Tag Archives: Foraging

Saguaro Harvest Gathering 2016

Lower Sonoran Desert – Riparian Area

near Kearny, AZ

Friday, June 24 – Monday, June 27, 2016

Begins 5:30p on Friday; Ends 12p on Monday

Workshop fee – $480

Come join us for the most amazing foraging experience the Sonoran desert has to offer!

Sagauaro Fruit HarvestGathering saguaro fruit from high atop these majestic grandfather and grandmother columnar cacti is one of the most joyous acts known to bird or animal (yes, we are animals, too). Despite the extreme dryness and heat this luscious, juicy and incredibly sweet and delectable treasure appears atop these giants of the desert.

The Saguaro Harvest Gathering puts us in the midst of a mature saguaro cactus forest at the time of prime fruit ripening. Our accommodations are at a beautiful fully restored historic ranch along the Gila river complete with a large pool for cool dips in the afternoon heat.

We will prepare traditional saguaro syrup (bahiduj sitol), and create unique preparations including fermentations, ice cream, saguaro seed bread, and so much more! These fruits are truly one of the most divine tastes in existence, the ‘gold of the Sonoran desert.’ Once we’ve gathered the fruit with a traditional Tohono O’Odham kuiput, we will then explore this majestic food through some unique culinary creativity.

Have you ever tasted one? If not, you should consider joining me for this Saguaro Harvest Gathering at the heart of saguaro harvest season in the Sonoran desert. We’ll beat the heat by starting before sunrise, then take advantage of the beautiful accommodations to bath (in the pool or adjacent river) and nap in the afternoon. This is not just for adults – I started my daughter saguaro harvesting just after she turned 1 year old. DSC_0011

Included in the workshop fee are the 3 nights stay at this gorgeous ranch house, 4 meals created in-house by our staff, and all instruction and guidance through the entire process of saguaro harvesting and preparation by herbalist and wild food forager, John Slattery. Each participant will also go home with freshly dried saguaro fruit, and perhaps a bit of syrup.

Friday will serve as an introduction to the place, the saguaros, and the tools of the harvest. Saturday through Monday we will begin our day before sunrise (@4:45a). Before our walkabout through the saguaro forest we will give thanks for what we seek to gather from the available bounty. By late morning we’ll bring our harvest back to the ranch house for processing and cooking. There will be a 2-3 hour siesta in the heat of the afternoon, and we will continue the processing of the saguaro fruit in the late afternoon. Monday we’ll wrap up after lunch around noon.

 

Full Workshop Fee

 

Deposit

A deposit holds your place in this workshop. Full Payment is due by June 10, 2016.

No refunds are available after June 1, 2016.

John Slattery, Sonoran Herbalist

Tucson, AZ

© 2016

2016 SHA – Session 6 Field Study: Happy Valley (Segments Enrollment)

IMG_2679Three separate segments of Session 6 at Happy Valley, at the base of the Rincon Mountains just north of Benson, AZ are available to individual enrollment for a limited time!

For more details on the location and other trip details click HERE where you can also enroll in the entire Session at a discounted rate from the individual segments.

Listed below are the options for enrolling in individual segments of Session 6 at Happy Valley.

Note: Multiple days are available via the dropdown menu with additional costs for each extension shown as “plus” the specific dollar amount.

Segment #1 Thursday, May 12  6a-4p    (9.5)      

Price: $145.00

Segment #2 Friday, May 13  7a-4p     (8.5)       

Price: $125.00

Segment #3 Saturday, May 14  7a-4p     (8.5)       

Price: $125.00

Our explorations will lead us from lush riparian groves of forested canopy to desert chaparral hillsides and mid-elevation canyons below oak & juniper woodlands moving up into pine forests. So, a great diversity of flora awaits us on this trip!  Some moderate hiking on some days (up to 3 miles per day, tops) and very little hiking other days. Our caravan will stop at one location (en route to our campsite) on Thursday where we will spend half the day before arriving at camp.

The weather may be in the 90s or drop down into the 50s at our mid-elevation camp site. It’s best to prepare for everything in between dry heat and damp cold weather just to be sure. Bring whatever camping equipment you will require to be comfortable (e.g., a tent/tarp/vehicle to sleep in, sleeping mat, sleeping bag/blankets) and ample food and water to last the 4 days of our trip. Our Sunday session concludes at 2p.

If you register for the Friday segment, or later, you will receive detailed written instructions on where to meet up with our group. A phone call will also be arranged in order to communicate the directions clearly.

