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Re: adapting crops to cultural cuisine

  • Subject: Re: [cg] adapting crops to cultural cuisine
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 16:08:47 EST


If you go into the archives of this listserve, you'll find a long discussion 
in 1999/2000 on gandules (pigeon peas) which, as it played out, didn't grow 
well in the Pennsylvania/NY-NJ temperence zone, but grew fine in Florida.

In terms of a practical approach, you might want to go to some Puerto Rican 
restaurants in your target area and eat at the homes of your Puerto Rican 
friends.  Practically, I'd get to know the Puerto Rican grandmothers in your 
community and get their aid in picking out herbs, spices and greens that 
they'd like to be able to grow.  Go shopping with these ladies, especially in 
local markets and bodegas. Buy samples of produce and talk to the botanist at 
the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and your local agricultural extension 
to see if any of the items can be grown in Philadelphia. 

I believe that this is the best Puerto Rican/Newyorican cookbook in English: 
Oswald Rivera
Puerto Rican Cuisine in America
Nuyorican and Bodega Recipes


Here is an intersting site on Puerto Rican Cuisine from the PR tourist 
office:  http://welcome.topuertorico.org/cocina/.  

While much of the cuisine is tropical (e.g., plaintains, gandules)  I believe 
that a large herb garden would be an excellent start.  Fresh herbs in season 
( and dried in the winter) from the garden might be outstanding along with 
peppers, pimentos, corn (maiz), onions, cucumbers, tomatoes  and fresh 

Also,  in terms of garden design,  you may want to look into "casitas" as 
they appear in Puerto Rican community gardens in NYC.  The Garden Moscaics 
folks have studied them, and I believe that you should contact them: 

Here is a paper on Casitas by ACGA board member, Daniel Winterbottom:  
"Casitas: Gardens of Reclamation," in Environmental Design Research 
Association Conference Proceedings, April 1998. You may want to contact Dan 
directly to obtain a copy of this paper. A 1997 version of this paper ( don't 
know if it is any different) is available from 
this rather extensive site:  http://www.italianrap.com/casitas.html 

Casitas are often a focal point of Puerto Rican life in their communities - 
this piece comparing El Rincon Criollo and Bryant Park as vital community 
assets is interesting: 


Good luck and let us know how this plays out,
Adam Honigman
Volunteer,  <A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>Clinton 
Community Garden</A> 

<< ubj:  [cg] adapting crops to cultural cuisine
 Date:  3/20/03 2:59:21 PM Eastern Standard Time
 From:  jverin@Pennhort.org (John Verin)
 Sender:    community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
 To:    community_garden@mallorn.com (CG List (E-mail))
 We are developing a training on food growing and nutrition in a primarily 
Puerto Rican neighborhood. We are seeking to find the balance between 
culturally appropriate foods and what actually grows in this climate. Thus, 
we're looking for recipes and stories around adapting crops to cultural 
cuisine, specifically Puerto Rican cuisine. Of course, respecting tradition 
is paramount, and we're not seeking to force change. Our intention is to 
raise health awareness via nutrition education connected with gardening, and 
obviously need to introduce some vegetables that people may not be familiar 
 Any help is welcome.
 Happy gardening!
 Paco Verin
 Citywide Project Coordinator - Philadelphia Green
 The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
 100 N. 20th St.
 Philadelphia, PA  19103
 _______ >>

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