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9 Desert Plants you can turn into Cookies, Candy & Margaritas

CAVE CREEK — Sweet red fruit rests on the arm of a prickly Saguaro. Yellowing pods are ground into meal. Spiked bright-green pads are roasted over a crackling fire pit.

Looking for fruit in the Spur Cross Conservation Area

Looking for fruit in the Spur Cross Conservation Area

You can replicate meals made more than a thousand years ago from plants growing in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. To learn more, take an early morning nature walk in the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area in Cave Creek. (Maricopa County park ranger Kevin Smith reminds visitors not to pick desert plants on government property unless you’re on a guided tour.)

Here are nine desert fruits and legumes that you can turn into a snack or meal.

Prickly pear

From ice cream to candy to margaritas, prickly pear makes the rounds in many Southwest kitchens. This bright, magenta fruit with a texture similar to watermelon is known for its delicate flavor and versatility. Carefully pull out the spines first. And yes, you have to spit out the seeds.

Prickly PearPrickly pears are a sweet treat but you must take extra precaution when picking it. (Photos by Elizabeth S. Hansen/Cronkite News)


Eating mesquite pods allow you to enjoy Christmas in July. The greenish-yellow pods can be ground into a coarse meal that can be incorporated into staples such as tortillas, tamale masa, and cookies. Mesquite tastes spicy, similar to gingerbread. Check out a recipe for making your own mesquite flour and cookies from the Arizona Historical Society.


Pick up a bottle of lotion and you may recognize the name of this oily plant. Known for its moisturizing properties, Jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-bah) can be found in cosmetic products. If you find this large bush in your area, you can also eat the nuts that are found on the female variety of the plant, containing seed pods. The nut has a bitter flavor similar to an almond.


Saguaro are an Arizona native and a protected species, so don’t pick them from a park or other government-protected area. If you find one of these desert rarities on your property pick the fruit once the rind has turned from a pale color to a deep green. Then comes the hard work. The fruit has a built-in “pick ax” at the top; twist it off and then hack at the fruit to create a small opening. Then scoop out the pulp, to taste sweet fruit similar to a strawberry. Saguaro fruit can also be fermented and preserved.

SaguaroIt takes a lot of work to harvest the Saguaro fruit. The fruit usually rests high up on the arms of the cactus and a long, custom-made tool is needed to reach it. (Photos by Elizabeth S. Hansen/Cronkite News)


Though ironwood looks similar to the Mesquite tree, ironwood’s brown, shiny seeds taste similar to piñon nuts…………….

read more……

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com

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8th Annual Carefree Christmas Festival

This holiday season, residents are once again invited to escape to a southwest winter wonderland at the annual Carefree Christmas Festival. Now in its eighth year, this entirely free event offers merriment and entertainment, December 11-13, in the scenic Town of Carefree.

8th Annual Carefree Christmas Festival cf1

All activities are centrally located in the Carefree Desert Gardens, 100 Easy Street, and run from 10am-9pm on Friday and Saturday, and 10am–5pm on Sunday.

Spectators line the streets for the festival’s signature Electric Light Parade and its brilliantly decorated floats. Other spotlight events include a dazzling evening fireworks display.

Families will appreciate the expansive Kid’s Zone that provides entertainment for all ages, including 35 tons of real snow, a snow slide, Santa’s Grotto, train rides, night time carriage rides and other amusements.

8th Annual Carefree Christmas Festival cc5

This year’s event features live music performances by the Salvation Army Brass Band, Kelso Brothers holiday jazz group, Dickens Carolers, as well as community church choirs.

Other performances include theater acts from the Desert Foothills Theatre including a traditional live nativity scene where families are invited to have their photos taken with the cast of “The Holy Night,” including Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus and Pepper the Donkey.

Throughout the weekend, local dance troupes will take center stage at the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. Choreographed productions will be performed by the Adage Dance Company, AZ Dance Group and the Radio City-worthy, Desert Cactus Kickers.

On Sunday, attendees are invited to dress their pets in their holiday best and participate in the pet parade and pictures with Santa. Hosted by Foothills Animal Rescue (FAR) pet adoptions will be available on site.

This dazzling annual event has grown into a Northeast Valley holiday tradition. Additional highlights include a lighted holiday village with daytime and late night shopping, and vendors with homemade confections and delicious seasonal fare.

8th Annual Carefree Christmas Festival cf4

Carefree’s four-acre desert botanical gardens provide a stunning backdrop for the event. The winding paths showcase thousands of exotic plants and cacti that are illuminated for the festivities.

