We’re thrilled to be implementing the traditional “Three Sisters” gardening technique in our very own Maynards Organic Garden & Grove using all seedlings from Native Seeds/SEARCH! Master gardener Robert Vincent sat down with us to explain the concept of”Three Sisters” companion gardening and how he is using it in our garden.
Who are the Three Sisters?
Corn, beans, and squash. These are three of the most important crops in the agricultural and culinary history of Native Americans. A diet of corn, beans, and squash is complete and balanced: carbohydrates from corn, protein and amino acids from beans, and vitamins and minerals from squash. What one crop lacks nutritionally, the others provide. These crops can also be dried and consumed year round, a major benefit predating modern food storage capabilities.
How do the Three Sisters grow together?
The Three Sisters not only complement each other nutritionally, but in the garden as well! The tall corn stalks provide shade for the beans and squash, while also providing a structure for climbing bean plants. This in turn allows the sprawling squash vines a competition-free space to grow on the ground. The beans fix nitrogen in the soil, crucial for the growth of the corn and squash, and also stabilize the corn stalks in high winds. Large squash plant leaves provide additional shade on the ground, promoting moisture retention and preventing growth of weeds.
The Three Sisters in the Maynards Garden
We planted numerous varieties of beans as part of our Three Sisters companion planting, all of them native to our region. Sprouting will likely begin within a week of planting, and the corn will be about knee-high in about two to three months (July/August)! Come see how things are sprouting in our garden!
Winemakers make choices on a daily basis that could affect their end product. Something I’ve been hearing about lately is the material of the tanks used for fermentation and aging. I’m sure each material has its own argument, so let’s see if I can demystify it a little bit…
Stainless Steel Emile Peynaud first advocated for the use stainless steel tanks in the 1960s. He noticed their use in the dairy industry and figured they could also be used in winemaking. Chateau Haut Brion, in 1961, was one of the first wineries in the world to install stainless steel tanks. It wasn’t long until many other wineries followed suit.
One advantage of stainless steel tanks is the ease of maintaining temperature during the fermentation process. A cooled chamber surrounds the tank, and controls on the tank allow the winemaker to adjust the temperature during fermentation. These tanks can also make it easier to prevent oxidation, watch the fermentation, and to perform certain tasks during the process. Punching, pumpovers, racking, and transferring to other containers are all made easier by the design of the stainless steel tank. They can also be used for cold stabilization, and they have a longer useful life than other containers making them more economical over time. Plus, they are completely neutral in the winemaking process, meaning they don’t impart anything into the wine like oak aging can.
Oak Barrels Oak aging is one of the simplest ways for a winemaker to influence the final product. Its effect can vary depending on the age of the wood and how long the wine is in contact with it. French oak infuses more subtle flavors into the wine. It is grown in a cooler climate and has a tighter grain than its American counterpart. American oak has a looser grain and infuses more of the oak characteristics. The staves used in American barrels are also sawn instead of being split, and that also imparts more of the oak characteristic. Barrel toast can also influence what is infused, and that’s another winemaker decision… How much toast? Temperature control can be a challenge during fermentation.. you can’t regulate the temperature of each individual barrel, so you’re at the mercy of the room in which the barrels are stored.
It’s said that because they are large and used for so many years that wooden vats are neutral and do not infuse characteristics into the wine. Having said that, I’ve witnessed several masters (MS) call large neutral oak in a blind tasting setting. Wooden vats are more difficult to clean and sterilize and provide little control over temperature regulation.
The Romans were known to have fermented their wine in concrete. I think this is something of a “Goldilocks spot.” Many winemakers like the idea that concrete tanks are more porous than stainless steel ones, but not as porous as oak. This midrange porosity allows minute oxidization and has the added benefit of maintaining a cooler temperature during fermentation, which makes for a richer, more fruit forward wine than what comes out of an oak barrel.
Try them for yourself and tell me what you think! Here a few great bottles I’d recommend:
Harken Chardonnay | Oak barrel | $28
Arigolas Cannonau | Barriques and cement vat | $28
Poema White | Stainless steel | $13
If you ever have wine questions, are looking for advice, or just want to talk about wine, please stop in and say hello!
Will Olendorf, Maynards Market & Kitchen Sommelier
Get local in your kitchen with Chef Brian’s recipe for the first course of this year’s Agave Heritage Brunch! Enjoy the full Agave Heritage Brunch on May 6th from 10am-12pm for a uniquely local Sonoran dining experience. Check out Chef Brian creating the Barrio Heritage Grain Toast on KGUN9’s The Morning Blend in the video below. Get your tickets here!
Barrio Heritage Grain Toast
1 loaf Barrio Bread (levain or heritage), cut into 1 inch slices
3 cups local goat cheese
4 cups herbs (nasturtium, fennel frond, dill, basil, pea tendril)
1 cup shaved radish (reserve in ice water)
1 cup shaved carrot (reserve in ice water)
1 cup shaved asparagus (reserve in ice water)
1 cup shaved snap peas
1 cup pickled cholla buds
8ea quail eggs
2 TBS lemon olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
TT flake sea salt
1 TBS barrel cactus seeds or saguaro seeds
Warm a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, drizzle a little regular olive oil on the top and bottom of the toast slices, and place in the cast iron, turning over once golden brown. Repeat on other side and set aside. In a nonstick skillet cook the quail eggs for 1 minute on medium heat for sunny side up.
