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November/December 2015 • Issue No. 15 • $4.99


MADE IN TUCSON No. 15 November/December 2015

Arizona Grapes for Arizona Wine Tucson’s China • Dignifying Hunger • Gulf Shrimp


Contents 6 COYOTE TALKING 10 ONLINE What’s happening at 12 VOICES We asked community members at the Armory Park Senior Center: What’s your favorite food memory? 18 GLEANINGS Inch by Inch Wormery; Tumerico’s treats; Tubac’s new garden. 24 BAJA EATS

104 A DISPLACED HUNGER At the Kino Border Initiative’s Nogales comedor, recently deported migrants get more than just a warm meal—they get a sense of dignity.

32 THE PLATE The spiciest thing they should never take off the menu. 41 EDIBLE HOMESTEAD Understanding chill hours; Arizona’s home baking program; vegan pies for the holidays; what’s in season in farms in Baja Arizona. 62 IN THE BUSINESS Diablo Burger’s Derrick Widmark talks conservation through food. 70 LOCAL GIRL GOES LOCAL Kate ate local food–and only local food–for 30 days. Here’s how it went. 82 MEET YOUR FARMER At the off-the-grid SouthWinds Farm, Joe Marlow is optimistic about growing organic produce and changing behavior. 90 POLICY Revisiting chicken politics in the Old Pueblo.

116 BY CATCHING SHRIMP Mexico’s shrimp trawlers are decimating Gulf ecosystems and bottoming out already fragile fisheries.

100 HOME MADE A program at Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse is helping women reclaim the kitchen—and reconnect with themselves. 140 BUZZ Arizona winemakers are working to protect their growing industry—and the premium that comes with growing grapes in Arizona’s rugged terrain. 150 BOOZE NEWS 158 INK Pig Tales; The Ethical Meat Handbook. 162 LAST BITE Molly McKasson plants her winter garden.

128 MADE IN TUCSON In a factory just south of downtown, Tucson’s HF Coors is continuing a 90-year legacy of manufacturing durable dinnerware for restaurants, hotels, and homes.

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S UNDAY AF TER NOON in mid-October, my wife and I made our way to the base of Sentinel Peak and entered the adobe-walled Mission Garden. This is where the Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace are lovingly tending to the agricultural history of Chuk Shon, the Tohono O’odham words for “place at the base of the black hill.” A few hundred people had gathered to celebrate an early harvest meal at a long table adjacent to a glorious orchard of heritage fruit trees. A fundraiser for the Friends and Native Seeds/SEARCH, the event was a quintessential Baja Arizona experience: sitting down to share a meal in the very spot where people have grown and eaten food for more than 4,000 years. It was a way to reconnect with that singular sense of place that emanates from eating close to home. Our own Kate Selby, who masterfully manages all our digital content, set out to make that very connection to place. At an editorial retreat earlier this summer, we floated a story idea about documenting 30 days of eating solely from sources within 250 miles of Tucson. Kate enthusiastically volunteered for the assignment and in this issue reports on the transformative impact it had for her and her family. As she reported in our September/October issue, before the experience, she had never visited a local farmers’ market. She discovers that “within the tents and tables of Tucson’s farmers’ markets, there exists the most delightful community: producers and consumers striving together to abandon the industrial food system in favor of a more human—and in the case of meat, milk, and eggs, more humane—way of sourcing food.” With a newborn in the house and a demanding work schedule, Kate discovered that the challenge wasn’t nearly as difficult as she imagined. “Every temptation I encountered was made more bearable by reminding myself that my choice to eat local was … a deliberate step toward supporting a more sustainable and diverse foodshed.” Get inspired by Kate’s journey and you might experience your own local eating epiphany. “I know what the desert is like…I know how hard it is…I know all they have been through. That’s why I want to cook well for them. We want to make it delicious. I always try to put love and flavor into the food.” These are the words of Mariana Serrano Reyes—a migrant who was deported when she attempted to cross the border four years ago—explaining her commitment to provide daily meals to recently deported migrants at a special place just across the border in Nogales, Sonora. Known simply as the comedor, this project of the Kino Border Initiative will serve more than 40,000 meals this year to deported migrants who are often left in Mexico literally starving after their experience. “The comedor has become a community center—and sometimes much more for many who have left or been torn from their communities,” writes John Washington. Providing these basic needs—a safe place and a delicious warm meal—can be transformative for the people who find themselves in this desperate situation. In the waters off Mexico’s Gulf of California, more than 1,200 shrimp boats spend seven months every fall and spring in search of the most valuable fish Mexico exports. Maria Johnson takes you aboard the shrimp boats in her powerful photo essay on the industry. As she writes, “the environmental impact of bottom trawling is immense, primarily due to the high rate of bycatch, which totals more than 86 percent by weight in the region. This mean that for each pound of shrimp, there are nearly nine pounds of other organisms that are thrown back to the sea dead or injured.” Ultimately, consumers can have the biggest impact by demanding more sustainable fishing methods. Megan Kimble visits a Tucson treasure known as HF Coors. Located just south of downtown, the company is continuing a nearly 90-year legacy of manufacturing durable dinnerware. The factory, Megan writes, “is 33,000 square feet of clay-covered motion; turning 20 tons of clay and 5,000 pounds of glaze into more than 25,000 dishes every single week…The pottery is imaginative, distinctive, diverse. It is heavy; it is homey. It is used in hundreds of restaurants across the United States, dozens in Tucson.” A genuine “made in Tucson” success story that you’ll want to discover for yourself. And finally, a bit of magazine business: With this issue we are excited to move our printing from Denver to Courier Graphics in Phoenix. It will be splendid to be 90 minutes away from press check and to be able to support yet one more local business. We’re happy to be able to state that Edible Baja Arizona is “100 percent made in Arizona.” As always, there’s much, much more to discover in this issue. We’ll see you around the table. ¡Salud! N A

