Turn Mesquite Pods into Flour! Tucson Audubon Society’s 11/3 Harvest Festival Offers Fun & Fareby Hot Off The Press (Release) on Oct. 17, 2012, under Press Releases
Tucson Audubon Society’s Harvest Festival and Mesquite Milling is Saturday, November 3rd, 7am-3:30pm at our Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd, Tucson AZ 85742). This exciting, free, and family-friendly festival is open to the public and celebrates the diversity of Sonoran Desert foods—both wild foods and desert adapted heritage crops. In a larger sense, it celebrates the diverse Sonoran Desert landscape that gave birth to this abundance. It is also a practical opportunity for people to mill mesquite pods into mesquite flour (for a small fee).
The festivities launch with a bird walk at 7 a.m. (loaner binoculars available); bring pods for mesquite milling beginning at 7:30am. There can be a delay while the mesquite pods are being processed, so during the wait, attendees may enjoy food trucks, vendors, exhibits, walks, lectures and workshops from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The last opportunity to bring mesquite pods is 3:30 p.m.
Free talks will cover a variety of topics: Landscaping for wildlife, sustainability, and food production; Who lives in Desert Holes?; Integrated Design and the Mason Permaculture Plan; Food Security in a Changing World; Edible Plants for Sonoran Desert Dwellers; Pollinator-Friendly Hedges and Gardens.
Two workshops will provide participants with hands-on experience to bring edible landscapes into their own yards. Backyard Grazing: Edible Plants for Wildlife and Humans and the two-day It’s Raining, It’s Pouring! Commence Water Storing! cistern building workshops are offered for a fee.
Guided walks around the 20-acre ironwood-saguaro nature preserve will occur intermittently throughout the day and include beginning birding, phenology, and edible plants. Partners and presenters include Desert Harvesters, Borderlands Habitat Restoration Initiative, and Desert Survivors.
Mesquite is a native plant to southeastern Arizona whose seedpods can be ground to produce a gluten-free, calcium-rich food source. Many recipes are available to use mesquite, including cookbooks sold through Tucson Audubon’s Nature Shop at the festival.
Mesquite Milling Details
- Mesquite pods must be:
- So dry they snap rather than bend
- Clean—no dirt, gravel, twigs, etc.
- Free of dark mold spots or other growths
- Bring pods in 5-gallon buckets to expedite processing
- Bring clean receptacles for the flour, such as large Ziploc bags or large Tupperware containers. On average milled flour weighs 60 to 75% of the pod weight.
- A tiered price structure encourages newcomers to try milling pods and discourages people from bringing huge amounts that slow the operation of the mills.
The “harvest” in the Sonoran Desert is year-round: greens appear in the spring, cholla buds are available in the spring, saguaro fruits and mesquite pods are harvested in June, tepary beans in the summer, and so on. Celebrate this annual cornucopia on November 3!
For more information, call (520) 629-0510 or visit www.tucsonaudubon.org/what-we-do/education/mason/fallfest