ANA PUEBLO, N.M. - The green shoots of blue corn are bursting through
the ground on Santa Ana Pueblo and Ray Leon is in the mill grinding
Osage red corn kernels from Oklahoma into flour.
Santa Ana Pueblos mill, a sophisticated, high-tech machine
is being readied for tea bag packaging for the American Indian Tea
& Coffee Company in nearby Santa Fe.
Native wild rice, maple syrup, salsa and deer jerky ready for shipments,
Santa Ana Pueblos Cooking Post is providing a rare service.
It is bringing Native harvests to kitchens, pow wows and restaurants
Internet has transformed what began as a mail order business based
on a catalog to an Internet industry, where a savvy webmaster keeps
the Cooking Post at the top of Googles search hits.
in his office at Santa Ana Pueblo tribal headquarters northeast
of Albuquerque, Jerry Kinsman, general manager of Santa Anas
agricultural enterprises, displays the Cooking Post mail order catalogs.
"This will probably be a collectors item now. I doubt
well publish another catalog," said Kinsman of the booklet
mailed out to 12,000 customers.
the catalog cost thousands of dollars a year to produce, the Cooking
Post Internet site cost only $1,000 a year to operate. "Were
planning to increase our Internet business," Kinsman said.
Besides saving dollars, the Internet site can be quickly changed
when there is a change in suppliers or available products.
Santa Ana Pueblo began the business of selling their blue corn products,
the pueblo didnt realize the Cooking Post would become a wholesale
business supplying rare and hard-to-find Native foods nationwide.
get the very large and the very small businesses," Kinsman
said of the customers who range from large casinos to vendors at
have mom and pop vendors that do the pow wow circuit. They dont
buy a lot and they give me a credit card number and I can sit
on it for 30 days."
said he is always happy to pass along the contact information of
his Native food producers located across the country, but most customers
appreciate the ease of simply ordering all products from the Cooking
Post with one purchase order.
started out with one casino in Michigan. They made a commitment
to buy as much Native American as possible. So we went kicking and
screaming into the wholesale business." With about 35 wholesale
customers now, in his office, Kinsman shifts his attention from
orders to blue corn recipes, then pauses to diagram a tractor repair
for a Pueblo worker in the field.
hot in the Cooking Post business? Hot sauce.
sell a fair amount of Two Flaming Arrows Hot Sauce, its for
brave people," Kinsman said of the sauce blended from fiery
cayenne, habanero and other peppers with tomatoes, garlic, orange
juice, honey and spices.
is the singular Cooking Post description for this sauce. It comes
from Pueblo Food Specialties, owned by Laguna Pueblos Debra
Haaland. Haalands wooden gift crate is packed with Roasted
Red Chile Sauce medium and Indian Summer Salsa hot and decorated
with corn husks, pine burrs and a small collectible ceramic treasure.
of the Salsas", for serious hot salsa lovers, offers Cibolo
Junctions Southwest Style vs. Santa Anas own Warrior
Green vs. Laguna Pueblos Indian summer.
try to get as much business as possible for our suppliers,"
Kinsman said, surrounded by boxes stamped with Umpqua, Potawatomi
and White Earth.
asked about Cooking Post profits for Santa Ana Pueblo, Kinsman said,
"Its a steady business. It is still self-supporting,
along with the tribal farm and wholesale nursery."
the corn fields of Santa Ana Pueblo comes the treasured Tamaya blue
corn, ground in the Pueblos mill for their parched corn, corn
meal, pancake mix and muffin and cornbread mix. The Tamaya Blue
Corn Sampler offers a bag of Atole Blue Corn Drink Mix and the popular
roasted parched corn snack with the other blue corn products.