Reconnect with that singular sense of place that emanates from eating close to home.

—Douglas Biggers, editor and publisher

6 November /December 2015

Editor and Publisher Douglas Biggers Managing Editor Megan Kimble Art Director

Steve McMackin

Business Coordinator Kate Kretschmann Advertising Consultant Johnny Smith Digital Content Manager Kate Selby Senior Contributing Editor Gary Paul Nabhan Designers

Lyric Peate, Sally Brooks, Bridget Shanahan

Copy Editor

Ford Burkhart


Charity Whiting


Lee Allen, Merrill Eisenberg, Autumn Giles, Laura Greenberg, Paul Ingram, Bryan Eichhorst, John Washington, Maria Johnson, Kathleen Vandervoet, Lisa O’Neill, Sara Jones, Shelby Thompson, Amy Belk, Molly Kincaid, Molly McKasson

Photographers & Artists

Julie DeMarre, Catherine Eyde, Katya Granger, Maria Johnson, Isadora Lassance, Elijah LeComte, Amy Martin, Danny Martin, Steven Meckler, Jeff Smith

On the cover and above: Tempranillo grapes

Distribution Royce Davenport, Mel Meijas, Shiloh Thread-Waist Walkosak, Steve and Anne Bell Anderson

from Flying Leap Vineyards in Elgin.

Photo by Amy Martin

We’d love to hear from you.

307 S. Convent Ave., Barrio Viejo Tucson, Arizona 85701 520.373.5196

Say hello on social media 8 November /December 2015

V OLUME 3, I SSUE 3. Edible Baja Arizona (ISSN 2374-345X) is published six times annually by Coyote Talking, LLC. Subscriptions are available for $36 annually by phone or at Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used without the express written permission of the publisher. Member of the Association of Edible Publishers (AEP).