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I hope you can join me for this adventure!

Any further questions, email sonoranherbalist@desertortoisebotanicals.com

2016 SHA Module, Session 12: Prickly Pear Food & Medicine

prickly pearSeptember 17     6a – 4p

Location: vicinity of Tucson, AZ

Instructor: John Slattery

Class Fee: $125

Prickly pear is a native cactus of the American deserts which can now be found all over the world. Perhaps the most emblematic wild plant food of the North American deserts, prickly pear is particularly abundant in the higher portions of the Sonoran Upland Division where cattle grazing has multiplied its abundance considerably. This terrain happens to be essentially encircling Tucson, AZ, the site of our day long exploration of the prickly pear as food and medicine.

This class will involve a morning visit to a wild population of fruiting prickly pear cactus with hands-on discovery of the flavors and tastes of prickly pear fruit. Plant identification, harvesting techniques, optimal harvesting times, and medicinal applications (first-aid and chronic ailments) will be explored here in-depth. We will conclude our class indoors in central Tucson to complete the processing of our fruit into juice and for later storage. Different processing and storage options will be discussed and demonstrated. We’ll also demonstrate (and taste!) some delicious prickly pear drinks, including ferments.

Each participant will walk away with a better understanding of when to harvest the fruit (not just when they’re red!), best practices for processing the fruit for juice, and an expanded awareness of its great variety of medicinal applications.

Questions: Contact john@johnjslattery.com

 

Price: $125.00

Refund Policy: Full refund by September 3, 2016. 50% refund after September 3, 2016 (unless you can fill your spot by a referral). Zero refund after September 13, 2016. Note: Any refunds applied over 60 days after registration will incur a 3% fee.

2016 SHA Module, Session 11: Field Study – Chiricahuas

ChiricahuasSeptember 6-11    *5 nights camping

Trip Fee: $575  (includes 6 days of instruction and handout materials)

Instructor: John Slattery

This module features 5 nights camping in the wild and rugged Chiricahua mountain range of the Desert Archipelago. Here Sierra Madre Occidental meets the Rocky Mountains – each at their extreme edges.

Our days will be spent in contemplation with the plants, exploring, discussing what we find, gathering plants for food and medicine (maybe some mushrooms, too), processing and preparing medicine in the field, and exercising our full faculties to gain knowledge from the place which we inhabit. This is the longest module of the 2016 SHA Program, allowing participants to sink deeply into place and plants creating strong relationship bonds. These bonds deeply inform the medicine we know and receive from plants. This is the hidden gem within Bioregional Herbalism. It must be experienced to begin to understand its power and relevance.

No other Sky Island in the US is quite like the Chiricahuas. Whether for unique geology, convergence of ecotones, diversity of plants, animals, and insects, or unique cultural heritage and energetic resonance. Here we will encounter such important medicines as lobelia, Sonoran grape root (relative of Oregon grape), red root (3 species), self-heal, poke, vervain (3 species) and chaparral; and such unique or unheralded plants such as bidens, silk tassel, Wright’s eryngo, lead plant, indigobush, mariola, wild oregano, pony’s foot, Arizona cypress, beebush, and many, many more.

Camping will be in primitive camp sites with outhouses and picnic tables. Good drinking water is available at one spring, and drinking water can be filtered from a nearby stream. Transportation is each participants’ responsibility, but carpooling may be arranged upon registration; 4wd or high clearance is not necessary, but may be helpful. All camping equipment is each participant’s responsibility, but limited number of items (tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats) are available for a $4 rental fee per item. Each participant will be responsible for their own meals on the trip.

Questions, email: john@johnjslattery.com

Registration for this Session is now closed

 

2016 SHA Module, Session 10: Field Study: Sierra Blanca – Mid-Summer

DSC_0057August 25-27     *2 nights camping

Trip Fee: $295  (includes 3 full days of instruction and handout materials)

Instructor: John Slattery

This module offers a return to the high elevations of the Sierra Blanca which we first visit and explore in July. Now the tremendous verdancy will be at its peak, rivers and creeks will be flowing with the force of frequent summer downpours, and the land will offer extensive opportunities to explore plants for nourishment and healing.

The summer rains will be at their peak and the nights beginning to reach down toward freezing at the higher elevations of the range. Autumn has just begun, but the verdancy is still tremendous and the plants abundant. Some of the special plants we will encounter on our travels through the Sierra Blanca include blue elder, oshá, betony/lousewort, gentian, star solomon’s seal, cutleaf coneflower, Artemisia species, Siberian elm, Canadian fleabane, red osier dogwood, spikenard, nettle, and so much more.

