Bumper stickers and conscientious eaters alike advise to "eat locally, think globally."
But when we're thinking about Spanish cuisine, eating locally can be quite a challenge. So much of the country’s rich flavor comes from ingredients such as calçots (a type of spring onion) and fabes asturianas (a legume), items not typically available at the local farmers’ market.
Unless, that is, your local farmers’ market is in Portland, Oregon, where Viridian Farms sets up shop. Located south of Portland, this farm is run by the husband and wife team Manuel and Leslie Recio. The two met while studying in Spain’s Basque country and vowed to bring their favorite flavors to the States when they returned home.
The farm grows a range of ingredients, from peppers (espelette, gernika, padrón, piquillo) to beans (caparrones, fabes) and even specialty purple cardoons from Navarra. This bounty is a result of regular visits to Spain to procure heirloom seeds. (The Recios also practice seed saving and sell their heirloom seeds.)
Until now, Viridian’s harvest was available only to Portlandians and chefs in the Pacific Northwest, but the farm is about to launch an online store, giving greater access to its bounty. At the moment, selected items, including unparalleled piment d'espelette, are available for national shipping by e-mailing the Recios.
It’s not local for all, but it’s a step closer.