Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2020 at 11:30 AM

PHOENIX – Hot summers are nothing new in Arizona, but humans aren’t the only ones who have suffered from record-breaking heat: queen palm trees across the Valley have been burning up.

2020 was the hottest year on record in Phoenix, with 48 days of excessive heat warnings and a heat peak in July and August, according to the National Weather Service. Although palm trees have thrived in the arid Southwest for generations, some species are more resilient than others.

“The queen palm just doesn’t take the heat nearly as well as some of the other varieties,” said Bill Jones, an operations manager at Arcadia Color Garden Nursery in east Phoenix.

Queen palms are synonymous with warm regions and are popular landscape trees because of their long, glossy fronds. But the sustained heat and arid conditions of the Sonoran Desert are a challenge for the South American natives.

Signs of heat damaged palms include wilted, weeping leaves with burned ends and brown marks along drying edges, Jones said. When all leaves are brown and the tree’s trunk is oozing, the tree’s in trouble, he said. Palm trees need a deep soaking of water twice a week to help recover.

Although more watering would seem to be the answer, that’s not always the case, said Debrah Thirkhill, program coordinator for Arizona State University’s Arboretum Services.

“We get a salt buildup in the soil because we’re high in calcium,” Thirkhill said. “Our water is hard water and that, when it comes through this long hot summer, there’s also a salt burn on the roots. … It’s just too much trauma for the plants at the end of a long hot summer.”

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Posted By on Thu, Sep 5, 2019 at 3:53 PM

At Pima County Public Library, it starts with a seed...

Were you one of the thousands of Pima County residents that checked out Black Russian Sunflower seeds as part of the Library's 2019 One Seed program? For many of you, now could be the time to start harvesting and saving your seeds! If you planted Black Russian Sunflowers back in April or May, your sunflowers are probably ready for harvest.

Our wonderful Seed Librarians have put together a helpful guide on how to tell if your seeds are ready for harvest or what to do if they're not quite ready.

We'll be wrapping up this year's program at our Weigh-Off Party on Saturday, September 21 at Martha Cooper Library from 8 to 11 am. Bring your saved Black Russian Sunflower seeds and your donation will join the donations of other gardeners to ensure we have seeds to plant for seasons to come.

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Friday, June 28, 2019

Posted By on Fri, Jun 28, 2019 at 12:44 PM

The Garden Kitchen in South Tucson is a "seed-to-table" community program that provides education on growing and cooking food for better health and wellness on any budget. They partner with the City of South Tucson, Pima County, and the University of Arizona to focus on food security.
Courtesy of The Garden Kitchen

The Garden Kitchen offers cooking classes, and this Saturday, June 29, they're teaching a class called "Healthy and Delicious: With a Latin Twist Hands-On Cooking Class."

Learn to cook gazpacho, crispy vegetable cakes with lemon cilantro crema, and cauliflower ceviche.

You'll understand how to make a cold soup, how to make a sauce, and how to create full-flavor vegetarian entrees.

Can't catch this class? The Garden Kitchen offers classes throughout the month. And they're not just cooking classes, but fitness ones too.

Saturday, June 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. $55
Proceeds go towards The Garden Kitchen's free programming. 2205 S. 4th Ave.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Posted By on Tue, May 28, 2019 at 10:16 AM

Courtesy Tucson Village Farm
An oasis in our busy city, Tucson Village Farm (TVF), "built by and for the youth of our community," offers U-Pick every Tuesday afternoon and is now on summer hours from 5 to 7 p.m.

The farm is open and welcomes the community to the garden east of Campbell Avenue to pick their own produce, support the local food network and get the freshest possible vegetables. For produce purchases, bring cash or check.

TVF also has "farm work" days every Monday and Wednesday on the west side garden from 7 a.m. to noon, when the public can get their hands dirty, help on the farm and learn about planting seeds and harvesting.

If you have never been to the Tucson Village Farm, check it out and you'll find it has a way of drawing visitors back again and again. Located at 4210 North Campbell Avenue. Details here.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Picking out a Christmas tree, strapping it to the roof of your car and finding the perfect spot for it in your living room are the fun parts of decorating with a real tree during the holidays.

But what are you supposed to do with that hunk of dried out pine needles cluttering up your house once the holidays are over?

