Valley Permaculture Alliance Mesquite Pancake Breakfast September 21 at O.H.S.O.

In case you've missed previous Valley Permaculture Alliance's mesquite pancake breakfasts, make this the year you show up. For starters, there's a new venue (O.H.S.O.), and at $10 for the buffet, it's a nice deal for a Saturday morning.

Unlike in past years, tickets are not being sold in advance. So make plans to run, ride, walk, or free-valet it and get their early on September 21. You'll pay your server at the event and mention Valley Permaculture Alliance in order for O.H.S.O. to donate 15 percent of your entire bill to support VPA.

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When you attend, you'll learn more about mesquite and other native foods at VPA's information station and then enjoy a buffet that includes mesquite pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit, yogurt, whole grain granola, and choice of 10-ounce local beer or "Monster Mimosa." If this isn't your thing, don't fear -- a child's option and other breakfast selections also will be available.

At the breakfast, you'll learn more about mesquite and how to use it. Mesquite beans are so much more than annoying shells you have to clean up in your yard. "Not being from this area originally, I had no idea what mesquite flour was. I was first exposed to it when I worked at a school located within the Gila River Indian Community, and now it is a mainstay in my cupboard," says Renu Kaur Sidhu, event coordinator at VPA.

Mesquite flour, or meal is rich in proteins and micronutrients, does not contain gluten, and is low on the glycemic index. It's often referred to as a "superfood" -- like kale, blueberries, and quinoa. "For me, it is a somewhat new and different ingredient that adds the epitome of local and sustainable to foods I make. It is so easy to add to baked goods and breakfast treats. Pour prickly pear syrup on your mesquite pancakes and you have a Sonoran Desert classic," says Sidhu.

In addition to the mesquite pancake breakfast on September 21, the VPA conveniently has a milling coming up November 16 and 17.

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