…more info and schedule of events

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com
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Carefree Airport – Air Fair Air Show Sat 2/28


Saturday February 28, 2015    9:00 AM to 3:00 PM (in “pilot speak” that is 1600 to 2200 Zulu)

Location:        The SkyRanch at Carefree Airport   8305 E Cave Creek Road, Carefree, Arizona

For Whom:     Come one, come all, it is Free to all that attend



What to see:

  • Antique, Home Built and Modern Airplanes
  • For your viewing pleasure a R/C (remote controlled) model airshow
  • For your tummy, various food vendors will be on site
  • And for variety, there will be Automobile and Motorcycle displays

Link to Carefree Airport

Link to Home in SkyRanch at the Carefree Airport

To See Homes and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com
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Carefree Fine Chocolate & Fine Art Festival

Carefree Fine Chocolate and Fine Art Festival open Valentine’s Day weekend

blog Carefree fine chocolate and fine art festival

CAREFREE – If you have a sweet tooth, you have to head up to Carefree for the Fine Chocolate and Fine Art Festival on Valentine’s Day weekend.

Up to 100 vendors of art, crafts, chocolate treats and more will be at the Carefree Town Garden Center at Sundial Circle from February 12-15th.

Up to 15,000 people are expected to attend over the course of the four-day event.

Admission to the decadent get-together is free and is open until 5 p.m. nightly. The festival starts at noon on Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday through Sunday.

more info….

blog carefree festivals

Also, please check out this great site for more Carefree events: visitcarefree.com

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com
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7th Annual Carefree Christmas Parade

Downtown Carefree transforms into a Winter Wonderland  December 12-14

Carefree Christmas Festival float2

A three-day, two-night celebration with real snow, an electric light parade and a fireworks extravaganza, welcomes in the holidays at the seventh annual Carefree Christmas Festival, December 12-14.

The tiny town of Carefree, located just north of the Scottsdale and most famously known for its over-sized sundial, turns into an illuminated winter wonderland for the yuletide event. Festivities take place at the Carefree Desert Gardens, 101 Easy Street, from 10am-9pm Friday and Saturday, and 10am-5pm Sunday.

ho hum

The signature Electric Light Parade, presented by APS and produced by the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce, takes place Saturday at 6pm, along Easy Street, followed by a fireworks display. ABC15 morning meteorologist, Iris Hermosillo, emcees the parade for the third consecutive year.

Carefree Christmas Festival christmas 1

“I’m excited to be a part of the Carefree Christmas Festival for the third year in a row,” says Hermosillo. “The committee of Santa’s elves does an amazing job at showcasing the spirit of the holidays with this event.”

All activities are free. Information and a full schedule of events are available by calling 480.488.2051 or at www.carefreechristmasfestival.com.


Expanded event highlights include special appearances by Desert Foothills Theatre’s Ice Queen and Snow Princesses throughout the weekend.

This year’s grand marshals are the children of the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Phoenix, who will lead the parade on the Tonto Hills Volunteer Fire Department fire truck.

The parade’s finale will include Santa, presented by the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce. Following the procession, Santa will return to Santa’s Grotto for pictures.

more info……

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com
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Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour and Art Sale

Scattered canvases in progress, clay-covered windows and floors, sheets with splotches of paint, kilns firing up to temperature and long tables stacked with supplies give artist studios personalized touches.


During the Sonoran Arts League’s 18th annual Hidden in the Hills studio tour and art sale from Nov. 21 to 23 and 28-30, artists open their studios to the public, demonstrating and discussing their crafts.

Approximately 180 established and emerging artists will show their work in 47 studios in Cave Creek, Carefree and Scottsdale, areas known for their thriving artistic communities.


Made up of around 450 members, the Sonoran Arts League offers classes and conducts an annual arts festival in the spring. The league office hosts five artists and functions as an information center.

Sonoran Arts League President Natalie Nai-che said Hidden in the Hills allows art enthusiasts to see the artists at work and hear stories about their work.

“It’s not just watching them demonstrate, but it’s listening to the artists, listening to how the artists explain their work, their passion, their ideas and their creativity,” Nai-che said. “It’s a unique experience to get to be able to talk to so many artists and get to know so many artists and find the ones that are appealing to you.”

The Desert Foothills Library will have an annual youth art exhibition with digital reproductions of artwork from 50 kindergarten to high-school students. The exhibition runs through Dec. 3.

artist 2

During Hidden in the Hills, art patrons can purchase original artwork and commissioned pieces from artists using paints, ceramics, glass, bronze, gourds, jewelry, photography and mixed-media forms.