For the 22nd year, the City of Tucson is running its TreeCycle Program starting the day after Christmas through Jan. 14.

There are convenient locations throughout Tucson and Oro Valley to take your tree:

1. Oro Valley Naranja Park, 810 W. Naranja Dr. (Only open through Jan. 7)

2. Tank's Speedway Landfill & Recycling, 7301 E Speedway (Open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Do not leave trees outside property.)

3. Golf Links Sports Park, 2400 S. Craycroft Rd. (7 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

4. Tucson Rodeo Grounds, on 3rd Ave. (East of Rodeo Grounds, on 3rd Ave. north of Irvington Rd.)

5. Los Reales Landfill, 5300 E. Los Reales Rd. (Entrance is at intersection of Craycroft Rd. & Los Reales Rd., follow signs) 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sundays.

6. Silverbell Site, (Northeast corner of Silverbell Road and Goret Rd (follow signs).

7. Purple Heart Park, 10050 E. Rita Rd.

8. Randolph Golf Course, 600 S. Alvernon Way, (Southeast corner of parking lot)

9. Tank's Green Stuff, 5300 West Ina Road, Open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sat 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

So, what are they going to do with all those trees? Make mulch! From Jan. 2 to 14 pick up free Merry Mulch for your garden at Los Reales Landfill. Bring your own container and take home mulch to help soil retain moisture.

Find more information here. 

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2018 at 3:30 PM


A new study from the University of Arizona's Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics found imported fresh tomatoes from Mexico contributed around $4.8 billion in sales to the U.S. economy and the U.S. imported 3.4 billion pounds of fresh tomatoes from Mexico in 2016.

The study found that U.S. imports of tomatoes from Mexico actively supported nearly 33,000 full and part-time jobs, earning $1.4 billion in employee compensation. It also contributed to $353 million in business owner income and $801 million in corporate profits.

Tomatoes are a species native to the Americas and were first cultivated in Mexico. The U.S. and and Mexico rank as top agricultural export markets with one another, according to the study.

In 2016, Mexico was the largest exporter of crops to the United States, with $11.6 billion in exports. Mexico is the United States’ third largest crop export market destination after China and Canada, with nearly $7 billion in U.S. crops exported to Mexico in 2016.

click to enlarge UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
University of Arizona
The trade in tomatoes between the United States and Mexico represents a reciprocal relationship. The U.S relies on Mexico for fresh tomatoes while Mexico relies on the U.S. for processed tomatoes, according to the UA Department of Agricultural study.

"This study demonstrates that even though grown and harvested elsewhere, imported produce supports economic activity, jobs, and income in the United States through forward and backward linked agribusiness supply chains," said Dari Duval, economic impact analyst with the UA Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

To view the full study of the economic contribution in imported tomatoes from Mexico to the U.S visit, for more information. 

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Posted By on Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 10:02 AM

Tucson food fiends unite, a food party is only a few days away.

In a celebration of local food and with hopes of meeting a fundraising goal, Pivot Produce is teaming up with four local businesses to throw an hors d'oeuvres party with local produce on Dec. 4 from 4-8 p.m. at Pueblo Vide Brewing Co., 115 E. Broadway Blvd.

Pivot Produce is a for-profit company that work to supplying food-based businesses with local produce near the Tucson-metro area. The company is a distributor for Arizona farmers' produce in hopes to alleviate the worry of selling and to keep farmers doing what they do best.

Get ready for some finger foods from local businesses like 5 Points Market and Restaurant, EXO Roast Co., The Carriage House and Welcome Diner. Pueblo Brewing, the hosting location, will feature its special beet-infused PV Pale Ale—proceeds of this limited-times brew will benefit Pivot's cause.

The company is working toward a $20,000 fundraising goal to keep Arizona produce flowing into Tucson's kitchens. If the company reaches its goal, it will be eligible for the USDA's Local Food Promotion Grant. See their fundraising page here.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 11:00 AM

There's an event for all the fruit fanatics out there and it's coming to you this Saturday, Sept. 24. The Annual Pomegranate Festival will be coming to Tucson's Mission Gardens, 946 W. Mission Ln., for the second year in row from 9-11 a.m. 

Brought on by the Friends of Tucson's Birthplace in conjunction with the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the festival is a free, all ages event. Festival goers can enjoy the wide variety of pomegranates with other fruit enthusiasts as well as music, tastings and presentations from Jesus Garcia, Nina Sajovec and Alfredo Gonzalez.

