Tucson may not be picnic-friendly during the summer months, but come October, there is no better time to take part in the classic outdoor tradition.
Even better when your picnic meal is being prepared for you by an impressive roundup of local chefs such as Janos of Downtown Kitchen and Cocktails, Kris Vrolijk of Proper, Doug Levy of Feast and Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco.
Top chefs from Tucson area restaurants will each put their own spin on the native produce. Featured dishes include warm salad of autumn vegetables with ha:l squash, mesquite brownie with pecans smoked over smoldering mesquite pods and green corn waffles using ha:l squash, homemade sauerkraut with nopales and jalapenos, and I’itoi onion tops.
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Participating chefs and restaurants include:
- Janos, Downtown Kitchen and Cocktails
- Kris Vrolijk, Proper
- Ken Harvey, Loews Ventana Canyon
- Doug Levy, Feast
- Hannah Seyler, Prep & Pastry
- Chris Bianco, Pizzeria Bianco
- Kelzi Bartholomaei, Mother Hubbard’s
- Blue Willow
- Time Market
This harvest celebration is a fund-raising event designed to help Native Seeds/SEARCH and Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace continue educating residents of the Southwest on the heritage fruit trees, traditional heirloom crops and edible native plants available locally.
“Back in the early 1970, very few people even recalled that mesquite pods had been the most important food of the early Tohono O’Odham,” said Carolyn Niethammer, Native Seeds/SEARCH board member and native plants cookbook author. “Today, mesquite appears on menus of the fanciest restaurants and 500 people show up for a mesquite pancake breakfast.”
Tickets are $75 for adults and $25 for children, and are available at the Native Seeds/SEARCH retail store at 3061 N. Campbell Ave., or through the Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace website. Only 200 tickets are available.
For more information, visit nativeseeds.org.