Description: San Mateo Ozolco is a small community of around 2,000 people, mostly from the Náhuatl ethnicity, located in the arid Sierra Nevada de Puebla, at the foot of the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes. Still today, the primary activity of the inhabitants of Ozolco is farming. Since the 19th century, vegetables such as corn, chili peppers, squash and beans have been grown here using the traditional milpa system, as have fruits like tejocote (a type of hawthorn). Wild herbs, fruits and agave are also collected. Several years ago, 12 families joined together in a co-operative to generate economic alternatives through the promotion of one of the community's typical products: pinole (potehtli in Náhuatl). This flour is ground from local varieties of blue corn and mixed with cinnamon, cacao and citrus peel, according to family recipes. Pinole is mixed with water or milk to make a drink called atoles. An important element in the local diet, it provides a traditional way of preserving corn for the rest of the year. In addition to this, for several years the community has been producing other foods made from milpa, for example totopos: triangles of dough made from a base of blue corn which is fried or cooked in the oven and is used to accompany meat, beans, sauces or local cheese.
Text provided by Slow Food International\'s Baluarte initiative.