Note: The following information describes how we run Desert-Harvester-hosted milling events; however, at events hosted by other organizations the milling may be organized quite differently. Many of the events at which we mill mesquite pods are hosted by other organizations that hire us just for the milling. At such events, it is up to the host to determine how the milling will be organized. However, please note that the pod-quality safety and health requirements are non-negotiable and must be observed at every event at which Desert Harvesters is providing milling services.*
- Our milling events are usually held from mid October through November, when we are well out of the humid summer monsoon weather. This follows the summer harvest, and ensures that the mesquite pods have a chance to dry well and will not reabsorb moisture from the high dew point of the monsoon season. Moist pods bind up the mill.
- We charge $2 per gallon of whole pods, with a minimum of $5. This generally works out to a cost of $1.50 to $2 per pound of flour milled. This is a bargain considering that the flour usually sells for $14 to $20 per pound.
- We encourage all those wanting to mill mesquite pods to harvest at least 3 to 5 gallons of whole pods so they will have at least a gallon of flour after milling. We charge a minimum of $5 to mill any amount of whole pods, both to encourage folks to harvest more pods, as well as to cover the costs of operating the mill and paying our staff.
- Only clean, dry seedpods that “snap” when bent will be milled. If they bend rather than snap they are too moist and will clog the mill. (See the Harvesting and Storage tips page). Pods must be clean and free of stones, dirt, leaves, and black mold otherwise they will not be milled. We will not risk damaging the mill or contaminating the flour. Please note that these pod-quality safety and health requirements are non-negotiable and must be observed at every event at which Desert Harvesters is providing milling services. Note: carob pods can also be milled as long as at least 10 gallons of mesquite pods are also provided with which we can flush the carob out of the mill. This “flushing” will produce a delicious mesquite/carob flour blend that will go to whoever provides the carob and mesquite pods for milling.
- We typically will allow individuals/households to grind up to 15 gallons of whole pods each at the public milling event. The reason for all this is because in the past, many people with only a few pods had to wait hours behind a few people with many pods. However, if there is no one else waiting to mill their pods at a public event, we could mill more than 15 gallons of pods for an individual if they paid the additional fee mentioned below. If someone has more than 15 gallons of whole pods, and there is a long line of people wanting to mill, the person with more than 15 gallons of pods must leave them (cleaned and free of mold/fungus and debris) with us in sealed food-grade containers (preferably 5-gallon plastic buckets with lids) with their names and phone numbers – and prepay for us to mill the extra pods ($2 per gallon of whole pods). You can often get these buckets with lids for free or at very low cost from bakeries, doughnut shops, and delis. Within about a week Desert Harvesters staff will mill the pods and call the owners when the flour is ready. If the flour is not picked up within 10 days of notification it becomes property of Desert Harvesters. There will be no refunds.
- No individual, household, or family will be allowed to grind more than 50 gallons of whole pods, unless they rent the mill and pay staff at the daily/hourly rate. This is to lessen the chance of folks grinding pods for sale rather than personal use. If you want to grind pods for sale, we have a commercial rental rate for the mill and staff.
- To speed up the line of folks waiting to mill pods we form two lines: one line of people with 5 or fewer gallons of pods, and a second line for people with more than 5 gallons of pods. We will take two people from the small volume line and then one person from the large volume line and so on.