I'm a fan of Tucson so far! seems like a pretty cool city with funky bars and restaurants and galleries all around. the older section of town is incredible with it's adobe houses and small farms that have now swallowed up by the city's sprawl but grandfathered into the planning. Saguaro cacti are everywhere (some more 150+ years old).
Yesterday evening after the desert museum we went to the home of this incredible couple... Also chiltepin enthusiasts, they had brought Kraig a few samples from their farm. They own a working ranch in Sonora, Mexico with a few hundred head of cattle and they buy chiltepin from locals there to sell to Native Seed Exchange here in the US (at fairly tradeed priced but not certified "fair trade"). These two gentle and adventure-loving souls are contributing to community and ag development in the area where their ranch is - following thier guts and their hearts in terms of their involvement. Amongst other things, this means working on expanding the market access for the chiltepin up here while trying to maintain the balance of gringo-introduced ideas to the area there... it will be interesting to watch how the projects they've been heling to support there work out.
Their house here in Tucson is really a 5 acre compound of 100+ year old adobe buildings with all kinds of add-ons, a huge sprawling garden with all local and native plants (including mostly edible and medicinal plants, cacti, etc.), a pig, laying hens, beas, fish (in a pond fed by recycled grey water), and millions of treasures collected from their travels to mexico and beyond over their many years. Quite amazing people who welcomed us yesterday as if we'd known them for years ... we feel very lucky to have crossed paths with them, and i'm sure we'll keep up and perhaps visit their ranch in Sonora during their round-up in Novemeber.
Right, enough for now. We're off to a harvest festival in Patagonia (!), AZ tomorrow to see more chiltepin uses and check out the local ag/food markets here. Then, on to Mexico on Monday am, crossing at Naco instead of the more hectic Nogales border town (nogales=walnut in span).