Prickly pear harvest brings fun, locally-inspired dishes to Loews Ventana Canyon 

TUCSON (September 26, 2012) – Guests may know Loews Ventana Canyon for its golf courses, its adaptation to nature and its scenic vistas amidst comfortable luxury, but for the hotel’s executive chef,  Ken Harvey, the property is a desert garden ripe with fresh, uniquely local ingredients to inspire creative recipes.

Every fall, armed with kitchen tongs, Harvey and the culinary team scour the Loews Ventana Canyon property to harvest the deep purple prickly pear at its peak of ripeness. With more than 350 prickly pear plants yielding approximately 250 pounds of the sweet fruit on the property, Harvey can delight guests for weeks with prickly pear dishes including salads and popsicles, and beverages such as prickly pear margaritas and ice teas.

“The 100 acres of property we have here at Loews Ventana Canyon really serves as a culinary inspiration for me,” said Harvey. “From the native plants like prickly pear that I incorporate into dishes, to the colors and textures of our natural surroundings that are so unique to this part of the country, I’m constantly finding new ways to interpret Southwestern cuisine.”  

The fall harvest represents just one season of garden-fresh options at Loews Ventana Canyon. In the summer, Harvey also harvests mesquite and grinds it into flour for breads and other dishes.

Try whipping up a cool and refreshing take on prickly pear at home with Loews Ventana Canyon’s own Prickly Pear Margarita recipe from Chef Harvey:

Prickly Pear Margarita
1 ounces freshly-squeezed Lime Juice                                      
2 ounces Tequila                                                          
1 1/2 ounces Triple Sec                                                    
1 ounce prickly pear cactus juice                                         
1 tablespoon agave syrup                                                  
Stirred not shaken!                                                       
Pour over a salted rim of a 1/2 cup crushed ice 

Loews Ventana Canyon
Named the “First Environmentally Conceived Resort” by Architectural Digest in 1981, the resort was constructed into the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains with the mindset of preserving the natural habitat. The ½ mile Window Walk nature trail, designed by the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, features over 200 signs to educate guests on the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert.  In addition, the resort features complimentary stargazing on Wednesday and Saturday nights led by a professional astronomer with the resort’s high-powered telescope.

Located at 7000 North Resort Drive, the 398-guestroom Loews Ventana Canyon Resort features two Tom Fazio-designed PGA golf courses, kid’s camp, a full-service spa and fitness center and nearby hiking trails.  For more information, visit www.loewshotels.com/ventana or call 800-234-5117 for reservations.

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