Fall in Arizona: the magical months of food, better weather, and family fun.
The month of October can sometimes drag, as everyone is waiting for the end of the month to celebrate with monster-themed treats, corn mazes, and pumpkin carving. With October steadily approaching, there are a few food events going on that may suit your palate, as well as keep you busy until the ghoulish day comes!
Verde Valley Ales on Rails, Clarkdale
Begins Thursday, October 1st, 11:00 AM
Verde Canyon Railroad never misses out on a good time so they roll out their popular Ales on Rails starting at 11 a.m. every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October. The party starts at 11:00 a.m. on the depot patio with a mouthwatering luncheon of German sausages, sauerkraut, potato salad, pretzels and strudel, all served to the rhythmic tunes of a polka serenade. The 1:00 p.m. train whistle signals the continuation of the party as it moves onto the rails with specialty beers served onboard, including Verde Canyon Railroad’s own private-labeled brews, crafted in Sedona by the renowned Oak Creek Brewery.
Link for more information: http://verdecanyonrr.com/events/ales-on-rails/
Pumpkin Festival, Dewey
Begins Friday, October 2nd, 12:00 PM
Locally owned Mortimer Family Farms announced today that you are all invited to attend Pumpkin Fest & Corn Maze every weekend in October in Dewey, AZ. This huge festival’s centerpiece is a 15-acre Pumpkin Patch & 25-acre Corn Maze! Fun for the whole family includes “A-MAIZE-ing” attractions, games, farm activities, live entertainment, barn dance, and much more!
Link for more information: http://mortimerfamilyfarms.com/mortimer-farms-pumpkin-festival.htm
Wednesday, October 14th, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
University of Arizona will be bringing the community of Tucson together to celebrate Food Day, and doing so with style. The free to the public event will feature interactive exhibits, food samples and taste tests, as well as information on sustainability and food resources.
Link for more information: http://uafoodday.com/
Phoenix Food Day 2015, Phoenix
Thursday, October 22nd, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
The city of Phoenix hosts this year’s Food Day festivities at Cesar Chavez Plaza, where everyone is welcome to enjoy local foods, learn more about nutrition and agriculture, visit over 75 exhibits offering information as well as food products and services, and of course a kid’s zone for games and activities. This event has no admission fee.
Link for more information: https://www.phoenix.gov/sustainability/foodday
Chiles, Chocolate, and Day of the Day, Tucson
Friday & Saturday, October 30 & 31 9 AM – 5 PM
Our 2015 homage to the cult of the fiery chile—and decadent chocolate—also celebrates another enduring tradition of the borderlands, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a time we remember and honor those who have gone before. Throughout the grounds, vendors will feature chile and Day of the Dead inspired crafts and chile and chocolate enhanced foodstuffs and culinary delights. There will be food trucks, chile roasters, musical entertainment by local artists, sales of ornamental and edible chile plants, free Day of the Dead-themed face painting and children’s activities.
Viva La Local Food Festival 2015, Tucson
The city of Tucson will be hosting an event to celebrate and support the local food community with a farmer’s market, live music from local artists, and food and beverages crafted by the community’s restaurants. Although the event is free to children under twelve, admission is $6.
Link for more information: http://www.vivalalocalfoodfest.com/event-info/
At the Sixth Annual Farmer + Chef Connection we welcomed a record-breaking and diverse array of local producers and buyers, coming in at over 400! Take a look at the list of our 2015 attendees.
PRODUCERS AND DISTRIBUTORS
Fruit, Vegetable, and Grain Farmers and Growers
Avalon Organic Gardens & Food for Ascension Cafe
Blue Sky Organic Farms
Crooked Sky Farms
Green Valley Pecan Company
Hayden Flour Mills
High Energy Agriculture
Hummingbird Heart Garden
Local Roots Aquaponics
Maggie’s Farm Aquaponics
Patagonia Orchards, LLC
Ramona’s American Indian foods
Sweet Baby Greens
Top Knot Farms
Double Check Ranch
E & R Pork
Starbar Farm & Ranch
Dairies and Cheesemakers
Arizona Farms Cheese
Black Mesa Ranch Inc
Fiore di Capra, Inc.
