Eating in Aridamerica: the desert food of the future

Heat waves, drought and disease are challenging food security in the southwestern USA and Mexico. Scientists are setting their sights on a novel model for desert farming. As the National Weather Service warns that a heat wave spreading across the southwestern USA is of a “magnitude rare, dangerous and deadly,” a

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There’s more to Agave than Tequila…

You can sip me, you can eat me and you can moisturize with me—what am I? The agave plant. Today, this plant is widely known as the key ingredient in the alcoholic beverage that is taken with lime and salt or mixed in to make margaritas, but agave has a

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Mezcal as Food, Beverage, & Heritage | Part 3

Put a little wildness back into your food and drink, and you will likely become healthier for it! Ethnobotanists and archaeologists have uncovered cultural and culinary uses of wild agaves, prickly pears and mesquite that reach back at least 8000 years in the U.S./Mexico borderlands. Just think about that for

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Mezcal as Food, Beverage, & Heritage | Part 2

Did you know that extensive prehistoric landscapes of mescal fields underlie much of the Tucson Basin? Archaeologists Suzanne and Paul Fish have also documented that at least one (or perhaps two) species of agave were prehistorically cultivated by the Hohokam in the Tucson Basin. There, agaves covered tens of thousands

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Mezcal as Food, Beverage, & Heritage | Part 1

“Welcome to the Agave family!” was the way that late Arizona botanist Howard Scott Gentry used to greet aficionados of these wondrously-shaped and deliciously-tasting desert-adapted plants. Of course, many Americans are aware of the fact that is the popular name of a distilled alcoholic beverage, but how many newcomers to

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