You don't want to be caught off guard of your fruit knowledge at this homage to pomegranates.

Here are few fruit facts to know before going to the Pomegranate Festival:

- Pomegranates are in season from September to February in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the fruit is in season from March to May.

- The pomegranate originated from the Mediterranean area. Today, it is cultivated all over the world including California and Arizona.

- In ancient Greece, the pomegranate was regarded as "the fruit of the dead."   

Click here for more information on the festival.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 9:10 AM

Looking out on the Tucson streets, it may feel a bit like the city has become a dead zone. While pedestrians have taken shelter from the heat inside, now is actually a very interesting time in the region agriculturally, as some of the most unique native plants are now ready to harvest. Pre-monsoon harvests include the bahidaj (or saguaro fruit) that is pivotal in the Tohono O’odham new year season and can be harvested and made into syrup, candy or a wine-like fermented ceremonial drink. Unless you have a saguaro in your yard, though, you’ll want to be sure you’re allowed to harvest the fruit, as many saguaros, including those in the eponymous national park, are protected.

That doesn’t mean you’ll be out of the desert harvest all together, though. Just look around at all of the mesquite pods ready for the picking. If you missed last week’s Desert Harvesters guided tours of foragable pods and beans growing on trees around town, you can still learn plenty at the 14th annual Mesquite Milling and Wild Foods and Drink Fiesta. There, the local nonprofit will be set up at Mercado San Agustin (100 S. Ave. del Convento) during the Santa Cruz River Farmers Market. From 4 until 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, on-site mesquite pod milling will transform all of your plucked pods into sweet, nutty flour for $3 per gallon of whole pods milled with a $10 minimum.

This special event, which goes to benefit Desert Harvesters in their mission to promote native foods and water security in the region, will also feature mesquite pod tasting, aflatoxin testing (to ensure the flour you’ve milled is safe), craft beer made with wild ingredients from Iron Johns and mesquite and chiltepin flavored cold brew from Exo Roast Co. A variety of other native and wild foods products will be for sale, such as date vinegar, cholla buds, desert lavender tea, carob powder and chiltepines. The Pima County Public Library’s seed library will be there to offer up instruction on hands-on bean tree propagation with a giveaway of food-producing native trees, as well.

More information on harvesting and milling mesquite, as well as this event, can be found on the Desert Harvesters website. 

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Posted By on Mon, May 9, 2016 at 4:15 PM

By now it’s clear that food isn’t just about restaurants and dining out, but has grown to be a movement that focuses ever more on local farms and farmers and the traditions of food in any given region. After all, Tucson wouldn’t have won its illustrious UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation without the region’s rich agricultural history paired with modern strides to not only revive it, but make it accessible and inclusive to those in the community.

One of the organizations at the forefront of that very effort in town is the Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace and their heritage crop efforts at the Mission Garden. That’s why local food fanatics should head to the garden on Saturday, May 14 for the 2016 Dia de San Ysidro festival.

The event, which aims to celebrate traditional farming in Tucson by highlighting Old World and indigenous food traditions, will include a procession from Tucson Origins Heritage Park to the garden, performances from Mariachi Milagro and the Desert Indian Dancers from San Xavier, a Native American Four Directions Blessing, a presentation on water saints and acequias by M. Brescia (PhD) and a Pozole de Trigo tasting. Attendees can also take part in a community wheat harvest where you can thresh and winnow alongside members of Presidio San Agustin.

The celebration has roots in Arizona history, and the organization shows it off with an 120-year-old excerpt from the Arizona Weekly Citizen from May 19, 1894:

“All honor was shown today to San Ysidro Labrador…San Ysidro is the rural saint, the patron of the fields and crops. The image was carried today about the fields below town, with a gay procession following…At every house refreshments are on hand, and are served. A feature is usually an olla of teswin, a light wine made of corn. No other intoxicants are permitted…The first of the crop of each field was promised to the patron saint. The Chinese gardeners have come to have due regard for this annual festival, and were among the heavy contributors, some of them giving money.”

The cultural festival begins at 9 a.m. and is open to the public. While the event is free, a $5 donation is requested per person. For more information, visit the Friends of Tucson's Birthplace website.

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