Tag Archives: Wild Foods

2016 SHA Module, Session 16: All About Acorns

shelled southern live oak acorns November 19   9:30 – 5p

Location: Tucson, AZ

Instructor: John Slattery

Our final module of the year offers a full day of working with acorns. Two species of acorn will be our main focus: southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) and bellota (Quercus emoryi), the former we’ll be viewing with ripe acorns. We may also view another non-native, cork oak (Quercus suber) from Spain. The former is found in abundance as a locally landscaped oak, and the bellota is our prominent wild acorn, locally. These delicious and tremendous local food resources will be looked at in depth during this class, and we will also go through all stages of processing from dry acorn to fully leached flour. Some food prep will be involved and pre-made samples will be available.

Although processing acorns does take some time, there are ways to manage it rather well. I will be sharing from my experiences as we go through the process of preparing our local acorns for consumption.

southern live oak acornThe mighty oak is renowned throughout the world as a symbol of strength, courage, integrity, vitality, and protection. There is no other food which has sustained the human race to such an extent as the acorn. And today most are barely aware that it can be eaten. How can such an abundant food go unnoticed for so many generations? The time of reawakening to the vitality and nutrition present in the oak’s acorns is upon us, and with much culinary delight!

We are entering the age of the acorn renaissance! I hope you can join me.

Our meeting place will be in central Tucson to discuss and view fruiting oak trees. After a couple of hours in the field, we’ll head to the Desert Tortoise Botanicals office for processing the acorns.

Register:  

Price: $98.00

 

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 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 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

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

 

Field Study: La Sierra Blanca

Verbascum thapsus - MulleinThursday, August 20

8a-4p

Class Fee: $98

Field Study: La Sierra Blanca

Discussion, Application, Gathering and Processing of Wild Herbal Medicines of the high mountains, canyons, and rivers of the White Mountains of Arizona

with John Slattery

This full day of field study with herbalist and forager, John Slattery, is a unique opportunity to experience hands-on learning with the plants and a group of interested and committed students. John has been developing relationship with the plants of this area for the past 11 years. We will be viewing and discussing 12 to 15 different plants, in depth, throughout the day with opportunities to gather some plants for food or medicine. Some field medicine making instructions will be provided.

Each participant should bring a packed lunch, 2-4L of drinking water (including something to conveniently carry it on walks), comfortable footwear for walking, a daypack/bag, rain gear, suitable sun protection, notebook, pen, and camera (optional). Further supplies potentially needed (optional) will be discussed upon registration.   

Carpooling may be available upon arrival at our meet-up location in Alpine, AZ.

Register:

 

Price: $98.00

Herbal Traditions of Mexico: Pitaya Harvest

Pitaya Harvest

Coastal Thornscrub region at the Sea of Cortéz

led by herbalist, John Slattery

July 15 – July 18, 2015

Workshop fee – $425

A tremendously unique opportunity to forage for the highly treasured Pitaya cactus fruit (ool imám) with the People of the Land & Sea, the Comcáac, or Seri tribe of northwest Sonora, Mexico. This journey into the hot summer desert should prove rewarding for the ripe, sweet Pitaya fruits which await us. At a traditional summer Pitaya harvesting encampment we will forage for and prepare Pitaya fruit along with Mesquite pods to prepare unique traditional delicacies. You will learn the traditional methods for acquiring this fruit, traditional methods of processing and preparation into various foods. We will be making a preparation called mermelada, or jam, at our encampment.

The Pitaya cactus has a longer fruiting season than other local columnar cacti species and provides a tremendous amount of food for both animals and humans. Given our exceptionally dry winter it bodes well for an excellent Pitaya fruit harvest this year. For several centuries (if not millennia) the Comcáac have been utilizing and celebrating this native food of the Sonoran desert. The Comcáac mark the beginning of their calendar year by the fruiting of this cactus. Numerous parts of the cactus have been integrated into their daily lives for various purposes over many hundreds of years.

The fruit of Pitaya is said to be the tastiest cactus fruit in all the Americas. Although this fruit is

Sahueso (Pachycereus pringlei) fruit

Sahueso (Pachycereus pringlei) fruit

nearly impossible to find in the US this unique journey will bring you into the heartland of the Seri people for a traditional pitaya (Stenocereus thurberi) harvesting camp. Join us for a celebration of the Seri new year as the pitaya fruit ripen across the desert. Come listen to the songs of the desert as the Seri people have learned them, living in union with this beautiful desert at the sea for millennia. In addition, we’ll have the opportunity to taste saguaro, sahueso, and senita fruits straight from the cactus. These fruits have nourished many peoples across the deserts of Mexico over millennia. 

Accommodations

Our 3 nights stay at indoor accommodations (with a/c) in nearby Kino Nuevo, Sonora at the Prescott College Center is immediately adjacent to the gorgeous white sand beach. Step out our front door for a swim in the beautiful, refreshing bath water of the late afternoon. Accommodations offer shared rooms with individual beds or cots. Showers, wifi, telephone service, secure parking, full kitchen, and laundry facilities are all available.

Meals

The trip includes 6 meals provided by our endearing hosts including a stopover at Doña Olga’s home in Imuris, Sonora upon arrival and on our return. Remaining meals will be eaten in local restaurants or made at our group kitchen. Please indicate any dietary needs upon registration. Vegetarian, and gluten and dairy-free options will be available.

Because it is nearly mesquite season as well, we may be processing local Western honey mesquite pods for flour. Last year we prepared pitaya empanadas with hand-ground mesquite which we roasted on the grill over hot coals.

Hortensia hand grinding toasted mesquite pods

Hortensia hand grinding toasted mesquite pods

Travel in Mexico

Transportation is each participants responsibility. No special permits or visas are necessary to drive to our destination. Only vehicle insurance and a valid passport are necessary. Driving to our harvest camp includes off-road driving on poorly maintained roads. Although low clearance vehicles can easily pass, beware that obstacles exist and minor damage to one’s vehicle is possible. Travel throughout this region of Mexico is perfectly safe. John has been running these trips with groups since 2007 and has received nothing but a warm welcome from the people of Sonora. This route is commonly travelled by tourists of both Mexico and the USA.

Translation provided by John Slattery, the head tour guide and trip facilitator, as well as other native Spanish speakers within the group.

A full list of What to Bring and an Outline of the trip’s Itinerary will be sent out upon registration.

For more information email: mexicotrips@SonoranHerbalist.com

Space is Limited

 

Trip Deposit $200

John Slattery, Sonoran Herbalist   © 2015

Tucson, AZ

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

Edible & Medicinal Plants of Oracle State Park

Oracle State Park

Saturday, April 25th

9a-12p

Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Oak Grasslands

Ever wondered how the local plants can be used for food and medicine? Join Sonoran herbalist John Slattery for a walk through the oak grasslands of Oracle State Park. We’ll identify and discuss a variety of plants growing in the park while covering some aspects of botany, ethnobotany, harvesting techniques, medicine making, food preparation, clinical applications, and even how you might implement these plants into your home landscape. Each participant will leave with a renewed sense of awe and inspiration for the desert in which they live. Class is free with park admission.

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

DSC_0002

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).