June 15, 2015 / Modified jun 16, 2015 5:22 a.m.

Harvesting Desert's Bounty Topic of Classes

Santa Cruz Farmer's Market will host demonstrations this month.

Desert_Harvest_spot Desert harvesters are harvesting mesquite trees.

The Sonoran desert is one of the most unique food regions in the U.S., due, in part, to the diversity of edible native plants.

Local food advocates want to help Tucson residents learn how to harvest and use native edibles like cholla buds, palo verde seeds and mesquite pods.

Thursday at the Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market, the public is invited for a demonstration and harvest of local plants.

Kara Jones is market’s manager. She said it's important for residents to be connected to their region through local cuisine.

“People may not be as connected to place and what grows there and in what seasons it grows," Jones said. "Which is why the farmer’s market is such an important forum not only for that kind of food exchange, but that kind of cultural exchange."

Many of the Sonoran desert's edible plants are also rich in nutrients, including mesquite pods, which are high in calcium, zinc, and potassium, Jones said.

The event begins Thursday at 4:30pm at the Mercado San Agustin in Tucson.

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