During the event, two oil painters, a ceramicist and jeweler will join photographer Tom Taylor and his wife, Colleen, a painter, at a garage studio at Carefree Fine Art Studio, 8956 E. Stagecoach Pass Road in Carefree.

Attending the studio tour in 2010 inspired Tom Taylor, who worked in federal law enforcement before retirement, to pursue photography on a more-professional level.

“Everyone is so sharing in their work, and how they approach their work,” Taylor said.


artist hor

Hidden in the Hills

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Nov. 21-23 and 28-30.

Where: Studios in Carefree, Cave Creek and North Scottsdale. Start at Sonoran Arts League office, 6051 E. Hidden Valley Drive, Suite 2, Cave Creek, for maps and directories.

Youth art exhibition, Desert Foothills Library, 38443 N. Schoolhouse Road, Cave Creek.

Admission: Free access to studios, $5 for printed directory with artist bios.

Details: 480-575-6624, sonoranartsleague.org.

 To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com

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Cave Creek Classic Mtn Bike Race Sat 11/8

Arizona’s Mountain Bike Race, Cave Creek Cactus Classic, is building a great reputation as one of the best, if not the best, mountain bike race in the state.  This event has it all, over 23 miles of beautiful mountain and Sonoran desert trails.

mountain bike in wildflowers

The race starts in the heart of the very unique town of Cave Creek.  The route then passes through one of two county parks.  Spur Cross Conservation Area will be the first, which includes multi-track trails to single track trails, then in between the two parks you will hit Maricopa Regional Trail.  This will take you right into Cave Creek Regional Park where incredible views of the Sonoran desert will be seen on every turn.  Then as you head back into town, the route includes some of the best trails owned by the Town of Cave Creek.  The town closes a portion of Cave Creek road and you race back into Cave creek where the race began.

There are so many things that make this race so special.

The race is put on by Desert Foothills Mountain Bike Association.  This is an organization that is dedicated to preserving the outdoor areas they love with proceeds from the race benefiting the Cave Creek Regional Park, the Maricopa Trail and Spur Cross Conservation Area.

The volunteers make this event more than a race.  It’s an experience.  The volunteers know what it takes to ride a bike around a demanding course.   Riders are treated like the special athletes they are and will be cheered and encouraged through the whole race.

Cave Creek Cactus Classic will be paying out cash for the first five finishers in both the men’s and women’s overall classes.

Trophies are made by local metal artist Ron McGee who creates each one by hand and uses local rocks as the base of each trophy.

Cave Creek Mountain BikingFest

There is also a kid’s mountain bike race.  Words are hard to describe the kid’s race.  The course is a short loop including desert single track and open dirt with minor obstacles.  We will have races for kids from 18 months to 14 years old.

Click Here – Registration is now OPEN for the 2014 Cave Creek Cactus Classic

To view website with all info click here

CC Cactus Classic Mountain Bike Racelast

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com
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Carefree Fine Arts Festival this Weekend

If you’re in the market for fine art, be sure to visit Thunderbird Artists’ 21st Annual Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 31, Sat., Nov. 1 and Sun., Nov. 2 in downtown Carefree, at the intersection of Easy Street and Ho Hum Drive.


The award-winning festival features more than 165 juried fine artists, live musical entertainers, appetizing food, mouthwatering sweets and a wine tasting experience like none other.

“This year’s festival features a fabulous roster of juried artists,” said Judi Combs, CEO of Thunderbird Artists and Arizona Fine Art EXPO. “As you stroll through Easy Street, you’ll be captivated by the diverse selection of high-quality original pieces of fine art, including small to life-sized bronzes, paintings, pottery, photography, scratchboard, wood, clay, metal and glass sculptures, batiks, jewelry and more.”

Featured Artist Lauren Knode
This year’s featured artist is oil painter Lauren Knode, whose booth is located across from Thunderbird Artists’ information booth at the intersection of Easy and HoHum Streets. Knode enjoys creating paintings with an atmospheric luminescence while working in oil, acrylic or pastel. After 20 years as a teacher in Oregon, she moved to the Southwest to pursue her passion for the arts full time. Her inspiration is derived from the beauty of nature in Arizona: the ever-changing brilliance of a sunset, the light glowing through the delicately translucent petals of a flower, even the contrast of the sharp and prickly cacti. Her work aims to transport the viewer to a peaceful, quiet place within.

