Tucson Food: Prickly Pear Harvest Market – August 5by Karyn Zoldan on Aug. 03, 2010, under Desert Locavore, Farmers Markets
Tucson Food: Prickly Pear Harvest Market – August 5
On Thursday, August 5, the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market, the Prickly Pear Harvest Market will demonstrate how to harvest, process and cook with one of the desert’s most abundant and nutritious foods. The Market will feature prickly pear harvesting tips, a cooking demonstration, recipes, samples, and ready-made prickly pear products for sale and live music.
The first time I became aware of the prickly pear was about two months after moving to Tucson. Some visiting friends and I drove to some venue with a view and prickly pear margaritas. At the time I could not distinguish the prickly pear taste from, say, a pomegranate but that was an uneducated Southwest palate at the time. What I did relish was the flaming magenta hue, not unlike my hair color ten years prior.
Amy Schwemm will demonstrate how to gather, process and cook this nutritious desert fruit. Also, you can sample prickly pear lemonade and purchase prickly pear pops.
Try Skeleton Creek’s natural selections from the Sonoran Desert including native mesquite flour, wild and heirloom grain baking mixes, and prickly pear and agave jellies, syrups, and nectars. This week check out:
-Organic Prickly Pear Jelly
-Organic Prickly Pear Syrup
-Organic “Cactus Nectar”
-Prickly Pear Juice
-Prickly Pear Margarita and Cactus Limeade Mix
-Prickly Pear Flour (Dried and ground prickly pear fruits and seeds were a staple to the O’odham, Cahuilla, Yavapai, and others for centuries and are now nearly forgotten.)
According to Barron’s Food Lover’s Companion, the prickly pear is named for its pear-like shape and size which comes in any of several varieties of cactus. The prickly pear ranges in color from green to purplish-red and has a melon-like aroma.
Maybe one of these days, the prickly pear will rise up and go global like the kiwi or acai berry.
The Santa Cruz River Farmers Market is held Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. (summer hours) on the northeast corner of Speedway and Riverview, west of I-10 between Arizona School for the Deaf & Blind and the El Rio Neighborhood Center.
Local produce selections include tomatoes, purslane, onions, potatoes, squash, cucumbers, okra, eggplant, garlic, basil, melons, apples and much more. Shoppers can also find honey, dried beans and grains, eggs, herbal remedies, locally roasted coffee, chia seeds, garden plants and cacti.
The Farmers’ Market accepts credit and debit cards, food stamps, cash, WIC Cash Value Vouchers, and Arizona Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program vouchers for purchases.