Pinyon nuts are popping now. My first crop! In a day or two I will start collecting them. Although they are fiddly little things, they are delicious. In Mexico they are part of mole, a red or green sauce used over chicken and rice. All the ladies around San Luis de La Paz in Guanajuato vied to make the best mole. It was great tasting all of them at parties. I eat them plain. They are sold lightly salted here in New Mexico at fairs and parade. Kind of like eating sunflower seeds in the Shell but way better. Of course the whole five acres has pinyons right now. I will get them from the two large trees in my front yard first.
Although all pine trees have edible nuts, our Pinus edulis or Pinyon Pine is known all over the world. They grow slowly and mine are fairly old, about 12-18″ in diameter, 30 feet maximum height. My best guess is that they are 300-400 years old. They produce nuts every 3-7 years in this area. I suppose that is why they are $25 per pound around here.
Pinyons are the basis of my food forest along with One Seed Juniper and Gambel’s Oak. What a rich thing to have, mature pinyon pines. Every time I go outside the smell of pine and One Seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma) envelopes me and I feel relaxed and content no matter what the world is doing around me. Aromatherapy at its best.
The third leg of this forest, Gambel’s Oak (Quercus gambellii), is a white Oak with edible acorns (lower tannin than red oaks). The mule deer come through here like marauders in the winter and eat the oak, keeping it low and scrubby. I have protected a few of them to allow them to grow taller than 3 feet. I want a crop of acorns to feed me, the bears and other wildlife. I love the visiting deer, there is a warm spot facing west and they come mostlate winter afternoons to sunbathe. At least until the food is eaten down.
There was so much rain this year I got good growth on all three of my guild trees. A little effort and I will have improved production for us all.
All the plants that I am weaving through these 3 power trees add to food stability. Their natural guild includes wolfberry, chenopodium, agave, yuccas, prickly pear, and saltbush, for a start. I have these and more.