Ayowa’ Garden Tours, an Edible Experience

 

This fall, experience an immersive (and delicious!) tour of the Chickasaw Cultural Center’s grounds with the Ayowaꞌ Garden to Gourmet Agritours. Guided by the Cultural Center’s knowledgeable staff in Sulphur, you’ll get a first-hand look at Chickasaw culture, with a culinary twist!

Chickasaw statue

This tour of the Chickasaw Cultural Center is different from most because it focuses not on the indoor exhibit areas, but on the outdoor landscaping. Led by a team of center staff that includes visitor services, horticulture and café, a guided tour of the grounds allows you to experience edible landscaping (who knew that lemongrass adorns the front entrance of the Cultural Center?), spend time in the Chikasha Inchokka Traditional Village and wind your way through the Spiral Garden. After that, guests head inside for a cooking demonstration led by the Aaimpaꞌ Café team. And all of this in only a few short hours!

A highlight of the tour is a stop in the village to discuss the Three Sisters mound garden. A traditional agricultural practice upon which the Chickasaw diet was based, the Three Sisters is a method of companion planting involving three staple vegetables: corn, beans and squash. The seeds are planted in a formation together, and like three sisters, each works to help the other grow. Corn, beans and squash and beans are still a mainstay in Chickasaw dishes today and often featured in café menu items.

Depending on what season you visit the center, guests are welcome to harvest a number of vegetables and herbs with the help of the horticulture staff.

During your tour, you’ll also be able to smell and taste test fresh vegetables, herbs, peppers and maybe even an edible flower or two! The horticulture staff is well-versed in the many ways herbs are used for cooking, as well as their traditional medicinal values. You’ll find many varieties of herbs peppered throughout the landscaping at the Cultural Center. You might even go home with one or two for your own garden!

pepper plant at Chickasaw Cultural Center

Your Garden to Gourmet experience continues with a hands-on cooking demonstration that focuses on herbs and produce grown in the cultural center gardens. Be prepared for fun that will leave you ready to experiment with new flavors, textures and seasonal produce. For instance, did you know that squash is just as good raw as it is cooked? With fresh herbs and vegetables provided by campus gardens, the attention to detail and passion for nutritious, delicious cooking is infectious.

herbs in garden

Ready for your own Garden to Gourmet tour? Hurry up, because the season won’t last long! You can take part in one of the following tours:

· October 17, 2019

· November 7, 2019

· November 21, 2019

Ayowaꞌ tours start at 1 pm, and tickets are $10 per person. Experience this one-of-a-kind tour for yourself! Contact the Special Events department at 580-622-7130 or Special.EventsCCC@Chickasaw.net for details.

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