Sunflowers / by Karie Luidens


Here’s another little bit of wonderfulness that I learned from Brett Maverick’s talk at the Gutiérrez-Hubbell House five weeks ago, in his own words:

A good example is this bean field out in Hopi [gesturing to a slide]. This is Karen Reichhardt, she’s also one of the founders of Native Seeds SEARCH, talking to a Hopi farmer. And there’s this wild sunflower growing in the field, and she asked him, oh, what do you do with that? You know, the anthropologist’s point of view, what do you DO with it, do you make a dye, or...?

And he said no... it’s pretty. And the Creator put it here, so why should I take this away? 

Yes, alongside all these richly nutritious indigenous heirloom crops that I plan to cultivate out back, so that come harvest I can roast ears of corn, stew pots of beans, fry squash blossoms, slice up fresh melon, puff amaranth seeds for homemade alegría “power bars”—and cook a simple pot of pumpkin soup...

Wild sunflowers that I spotted roadside while driving west into “ZUNI-LAND,” August 2017

I’d also be happy to have some pretty sunflowers. 

And of course, we can find a bit to eat within sunflowers, too. Kevin Dahl (also of Native Seeds SEARCH) explains: 

Traditional Native farmers roasted and ground sunflower seeds into meal, which they added to soups and stews or baked into cakes or bread. As they do today, children and others enjoyed cracking open the seeds and snacking on the kernels. (Native Harvest: Authentic Southwest Gardening pp 51)