DESERT HARVESTERS: 13th ANNUAL MESQUITE MILLING & WILD FOODS FIESTA at the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market (Pre-Monsoon), June 25, 2015 — Tucson AZ

2011 Dunbar-Spring mesquite millingDate: Thursday, June 25, 2015
Rain date: In the unlikely event of heavy rain the milling may be postponed to the following Thursday, July 2
Time: 4–7 pm

Venue: Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market @ the Mercado San Agustín
(Market is hosted by the Community Food Bank)
Address: 100 S Avenida del Convento | Tucson, Arizona

We’re excited about this year’s event, timed to rhyme with the Sonoran Desert’s natural cycles, and hosted in conjunction with the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market—and we’d love to get some more volunteers to add to the greatness! Can you help out? All those volunteering the whole event get a free Desert Harvesters t-shirt and community appreciation. If you can help please let us know in advance by emailing us at, and including your name, phone number, and times you are available to help on Thursday. We strongly recommend that volunteers attend our pod-inspection workshop on June 20!

Mesquite (and carob) pods will be milled BEFORE THE SUMMER RAINS to encourage harvesting before the rains (as recommended by the Mesquite Harvest Working Group) for a higher-quality harvest, with less insect predation, and far less potential for invisible molds more common in post-rain harvests.

See here for more on why pre-rain harvests are the traditional practice, and so important.

About the Milling: Bring Your Own Pods!

Pods for milling must be clean, dry, and free of mold/fungus, stones, leaves, and other debris.
Cost: $3/gallon of whole pods, with a minimum of $10.

One gallon of whole mesquite pods mills into about one pound of flour, so the price averages $3 per pound of flour—a bargain considering that the flour usually sells for $14–$20 per pound. After pod inspection and prepayment, you may leave your pods in sealed food-grade containers (preferably 5-gallon plastic buckets with lids), with owner’s name and phone number written on each container. Flour will be ready within a week and must be picked up. No refunds.

Mesquite flour is a naturally sweet, nutritious, and delicious addition to recipes for cakes, cookies, pizza, bread, tortillas, granola, dog biscuits—you name it! And like many other native foods, gluten-free mesquite is great for people with hypoglycemia and diabetes as it regulates blood glucose levels.

We will also offer at the Fiesta:

  • Mesquite-pod tastings so you can experience the diverse array of flavors from different mesquite trees. This will help you enhance your awareness of different trees’ pod characteristics, thereby improving the quality of your harvest.
  • Information on local resources for aflatoxin testing of flour from locally harvested pods.

Many of our partners who participated in the June 18 market will return once again with their unique wild-foods offerings at the Fiesta:

  • Barbara Rose of Bean Tree Farm will be offering Bean Tree Processing Demonstrations from 4–7 pm. Barbara, 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.)

  • A reprised official launch of Exo Roast Company’s new Exo Mesquite Cold Brew coffee drink, as well as Exo Chiltepin Cold Brew which features Sonoran-grown chiltepin peppers, dark chocolate, and cream—both will be available for sample and sale

  • Native wild foods for sale such as mesquite flour; cactus fruit, drinks, syrup, and popsicles; ocotillo-blossom kombucha; and cholla buds. Look throughout the Santa Cruz River Farmers Market for San Xavier Farm Co-op, Desert Tortoise Botanicals, Aravaipa Heirlooms, Black Mountain Spring Kombucha, and other vendors.

See for more information.

BEFORE YOU COME, BE SURE TO read the pod-harvesting and -preparation guidelines online at: and

Questions? Email Desert Harvesters.