After months of trying, Matt recently found a source for chepil, a distinctive Oaxacan herb. Adam Sanders of Copala Organics has relationships with a number of farmers from Mexico working the land around Salinas, California. On a recent visit to Francisco’s Oaxacan Organic Farm in Chualar CA, Adam noticed a row of an herb he wasn’t familiar with and asked what it was – turns out it was chepil. Recalling that Matt had put out an APB for chepil months earlier, he called with the good news. We waited a few more weeks for the plants to mature, then recently harvested them.
We’re featuring chepil in a classic Oaxacan-style tamal. Instead of the common method of fresh masa surrounding filling in the center, the chepil is mixed with the masa and distributed evenly throughout. Matt purchased his first chepil tamal in Oaxaca from a toothless village woman, out of a basket, while taking a market tour with Susana Trilling (expert on all things Oaxaca). He recollects that it was “so earthy, and truly tasted like Oaxaca.” I had one the other night and would concur.
Thanks to Adam and Francisco for bringing chepil to Comal!