TNTV, Topanga New Times’ brand new video channel is here! This exciting new project is a labor of love and a team effort for the TNT crew. Producer Brian Chapman is working with TNT’s regular writers and guest contributors to create expanded coverage of select features in the print edition, as well as launching a new monthly music program, and that’s just the beginning.

TNTV was born out of experimentation and an effort to engage the community and support artists in the absence of Topanga’s traditional most-loved summertime events. For Memorial Day, TNT hosted the first ever Topanga Musical Community Event, a live-streamed music festival consisting of dozens of contributing artists and musical groups intended to help fill the void left during the absence of Topanga Days. We were overwhelmed by the response.

The musical event was followed by the Magical Artists Tour, series of in-depth artist interviews in support of the Topanga Canyon Gallery, in the absence of their annual studio tour, a major fundraiser for the local gallery.

That series of video features led to the creation of TNTV, a video feed dedicated to local arts, crafts, nature, science, life and music in and around the Santa Monica Mountains, but centered in Topanga, the heart of the mountains.

TNTV’s official debut is a special family friendly outdoor adventure program, with a focus on native plant uses and backyard wildlife. 

Our first video features Kat High, a longtime Topanga resident and member of the Native American Hupa community. She invites us to Kidiwische (Hupa for butterfly), her garden of native plants, to learn about the Mexican elderberry tree, an important medicine and food plant. After demonstrating how to gather the berries, she shares recipes, including mading elderflower tea and cordial.

For TNTV’s second video, TNT’s resident naturalist Suzanne Guldimann hunts for owls, encounters a living fossil, and meets an antlion, during a backyard bioblitz.

To watch, stop by our Facebook.com/TopangaNewTimes/ or our new Vimeo.com/topanganewtimes. Look for regular programming bi-weekly, following our print publication.

TNT is actively seeking artists, professionals, writers, poets, naturalists, and entrepreneurs of all kinds to participate in TNTV. Contact us at hello@topanganewtimes.com

Elderberry flowers and fruit

Elderberry Recipes Shared by Kat High

Sambucus Mexicana, Mexican elderberry, is known as “ku.ut” in Tongva, and “gayas” to the Chumash—the languages of the first peoples of Topanga.

Among the things we learned from Kat High during our visit to her garden is that the blossoms  and the berries of the elderberry are edible. Blossoms can be gathered from April to August, depending location and altitude, berries can be gathered from late summer through fall, depending on location. It is important that the berries are fully ripe before being picked. Also, the wood and stems are toxic– and should not be eaten.

The blossoms – can be made into a refreshing drink, or dipped in batter and deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar for a treat. In the TNTV video, Kat demonstrates how to make elderflower tea using dried blossoms.

The berries  can be used for a refreshing drink, wine, jelly, and syrup. Here are two of Kat High’s special recipes that she shares on the video:

Elderflower cordial

2 cups elderflowers, removed from stems 
 6 cups sugar 
5 cups water 
Juice of 3 lemons

Bring the water and sugar to a boil and then remove from heat. Add the elderflowers and leave to cool. Heat up once more, adding the lemon juice, and allow to cool overnight, then strain out the flowers, squeezing to make sure you get all the syrup out. Pour into bottles and refrigerate. It’ll last months in the fridge.

Elderflower fizz

1/4 cup elderflower cordial
juice of 1 lemon
1 large bottle of sparkling water

Put all the ingredients in a decanter or big jar, add ice, stir gently, and serve.