Willie Nelson performs with Micah Nelson at Luck Ranch on March 16, 2023
Willie Nelson performs with Micah Nelson at Luck Ranch on March 16, 2023. Photo © Suzanne Cordeiro

Blog | March 24, 2023

Honoring The Three Sisters at Luck, Annie and Willie Nelson’s Ranch

by Caroline Malcolm Fiore

Last week Farm Aid had the good fortune to return to Willie and Annie Nelson’s Luck ranch for the PotLuck dinner experience held on the eve of the Luck Reunion music festival. The PotLuck celebrates community, good food and music and this year it raised funds for Farm Aid, Wholesome Wave and Texas Food and Wine Alliance. It always features special dishes a cut above your traditional potluck fare and this year was no exception.

PotLuck 2023 poster

PotLuck 2023 poster by Indigenous artist Paige Pettibon. Photo © Suzanne Cordiero

For the first time, the PotLuck paid homage to The Three Sisters – maize, squash and climbing beans – important crops that hold agricultural, spiritual, cultural and culinary significance to Indigenous peoples. The meal featured iterations of The Three Sisters in each offering masterfully prepared by esteemed Indigenous Chefs Crystal Wahpepah (Wahpepah’s Kitchen, Kickapoo Nation), Brit Reed (I-Collective, Choctaw tribe) and Sewa Yuli (I-Collective, Yoeme tribe) with support from Chefs Brian Light (Ronin Farm & Restaurant) and Michel Nischan (Wholesome Wave).

Chefs Brit Reed, Sewa Yuli, Crystal Wahpepah

Chefs (Left to Right: Brit Reed, Sewa Yuli, Crystal Wahpepah, with Michel Nischan and Brian Light in the background) Photo © Suzanne Cordeiro

After cocktails and delicious bites from Chefs Edgar Rico (Nixta Taqueria) and Mariela Camacho (Comandre Panaderia), guests gathered for a Yaqui blessing from Chef Yuli’s parents of the Yoeme tribe before embarking on a culinary journey through Indigenous flavors and traditions.

The chefs prepared the meal with deep care and reverence for the ingredients and with honor for their ancestors and traditions. I was grateful for the behind-the-scenes sensory experiences I enjoyed while watching the food prepared over an open fire on the ranch, smelling the aroma of the ingredients as they came together, tasting The Three Sisters in new and unique ways and hearing about the history of each one of the dishes.

The evening before the PotLuck, the Farm Aid team crossed paths with Chef Yuli and learned a bit more about their personal dish Posoim, a traditional Yoeme stew made of oxtail, hominy, beans, red chilis and chiltepin. They shared memories of their grandmother preparing Posoim for them as a child on visits in Sonora, Mexico. I missed out on trying the stew during the dinner, but in a stroke of luck, ran into Chef Yuli after the event who graciously offered me some leftover Posoim. It was the most comforting and flavorful late-night snack I’ve ever had. Thank you, Chef!

view of PotLuck

An evening at the PotLuck. Photo © Suzanne Cordeiro

The PotLuck is always a night to remember, but this beautiful and meaningful evening will stay with all of us forever. Thank you to the chefs for cooking this wonderful meal, to the Luck team for creating this experience, to Willie and Annie for welcoming us back to Luck, and to those who supported Farm Aid, Texas Food and Wine Alliance and Wholesome Wave at the PotLuck.

Our staff was very grateful for the opportunity to visit with many familiar faces in the Farm Aid donor family who made the trek to Luck – and to have met new friends this year who supported our PotLuck auction. (If you’re interested in the one item that didn’t sell – a VIP Experience package for two to Farm Aid 2023 this September – click here to bid now!) and shared conversation around the dinner table. We are so lucky to have been together again on the ranch. Until next time…

See more photos from this year’s PotLuck:

Further Reading

To read more about the event and hear more about Indigenous culinary traditions from Chefs Wahpepah, Reed, and Yuli, check out this piece from Texas Standard.

Connect with us