This 8th Annual Arizona Farmer+Chef Connection was held on Monday, September 11th, at the Clark Memorial Clubhouse in Clarkdale, Arizona. The event brought together local food producers prepared to transact at a wholesale level, introducing them to wholesale food buyers at restaurants, hotels, etc. from across the state in order to bring more local foods to store shelves and kitchen tables across the state.
After eight years, the Farmer + Chef Connection has grown from being a small and intimate event based in Phoenix to one that continues to expand its reach as Arizona grows in the food space all across the state. This year, the event was held in Northern Arizona to celebrate the region’s growth in food and beverage production.
During the Suppliers’ Marketplace, Arizona’s small-scale farmers and food producers were encouraged to brilliantly display and sample their goods to wholesale food buyers, creating a space that encourages business scaling and growth for local communities. The 2017 event reached capacity, allowing each of the 50 food, beer, wine, and spirit businesses to personally connect with nearly 50 professional food buyers of all types and sizes. While the annual event encourages anyone from all parts of Arizona to attend, nearly half of those in attendance from this year’s event were from Northern Arizona and over 50% of the sellers were businesses that produce in the northern region of Arizona. In addition, members of the general public interested in the development of a better food system were also invite to attend.
With 10 vegetable growers, 5 wineries/breweries, 5 ranchers/butchers, 20 restaurants/local food retailers, 26 artisan food and beverages producers, and more at Farmer + Chef Connection this year, the possibilities for collaboration are endless and continuing to grow.
Following the marketplace was a reception held at Four Eight WineWorks with food donated by Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room and Osteria. Featuring locally-sourced food from producers like Hayden Flour Mills and their own restaurant gardens, the reception allowed for a more casual networking space.
The 8th Annual Farmer + Chef Connection was sponsored by the Town of Clarkdale, USDA, Bar and Restaurant Insurance, and National Processing Solutions and with generous support from many other partners below.
Planning for the 2018 Farmer + Chef Connection, as well as its sister event Food and Farm Finance Forum, is currently underway; those hoping to attend or sponsor either can be kept updated on announcements by signing up for the Locavore or Good Food News newsletters, or by following Good Food Finder on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.