Dear Curiosity Journal,

Last winter, we began talking to our friends Heidi and Julian Zepeda, owners of Tortilleria Zepeda, about growing corn for their tortillas. We’re relatively new to growing dent corn (milling corn) and don’t have the equipment to pull off large-scale production, so we decided to start with an experimental crop of an heirloom variety called Oaxacan Green for a special small batch. This is a centuries-old strain cultivated by the Zapotec and Mesoamerican people. The kernels are a kaleidoscope of colors in emerald, sage, malachite, olive, aqua, and everything in between. Peeling back the husk of each ear to reveal the contents of the cob felt like unveiling little handheld easels of art, mini cylindrical mosaics, an edible exhibition. I haven’t eaten any yet, but the seed catalogs describe the flavor as butterier and nuttier than yellow cornmeal. The corn needs to dry to a low enough moisture content to be stored without spoiling. When harvested, the kernels have an average moisture content of 20-25% and must dry down to 13-15%. There are grain moisture testers for this. I’ve also read that you can test the corn by pressing your fingernail into the kernel. It is dry when you can’t dent it – how our grandmothers knew the corn was dry. I’m grateful for this gorgeous grandmother corn and hopeful that our friends at Zepeda will find it satisfactory for a special small batch of tortillas. I’m already a pretty big fangirl of their masa, so eating a tortilla, tamale, or tlacoyo made from corn we grew would be full circle goals and food euphoria.