Baked Goods, Pastry and Confections
B Naked Chocolates
Bird’s Nest Baking Company
Cookie Girl Cookie Shop
DD’s Desert Delights
GOT2B Gluten Free
Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery/Bistro
Isabella’s Ice Cream
Artisan Goods Producers
[POPPED] Artisan Popcorn
Cheri’s Desert Harvest
Flor de Mayo
Local Alternative Food Manufacturing
Lulu’s Italian Water Ice, LLC
Mano y Metate
My Rawsome Foods
Table of Elementz
Virgins in the Kitchen
Supporting Organizations and Institutions
Art Institute of Tucson
Careers through Culinary Arts Program
City of Tucson
International Rescue Committee
Iskashitaa Refugee Harvesting Network
Slow Food Phoenix
University of Arizona
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services
Food in Root
Heirloom Farmers Market
Wineries, Breweries, and Distilleries
Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
Beast Brewing Company
Borderlands Brewing Company
Carlson Creek Vineyard
Cottonwood Brewing Company
Dos Cabezas Wineworks
Empty Glass Natural Wine Co.
Flying Leap Vineyards
Hannah’s Hill Vineyard
Coffee and Tea, and Other Beverages
Black Mountain Spring Fermentery
China Mist Tea Company
Divine Teas and Novelties
Exo Roast Co.
Maya Tea Company
Oliver’s Sophisticated Bean
Savaya Coffee Market
Yellow Brick Coffee
Edible Baja Arizona
Green Living Magazine
Natural Awakening Magazine
5 Points Market & Restaurant
100 Estrella Restaurant
Arizona Fresh Foods
Arizona Department of Agriculture
Arizona Fresh Foods, LLC
Arizona Jewish Post
AZED Health and Nutrition Services
Binkley’s Restaurant Group
Blu Wine & Cheese Shop
Boca Tacos y Tequila
Bread Beast Cafe
Brewd Coffee Lounge
Canyon Ranch Health Resort
CASINO DEL SOL TUCSON
Choice Greens & Graze
Civitan Foundation Inc.
Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona
Cortaro Equine Hospital
Delectable’s Restaurant and Catering
Delgado’s Food Service
Dog Chefs of America
DPI Specialty Foods
Dr. Home, LLC
Fair Trade Cafe
Food Conspiracy Co-op
Frank Romero SP.
Future Forward Foundation, Inc.
Good Oak Bar
Hire Chef Emily
Hotel Congress and Maynards Market & Kitchen
JW Marriott Starrpass Resort & Spa
Kalina Russian Cuisine and Tea House
La Roca Restaurant
Legacy Skies Ranch
Lita Byrd | Little Chef
Loews Ventana Canyon
Mama’s Hawaiian Bar b cue
Maya Tea and Heirloom Farmers Markets
Merchants Garden AgroTech Inc.
Minimum Dose Bowen Clinic
Mountain Oyster Club
Passion Cafe Tucson
Peddler’s Son Produce and Provisions
Saint Charles Tavern
Sierra Vista Farmers Market
Teresita’s Panaderia y Bistro
The Bianco Group
The Portable Café
Trinity Services Group/Correctional Officers Training Academy
Tucson Unified School District
University of Arizona Compost Cats
YWCA Southern Arizona
Zinman’s Food Shop
Last year marked a milestone for the Farmer + Chef Connection. Celebrating five years, attendees were asked post-event: where would you like to see Farmer + Chef Connection next year? Overwhelming feedback from Arizona’s small and medium-scale food producers revealed a desire to establish more relationships with wholesale food purchasers in southern Arizona. As the Healthy Local Foods Initiative team here at Local First Arizona began to plan the event, we set our sights on Tucson.