Featured artist Lauren KnodeFeatured Artist Lauren Knode

Knode’s travels have influenced her as well. A trip to Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico inspired her paintings of old Pueblo Indian homes. Before beginning a commissioned landscape, she often visits the person’s home to discover the natural environment and ambiance the commissioner wishes to capture.

Wine Tastings
Several wineries will provide a wonderful selection of local, national and international wines for sampling – ensuring something for the wine novice and expert alike. For $10, patrons will receive an engraved souvenir glass with six tasting tickets, allowing them to enjoy a variety of wine, while strolling amongst countless pieces of original artwork and listening to local musicians perform. Additional tasting tickets can be purchased for $1.

General admission to the Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival is $3 for adults. Children 17 and under are free. Parking is free all weekend. For more information, call (480) 837-5637 or visit http://www.ThunderbirdArtists.com.

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com

Carefree, AZ (PRWEB) October 27, 2014

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Cave Creek Museum free admission offer


The Cave Creek Museum will unveil a new “Arizona’s Greatest Battle” exhibit that features history about what is considered to be the greatest recorded battle ever fought in Arizona. The exhibit will include a replica war shield, a war club, sandals and more on loan from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. (Special to the Independent)

Cave Creek Museum offers free admission on Smithsonian Museum Day!

CAVE CREEK — Cave Creek Museum re-opens for the season on Oct. 1, but the public will have a special chance to preview exhibits on Saturday, Sept. 27 during the free national Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day.

The celebration takes place from 1 to 4:30 p.m. followed by a special pre-season member’s reception from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

During the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day, guests can view Cave Creek Museum’s new and permanent indoor and outdoor exhibits, including an historic Stamp Mill dating back to 1880.

Cave Creek Museum is located at 6140 Skyline Drive, in Cave Creek.


To download free tickets to the Sept. 27 Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day, visit: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/tickets/

Call 480-488-2764 or visit www.cavecreekmuseum.org.

The museum features an extensive collection of prehistoric and historic artifacts that describe the lives of Native Americans, miners, ranchers and pioneers. The museum hours are Wed., Thurs., Sat. and Sun. from 1 to 4:30 p.m., and Fri. from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Entrance fees are $5 for adults; $3 for seniors; and $2 for students. Children 12 and under are free.

One of the biggest highlights of the season will be monthly demonstrations of the museum’s historic “Golden Reef” Stamp Mill which dates back to 1880 and was used to crush hard rock ore so that gold could be separated and saved.

There have not been any operational Stamp Mills in Maricopa County since the closure of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in 2011, and Cave Creek Museum’s Stamp Mill is the only operational 10-Stamp Mill in the state. The schedule of monthly demonstrations will be announced on Oct. 1.

more information…

Staff report
Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com
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Cave Creek-Carefree Events Season

The Town of Cave Creek is gearing up for another spectacular season of events.

Cave Creek kicks off Special Events 2014-2015 Season

“Cave Creek is not only known for its spectacular desert, but also for its vibrant Town activities,” says Mayor Vincent Francia. “For each of the 12 months there is a promotion. Although these promotions are varied – from the cuisine of October’s Taste of Cave Creek to the rodeo of March’s Fiesta Days – the one thing they have in common is fun and good memories are guaranteed.”


The 2014-15 Cave Creek season kicks off with its signature event, Taste of Cave Creek. The two-day event showcases the best that the town has to offer, including its more than 25 area restaurants, live music, wine tasting, beer garden and some favorite artists, artisan shops and area vendors.

“Cave Creek is a small town that offers our residents that old town, charm, where we know our neighbors and our kids can play out in our yards…safely,” says Town Marshal Adam Stein, who is also chair of the Taste of Cave Creek. “Cave Creek is special in many ways, from our Western culture to our open space and hiking trails.”taste-of-cc-7

In November, the 11th Annual Wild West Days returns to Downtown Cave Creek and Stagecoach Village. The event is Arizona’s largest western celebration and features five days of nonstop family entertainment.

“Spend the day, and say hello to your friends and neighbors; see why Cave Creek truly is where the Wild West still lives,” says Stein.

The season continues with art shows and studio tours, classic car and custom bike shows, a trail run, the annual Balloon Festival and Pro Rodeo and wraps with annual Independence Day celebrations – and so much more.

“Coming to Cave Creek because of a promotion is a good way to get to know the Town,” continues Francia. “You’ll come back. And we’ll love to see you again.” |CST  September 2, 2014 by CITYSunTimes  By Kathryn M. Miller

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com

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