Tucson, AZ—Every year enthusiastic eaters swarm the annual Mesquite Milling Fiesta and Pancake Breakfast, to be served up the event’s famous mesquite pancake. The popular pancakes, sold for $1 each and topped with prickly-pear syrup, are made with mesquite flour from native Velvet mesquite pods hand picked around Tucson and organic wheat from Crooked Sky Farm in Glendale, AZ, ground just a week before the event. Three public hammer mills are also on site for members of the public to grind their own pods into flour.

The event is organized by Desert Harvesters, a nonprofit volunteer-run, grassroots group that promotes the harvest of native, wild, and cultivated desert foods and also advocates for the planting of indigenous, food-bearing shade trees (such as the Velvet mesquite) within rainwater harvesting “gardens” (in home landscapes and public rights-of-way). Funds raised at the event support the group’s educational efforts in the community, including demonstrations, publications, and tasting events.

This year the event features the release of a new cookbook called Eat Mesquite!, published by Desert Harvesters. The cookbook includes the famous pancake recipe along with nearly 50 other mesquite recipes culled from over 150 community contributions. It offers recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and more, as well as information about the culinary and medicinal uses of mesquite and tips for harvesting, milling, and cooking with it. The cookbook was produced with support from a grant by PRO-Neighborhoods and will be sold for $20. Testimonials/reviews and more information about the cookbook are on the Desert Harvesters’ web site:

The event will also feature live music, organic coffee and native teas, and roving entertainers. Informational tables from other local food efforts will also be at the event. In case of rain, the event will move to the Dunbar Auditorium, just north of the garden.

If you go:
Location: Dunbar/Spring Community Garden, NW corner of University Blvd. and 11th Ave.
Date: Saturday, November 6th
Pancake Breakfast: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Mesquite Milling: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring your own pods! Pods must be clean, dry and free of stones, leaves, and other debris. Cost to mill is $2 per gallon of whole pods, with a minimum of $5 (a bargain considering that the flour usually sells for $14 to $20 per pound). Be sure pods are clean and free of mold/fungus and debris. Pods can be left (after inspection and prepayment for milling) in sealed food-grade containers (preferably 5-gallon plastic buckets with lids) with owner’s name and phone number. Flour will be ready within a week and must be picked up. No refunds. For information on how to collect, store and prepare beans visit the Desert Harvesters website at

For Immediate Release: Oct. 6, 2010
Lori Adkison,
Brad Lancaster,