Having always been held in the Phoenix area, the Farmer + Chef Connection has consistently had a goal of bringing together local food producers prepared to transact at a wholesale level and introduce them to wholesale food buyers at restaurants, hotels, etc. from across the state. By building these relationships, we hope to keep more money circulating in the local economy, support Arizona’s local food system, and bring more local foods to our tables.
During the event’s sixth year, held this past week on September 16th at the Tucson Convention Center, the unification theme was expanded upon to include the economic, social, and environmental benefits that can result from building relationships based on collaboration.
Keynote speakers Megan Kimble of Edible Baja Arizona and author of Unprocessed and Derrick Widmark of Diablo Burger each represented examples of this theme, as each of their affiliations rest on foundations of local collaboration and purchasing. During the main event –The Supplier’s Marketplace– food producers were encouraged to brilliantly display and sample their goods to wholesale food buyers, creating a space that encourages a handshake economy. Attendees, which also included members of the public interested in the development of a better food system, were invited to attend workshops that provided participants everything from the tools they need for business management (Leveraging Your Localism and Maximizing Your Connections, How To: Farm to Institution) to environmental issues (Water Conservation and Food Waste: Reduce, Reuse, Renew) to the encore session on What Buyers Want and What Producers Need featuring instrumental players in Arizona such as Marco Bianco of The Bianco Group, Kevin Binkley of Binkley’s Restaurant Group, Emma Zimmerman of Hayden Flour Mills, Todd Bostock of Dos Cabezas Wine Works, author Gary Paul Nabhan and more.
In conjunction with the theme of leveraging your localism, attendees were encouraged to think about next steps. What might our state’s food system look like if production was based on local procurement? At six years in, The Farmer + Chef Connection has grown from being a small event of its own, to one that reached over 400 attendees of all kinds this year. Just over 50% of that number was represented by buyers looking to set up direct wholesale purchase accounts with Arizona’s food producers. More amazing yet, this year’s buyers depicted a wide array of those looking to procure closer to home, ranging from locally-owned restaurants like Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue to large-scale purchasers such as Costco, Fry’s and Panda Express.
Looking toward year seven, all attendees were given Top 10 Next Steps: suggestions for how to leverage their localism and connect with both buyers and their fellow producers in multiple ways. One of those action items was to utilize the newly re-launched Good Food Finder AZ, which was demoed at this year’s event. Essentially a 365, 24-7 “farmer-chef connection”, the website provides a statewide, online space for anyone looking to be connected with ways to find and source food in Arizona, from local farms to community gardens to schools and more.
With ten vegetable growers, six wineries, five ranchers/butchers, five dairies, four distributors, two breweries, and our first ever distillery and aquaponics group in attendance just in the group of the remaining 200 at Farmer + Chef Connection this year, the possibilities for opportunities in the area of collaboration and growth are endless.
The 6th Annual Farmer + Chef Connection was sponsored by National Processing Solutions Payments in Kind Program, Bar and Restaurant Insurance, Merit Foods, and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Services program. Planning for the 2016 Farmer + Chef Connection, as well as it’s 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 newsletter, or by following Good Food Finder on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
There’s a lot to look forward to as we approach Fall/Winter in Arizona. The shifting of seasons invites many exciting changes to our local farmers market scene. As the weather cools down, seasonal markets re-open and year-round markets update and extend their hours. With locations in Northern, Central, and Southern Arizona held daily, there’s a venue for every community to collaborate.
Empower your community by shopping locally!
Come celebrate the Valley’s abundance of Fall foods with the farmers and food makers who bring it to us direct!
Below is a list of Local First Arizona farmers markets and their updated Fall/Winter hours. Find your local market!
June 6 – October 3, 2015
At the Ramada next to Fort Verde State Park in historic downtown Camp Verde, AZ
Prescott SUMMER Market
May 9 – October 31, 2015
Parking Lot D
1100 E. Sheldon St.
Prescott WINTER Market
November 14, 2015 – April 30, 2016
*Closed December 26
Location to be determined
Chino Valley Market
June 4 – October 29, 2015
Walgreens Parking Lot
1020 Arizona 89
Chino Valley, AZ
SE Corner of Central and Bethany Home Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Fridays – Food Truck Fridays, 11am-1:30pm
721 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004
SE Corner of Central Ave. & McKinley St.
