Farm to Table: Dry Desert Week
Although this week was abnormal due to our camping trip, we tried to utilize foods that best reflected the dry climate of the desert. Whether that was accomplished through textures, flavors, or colors, each dish related to certain aspects associated with Hawaii’s desert climate. We had some great successes, made a mistake or two, and learned a lot! The farm had the opportunity to experience first-hand the dry climate and all that it has to offer. All in all, we successfully met the challenge of creating dishes that reflect a climate that BIF is not located in, while utilizing foods that were grown on site.
Crispy tofu with honey garlic glaze and chopped nuts
Asian style green beans
Sautéed collard greens
Garnished with garlic chives
The main focus of this dish was the crispy tofu which reminded us of a dry desert texture. We decided a sweet glaze with crunchy nuts would perfectly complement the dryness of the tofu. Ginger and soy flavored greens accompanied the tofu and contrasted with the sweet flavor components of the glaze. We decided that garlic chive was the perfect aromatic to tie all of the flavors together. Although the dish itself was not dry, several of the components in the dish had dry and crunchy textures that reflected the desert.
Noodles, spinach, and broccoli with a garlicky butternut squash sauce
Side salad with fresh tomatoes and croutons
This dish best reflected the theme of the week due to its yellow color. The pureed acorn squash created a yellowish beige sauce that was a very similar color to the beach we camped at on Wednesday. Furthermore, squash is a plant that grows well in dryer climates. A large aspect of living from farm to table includes utilizing what is available. This week, acorn squash was the vegetable that was largely available for us to cook with in this particular environment. Similarly, living in a dry desert climate would require its inhabitants to use what the environment has to offer, which can often times be limited.
PB and J bar
On Wednesday, we traveled to Spencer’s Beach in order to experience first-hand the dry desert climate of Hawaii. Due to limited time and the necessity for ease, we opted to have a PB and J bar for lunch. Although our food did not necessarily reflect the theme of the week, we enjoyed it in the ecosystem that we were studying. It was extremely hot and, aside from the ocean, very dry. The air itself lacked the humidity and ground moisture that we experience on the other side of the island at BIF. We all enjoyed the heat and sunshine of the afternoon.
Quesadillas with sautéed vegetables
Salad with balsamic dressing
We spent Thursday’s lunch at the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative. In addition to being in a setting that perfectly reflected the theme of the week, we also chose a dish that is often associated with societies located in dryer climates. Specifically, we prepared Mexican style quesadillas with sautéed vegetables. That afternoon, we had the opportunity to propagate seeds and play a part in promoting regeneration of the native species in the area. Luckily, we had some cloud coverage that provided some welcome shade and protection from the hot sun. The preserve focuses heavily on the prevention of wildfires that are prevalent due to the dry climate. The Mexican style lunch appropriately reflected the theme partially due to the close resemblance of the dry forest landscape with the desert areas of Mexico. It was a very successful afternoon of eating good food and propagation of native seeds!
Fried rice with pineapple
Prickly pear and mixed vegetable stir fry
Soy and ginger side salad
We chose this dish because the prickly pear is a cactus that grows primarily in dry climates. Due to the fact that the farm is not located in a dry climate, the farm has a “dry bed” that houses the plants that grow with little water. The amount of water that the plants have access to is controlled by a tarp on the ground. Both the prickly pear and the pineapple are grown on the dry beds. We had an abundance of the pear on the farm so we decided to utilize it in our stir fry. Unfortunately, the prickly pear created a very slimy texture that was somewhat undesirable when mixed with the sauce and other vegetables. The flavors were great, but we discovered that prickly pear is not a great stir fry option. On the other hand, the pineapple fried rice was very successful.