In a medium bowl toss the radish, carrots, asparagus and snap peas with the lemon, lemon oil, pepper flakes and salt. Set aside.
Rub the goat cheese on the toast and place the hot egg in the center. Garnish around the egg with the radish mixture, topping with the herbs and pickled cholla buds. Sprinkle with barrel cactus seeds and serve.
A look at organic, biodynamic, and sustainable winemaking
I don’t know how I feel about “organic” when it comes to wine. It has no bearing on my decision-making process when I’m buying wine for myself. All I really think about is what’s in the bottle, and if it’s good or not… When I’m buying wine for the restaurant, however, these labels have some influence because of general consumer interest in things labeled “natural’ or “organic.” So, what do these terms mean in viticulture?
Let’s start with a little history here.
Some amazing things happened in the 20th century with respect to the development of chemical fertilizers, including the discovery of synthetic nitrogen infamously used as poison gases in World War I and World War II. The use of chemicals in disease and pest control was in widespread use by the 1950s. Farming yields climbed up, as did the use of GMOs in the 21st century. Viticulture tends to follow along with trends and advancements of general agriculture.
What is organic wine?
In the US or Australia, for a wine to be labeled “organic,” it must be produced from organically grown grapes and contain no added sulfites. This disqualifies a lot of wine. Many wines are thus labeled “made from organically grown grapes,” which permits the use of sulfites. As of 2010, less than 10% of California’s wineries use any organically grown grapes, though I’m willing to bet there’s more now.
What is biodynamic wine?
There is no legal definition here. Biodynamic agriculture is similar to organic farming in the sense that neither process uses synthetic chemicals, but the biodynamic process incorporates ideas about viticulture as an entire ecosystem. In biodynamic viticulture, astrological influences, lunar cycles, soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care all contribute to the bigger picture of wine production. Biodynamic viticulture views the process of winemaking as a cohesive system of interconnected ecological factors.
What is sustainable winemaking?
There’s no legal definition here either. Sustainability in viticulture is fairly subjective as of today. A winemaker can say it is sustainable because it uses ecologically sound vineyard management. Another might call itself sustainable because it uses economically viable and socially responsible practices. Some agencies offer sustainability certifications, and many associations are working on developing clearer standards.
I suppose there’s a balance somewhere in all of this. Some practices seem out of reach to me (fully organic), while others seem more manageable (sustainable). What’s most important is up to you. I think that less manipulation using synthetic chemicals is good, but I also understand that some level of manipulation is required to get the desired product.
Get inspired by this blog and try one of these great wines from Maynards Market!
Already dreaming of the Dutch Baby Pancake we’re serving for Easter Brunch this April 1st? Make it at home with Executive Chef Brian Smith’s recipe!
Dutch Baby Pancakes
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 1/2 ounces (72 grams) all-purpose flour, approximately
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, to taste
Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the cast iron in the oven to get it hot.
Pulse together the flour, sugar and salt in a blender of food processor. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and melted butter, and blend the batter until smooth and frothy, 30 to 45 seconds.
Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven, add 1 tablespoon of butter, and immediately pour the batter into the center. Bake for 12 minutes. Do not open the oven while baking. The Dutch baby will puff up in the center and the edges will be dark and crispy.
Serve warm with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and lemon wedges for squeezing.
Strawberry Lime Preserve
Add all items to a small pot and cook down until mixture is slightly thick. Reserve warm.
On a recent trip to Telluride, Colorado, my wine was opened way too cold, which got me thinking about wine and temperature. A wine’s taste and smell can be greatly affected by temperature, and serving wine at the wrong temperature may rob you of the best possible experience. Luckily, the guidelines for ideal temperatures of different wines are relatively simple.
While I believe you should try different temperatures to discover what your personal preferences are, ideal temperatures are a great starting point when exploring wines. Use this guide to help you find your wine temperature sweet spot!
Reds Red wine should be served cool, 60-70°F. Personally, I like to start at a cool temperature (60-65°F) and let the wine gradually warm up. 65°F is my sweet spot. If the wine gets too warm, the subtle fruit, mineral, spices, and other factors may be thrown off, making the wine less enjoyable.
Whites & Rosés
The general rule of thumb is to serve these cold, 50-60°F. What do I like? I cool my rosés more (about 50°F), and prefer my whites on the higher end of the temperature spectrum, about 60°F. But, different folks, different strokes! Many people want their white wine served near freezing. Give a slightly warmer white a try, and see if you pick up on the more subtle flavors and aromas. These factors can help let you know where a wine is from or what grape it may be. Those extra degrees highlight the character winemakers strive so hard to craft.
Serve your bubblies ice cold, 40-50°F. Go as cold as cold can be without freezing. Ever opened a warm bottle of bubbly? There’s a good chance it went BOOM! It needs to be cold. Too warm, and the acid and tartness will amplify too much, making it unenjoyable.