Camping is primitive, but we will have access to water for drinking and washing. We will begin and end our session in the town of Alpine where good drinking water is available, as well as gasoline, restaurants, basic groceries, showering facilities, laundry facilities, and motels/cabins for those looking to stay before or after the workshop. We may also pass through Alpine during our session for brief stops to re-supply.

Questions, email: john@johnjslattery.com

Register:  

Price: $120.00

*When choosing “Single Day” or “2 Days” you will be able to specify which day/s in subsequent email correspondence

 

2016 SHA Module, Session 8: Field Study: Sierra Blanca – Early Summer

Sierra BlancaJuly 20-24     *4 nights camping

Trip Fee: $590  (includes 5 full days of instruction and handout materials)

Instructor: John Slattery

*Featuring an in-depth segment on Phytochemistry (8hr)

This module features 4 nights camping in the high elevations of the Sierra Blanca of Arizona. An area of diverse habitats and where the sources of our major riverways descend from high mountain springs. The perfect backdrop for the budding bioregional herbalist to learn the principle of contextual awareness through experiential learning.

As the summer rains begin to moisten the Earth once again the vegetation of the mountains explodes filling all valleys and covering mountainsides. During this first session in the Sierra Blanca we will be exploring all available seasonal herbs while addressing and discussing some wild plant foods as well. The seasons of wild oregano, yerba del lobo, skullcap, wild mint, and St. John’s wort will be at their height. The fresh tips of spruce, Douglas fir, and white fir will be covering the higher mountains. Several of our root and seed harvests of the autumn will now be easily recognizable for their foliage and flowers. The study of the forest for its medicine will be our intent, gathering up experiences to inform our paths of healing and sharing with those we encounter. These 5 full days serves as an immersion in the healing plants of the Sierra Blanca, the White Mountains of Arizona, of the Apache, and those who have lived here throughout time.

Additionally, this module features an in-depth exploration of phytochemistry. All major classes of plant constituents will be covered, and we will discuss, in-depth, the phytochemical makeup of several plants we visit on this trip. Handouts will be given to accompany the lecture.

Camping is primitive, and we will have 2 different campsites to reduce driving time overall. We will have access to water for washing although drinking water will have to be hauled in (unless purified on site). We will, however, make passes through the town of Alpine where good drinking water is available, as well as gasoline, restaurants, basic groceries, and motels/cabins for those looking to stay before or after the workshop.

Questions, email: john@sonoranherbalist.com

$90 Discount if you register by May 15, 2016  Use Coupon code: SIERRA8

 Register:

Price: $590.00

Cerro de Aconchi

Sonoran River Valley Ethnobotany

October 27-29     *2 nights camping

Trip Fee: $350

*Use Promotion Code DAMIANA to register for $300 by Winter Solstice December 22, 2015

Instructor: John Slattery

This field study trip follows our Sonoran Coastal Thornscrub & Wild Food and Medicine of the Seri (Mexico) up through the picturesque Sonoran River valley. The Río Sonora is believed to have once been inhabited by the Ópata people. Here, their mestizo descendants continue the traditions of farming and gathering wild plant foods such as bellotas, chiltepines, and agave, or mescál, for the distillation of bacanora. The beauty and tranquility of the Sonoran river valley touches the heart of many who pass through it. 

Our home for these 2 nights will be an encampment at the aguas termales, or hot springs, beneath El Cerro de Aconchi, a Sky Island ringed by organ pipe cactus, tree ocotillo, and riparian mesquite forests. We will have access to numerous bathing tubs, outhouses, tables, and the nearest town, Aconchi, is a 20 minute drive.  

Our days will be spent hiking and exploring the valley and talking with local people about their relationship with wild plants, whenever possible. We will visit and discuss the medicine of damiana, tree ocotillo, elephant tree, organ pipe cactus, pochote, cacahuiste, chicura, and many other curious plants of the Sonoran river valley. There will be a guided tincture making class in the field or at our campsite. And for a very special treat we will clamor up into the hills in search of the ripened wild chiltepines (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum). Following, we’ll have a go at creating a variety of traditional chiltepín preparations with what we’ve gathered – pickled unripe fruits, chiltepín-quince salsa, chiltepín-garlic salsa, and more!