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ur Instagram account has been bursting with photos from places we visit, restaurants we enjoy, gardens we grow, and behind-the-scenes looks at how we make the magazine. (Left ) Ten Fifty-Five Brewing's new brew: 100 percent locally sourced "Our Valentine," made with barley from BKW Farms and wild hops from Mount Lemmon. (Center) Nopales, pescado, and papas tacos during Penca’s happy hour, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. in downtown Tucson. (Right) A #LocalGirlGoesLocal breakfast: local peaches, eggs, and pancakes made with an egg white meringue instead of nonlocal leaveners and, of course, local wheat. 10 November /December 2015

VISIT MT Lemmon TUcson’s sky island paradise

A visit to this natural treasure is wonderful in every season. Climbing 6,000 feet in 25 miles, the scenic Catalina Highway takes you through six distinct life zones, amazing geological formations, and awesome vistas, ending at 9,157 feet in a conifer forest!

Shop and Dine in Summerhaven and Ski Valley • Stay in a Cabin • Stargaze at the UA Sky Center Hike Cool, Forested Trails • Learn at the Palisades Visitor Center • Have a Picnic • Pitch a Tent Ride the Ski Lift •Climb a Rock • Listen to the Wind in the Pines • Relax on a Deck • Savor a Vista


We asked community members at the Armory Park Senior Center: What’s your favorite food memory? Photography by Julie DeMarre

I did this cookbook for the family. It’s called Healthy Mexican Cooking. I did all the old recipes—and all the recipes have stories to them. This recipe reminds me of Tucson in the summer— the story I want to share is about a summer salad. It’s called Salpicon. It’s a very old recipe. It was always used specifically for Dia de San Juan, which is June 24. It’s a day in Mexico, in Sonora, that the rains used to start. When people moved up here, they expected the rains to start at the same time, but usually they don’t start, so the people said, maybe if we keep making this special food 12 November /December 2015

for San Juan, he’ll come back. The main thing in it—you may not like it—is tongue. My motherin-law was born here in 1898. They would plan for this all year, talk to the Chinese people who grow vegetables to make sure they had them. What it includes are lots and lots of vegetables, black olives, and hard boiled eggs, and the tongue is made ahead of time, marinated in vinegar. You don’t mix the salad. I still think of my motherin-law every time I make it—she’d just get so excited about it. My daughter knows how to make it now, too.

Alba B. Torres, 83

My mother made a lot of tamales. In today’s world, you use a mixer to make the masa—well, she didn’t believe in that. You had to do it by hand. She always had a glass of water next to the mixing bowl. She’d do it and do it, and then take a little piece of masa and if it didn’t float to the top, it wasn’t any good. My three sisters and I would be kneading and kneading and kneading forever. We’d say, “Mom!” And

she’d say, “keep going.” And finally, it’d float to the top, and she’d say, “O.K., it’s ready.” And then she’d add the red chile in there and mix it all up, and she’d say, “O.K., knead it a few more times.” But she wouldn’t stop until the masa was totally mixed with the red chile and it was just the right color, a nice orange-red. We would be kneading forever! We still talk about that today.

Rosa Bradley, 70

We had a house in Armory Park, and in the back of the house there was a two-bedroom guesthouse. In between, there was a shed with an oldfashioned stove, where Mom used to make homemade tortillas. There were eight of us. The tortillas wouldn’t last. Because every time we’d pass that shed, we’d snatch one. There was a special dish that Mom used to make; it was called pan perdido. It was like a cornbread, mixed with red chile, corn, meat. She’d put it in the oven so there’d be a good crust on the top. It wasn’t seasonal—she’d make it anytime we’d asked her to make it, which was every other week. It was good food because it was home grown. We had pigeons, rabbits. We had fig tree plants, pomegranate plants, grapes. Everything was right there, in the backyard.

Alex Higuera, 80

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During the war, they needed men to work on the planes at Davis-Monthan, so that’s what my father did. We lived in the projects right there by 15th Street and Plumer. My mother made a lot of chile con carne. We grew up eating a lot of different things. I learned about eating vegetables from our next-door neighbor. They were always serving peas and string beans, things we never had. I saw her eating them, and I got interested. Today, I like nopalitos. My sister says she never liked to think about nopalitos—it’s a cactus—but I like to make them in different ways—scrambled with eggs, or with tomato sauce and onion. I also like to eat kale. I was working with the Community Food Bank—they came to my backyard to show me how to make the raised garden bed just a couple of years ago. That’s how I learned about kale. I like kale a lot—it’s very nutritious.

