and an Indian trader (guilty conscience), Bostonian Oliver Hudson

Kelley had an idea. Now working for the federal government in the Department of Agriculture, Kelley was commissioned to do a survey of farming conditions in the South. Apparently Kelley was appalled by what he saw. Details remain a mystery, but Kelley, prior to his trip, had entertained the idea of an organization of farmers for selfimprovement; a fraternal order patterned after the Masons with one glaring exception: women would be allowed. With the help of a colleague, he founded The Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry in 1867. There was a time when a simple conversation demanded immediate proximity. Farming was lonely. A trip to church amounted to a social engagement. So enters The Grange as a social hub for the rural set. Only later did it become a political force following the Panic of 1873, originally known as the Great Depression long before the other Great Depression came along. It was a place to learn how to be a good housekeeper (see above), talk bloat, pay respects to the deceased, catch up with your neighbor or learn about French culture. “Ms. Giselle Eberling of French descent spoke on life in France and customs of the country,” – Meeting notes, Mt. Lookout Grange, Mancos, Colorado, August 2, 1962. Following a lull in activity, the grange movement is now experiencing a resurgence in Mancos and across the country. “We had a thirty-year hiatus,” says Harrison Topp, one of the people behind the newly-revived Mt. Lookout Grange in Mancos. Topp has a throwback look. Suspenders. Work pants and a well-worn snappy shirt. Lace-up railroad boots. Circa 1919. Three to four hours before dinner, Topp and his crew start preparing the food – much of it donated – in the small kitchen adjacent to the fluorescently lit no-frills dining room. “I am convinced the fluorescents chase people away,” Liz Bohm says, her tongue planted in her cheek while managing some Berto Farm sausage sizzling in a pot over the harvest gold-colored electric stove. “We need new lighting.” Frankly, they need new a lot of things, including tablecloths, but they make it work. Fifty people show up at 5:30 sharp for the sausage, beans, green chili chicken, spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, beet and carrot slaw, corn bread and homemade sweets all created and donated by the community, including Viking Chicks, P&D Grocery, Confluence Farms, Lil’ Bit Farm and Fahrenheit Coffee Roasters. “The Grange is a place where people who might not ever cross

paths are crossing paths,” Bohm notes. “The experience of eating together can be very powerful.” Cindy Greer, a 40-year veteran of the Marvel, Colorado, grange, knows this to be true. Nothing much has changed since she joined in 1970. “In February, we had a luau with Hawaiian foods and we had 80 people attend,” Greer says. It can somehow prove comforting to learn that a town the size of Marvel (try to find it on a map) can draw a crowd for a rural luau in the dead of a Colorado winter. “It is about socializing, coming together and sharing ideas with your neighbors.” In addition to Marvel and Mancos, Southwest Colorado supports the Florida Grange in Durango, and the Mt. Allison Grange near Ignacio. Active and dormant granges dot the landscape from Grand Junction to Lewis. The Mt. Lookout meal has the vibe of a traditional Sunday dinner. It feels like family time. These are farm people. You can tell by the well-worn Carhartts, the cowboy hats, the beards, the dirt on the boots. But mostly from the common language.

Eddie Custer, 2, top, takes refuge in the confines of his mother's embrace prior to the community dinner at the Mt. Lookout Grange in Mancos, CO. Lizzy White, 10, above, sets up her table for her Girl Scout cookies.

A 4-H display at the Marvel Grange. “Travis picked up a new goat today,” Gabe Deall says to nobody in particular. “ I heard, Giovanni,” Paul Brewer replies. “I guess Carmelita is going to be having babies,” Gabe concludes. Giovanni and Carmelita being goat names and apparently not farmer names.