Blue is the trademark of the Blue Corn Products Division of Santa
Ana Pueblos Agricultural Enterprises. Tamaya is the name of
the tribe in its traditional Keres language.
the selections is the Pueblo Breakfast-in-a-Box, which includes
Tamaya Blue Pancake Mix, a 16-ounce jug of Native Harvest Maple
Syrup and a 2-ounce bag for a pot of Thunder Bird Thunder and Lightning
Coffee. Theres also a "Chef Chef" apron included,
all for $34.
coffee comes from the Thunder Bird Trading Post of Long Island,
N.Y., opened by Chief Thunder Bird and his family from the Shinnecock
Tribe in 1946. The family specializes in handmade buckskin and beadwork
and revived the business in 1995, adding this aromatic line of organic
Mexican, El Salvadoran and Peruvian coffees.
Harvest, owned by the White Earth Land Recovery Project in Minnesota,
produces Grade-A maple syrup harvested in the spring and hauled
by horse-drawn wagon to the sugar house for cooking in a wood-fired
their efforts, Anishinaabe have reclaimed more than 1,300 acres
of their land. The sale of maple syrup, raspberry preserves, wild
plum jelly and wild rice, helps fund the land recovery project.
wild rice is harvested in canoes from indigenous lakes and certified
organic. Wild rice is one of natures most perfect foods, high
in protein, carbohydrates and fiber, but low in fat.
chocolate lovers, the Cooking Post has added Bedre Chocolates, owned
by the Chickasaw Nation in Ada, Okla. Among the taste treats are
"Oklahoma Rocks", made from fresh peanuts covered in milk
chocolates, Brazilian Black Ivory, with the nuts coated in milk
chocolate, and Kilties Milk Chocolate with fresh roasted pecans.
Since no paraffin is added for heat resistance, the chocolates are
available only October through March.
traditional staples, fry bread lovers order Woodenknife fry bread
mix from Lakota in South Dakota. For savory posole stew, theres
the Red Corn family in Oklahomas Red Hominy Corn. Jerky, including
the tasty Teriyaki jerky, comes from the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua
Tribe in Oregon.
from Wisconsin comes Forest County Potawatomis Red Deer Ranch
Venison Sausage. The tribal venture is guided by elders and produces
venison from the Nicolet National Forest, without growth hormones
or harmful dyes. Their gift pack includes Wisconsin cheese.
American Herbal Teas from Aberdeen, S.D., provides Orange Pekoe
Warriors Brew, peppermint Teepee Dreams and Indian Love Tea
of ginger and ginseng. The Indian-owned company offers the Chefs
Delight of strawberry, myrtle and blackberry. Victory Tea has rose
hips, known for its high Vitamin C content, combined with hibiscus,
wild cherry and spearmint. Good Medicine Tea rounds out the list.
coffee is the specialty of the Hesbrook family, Lakota owners of
the American Indian Tea & Coffee Company in Santa Fe. The producers
of whole bean coffee blended with roasted pinon nuts also offer
bulk gourmet teas, ranging from Wild Berry to Sour Cherry and Dreamcatcher.
though the Southwest is locked in a long drought, Kinsman said irrigation
waters flowing through Santa Ana Pueblo promise a blue corn harvest
in October and November. "Weve got our fingers crossed
for this year."
in the mill, Leon is grinding the red corn. "One guy does all
that work," Kinsman said of the roasting, grinding and packaging
of corn and other food products.
is excited about two high-tech machines, one weighs food products
precisely and the other is the new tea bag machine. It puts the
tiny tags on the little bags, fills those with tea and places the
bags in envelopes.
is an incredibly complex machine made in Argentina," Kinsman
the new innovations for ancient foods is the wizardry of the webmaster,
Net Channel in Albuquerque, who has transformed the mail order service
into an easy-to-use shopping cart system on the Cooking Post Web
said Net Channels knowledge of how to keep Cooking Post at
the top of Google search hits has been another plus for the business.
Television recommendations, such as those on the Food Channels
"Food Find", have also brought sudden surges of orders.
trick is to have a nice looking site and an expensive data-based
ordering system, so customers can order online. And you have to
have someone who understands how to market a product on the Internet,"
Kinsman said, pointing out that simply placing a Web page online
wont bring in customers without savvy marketing.
final test, however, is in the taste.
tempt your taste buds, visit http://www.cookingpost.com.