A garden of memories
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Gathering Our Voice focuses on collecting success stories from individuals, families, and organizations across our region that can inform and inspire our future. For the next several months this column will highlight interviews about successful food harvest, processing and distribution practices that together help tell the story of food in North Central Washington.
Except for the years she was away at college and medical school, family physician Patricia Ortiz has lived her whole life along the Wenatchee River near Peshastin. Her father, Manuel Ortiz Torres, came from Oaxaca, Mexico, in the early 1940s, seeking work in the orchards through the Bracero Program. He met his wife Ruth, a recent arrival from Missouri, in one of those orchards and they moved to Peshastin to raise their children and cultivate values and traditions around food that Tricia and her family keep alive today.
I talked with Tricia recently as part of the project, “Foodways & Byways — The Story of Food in NCW.” Excerpts from the full interview transcribed by AmeriCorps volunteer Kristi Roberts follow:
Making Good Use of What You Have
“Both of my parents came from poor families and so were very good about eating and surviving on whatever happened to be around. They were both used to having gardens and using lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. So we always had a garden when I was a kid. And people did not drive around. We rarely went to Wenatchee. It’s a very different way of thinking about place, because you pretty much stayed in one place.”
Harvesting Wild Greens
“We were talking not too long ago about some of the things we eat — for instance, the lamb’s quarters, or quelites, that grow as weeds in the garden. That plant exists in Mexico and was something that my father was certainly used to eating. And so we always ate that when I was a kid. Sauté them with a little onion until they’re barely wilted. You can eat them like that or you can put them in tacos with a little soft cheese. And that’s very good!”
Sharing the Wealth
“I think that’s important. Certainly I remember going out with people and picking huckleberries or if you were picking the pie cherries and you had an extra bucketful, sharing them or trading them with somebody who has prunes. That sort of thing — sharing the wealth around.”
Enjoying Local Food
“I hope that it becomes widely available for everybody and anybody to be able to eat fresh and local and healthy food, getting away from the packaged, processed, non-food food. And for people to become more aware of their relationship to food as it related to the earth and to the community and to the world. You can’t ignore other parts of the world because our community really is the whole world now.”
To read the transcript of this interview with Tricia Ortiz, learn more about Gathering Our Voice and how you can get involved, visit: gatheringourvoice.org, To see pictures and progress visit our Facebook page and Twitter account (@IRIS_NCW).
For more information contact the IRIS office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-888-7374.
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