Ahwatukee Farmers Market
Located at the Ahwatukee Community Center and Swim Club
4700 East Warner Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85044
Anthem Community Farmers Market
Re-opens November 1, 2015
Located in the Anthem Community Park near the Anthem Veterans Memorial
41703 N Gavilan Peak Parkway
Anthem, AZ 85086
ASU Farmers Market – Tempe Campus
Alternating Tuesdays, 9am-2pm
Re-opens October 6, 2015
Caddy Mall, ASU Tempe Campus
Tempe, AZ 85287
Gilbert Town Square Twilight Farmers Market
Re-opens October 7, 2015
1040 South Gilbert Rd
Gilbert, AZ 85296
Sun City Farmers Market
Re-opens October 1, 2015
Recreation Centers of Sun City AZ – Bell Campus parking lot
16820 N 99th Ave.
Sun City, AZ 85351
Mesa Community Farmers Market
Located by east side walk at the Mesa Conference Center
263 N Center St.
Mesa, AZ 85201
* NEW LOCATION: Starting November 6
City Hall Plaza – 20 E. Main Street, Mesa, AZ 85201
Carefree Farmers Market
Re-opens October 2, 2015
Located in Sundial Gardens
1 Sundial Circle
Carefree, AZ 85377
Roadrunner Park Farmers Market
Re-opens October 3, 2015
Located at Roadrunner Park
3502 E Cactus Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85032
Goodyear Community Market
Re-opens October 10, 2015
Goodyear Community Park
3151 N Litchfield Rd.
Goodyear, AZ 85338
Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market
Re-opens October 17, 2015
Located in the parking lot on the corner of N. Brown and 1st Street
3806 N Brown Ave.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Tatum Ranch Farmers Market
CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Saturdays, 7am-11am (April through September)
Saturdays, 8am-12pm (October through March)
222 N Ash St.
Gilbert, AZ 85234
Located in the Park and Ride just West of the iconic Water Tower in Downtown Gilbert
3 S. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ 85225
NEW MARKET! STARTING OCTOBER 10, 2015
Clark Park Community Gardens
1730 E Roosevelt
Tempe, AZ 85281
Trail Dust Town
6541 E Tanque Verde Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85715
Just East of Pima St. and South of Kolb Rd.
10901 N Oracle Rd.
Oro Valley, AZ 85737
On Oracle Rd. North of the Home Depot Retail Center
4502 North 1st Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85718
Located in the SE Corner of the Rillito Park property, next to the Rillito Path Loop and Rillito Park Racetrack
12500 E Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85747
Veterans’ Memorial Park
3105 E Fry Blvd.
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635
163 N Morley Ave.
Nogales, AZ 85621
Located in the parking lot at the corner of Morley Ave and Court St in Downtown Nogales
The International Rescue Committee helps refugees find a new start right here in Phoenix. IRC’s New Roots program gives refugee farmers the training and tools vital to grow produce and rebuild their lives, in addition to nutrition education and small business training. New Roots planted themselves in 22 U.S. cities, and work toward giving refugees opportunity to use their skills and create a prosperous life for themselves. New Roots plans to open an aquaponics greenhouse on 16th Ave and Camelback Rd in Phoenix, which is important for the community members who have little access to fresh produce.
Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. Within this symbiotic system the fish create waste, the waste is transformed into nutrients that are streamed to the plants, the plants filter the water and then circulate back to the fish. Aquaponics benefits the Phoenix area greatly, as it uses 90% less water than conventional growing methods. In addition to using less water, aquaponics also requires less land.
Using less land is extremely important because access to land is increasingly hard to come by. With more urbanized growth, there becomes less and less land to grow agriculture, especially for disadvantaged populations. New Roots currently has land at Phoenix Renews, but is approaching the end of a lease. The aquaponics greenhouse will empower refugees with limited access to land to grow their own food and create a livelihood.
