About the Authors

Carolyn Niethammer

Carolyn Niethammer

Carolyn Niethammer writes about Southwest cuisine and edible wild plants of the Southwest. She is happiest when working in her flower or vegetables gardens, out on the desert gathering wild foods, or devising new recipes for the plants she has gathered.  Her five cookbooks range from a look at the way Native Americans cooked wild plants to a collection of recipes devised by the Southwest’s top restaurant and resort chefs for incorporating the area’s iconic ingredients in delicious dishes.


Martha Burgess

Martha Burgess

Mentored by Tohono O’odham Elders, Martha Ames Burgess came into ethnobotany from the inside out, learning how to harvest, prepare, store, and eat many Sonoran Desert edibles, and to make use of desert plant “first aid”.  With O’odham farmers and Native Seeds/SEARCH cofounders, she was taught desert gardening with native heirlooms.  Her mission is to pass along this wildcrafting and gardening knowledge so that new Baja Arizona dwellers may better appreciate and adapt to our desert home, especially in these times of  climate change.  She uses on site outdoor teaching, poetry and art for   sharing the awareness.



Jacqueline A. Soule

Jacqueline Soule, Ph.D. is a long-time Southwest gardener and has written eleven volumes on gardening in our desert climate. She is an award-winning garden writer who has been a popular columnist for many years with weekly and monthly columns in a number of national, regional and local publications, including The Explorer Newspaper, and Angie’s List magazine.  She is a popular lecturer at area garden clubs teaches gardening workshops around Tucson.



Amy Valdez Schwemm

Amy Valdes Schwemm


Amy Valdés Schwemm

With her family’s love of cooking as her inspiration, Amy founded Mano Y Metate, offering freshly ground mole powders for people to make and serve mole at home. She inspires Tucsonans to become Desert Harvesters, to plant and harvest native foods in their yards. At Tucson Community Supported Agriculture, she advocates for underappreciated veggies and celebrates food’s seasons. She loves to hike the deserts and forests, make plant remedios, and feed people.


7 thoughts on “About the Authors

  1. Debbie Schaab

    Hello Ladies,
    I am looking for vendors for our Prickly Pear Festival on August 23rd at the Holiday Inn on Palo Verde in Tucson. How can I contact you to tell you more about our non profit and what we do. I await to hear from you.

  2. robert beckvall

    please put me in contact with a professor/teacher in botony dept. who would know a good site or expert to talk to about the edible plants in Prescott/N. AZ areas that could be made into syrups

    I was given your names by two different people

    Dandy Wharton, who is a character in several writings who has Sonoran and Father Kino syrups already, is looking to expand into N. AZ and the plants there

    My family all retired and now in Prescott.

    My character Dandy Wharton has access to Saguaro due to marrying into Tohono O’Odham. Her name is Bahi, short for the name of the fruit.

    My professor, who taught at both my HS and ASU was one of the top AZ history guys in AZ. Professor McBride. I did something in the past concerning AZ mining town family and he had it placed in ASU archives. (I still use some of these real people’s lives to make great characters)

    I am passionate about AZ/history and through the Father Kino fruits, Sonoran desert and I hope what you folks come up with in N. AZ it can be put into writing just how rich and diverse a syrup man can make his company by just using what the land offers there.

    aloha from Hawaii, Robert Beckvall

    • I did much of the research for my first book “American Indian Cooking: Recipes from the Southwest” in the Prescott area. Your character could gather chokecherry, wild currants, wild grape, ground cherry, manzanita, wolfberry and wild rose to make syrup. Maybe combine several, yum. You can read more about each of these plants in the book, available from Amazon.

      Carolyn Niethammer

      • robert beckvall

        thank you so much. I will research each of those next week. Aloha from this little Pacific Island!

  3. Hello – I am very interested in herbal medicine, have taken a few classes online, and am looking for information about wildcrafting local medicinal herbals, as well as cultivating what grows well around here in my garden. Is there someplace to contact locally here in Tucson where I can get some mentoring? Thanks!!

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