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OTIS — You might not expect to find chef Katy Sparks in a hemp field, but once she starts talking with Chris Weld of The Pass Berkshires, it becomes clear that this is a meeting of the minds. Science, soil, and cutting-edge organic agriculture, flavor, consumption and effect are nodes where Katy and Chris connect. Filmed last autumn in an outdoor hemp field, this episode is chock-full of resinous bud close-ups and an unguarded discussion between Chris and Katy.
“It’s a wacky looking plant. If you read Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire, The Omnivores’ Dilemma . . . he talks about how plants almost have an ability to manipulate mankind for their benefit . . .” says Chris as he launches into a discussion of the strength of the cannabis being grown now, as opposed to “when I was a kid”.
Katy’s knowledge of soil, agriculture, and growing, along with her sharp curiosity leads the conversation through edibles, soil, indoor and outdoor growing, terroir, flavor profiles, and effect. A viewer of this episode can almost feel the sun and smell the buds as we listen to Chris and watch footage of cultivators harvesting and trimming plants from The Pass’ outdoor grow. B-roll from The Pass’ packaging process shows enticing product shots of clean, modern, packaged cannabis.
As we watch Katy and Chris walk away up the sun-drenched September field, we feel a bit more intrigued about cannabis as a plant and are struck by how lucky we in the Berkshires are to have freshly grown cannabis in our midst. The episode is a short and sweet 11 minutes, and while Katy does not attempt a Berkshire-based pot brownie, the viewer feels fed nonetheless.
The Edible Natural World series is the brainchild of Chef and Culinary Consultant Katy Sparks, an award-winning chef and author of Sparks in the Kitchen, published by Knopf, and a recent arrival to the Berkshire scene. Having grown up in Vermont’s Champlain Valley, where her family raised grass-fed beef and free-roaming chickens, Sparks has a passion for sourcing local food, products, and artisanal crafts: “I want to deepen the understanding of the farm-to-table conversation by drawing a direct line from soil-first farming to that first bite of a dish cooked in my viewers’ kitchens.” The series follows Sparks from intimate conversations with farmers to the harvest and procurement process and into her kitchen. Throughout, Sparks celebrates the innate qualities of her ingredients while spicing up the videos with kitchen tips and techniques, flavor pairings, and discoveries that connect the viewer to the edible natural world—and deepen our understanding of food, from soil to table.
Edible Natural World episodes are available on YouTube. Each episode is approximately one-half hour long. Katy Sparks’ Recipes, Kitchen Tips, and Field Trips are also available on the channel.
LINKS for Edible Natural World:
You Tube: @ediblenaturalworld or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfQg4WfQ7J50pjEPtp9fMDw
Edible Natural World X The Pass: https://youtu.be/W5jLHvyaqos