Agave Fest celebrates part of Tucson’s cultural landscape

Drive through any Tucson neighborhood, and you’ll quickly see that the sword-shaped leaves of century plants are among the most common greenery to adorn the front yards of homes and businesses in the Old Pueblo. Their lovely, fragrant blossoms perched high on enormous flower stalks attract bees, hummingbirds and occasional

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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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Tucson Becomes an Unlikely Food Star

There are food deserts, those urban neighborhoods where finding healthful food is nearly impossible, and then there is Tucson. When the rain comes down hard on a hot summer afternoon here, locals start acting like Cindy Lou Who on Christmas morning. They turn their faces to the sky and celebrate

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