DSC_0788For those not present on the Sonoran Coastal Thornscrub field study (10/19-23), we will be meeting on highway 15 just north of Hermosillo before caravanning as a complete group up highway 14 along the Río Sonora. Complete directions will be given upon registration.

Trip Participation Requirements:

  • Complete Registration
  • Valid Passport
  • Reliable transportation -or- Rideshare within our group
  • Basic Camping Equipment

More specific trip details will be sent upon registration.

Register: 

Price: $350.00

Foraging in the Sonoran Desert

Foraging in the Sonoran Desert

CANCELLED

Saturday, October 17, 2015 8a – 4p
$75 per person

Location: near Tucson; to be announced upon registration
Exploring and observing our desert home for the great variety of tasty and nutritious wild plant foods it offers. Living in the Sonoran desert, particularly southeast Arizona, one must consider the mountains as well as the low desert. Together we will explore the local terrain in search of wild plant foods.
Join local herbalist & forager, John Slattery, on a wild foraging journey in our local desert and mountains. We will be exploring the great diversity of native wild foods which exist in our local habitat. Important out of season wild plant foods will be demonstrated with samples and field identification. Basic topics covered will include:
Proper Identification of Edible Species
Time of Year for Proper Harvest
Methods of Preparation
Location, Environment, and Habitat for each Plant

Numerous wild foods will be identified, and we will sample several locally available wild foods. Additionally, samples of a variety of “shrubs” made with wild prickly pear fruit juice and a homemade prickly pear vinegar will be shared as we discuss the possibilties of creating locally foraged, wild drinks.

Please bring proper walking shoes, needed protection from the sun, adequate water for a full day of sun exposure, plate/bowl, cup & utensil (for sampling) and a packed lunch. Our meeting place will be announced closer to the scheduled date of class. Limited to 12 participants. Contact John at John@SonoranHerbalist.com with any questions regarding the class.

John Slattery, Sonoran Herbalist
Tucson, AZ
© 2015

 

Saguaro Harvest Gathering

Lower Sonoran Desert – Riparian Area

near Kearny, AZ

Friday, June 26 – Monday, June 29, 2015

25 hour workshop & retreat

Workshop fee – $365

Gathering saguaro fruit from high atop these stately grandfather and grandmother columnar cacti is one of the most joyous acts known to bird or animal (yes, we are animals, too). Despite the extreme dryness and heat this luscious, juicy and incredibly sweet and delectable treasure appears atop these giants of the desert. We will prepare syrup (bahiduj sitol), and create unique preparations including fermentations, ice cream, saguaro seed bread, and so much more! These fruits are truly one of the most divine tastes in existence, the ‘gold of the Sonoran desert.’

Have you ever tasted one? If not, you should consider joining me for this Harvest Gathering and Retreat at the heart of saguaro harvest season amidst an abundant cactus forest on private land near the small town of Kearny, AZ along the Gila River. Situated atop a small hill overlooking the Gila River this restored 1930s ranch house offers modern amenities and a swimming pool to refresh oneself in the afternoon heat.

Included in the workshop fee are the 3 nights stay at this gorgeous ranch house, 4 meals created in-house by a talented local chef, and all instruction and guidance through the entire process of saguaro harvesting by herbalist and wild food forager, John Slattery. Each participant will go home with freshly dried saguaro fruit, and perhaps a bit of syrup.

 

Price: $365.00

John Slattery, Sonoran Herbalist

Tucson, AZ

© 2015

Foraging in the Sonoran Desert

When: Saturday, October 25, 2014; 8a – 3p

Where: near Tucson, AZ

Who: Anyone interested in learning to forage wild plants and eat from their surroundings

Cost: $50 per person

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Learn to eat from what you find in the desert!  Join local herbalist & forager, John Slattery, on a wild foraging journey in our local mountains. We will be exploring the great diversity of native wild foods which exist in our local habitat. Numerous wild foods will be identified, and we will gather and prepare select, available wild foods. Additionally, important out of season wild plant foods will be demonstrated with samples and field identification. Basic topics covered will include:

Proper Identification of Edible Species

Time of Year for Proper Harvest

Methods of Preparation

Location, Environment, and Habitat for each Plant

Please bring proper walking shoes, needed protection from the sun, adequate water for a full day of sun exposure, and a packed lunch. Our meeting place will be announced upon registration. Limited to 12 participants. Contact John at John@SonoranHerbalist.com with any questions regarding the class.

Visit http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/ to register (scroll down the page).