Plus some Evolution 101.

Corn or "maize" has been a significant part of life for the Hopi and Pueblo people for ... well, for as long as any of them can remember. Across the Southwest, it can be found in petroglyphs, pottery, in song and dances. What you might not know is that almost all of us have benefited from the efforts of ancient Southwestern farmers.

It serves a unique function. It serves the community. A lot of people rely on the mill ... to keep their traditions alive.
— Joseph Bronk

We’re able to grow corn across the Midwest today because farmers in the Southwest adapted a tropical plant to temperate growing conditions thousands of years ago. In this episode, we’ll hear from scientist Kelly Swarts about how they made that big leap.

And we’ll visit Ray Leon and Joseph Bronk at the grain mill on Santa Ana Pueblo in New Mexico, which is helping to keep maize traditions and agriculture alive. Such efforts, it turns out, could be critical to ensuring the future of corn across the continent as the climate changes.  


Looking for more?

Well, you've come to the right place.


The Pueblo of Santa Ana and Tamaya Blue

Santa Ana Pueblo’s grain mill specializes in blue corn products, such as roasted corn meal, polenta, and a snack called parched corn. They sell these products under the brand Tamaya Blue, and offer custom grinding services to tribes and others in the Rio Grande Valley. The mill was started, says foreman Ray Leon, to encourage people to keep growing corn.

Want to try those crepes at home?

Blue Corn Meal Crepes


1. Combine dry ingredients

2. Stir in remaining ingredients.

3. Blend in blender for 1 minute.

4. Cook in 6" x 8" skillet as for any other crepes.


1 cup Tamaya brand blue cornmeal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons melted margarine
1/2 tablespoons vanilla

For more traditional Native American ingredients, visit:

And for more traditional recipes for those ingredients, visit:



Further Reading:

Learn more about Kelly Swarts’ research