Tag Archives: Wild Foods

Herbal Traditions of Mexico: Jan. 29 – Feb. 1, 2014

A Sonoran Botanical Adventure: from the Pinacate Volcanic Fields, to the Seri homelands at the Sea of Cortéz, and the home of Olga Ruíz, legendary Sonoran Herbalist. *SEE BELOW FOR REGISTRATION Seri game This one-of-a-kind trip offers four days and three nights of guided travel and exploration through the Sonoran desert. This will be the first of our series of adventures into Sonora, Mexico for 2014. Considered the hinterland of Mexico, Sonora contains tremendous botanical diversity and a rich tradition of herbalism and wild food knowledge. We will have the great fortune of being hosted by indigenous healers and herbalists who are very open to sharing their knowledge and life experiences. Olga's house This trip is particularly unique in that we will travel to the Pinacate Lava Fields for our first night of camping. This landscape appears lunar in its starkness, yet explodes with floral brilliance in response to ample winter rains. El Pinacate   After traveling south along the new coastal highway to Santa Rosa estuary near the village of Punta Chueca, we will spend the night with our Seri hosts at their desert encampment. The following day will include a rich exchange in their cultural heritage including wild foods, plant walk (from desert coastal scrub to seashore to mangroves), medicine making demonstration, and more.

Hortensia making Salve

Hortensia making Salve

During our time together we will be botanizing in the field, discussing herbal energetics and traditional uses, identifying wild foods, and discovering unknown treasures. This trip includes one pint of tincture for each participant (there’s an option to purchase cane alcohol at our border crossing), made in the field by your own hands. We will collectively decide on a plant to harvest for medicine and prepare tincture together as a group. Organpipe Tincture After spending our last night in a clean hotel in Kino Bay (Kino Nuevo) we will head back north through Hermosillo to the small town of Imuris, Sonora. Here we will visit the legendary Sonoran Herbalist, Doña Olga Ruíz Cañez. At her home we will be treated to a tremendous feast of seasonal comida sonorense (“Sonoran cuisine”), and a full discourse on her approach to healing with herbs. Doña Olga’s yard is a repository of several important native medicinals of the region – not to mention a couple dozen fruit trees!

Doña Olga with Baiburilla

Doña Olga with Baiburilla

This unique botanical and cultural experience is facilitated by Sonoran Herbalist John Slattery. John has been leading these adventures into Sonora, Mexico since 2008. He seeks to create a bridge between the holders of traditional knowledge and those who are open to receive it; a bridge between those who live with plants, and those who seek to learn; a bridge between two cultures connected by a landscape yet divided by political boundaries. Ultimately, we wish to support their way of life in a way that honors them and provides sustenance so that they may continue on for generations to come. Total Cost for the Trip:  $395 per person *Trip fee includes:

  • 2 nights camping, 1 night hotel
  • 6 delicious home-cooked meals (gluten, corn, & dairy-free options available)
  • Several Handouts: Columnar Cacti of Sonora (Slattery), Medicinal Herbs of Doña Olga Ruíz (Slattery), A Seri Herbal, by Maria Luisa
  • Field Lesson: Herbal Tincture Making (Includes harvesting of fresh plant material and processing herb for alcohol extraction)
  • Translation for non-Spanish speaking participants
  • An integrated journey through cultures and traditional plant knowledge
  • Several mini-plant walks, including field botany, ethnobotany, and discussion of plant energetics and clinical applications

*With continued support our Seri hosts have hopes of building an herb shop within their community. Any additional donations towards this goal would be greatly appreciated. Transportation: *IMPORTANT*  Transportation is the responsibility of each participant. Upon registration please indicate if you intend to drive or need a ride. We will help facilitate a rideshare upon registration. Note: Many of the roads we will be traveling on are BRAND NEW. Although they are more narrow they are certainly of good quality at this time. All of our traveling experiences have been safe and enjoyable on these trips. A vehicle permit is NOT necessary for where we will be going on this trip. Vehicle insurance is up to the discretion of each participant, but is not required by Mexican law. We use Sanborn’s Mexican Insurance, locally. Money: You will be able to extract Mexican pesos from an ATM whenever available (each day, at some point). Cash will be needed to purchase herbs, jewelry, or museum quality baskets and crafts from our hosts. Also, there will be at least 3 restaurant meals (1 in the U.S., 2 in Sonora). Gas stations will not accept U.S. bank cards, but you can pay in US dollars. Limited space is available!   Reserve your space today by placing a $200 deposit per person:

Price: $200.00
*Deposits are refundable (minus a 5% fee) through January 8, 2014. Requests to refund deposits after January 8 through January 22 will incur a 25% fee. Deposits will not be refunded after January 22 (exception: 50% of deposit can be put towards another trip within 1 calendar year).   Reserve your space and pay for the trip in full: 
Price: $200.00
  Any questions regarding the trip email: info@sonoranherbalist.com

Green Yucca fruit

Wild Foods Walkabout

  • Saturday April 13, 2013  7:30a-3:30p
  • Cost:  $70  (includes wild foods sampling feast!)
  • Where:  Local wildlands – location to be announced weather depending
  • Contact:  John at sonoranherbalist@desertortoisebotanicals.com with any questions about the class content
  • Register:  email Dan at dorsey@dakotacom.net or call 520-624-8030

Learn to eat from what you find in the wild!  Join Sonoran herbalist, John Slattery, on a wild foraging journey in our local desert & 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’ll gather and prepare some select edibles.  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.  We can carpool from the meeting place to the mountains.

Please bring proper walking shoes, protection from the sun, adequate water for a full day of sun exposure, and a packed lunch.