Whole mesquite pods are ground             ​ into nutrient rich flour

Mesquite pods from the native mesquite trees.

The San Xavier Cooperative Association (SXCA) Wild Foods Community Harvest Program works with the local community to learn how to harvest, process and prepare traditional wild Sonoran desert foods in a cultural and environmentally healthy way. Moving to a more traditional diet will help individuals and families combat food related illnesses, and making these foods more accessible is one way to achieve that goal. This program provides hands on training to easily incorporate these foods into a daily routine for the health and well being of everyone.

This program also provides an opportunity for tribal members to sell these foods through the SXCA Farm distribution channels which earns extra income and stimulates economic development around these healthy foods in San Xavier. These are foods that require only the natural rainfall to survive which is key for resiliency of the people in the desert southwest.

    Ciolim with mixed beans 

First Round of Wild Harvest Workshops with Ciolim 

Ciolim(Cholla Bud) Harvest Workshops – Everyone will learn picking and preparation of ciolim. Meet at the farm in the morning for an introduction and light breakfast. Learn the basics of harvest and safety. Travel a short distance to the harvest site and harvest. Return for a food demonstration and lunch incorporating ciolim. 

After attending a ciolim harvest workshop, T.O. tribal members and members of O’odham sister tribes will be certified to participate in the farms Ciolim ‘Pay by the Pound’ program. Workshop is free to T.O. and sister tribe members. All other participants attend for educational purposes only and the fee is $75. Everyone must register in advance. 

The farm will supply some 5-gallon buckets and tongs for harvesting. If possible, please bring your own buckets and tongs so there are enough for everyone. A standard 5-gallon bucket and long kitchen/grill tongs work well. 


Harvest Dates  

(Both dates are dependent on seasonality of Ciolim) 

Sunday, March 31 2019                                             Saturday, April 6, 2019

5:30 am – Mid-afternoon                                            5:30 AM - Mid-afternoon


Ciolim ‘Pay by the Pound’ Program 

T.O. Tribal Members and members of T.O. sister tribes: if you plan to participate in the ‘Pay by the Pound’ program you must first register for and attend one of the two ciolim workshops. Register first by calling the farm 520.295.3774. Final day to register will be the day before the workshop. 

Once members of T.O. nation and T.O. sister tribes have taken a workshop you will be certified to sell ciolim directly to the farm for $3/pound.  

Collection Times: The farm will accept bulk ciolim Tuesdays and Fridays 8am – 10am until the season ends. 


Group Fundraising Opportunities 

Community and youth groups from T.O Nation and T.O. sister tribes are encouraged to participate in the ‘Pay by the Pound’ program to raise money to support your important work. All individuals who will be collecting and selling ciolim must attend a harvest workshop first.  Youth groups must have an adult group representative 18 years or older to be on site during collection times. The group should also have a bank account so the farm can write a check directly to your group.