The agricultural center will give refugees the opportunity to grow food to not only feed their families but also sell at markets, such as Phoenix Public Market, as a source of income. The food grown is native to their homes, and helps reconnect them to their culture as well as creating cross-cultural experiences. These experiences create connectedness within the community and help refugees create a sense of place in their new home. Much of the produce grown by refugees cannot normally be found in the Phoenix area, so the food produced also will generate biodiversity within the food system.
The center in Phoenix hopes to provide new jobs, education, and nutrient-dense locally grown food on less than one acre of land. The center will also offer education on growing food in urban areas.
Eat Local. Drink Local. Grow Local.
After nearly one year of ongoing focus and effort, the Local First Arizona Foundation (LFAF) has launched an improved version of Good Food Finder AZ (GFF), Arizona’s most comprehensive online directory of local food. Among other improvements, the tool has been enhanced with advanced search features that allow users to be very specific in their searches, narrowing down food producers by location, products sold, distribution, and more.
“We are extremely excited to relaunch Good Food Finder AZ as a statewide resource to connect individuals to Arizona’s local foods, whatever their needs may be,” said Kimber Lanning, LFAF’s Executive Director, “Good Food Finder AZ has been redesigned to take both business-to-business and consumer-based searches into account. For example, a restaurant owner can now search for food producers that operate at wholesale levels, and families can locate a u-pick farm or farmers market within 20 miles of their home. We are proud to fill this critical information gap, which will facilitate connections amid Arizona’s growing demand for good, healthy and local food.”
LFAF’s local foods team was expanded in the fall of 2014 for the purpose of developing Good Food Finder further. The team built an internship program and took on extra staff to do the research and information collection necessary to grow the site. “At long last, we are able to take the site out of beta mode, and release Good Food Finder AZ’s full potential,” said Rachel Morningstar, LFAF’s Local Foods Development Coordinator, “Over the last year, we’ve had all hands on deck working on this site, pouring through pages upon pages of coding and data on local food producers. In that time, our team has cleaned up the nearly 1,000 business listings on Good Food Finder AZ and we have rebuilt the entire website from scratch.”
Notable updates from the Good Food Finder AZ re-launch include:
- Users can search by interactive map for producers within a specified number of miles from an address, city, or state. They can also use GPS to pinpoint their exact location and narrow their search to as close as within a five mile radius.
- Business owners can now take control of their own listings. These entrepreneurs are now able to claim their page and make updates themselves. There are also new advertising and “bump up” options, allowing business owners to take charge of their own presence and reach on GFF.
- Sales outlets for local food now have a home on GFF. Farmers markets, CSAs, food hubs and restaurants that practice local sourcing can all now be listed. This move will help to bridge the gap between producers and consumers.
- The site’s design has been completely reconfigured, and it is now much faster, visually appealing and better organized.
- Content has been updated for the Resource pages to include guides on topics such as why local is important, agritourism opportunities, as well as guides for finding emergency food and registering for food access benefit programs.
- The site has migrated to the new domain: www.goodfoodfinderaz.com, clarifying that this is a database specifically for Arizona’s foodshed.
“A fully functional, comprehensive, and state-wide portal for identifying local food is exactly what Arizona needs,” said Lanning.
“When the original Good Food Finder team approached us with the opportunity to expand on and maintain this already-established tool, we did not hesitate to pull together the resources needed to create a website that better served the wider community. In conjunction with our other healthy local foods initiatives, Good Food Finder AZ will greatly expand our ability to influence public health in Arizona and will keep more dollars circulating in Arizona’s local food economy.”
Arizona’s food industry businesses are also encouraged to search for themselves and see whether they are currently listed on Good Food Finder AZ, where they can either claim their listing or register to create a new listing. To view the newly revamped Good Food Finder AZ, visit www.goodfoodfinderaz.com.