Ark of Taste
As one of the most ancient corn species, the Chapalote Corn plant, also known as “Pinole Maiz,” was the first corn species to enter the US from Central America. Its flinty, coffee-colored kernels clustered in twelve to fourteen rows on small, cigar-shaped ears that taper at both ends. The Chapalote Corn plants are adapted to arid subtropical climes, bearing corn from sea level up to 5,500 feet in canyons, on slopes and mesas from northwestern Mexico through the southwestern US.
Historically, the Mesoamericans originally domesticated Chapalote Corn; once this corn species entered the US, it became a staple food for the American Indians. In the southwest region of the US, American Indians traditionally used the corn to create a drink called chapalote pinole. Today the Boudreaux family of southern California is the only producer of this sweetly flavored drink.