Brewer, along with his wife, Andrea, moved from Denver to Mancos a month ago. “Things like this are why we are here,” Paul says. Andrea calls her time volunteering in the grange kitchen her “karma yoga.” “We wanted to add something to the community besides traffic,” she explains. An annual membership at the Mt. Lookout Grange is $36 (seemingly a standard fee across the grange-nation). For this, you get a free monthly dinner (donations are appreciated). But you also can get general farming classes, seed saving workshops, maybe a mushroom class or Spanish. Grange members can also rent the building for $10 a day. That is not a misprint. The evening is wrapped up with announcements. And while there is no plan for any housekeeping workshops, there are calls for action. “We need pots and pans,” Gretchen Groenke, the community health organizer for Montezuma County and an active Mancos granger, says. Nobody mentions the tablecloth deficit. Barbara Rousseau promotes her yoga class (a small fee, some of which is donated right back to the grange). Groenke reminds people of the Spanish class. “It’s free?” asks the yoga teacher. “It’s free,” Groenke replies. “Come, it’s fun.” Topp calls for people to grab a sack and take home some leftovers. Several take immediate action. “Any other announcements?” Groenke asks. “Yes,” Lizzy White says. “Buy Girl Scout cookies.”




y first taste of homemade mayonnaise, so deeply flavorful, caused me to rethink my own existence for a couple of days. Perhaps it’s the light garlic notes; the tangy hint of lemon; the way that the whisking of oil, egg yolk and water into an emulsion right before my eyes confers upon me the status of kitchen chemist. You may have thought mayo was something to slide discreetly between bread and a slice of cheese, rather than the inspiration and vehicle for consumption of entire vegetable kingdoms. This homemade mayo stands alone as dip for raw veggies, salad dressing, and topping for steamed vegetables. If you’re still leery of fat, due to 1980s-era marketing, extra virgin olive oil has much to recommend it. Studies show olive oil is protective to the heart, boosts cognitive function, lowers inflammatory markers in the blood, lowers insulin levels and aids in calcium absorption. I’ve used food processors and blenders to make mayonnaise, the greasy cleaning of which feels like some sort of DIYer’s punishment. This method, using just a hand-powered whisk, is infallible, quick, and doesn’t produce the bitterness that comes from the polyphenols (thought to be cancer-fighters) in the olive oil being broken by the machine blades. Enjoy.

Mayonnaise Makes: 1 cup Time: ten minutes Store in fridge for 2 weeks INGREDIENTS 1 large room temperature (this is important) egg yolk (freeze the egg whites to use later in baking. And if there were ever a time to use

COLOR IS NO YOLK by Becca James @ James Ranch

There they are, lined up in the grocery store cooler daring you to decode the secret messages on their cartons: eggs Organic, cage-free, free-range, soy-free, vegetarian-fed, pastured, etc., etc. How in the world is a conscious consumer to pick the best, most nutritious eggs? Instead of being taken in by marketing, take a deep breath. Your best bet is to get your own chickens or find a local farmer you trust. This means happier hens and fresher, more nutrient-dense eggs. In a 2007 study conducted by Mother Earth News, a laboratory confirmed what we all know just looking at the sunset-orange yolks in eggs from chickens feasting on green grass and clover. Pastured (not pasteurized!) eggs contain more than three times the vitamin E, 50% more vitamin A, eight times the beta-carotene, and three times the omega 3 fatty acids than you will find in eggs from confined hens. These findings were confirmed in 2012 by the chemistry department at our very own Fort Lewis College. Eggs from pastured hens also include vitamin D due to the hens’ exposure to sunlight. If superior nutrition, animal welfare, and taste are your priorities, the choice is clear. 38  edible


local, organic, fresh eggs, this would be it) 1 - 2 tablespoons lemon juice or rice vinegar 1 small garlic clove, minced fine, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon water 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon mustard, optional DIRECTIONS Whisk together the egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water in a mixing bowl. Use a spoon to drip a few drops of olive oil into the egg yolk and whisk vigorously. Add a few more drops and whisk again. Do this until you’ve used about 1/4 cup of the olive oil and you have a thick, yellow, emulsified sauce in the mixing bowl. Pour in larger volumes of olive oil, still whisking, until olive oil is gone. Whisk in lemon juice, salt, garlic and mustard (optional). Adjust lemon and salt to your tastes. The fresh garlic will mellow over a few days.



