Should More Grass Seed Farmers Grow Chickpeas?
Yes, this region is known for its abundant farmers’ markets and vineyards. But half the tillable land in the Willamette Valley is planted with the inedible crash-crop grass seed. Linn County, which neighbors Corvallis, is known as the grass seed capital of the world.
But local food security advocates are trying to change that. Through a USDA rural business grant, they convinced six local farmers to try planting some of their grass seed fields with edible chickpeas and wheat to develop a local food supply. The local Ten Rivers Food Web group just sold the first harvest, in 5 lb. sacks (see below).
Not only are dried garbanzos affordable, but the locally grown ones tasted especially flavorful and fresh. They were a bit mud-coated, but that’s nothing a good soak and rinse couldn’t fix.
I recommend the Chickpea Dal recipe I found by Matthew Card on Culinate. Argula and watercress made a fine spicy substitute for the mustard greens. And I used less coconut milk (substituted turkey broth) and tomatoes than the recipe called for.