Wondering how I solved my wine temperature problem in Telluride? The wine, a Chablis from Burgundy, France, was way too cold, probably around 40°F, and it was an icy 15°F outside. Sitting in the glass, the wine would almost form ice crystals. If ever there was a wine not to serve too cold, this was it. As you can see in the photo, I placed the bottle on a railing and let the sun do the warming work for me (a happy accident that it was a great photo op!) Then I enjoyed one of the best wines I’ve had in a long time.
Interested in trying a Chablis? In Maynards Market, we have two available now, but you can expect more to come in the near future:
Louis Michel, Chablis, Chardonnay
Simmonnet-Febvre, Chablis, Chardonnay
In the meantime, explore Chardonnays from similar areas in France or the Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay from the Margaret River in Western Australia. This wine is not available for retail purchase in the Market, but we would love to open a bottle for you during your next visit to Maynards Kitchen for dinner!
Stop in and see me! I can show you, even with our wines by the glass, how temperature affects the taste and smell of a wine.
Will Olendorf, Maynards Market & Kitchen Sommelier
Can’t make it to Maynards for our Valentine’s Day specials? Enjoy the Lobster Bisque at home with this recipe!
Recipe courtesy of Chef Brian Smith
Ingredients: 2 live lobsters, weighing around 3 pounds total (cooked with meat removed, reserve shells)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup medium sherry
8 cups water
½ cup long-grain white rice
1 cup heavy cream
1 ea lemon juice
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1. Sauté lobster shells, carrot, celery, garlic, fennel, tomato paste in 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat for five minutes to release the flavors.
2. Deglaze the pan (with shells present and scraping bits at the bottom) with 1 cup sherry and 8 cups water. Add the thyme and tarragon and simmer until stock is reduced by half (about 2 hours).
3. Strain the shells and vegetables from the stock and place in a new pot. Bring to a simmer and then add the raw white rice, cream, paprika, cayenne, simmer 45 minutes.
4. When the rice is fully cooked, blend the mixture on high in batches. NOTE: Pureeing hot liquids can be dangerous because steam causes pressure to build inside the blender. It’s crucial to puree in batches and work from a low to a higher speed. When using the blender, I puree in two batches and return the bisque to the pot.
5. Squeeze in fresh lemon juice to finish off the bisque.
6. When you are ready to serve the bisque, sauté the lobster meat in 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter over medium-high heat, just until warmed through. Slice tails into the size of your choosing for serving and arrange in bisque. Serve immediately. Top the soup with the apple relish, caviar and fresh nasturtium.
I was recently invited by Master Sommelier Laura Williamson to play the role of maître d for the service portion of the Level 2 (Certified Sommelier) examination. I jumped at the chance to be a part of something so unique and rewarding, and it got me wondering how much people know about what’s involved in becoming a Sommelier. Here’s a quick dive into the different levels of Sommelier:
Level 1 – Introductory
The Introductory Sommelier course revolves around the study of vineyard wine-making practices and an understanding of grapes
Specific wine-making processes
Classifications for all the major wines of the world.
This course also includes technical and social skills in wine service, as well as basics of wine and food pairing. Those who complete the Level 1 course can then explain the factors the contribute toward different qualities of different wines, interpret wine labels, and show an understanding of wine classifications.
Level 2 – Certified Sommelier
While Level 1 has a focus on geography and wine-making processes, Level 2 has a deeper focus on service and blind taste tests. The main goal of the Level 2 course are:
To reach a certain standard of wine service
Begin honing skills and knowledge to complete a blind tasting test
Level 3 – Advanced Sommelier
The Level 3 course dives even further into the concepts learned in Level 2. The skills tested in Level 3 include:
Preparation and positioning of glassware
Presentation and serving of wines
Handling queries and complaints with tact and diplomacy
Those who complete the Level 3 course are able to identify grape varieties, regions, and quality levels of classic wines.
Level 4 – Master Sommelier
There are less than 300 Master Sommeliers in the world, so this is an elite group of individuals with the highest level of proficiency in wine knowledge. This level consists of three rounds of testing and those who earn the title Master Sommelier have an exemplary standard of both technical and social skills, demonstrating the courtesy and charm of a Master Sommelier plus an ability to sell.
I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know many Master Sommeliers, and one constant thread was their approachability and passion for wine and other great things in life, like surfing, golf, family, and travel.
My role as the Sommelier at Maynards Market & Kitchen allows for me to showcase my skills as a level 2 sommelier, so if you ever have wine questions, are looking for advice, or just want to talk about wine, please stop in and say hello!
Will Olendorf – Maynards Market & Kitchen Sommelier
The Pan-Seared Scallops feature diver scallops, apple butter, chiltepin compressed apple, date-walnut jam, and tarragon. Enjoy this delicious dish from our new dinner menu on your next visit to Maynards! In the meantime, try out Executive Chef Brian Smith’s recipe for Chiltepin Pickling Liquid for apples!
1 Granny Smith apple
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1.5 tablespoon sugar
3/4 tablespoon chiltepin
Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Chill the mixture and add to apples.