They’re here–they’re ready! Cholla buds’ grand opening!

Cholla are already blooming! I was so fortunate to have learned to harvest and prepare this amazing Desert abundance last year… The buds are delicious.. (after cooking) are similar in taste and texture to Okra… with a delicate lemony flavor! After being steamed, they can be dehydrated and stored for future use… I am excited to do a small harvest this year, as we have had so little rain/snow/frost this winter, I do not want to over-harvest or deprive any other animals of food:)
I just love spring time!

Savor the Southwest:

staghorn cholla flower just opening (N.Stahler photo) staghorn cholla flower just opening (N.Stahler photo)

Tia Marta here with important news—something I was planning to share with you next month but wow here it is—our staghorn cholla cacti flowered yesterday.  That is a herald-horn in the desert for sure—it is cholla bud harvesting time again!

Ever since I was first led into the desert to learn cholla harvesting decades ago now by my Tohono O’odham mentor and teacher, Juanita, I’ve looked forward to this signal and to our ritual, with hope for the return of desert-food-season, and with gladness —not to mention with a little trepidation for the hazards of the business.  But in all the years of practicing our ritual harvest I’ve never seen the buds come on so early.   This is fully a month sooner than the “old normal.”  All through the 1970s,’80s, into the ‘90s, we could predict the cholla harvest to be cranking up…

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