The event celebrates the diversity of Sonoran Desert foods—both wild foods and heritage crops. And in a larger sense it celebrates the diverse Sonoran Desert landscape that gave birth to this abundance! It is also a practical opportunity to mill your mesquite pods into flour. (Our shop, which will be present onsite, sells a book of recipes using mesquite flour.)
Saturday--November 3---Festival entry is free though there is a fee to
have your mesquite milled into flour.
The first event, a bird walk, starts at 7 a.m. Bring your mesquite pods starting at 7:30 a.m. Although we are streamlining the milling process, there can be a wait while your pods are being processed. So bring the family or just come alone and wander around the vendors, exhibits, lectures and workshops that will be there from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The last opportunity to bring your mesquite pods will be 3:30 p.m. If demand is high, latecomers and those who bring large quantities (greater than 3 5-gallon buckets of pods) may have to pick up their flour on a later date.
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. It is this annual cornucopia that we will be celebrating on November 3.
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
Bringing pods in 5-gallon buckets may expedite processing. You may want to bring clean receptacles for the flour like large ziplock bags or large Tupperware containers. On average milled flour weighs 60 to 75% of the pod weight.
We have a tiered price structure that encourages newcomers to try milling pods and discourages people from bringing huge amounts that slow the operation of the mills (See sidebar at right).
- Phenology walks: 12 & 2PM
- Bird walks: 7 & 7:30AM
- Vendors & exhibits: 8AM-3:30PM
- Bird feeder building, face painting, and other kid activities: 10AM-3PM
Planned lecture topics
- Gardening for Wildlife & Sustainability & Food: A Permaculture Approach: 8:30AM
- Cultivating Schoolyard Sustainability: Manzo Elementary School: 10AM
- Pollinator-Friendly Hedges & Gardens for Maintaining Yields in a Changing Climate: 11:30AM
- Using Phenology to Time Your Harvest & Track Changes Over Time: 1PM
- Regionally Adapted Agriculture & the Native Seeds/SEARCH Farm: 2:30PM
Backyard Grazing: Edible Plants for Wildlife and Humans
Join Kendall Kroesen for a hands-on experience in mixing backyard food production with landscaping for wildlife. We will combine rainwater harvesting, Kino heritage fruit trees, heritage vegetable crops and wild plants into a landscape that birds go crazy for and that gives you food. Our goal will be low use of potable water and high plant diversity that's good for both birds and people. Participants will carve out a rainwater harvesting basin, prep the planting area, dig planting holes, and plant Kino Heritage fruit trees plus native plants that produce food and attract pollinators. Registration limited to 10 participants.
- Date and Time: Saturday November 3, 8:30 lecture and 9:45 workshop
- Cost: $25
It’s Raining, It’s Pouring! Commence Water Storing!
Learn to install a plastic rainwater harvesting cistern! Imagine how much water we could conserve if every yard in Tucson had its own cistern to harvest rainwater? Get hands-on experience installing: the tank, associated plumbing from the roof downspout, the first flush device, and the line to a hose bib for the distribution of water. The knowledge and skills you will obtain are directly transferrable to your own backyard or business! Registration limited to 10 participants.
- Date and Time: Saturday, November 3, 2012, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Cost: $40
Tucson Audubon's Mason Center
3835 W. Hardy
Tucson, AZ 85742 (See map)
Tucson Audubon's Mason Center is on the southwest corner of the intersection of Thornydale Road and W Hardy Road. Entry is the first driveway on the south side of Hardy Road. Look for a gray driveway and a chain that crosses driveway when we are not present. Additional parking is available along Hardy Rd. Please see map.