[permaculture] Phoenix Mesquite Collection and Community Walkabouts
FarmerGreg at UrbanFarm.org
Sun Jul 17 00:10:18 EDT 2005
We had a great planning meeting for the mesquite
milling the other evening. There were nine of us
there and we accomplished a lot. We (The Phoenix
Permaculture Guild, The Phoenix Slow Food Group,
Roadrunner Park Farmers Market and The Urban
Farm) will be working together to bring this
event to Phoenix. The biggest thing that we need
to get accomplished right now is that everyone
needs to get collecting beans so that there are
plenty to mill in November. So mostly this email
will spell that out.
First of all go out and collect mesquite beans.
They are ripe and dry now and will continue to
produce into September. Collect only dry beans
then follow the directions below on how to
I have had several people inquire as to that I am
talking about when I say milling. Milling is a
process by which the mesquite beans are
pulverized into a protein rich powder very
similar to flour. It is very tasty and can be
used for cookies, breads and in drinks like
protein powder. It is really good stuff.
Community Collection Walkabouts
We will be offering several mesquite bean
walkabouts over the next 45 days with the first
one being on Saturday August 6. We will meet at
6 am (to beat the heat) at Chris Carlile's home
at 920 W Pierson, which is just south of
Camelback and just West of 7th Street.
We will be offering one on the west side and one
in the east valley in August (more information to
follow). If you would like to sponsor a
walkabout let me know.
Specific Collection Information
So you want to begin collecting the mesquite
beans here are the rules and specifics.
1. Collect only dry beans.
2. Collect only beans that are on the trees.
3. If you must collect beans off the ground here are some caveats
* Beans presented for milling MUST contain only
beans. Any beans presented that have stones,
sticks or other debris CANNOT be milled. These
other items damage the mill.
* Beans soaked or damaged by water cannot be milled.
* make sure that no pesticides are sprayed in the
area where the beans are collected.
4. Once you collect the beans they need to be
dried. I suggest using your solar oven to
lightly toast the beans. This drys them out and
kills any of the bugs that like to inhabit the
beans. Last year I collected some beans and when
it was time to mill them they were infested with
To dry and to rid beans of bugs it is suggested
that you heat the beans for a minimum of 2 hours
at 160F. This dries the beans and kills any
pests that might be inhabiting them.
Solarizing options: spread on tarp on driveway
(but beware of rain - if it doesn't ruin beans it
will change their flavour), use solar oven or a
regular oven and add batches of beans when you
cook other things.
5. Store the beans in airtight containers. Once
you have dried the beans get airtight bags or we
suggest 5 gallon buckets with airtight lids and
store them away.
When you go to Collecting
What to take when collecting:
Tarp / sheet to catch the beans when they fall.
Stick with hook (pruning saw/ grapefruit picker etc..) to shake branches
5 gallon containers
Hat, water etc
Note: Raking beans from ground (especially from
xerascaped gravel) risks pesticide residues (and
also getting debris into the harvest). It's
better to pick from the tree or shake them off
onto a sheet/tarp
Collecting methods - take a tarp, lay under tree
and shake branches (by hand or with a stick/pole)
Quality and taste of beans vary tree to tree - taste as you collect!
Mesquite's you'll find here in the valley:
Honey Prosopis glandulosa
Velvet P. velutina
Chilean P. chilensis
Screwbean P. pubescens (not as recommended
for flour? maybe better for tea?)
Can hybridize, can be hard to distinguish (except
screwbean). Taxonomy is a bit muddled! See
When you bring the beans for milling:
1. All beans milled are for home use and cannot be sold.
2. We will do a snap test. The bean needs to
snap in half with a crack rather then bend. Any
beans that bend cannot be milled as they can jam
the mill and that slows everything down.
3. In Tucson they limit people to three five
gallon pails of beans, mainly because the turnout
for the milling is so great and they have a hard
time getting through it all. We may have to do
this as a starting point to make sure that
everyone gets a chance to mill.
4. You are encouraged to bring at least one 5
gallon pail as it will grind down to about 1
gallon of flour.
Milling Yield and other specifics
The milling will be at Roadrunner park (30th St.
and Cactus (location of farmers market) on Nov.
5th. The time will be announced at a later date.
A 5 gallon bucket of beans = 1 gallon flour 1 = about 2 lbs
In the store one pound of mesquite flour sells for $7 to $15
There will be a charge of $5 per 5 gallons of
beans for milling. This goes to paying for the
mill and mill operators plus hauling the mill
from Tucson. It is
Flour should be frozen to preserve until use.
Carob milling also will be possible at end of day.
See you at one of the walkabouts or the milling.
Don, Rachel, Greg, Pam, Judy, Chris, Mike, Pauline, Kerry,
***ATTENTION*** Please note my new email address. FarmerGreg at UrbanFarm.org
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