Organized by artist Sarah Witt, High Desert Test Kitchen (HDTK) is a monthly dinner gathering since September 2016 in which participants bring a dish to share, made with or inspired by ingredients inhabiting this span of the American desert. The Mojave projects such a romanticized yet barren image, but underneath are old and rarely utilized traditions. Exploring this landscape from a culinary perspective, HDTK naturally intersects with foraging practices, Native American traditions, and hopefully challenges our taste buds too!

Each month, HDTK features one ingredient. The group is posed with the challenge of incorporating this seasonal food item—be it root, fruit, insect, or a handful of twigs—into their culinary repertoire, and are encouraged to bring a morsel of their experimentation to the monthly meeting. At the beginning of each meeting, we take some time to discuss how and where we sourced our ingredients, the manner in which we processed them, and consider the EQ (or edibility quotient).

HDTK meetings are held the third Monday of every month, at the Copper Mountain Mesa Community Center in North Joshua Tree. If you want to join us, but arenʼt able to contribute a homemade dish, thatʼs okay! Feel free to bring a beverage or bag of chips...we might need those too! To stay up to date on HDTK, sign up for our mailing list. To read more about each monthʼs ingredient, please visit Sarah’s website. If you have any questions or need help sourcing ingredients, please contact Sarah directly.

September: Mesquite
October: California Buckwheat
November: Mormon Tea
December: California Juniper

January: Yerba Santa
February: Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
March: Desert Candle
April: Cholla Buds
May: Yucca
June: Acacia
July: Prickly Pear
September: Mesquite
October: California Buckwheat
November: Acorn
December: Evergreens

January: Sticks and Stones
February: Sustainability Soapbox
March: Mustard and other weeds
April: Yucca
May: Cholla
June: Ephedra/Tutut
July: Prickly Pear and Nopales