The photo above was taken by Cherie Zamecki who kindly brought this photo in a frame to the Chop Workshop in Phoenix at the Arizona Seed Crackers Society, a local bird club.
I arrived Friday night in Phoenix and had dinner with Mary Rose, the President of the Arizona Seed Crackers Society. Our mission? Make some Chop and teach people the basics of making, bagging and storing it.
Elle Michelle drove in Saturday from Tucson and met us for a bird outing at Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert, AZ for lunch. I’d only talked to Elle on the phone so it was a blast to finally meet her!
Elle and me with JC, I think…
Club members go there on occasion to have lunch and get their birds out in the sun to meet and greet patrons of the restaurant. They have an outdoor picnic area under some orange trees where they have lunch. The birds climb in the orange trees and harass the club members below! Or they just hang out on a stand and enjoy being fussed over and eat Chop:
There are some interesting features of Joe’s. You can rent a plot of land and work your own garden. I’d love to see the club do this for fresh produce for their Chop! Here are some examples:
Lemons. Yes, lemons!
We ordered our lunch and answered questions from people stopping by to check out the birds. And the birds? They had a blast climbing around in the trees and snacking!
That night I spoke at the club meeting. I was surprised by a wonderful birthday cake created by Priscilla Frost who did a phenomenal job with an African Grey birthday cake for me. It was beautiful!
The meeting was well attended, and members were very receptive to my presentation about the Chop Concept. They had great questions and totally got the idea of Chop and its benefits. People seemed eager to try it and weren’t put off by the work involved. Sunday morning I got geared up in my hotel room for the workshop:
Elle and I headed out to the event and we got going. Mary had already arranged to have all of the beans, grains and pastas already cooked which saves a ton of time.
People began arriving and we were off! I did a brief knife safety demo, explained some basics about cutting the vegetables and handling the food processors and people got chopping.
The beautiful lady in blue on the left is author Maggie Wright.
After a few stumbles here and there, we found our groove and got a good rhythm going.
Finding our groove…
We had a lot of jalapeños, and after all this is the Southwest, so it was a rather spicy Chop!
But I have to say it came out beautifully.
And it was a good-sized batch, enough for everyone to take quite a bit home with them. Maggie Wright said she was going to use it in scrambled eggs for her three Greys that night:
All in all, it was a wonderful day and we created a beautiful batch of Chop. I got to meet a lot of terrific people and there is even talk of people in the club getting together for Chop parties ever couple of months or so to share the cost, the produce the labor and the Chop. It’s more fun that way and you can get a large batch done quickly and economically by doing it at a Chop Party. It’s also more fun! I hope to come back to Phoenix and attend a few of those parties. I’ll bring the wine!
From left to right, Noelle Fontaine, Amber Lynn Puckett, Moi amd Elle Michelle