Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market Is Making It Easier To Eat Sonoran Foods

Many in Tucson are familiar with the shady mesquite trees that fill our neighborhoods, but few may know that these native trees also provide an excellent source of food.  Mesquite pods are a versatile food that may be ground up into a nutritious flour or processed to make sweeteners.  Unfortunately, mesquite seeds are difficult to open using home methods.  On Nov. 17th, the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market will partner with Desert Harvesters to provide an easier way to process these abundant seeds.  For a minimum of $5, those wishing to grind their clean and dry mesquite pods can bring them to the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market to be milled into flour they can take home and to use for baking.

Visitors to the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market will also be treated with free bike tune ups and accessories provided by Menlo Bikes.  The group will teach cyclists how to fix flat tires and maintain their bikes.  Menlo Bikes is a neighborhood bicycle project that encourages and facilitates bicycle use for Menlo Park residents.

The mesquite milling is open to the public and runs from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM.  Shoppers will also be able to enjoy children’s activities and live music.   All of the Community Food Bank farmers’ markets accept SNAP (food stamps), WIC checks, Arizona Farmers Market Nutrition vouchers, cash, credit and debit cards.  Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market runs every Thursday from 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM at El Mercado San Agustin, located at 100. S. Avenida del Convento, west of 1-10, near the corner of Congress and Grande.

Menlo Bikes is part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiative to prevent or reduce obesity through increased opportunities for improved nutrition and physical activity.  Led by the Pima County Health Department, CPPW is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.