DESERT HARVESTERS: Guided Native Food-Tree Harvest Tours (Pre-Monsoon), June 16, 2016 — Tucson AZ

Photo credit: Jim Harris Photography

Harvest tour on foot. Photo credit: Jim Harris Photography

Tours will be led by Desert Harvesters core members and trained volunteers.

In conjunction with the Community Food Bank‘s Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market
100 S. Avenida del Convento, Tucson
West of I-10 at Congress & Grande

4:30 pm: Required sign up time if you did not prepay for walking harvest (tour begins at 5 pm)

5:30 pm: Required sign up time if you did not prepay for biking harvest (tour begins at 6 pm)

Led by: Desert Harvesters core members and trained volunteers

Cost: $10 per person
Sliding scale available down to $5—in person only. Subject to availability of spots.

Desert Harvesters membership discounts will be available to tour-ists who join at the time of the tour: $5 off Groundcover level, $10 off Understory level, $15 off Keystone Species level memberships. Cash, checks, and cards will be accepted on site.

Not yet volunteering with Desert Harvesters? Sign up!

Prepay and register for tour spots at the bottom of the page.

Please note that tickets are transferable but not refundable, so if you buy a ticket and are unable to come, please sell or give your ticket to a friend or neighbor!

Photo credit: Jim Harris Photography

Harvest tour by bike. Photo credit: Jim Harris Photography

These short & easy-paced hands-on harvest tours are designed to show you how to:

  • Identify and sample from the best-tasting mesquite and other native bean trees
    Every mesquite tree is different, but some varieties are consistently much better than others. Taste the difference, and you’ll settle for only the best. We will also likely harvest from desert ironwood, canyon hackberry, and two varieties of palo verde.
  • Harvest safely, ethically, and responsibly
    Harvesting pre-rains is the best practice to avoid invisible toxic mold; harvesting from the tree avoids fecal contamination of ground harvests, etc. See here for more on why pre-rain harvests are an important traditional practice.
  • Use cool tools such as the harvest hoe.
  • Plant seeds at the best time for the best bean trees (and other native perennial food plants), and how to plant water in a way that ensures the growth of a vibrant, multi-beneficial tree with tasty and prolific harvests irrigated passively with only free on-site waters. These trees can be the basis for edible forest guilds! You’ll also learn simple tips on how to scarify mesquite and palo-verde seeds to enhance their germination rates when planting your own.

All participants are strongly encouraged to bring sun protection (hat, sunscreen, sunglasses), and a reusable water bottle. Locally made cloth harvest bags and water-bottle slings—along with wild food items—will be available for sale at the event.

In addition, during the Farmers’ Market, Barbara Rose of Bean Tree Farm will be offering Bean Tree Processing Demonstrations from 4–7 pm. These demonstrations by a desert-foods farmer/fermenter/cook will show you how to process milled or whole desert ironwood seeds, palo verde seeds, and mesquite pods into numerous tasty dishes ranging from sprouts to edamame to desert peanuts to atole to sauces and beyond. (These demonstrations are part of the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market’s ongoing Desert Harvest series to teach the public how to identify, process, and use native foods.)





Walking harvest-tour non-refundable registration (button above)
Prepaid walking tour-ists should arrive by 4:45 pm to check in.




Biking harvest-tour non-refundable registration (button above)
Prepaid biking tour-ists should arrive by 5:45 pm to check in.