DeVere Keen Gamble

DeVere unwinds your body and resets your nervous system by integrating premium massage with cranio-sacral therapy. Her unique, intuitive treatments result in optimal wellness and vitality for your whole person. More than twelve years of experience. (970) 946 1051 keengamble.durango@gmail.com

Nancy L Robinson, NCTMB, LMT Licensed, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist since 2007. Specializing in techniques to help restore the body to an optimal state of health and well-being. Modalities include: Neuromuscular Therapy ("NMT"), Deep Tissue, Swedish, Sports and Prenatal massage. (970) 946 8914 www.nancyrobinson.massagetherapy.com

Telluride Mobile Massage

Since 1999, Telluride Mobile Massage has been providing quality therapeutic table and chair massage services at homes, hotel rooms, condos, businesses, special events and even on the ski mountain! www.telluridemobilemassage.com (970) 209 2612

Relax Durango Massage Deirdre Karger, CMT

Offering relaxing massage that is tailored to your needs and addresses both the physical and energetic bodies for an integrated massage experience. (970) 946 5352 deirdre@relaxdurango.com www.relaxdurango.com


Ananda's craniosacral therapy sessions offer deep relaxation, gentle unwinding of strain patterns in the body and intuitive soul support. Specializing in life-transitions, trauma release and maternal/ infant wellness. Clients often say it's "the missing piece" in helping them gain more benefit from their other healing therapies. www.anandafoleystudio.com (970) 403 5402




Body of Work: Health Clinic

Joanie Trussel

We are an integrated health clinic specializing in chiropractic, the Rolf Method, acupuncture, cranial sacral, and hyperbaric medicine. Call today to set up a complimentary consultation www.bodyofworkco.com (970) 764 4244


Providing gentle, compassionate acupuncture for many conditions, Sydney specializes in women's health, digestive disturbances, and allergies. Her treatments help people connect with their deeper selves and activate their fullest healing potential. Practicing in Durango since 2006. 1040 Main Ave, upstairs. (970) 426 8736 www.myacupuncturedurango.com.

Wellspring Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine David Konikowski, L.Ac, Dipl.C.H.

Providing individualized solutions for your health concerns - from quick and effective symptom resolution to slowing chronic degenerative disease. 2530 Colorado Ave, Suite 2A (970) 382 0321 david@acupuncturewellspring.com www.acupuncturewellspring.com


Ahmavine Midwifery

Carole Nighswander specializes in normal pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and well-woman care. She has achieved excellence in MotherBaby care for over 10 years and lovingly offers homebirth, water birth, breastfeeding support and natural therapeutics. Complimentary interview. (970) 749 6318 www.ahmavinemidwifery.com

The Heart Path, Healing Mind, Body and Spirit From a Buddhist perspective my practice is about assisting clients to see their life situations with greater clarity and develop awareness and compassion for themselves. (970) 759 6606 www.joanieptrussel.com

SPAS Signature Salon/Spa/Med Spa

The professionals at Signature will take you from the everyday to the extraordinary. From fantastic nails to luxurious skin and body treatments that will both relax and invigorate you. www.signaturedurango.com (970) 247 7769

CHIROPRACTIC Dr. Stephanie Harris, DC Essence Chiropractic Studio

Essence Chiropractic Studio is a Family Wellness Center that specializes in helping families who care about their health to heal from pain, injury, and chronic health issues. Dr. Stephanie has a comprehensive, individualized approach that helps people at every age and life stage to get healthy and stay healthy. We believe that you and your family deserve to thrive! 117 D County Road 250 Durango (970) 259-5678 www.essencechiro.com

Interested in being in our Wellness Directory ?

Southwest Midwives

We specialize in normal pregnancy and birth, providing midwifery and well-woman care for the Four Corners area. Our philosophy includes providing women with competent, complete, personal and sensitive care. (970) 247 5543 1 Mercado Street, Durango, Suite 145

Dancing Willow Herbs

We offer the finest selections of ethically wildcrafted and organically grown herbs and herbal products in the Southwest. We are committed to providing herbal preparations of the highest quality. 1018 Main Ave Durango (970) 247 1654

contact us: rachel @sanjuandrive@frontier.net rick @ediblesouthwestcolorado.com


(from the top, clockwise) Kellie Pettyjohn of the Wily Carrot wrestles her tiller on her farm in Mancos, CO. Cindy Greer tidies up the kitchen at the Marvel Grange in Marvel, CO. Gretchen Groenke and her son, Eddy Custer, 2, mop up the dishes after the monthly community dinner at the Mt. Lookout Grange in Mancos, CO.

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