Can anyone give me some tips on foraging wild foods in and around Phoenix?  I've just moved from New York where I used to forage for berries, wild greens, etc.  I'm very interested in places to forage prickly pear fruit, or just sources for the fruit- I make jams and jellies.  Also, I noticed that blackberries were growing wild north of the valley near Payson, any tips on where to pick them would be welcome, blackberries are my favorite!

Thanks very much!

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  • Thank you all! 

  • It's about berry time at Beaver Creek and I think I'll stop there this weekend on my way back from Flag.  Beaver Creek is off the 17 has tons of berry bushes and there's a creek to cool off in after sweating and getting marred by the bushes.  Take the 179 exit off the 17 and head west.  It's a couple miles southwest of the freeway and has a few parking lots but people also park on the road.  The berry bushes are to the east of the creek, away from the water and there's trails to lead you there.  Remember to wear long sleeves, long pants and gloves. 

  • Rebecca, I echo Erica's notes about private property etc.  Stay away from plants that are too near the roads - too much junk from exhausts.  The droughts have left some of the blackberry areas around Payson pretty poor.  You will need to find the creeks and follow them as the berries grow more lushly on the banks.  Your primary concern is 1) rattlesnakes, and 2) scorpions when going into brush.  We found the BBQ type tongs the best for harvesting PPs (also to pull any of the chollas you wind up "wearing" if you are not careful!)  Some of the reported best places for the PP are east of the valley on the way to Superior.

  • I have been using a few manuals I found on Amazon (and I think were recommended originally by other members here). Some of the big ones that are everywhere are purslane and dandelions of course!

    I usually harvest from washes or at this small mountain by my parents home in North Phoenix (near the 101 and 43rd ave area). I would be careful of private property areas, and be safe in public areas. You want long tongs when you harvest any cactus fruit to help prevent getting caught on any prickles.

    Here are the books I use:

    Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert by Wendy Hodgson

    Sonoran Desert Food Plants: Edible Uses for the Desert's Wild Bounty by Charles Kane

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