Year 3, Column 4: “Garden of Wonders”

At Machu Picchu, perhaps one of the world's highest gardens!

At Machu Picchu, perhaps one of the world’s highest gardens!

Several weeks of sunshine and plenty of rain have given the garden a really nice start, thus far. Zinnia, Marigold, Sunflower, Green Beans, and Peruvian Purple Corn are all emerging and visible.

Unfortunately, so has the Johnson Grass. I half-heartedly hacked at a few blades but my resolve was not there as the ground is kinda muddy from the recent severe weather.

Some of the corn has been unearthed, but I don’t think I can blame it on last week’s hailstorm. I am pretty sure the culprits responsible are the local wild turkeys I’ve seen hot-trotting from the garden.

Local farmer Cleve McStubbin (name changed at Cleve’s request!) says the sprouting corn “is like candy” to those Foul Fowl. Personally, I resent their sweet tooth and am wondering how roast wild turkey tastes.

As for the Peruvian Purple Corn, I was inspired to plant it after visiting Peru in November to commemorate (and to celebrate and to underscore) my 50th birthday.

Peru is very rural, very Third World, and very mountainous, but all the valleys surrounding the Andes are planted in corn. The landscape is so beautiful, and because of their climate, Peruvians enjoy not one but two growing seasons.

In rural Peru, I observed that landowners don’t have front yards or back yards by their homes. Instead, they have Front Corn Fields and Back Corn Fields. These abut their actual Fields of Corn which stretch as far as the eye can see. Farmers also plant up the mountainsides, terrace-style.

Corn, Potatoes, and Quinoa (a grain that is also a protein) are the major crops of Peru. And, there are many many varieties of each.

I came across purple corn en route to Machu Picchu in the unbelievably picturesque Sacred Valley when I stopped in a town after a hike in a National Park (climbing one terrace after another) and drank a glass of Chicha Morada, which is a mix of pineapple juice and purple corn.

Perhaps, it was the day or the post-hike exhaustion, but this non-alcoholic beverage is easily one of the best-tasting drinks I’ve ever sampled and certainly, the best food I either ate or drank in Peru.

Then and there, I vowed amongst a few other hikers that I would grow Purple Corn and make this drink. It was just THAT wonderful.

So now, I’ve devoted half of the garden at Groundhog Hill to Peruvian Purple Corn, which traditionally, prefers a Coastal Climate. Only Time will tell if this crop will survive the wild turkeys, the hailstorms, the Johnson Grass, and whatever Wonders that are yet to come.

More later…..

About Surfing Hollywood

Steve La Rue is an internationally recognized leader in Film & Television with 20+ years experience as a Development Executive championing such series as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape. He writes, blogs, and consults on All Things TransMedia from his home at the beach in Santa Monica, CA, where he balances his life by surfing every damn day.
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