Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) will host a community field day and variety tasting on October 14, 2015, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Chimacum Farm Collaborative. The event celebrates the first autumn harvest at OSA’s new research farm, which was established earlier this year to serve as the hub of OSA’s Pacific Northwest organic plant breeding and variety trial program. Partners from Washington State University (WSU) will join in the event and share progress of the OSA-WSU Organic Germplasm Consortium, and report on local quinoa breeding efforts.
Two field tours will be offered, beginning at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. The variety tasting and no-host bar will begin at 5:00 p.m.
Participants will take a closer look at variety trials in the field. Trials are important for identifying which crop varieties are suited to a region’s growing conditions, including whether varieties perform well under local disease and pest pressures. Participants will learn about OSA’s participatory plant breeding projects; the importance of regional seed systems that respond to the needs of farmers and the communities they feed; and why OSA works hard to increase access to organic seed in particular, among other topics.
An important part of trials is to taste existing and new varieties available to farmers. A crop may be hardy in the field, but without good flavor and texture, it might fail in the marketplace.
Following the field tours, participants will taste the most successful varieties of colored carrots, winter squash, red peppers, Swiss chard, onions, and quinoa, (and possibly other crops). The vegetables will be tasted raw and/or simply cooked so that participants can taste how the flavor profiles change once prepared. Community members are important participants in the plant breeding process. Those attending will be asked to evaluate the different varieties based on flavor, texture, color, and overall appeal. The information gathered during the tasting will be combined with data from the field to determine which varieties to prioritize in future breeding work.
In addition to tasting individual varieties, chefs from the Olympic Peninsula will create appetizers that showcase the culinary potential of the vegetables grown in the trials. Finnriver Farm & Cidery will open its new tasting room for no–host tastings and purchases of pints and bottles of cider.
We are offering this event free of charge. RSVP today at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y6ZZ9YK.
The Chimacum Farm Collaborative is located at Rhody Drive/WA-19, across from Chimacum Corner Farmstand in Chimacum, WA, 98325.