Harvest, Mill, & Celebrate Wild Abundance
Before the Summer Rains

Desert Harvesters is co-organizing Tucson events to plant, harvest, mill, and celebrate local wild foods in the month of June—the peak of our native bean trees’ harvest season.

Why is this happening in hot June and not the cooler fall?

Because many of our essential native wild food plants are now in the process of pumping out incredible fruit, seed, and bounty in preparation for the first summer rains, which typically begin sometime between June 24—Día de San Juan—and July 4. This way, when the rains come, they will enable the seeds to germinate and grow abundantly—especially where the rain is planted, or harvested, with the seed.

Pre-rain harvests (of mesquite in particular) are also the safest high-quality harvests in the low desert.

These events will give you the opportunity to taste and enjoy delicious desert wild foods; learn how to significantly elevate the quality and flavor of your harvests; and enable you to align more closely with the Sonoran Desert’s seasonal cycles in a way that enhances our shared home and biome.

Come to our Guided Harvest Tours at 5 pm and 6 pm, Thursday, June 16— and then go harvest!

Then, with or without harvested mesquite pods, join in at our Mesquite Milling & Wild Foods Fiesta from 4–7 pm, on Thursday June 23—celebrate and share the variety and bounty of wild Sonoran Desert foods, culture, and community!

Harvest Time is Now!

on ethical wild-foods growing and harvesting

Nature is a system of abundance, cycles, and efficiency.
We can mimic that.
Increase the fecundity of plants and their companions.
Leave and invest fallen pods, leaves, and cut-up prunings as fertile
mulch for animals, soil life, and trees.
Say “thank you” for your harvest with generous actions.
Turn landscapes into lifescapes and lushscapes.
Give back. REINVEST.

We live in a land of precious water.
Use local, free, and gravity-fed water—rather than
imported, costly, and mechanically pumped waters.
Capture rainwater by digging basins and other earthworks.
Catch rainwater runoff from roofs.
Divert public street run-off into public right-of-way rain gardens.
When you grow and harvest rain-irrigated desert food, you
ENHANCE our local ecosystem.

HARVEST nearby.
Look for wild native-food sources in your backyard,
rights-of-ways, and urban trails.
If they don’t exist there, PLANT them.
Leave desert abundance where it belongs—in the desert.
Re-wild the urban and suburban core.

Delight your tastebuds.
Be a culinary cupid. Introduce new flavors to one another.
Find new combinations of traditional, wild foods. INNOVATE.
Prickly pear borscht, anyone? Mesquite muesli?
Practice place-based, place-appropriate, place-inspired fusion.

Be here now. CELEBRATE.
Give thanks to the ancestors.
Make offerings for the future.
Contribute to food, fertility, and water security, here, now, and for
your children, their children, and their children.

Expand your COMMUNITY.
Meet your fellow desert dwellers.
Those that have roots and flowers.
Those that crawl and flutter.
Get to know other humans who harvest.
There is so much to observe, so much to love.
Invite. Involve. Include.

Abundant thanks to Kimi Eisele for unleashing her poetic alchemy on the collective free-association musings of Desert Harvesters’ core-group members!

Tucson has been designated a “World City of Gastronomy” by UNESCO

This video features Desert Harvesters’ Amy Valdés Schwemm and many others whose work led to Tucson’s receiving this honor. For still more on the World City of Gastronomy designation, listen to this great interview with Gary Nabhan.

Who are we and what’s our story?
Check out our new & in-progress About Us page!

Donations are gratefully accepted to support our work in the community!

Please send your check made out to Desert Harvesters, P.O. Box 92, Tucson AZ 85702, or use the PayPal donation button on the bottom left side of any page of our website. We are unable to commit to responding to other correspondence sent through the post office. See the Contact Us page for our array of email addresses.


For a blast from the past, check out the photos from some of our events of yesteryear: