Thursday, July 5, 2012

Saguaro Harvest at Tohono O'odham Reservation: Thinking about the mother nature

Pictures tell a thousand words stories. Iskashitaa's Saguaro Harvest on Tuesday was quite an experience. The weather was beautiful --we were blessed by the clouds and the breeze as we made our way to Tohono camp.

The pickers for Saguaro fruits are made out of Saguaro "bones" - the trunk of the cactus. See how tall it is?

Before we began harvesting, we were given Tohono Harvesting 101. We do not eat our first harvest but dip it, and put it on our forehead and heart to bless ourselves. Then we place the fruit facing towards the Sun so as to call the rain. After the harvest, we place a piece of our hair on the cactus to express our gratitude to the mother nature. 
One of our interns, Cheska, loved the idea, got a little carried away and smothered it on her face!
Don't worry, the fruit that she is eating is her 45th harvested Saguaro fruit :)

Our wonderful staff Lori loved not only peeling fruits and putting the content into our ice-cream box, but she also loved TASTING them.

Look at how vibrant the colors are! Luscious red and pink fruit inside the green, rosy fruit still amazes me.

Emily and Lori working together to harvest Saguaro fruit: division of labor, yes go team!
                                                                                                                                                               I couldn't get over how beautiful it was and how sweet and savory it was! (Hence, the face I made when I devoured the fruit)
After the harvesting, Tilahun learns how to dry the contents of the fruit and sort out the seeds.
This is the dried Saguaro fruit "pancake".  

Molasses made from Saguaro fruit. So sweet and divine! Perfect on pancakes and waffles.

Quick tip on how to eat Saguaro fruit like a native: Take the dark stem of the fruit, use the tip and slice the fruit all the way through. Open it up, use your fingers and enjoy! 

Wonderful group picture with Stella from Tohono tribe. She comes to the Tohono Camp site during this time, camps out here to harvest Saguaro fruit. I felt so blessed to have been a part of it and returned with full heart (and stomach!)  Special thanks to our wonderful photographer Emily. (All rights reserved. Emily Ann Jones Photography)

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