Tumacácori National Historical Park is preparing for its annual membrillo harvest, with park visitors poised to reap the rewards.
The fruit, also known as quince, is ripening in the park’s heritage orchard and soon will be ready for use, TNHP said in a news release. Soon, park visitors can “savor history” by trying their hand at cooking a traditional membrillo treat.
On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16 and 17, park staff will be on hand in the orchard to give away freshly harvested quince fruits. Visitors are invited to take home a recipe’s-worth of quince, with the recipe for “dulce de membrillo” to be provided as well.
The giveaway is set to run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, or until the supply is gone.
According to the park’s news release, agriculture was an integral component of O’odham culture prior to Spanish colonization. Crop varieties such as fruit trees and wheat that were introduced by Spanish settlers and missionaries transformed the diets of indigenous people.
After the last members of the Tumacácori Mission community left in 1848, the fruits and vegetables in the gardens and orchard slowly died off.
Then in 2007, Tumacácori’s heritage orchard was planted in a corner of the mission’s original orchard grounds, providing staff and visitors with an opportunity to reflect on, honor, and preserve the culture of the people who lived in the mission community, the park said, adding: “The fruit cultivated from the heritage orchard is a part of history that you can see, touch, smell and taste.”