Betty Padilla, 80

I was born and raised in Tucson. My mother used to make tortillas so we could have them hot for lunch when we came home from school. We always had refried beans on the table. We always had meat, chile con carne—it’s delicious. I like to make it at home myself. I make better chile than most people. 14 November /December 2015

I don’t think I have a secret. You get good meat, chile, and beans—you just have to cook them right. Tortillas are a very big part of the meal for me. They’re hard to make. You don’t just put it in the oven and pull it out. Each one has to be made separate— it’s a lot of labor.

Carlos Vasquez, 91

One of my favorite things when I was a kid was in the mornings, on Sundays, we would have menudo. We made it at home. Menudo is a soup with the cow … what is it called? Tripe. And hominy. That’s basically what it is. My mom made it. It takes three hours to make, because the tripe has to be well cooked. They put cilantro and onions on top, and lemon, and we ate it with tortillas. That was what we

had for breakfast every Sunday—that was our treat. It was so delicious. We’d look forward to it. A lot of times, we’d get together on Sunday and have a family get-together with a special meal. It wasn’t hard to make, too. We made the white menudo, not with the red chile, the Texas menudo. I always say, go to Texas if you want it red. I’m past 70—I’m of legal age, that’s what I always say.

Aurelia R. Mesa, 70+

My favorite food? Enchiladas. From here in Tucson. My grandmother made them, and my wife makes them, too. During the holidays, and special occasions and gatherings, birthdays and anniversaries. My mom’s enchiladas are the best because they raised me. They’re a little spicy. My grandmother made them spicy, but my wife made them not too hot for the kids—I have three kids. In Mexican culture, when you eat hot stuff, you drink more beer. I go to restaurants and they make enchiladas, but not the way my aunt and my mother made them. The ingredients they use now, it’s way different. You go to a restaurant now, I can tell you, they don’t taste like the old ones, since they’re using different ingredients.

Ramon “Chino” Quiroz, 75

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Michael Morse, co-owner of Inch by Inch, tends to the gardener’s gold that forms the base of their business.

Inching to Grow

Casting earthworms for soil restoration. By Lee Allen | Photography by Elijah LeComte


T UCSON COUPLE has discovered how they can both pay it back—and pay it forward—in the most unlikely form, that of earthworms and their castings. “It came out of a vision of restoration. Our soils are depleted and worm castings are a quick way to restore them,” said Sandra Morse, co-owner of Tucson’s Inch by Inch, which produces large sacks of earthworm castings as organic and natural fertilizer for both indoor pots and outdoor garden use. “Worm castings have a way of sort of rebalancing the natural world,” she said. This fledgling firm is housed in a 5,000-square-foot warehouse on 19th Street called The Worm Hole. “We started in November of 2014 with 20,000 pounds of worms and have been growing them ever since. Every room is filled, wall-to-wall, with worm bins and we currently have about 60,000 pounds of castings,” she said. As word begins to spread of these 10-pound bags of gardening gold, Sandra and her husband, Michael, expect demand to grow, tasking the red wiggler worms to increase their castings production. “That would be a good problem to have,” Michael said. “Our partners who introduced us to this concept have a 100,000-square-foot operation in Tennessee and they can’t keep up with customer requests.” For the Morses, the cultivation of organic fertilizer with high levels of minerals allows them to make a contribution to the community in the form of waste management. “To us, it looked like the perfect storm—right place, right time, right philosophy, right product,” Michael said. 18 November /December 2015

Under ideal conditions, worms can eat at least their own weight in organic matter in a day. “Our containers are 150 gallons and if you put a thousand pounds of worms in a bin, in two months there will be 2,000 pounds of wigglers,” Michael said. Worm castings are perfect for gardeners—they’re rich in humic acids, maintain an even pH balance, and contain more nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium than ordinary soil. Worm castings can be mixed into the soil of existing house plants or top-dressed on household and inside plants. Vegetable seedlings and transplants stand a better chance of success with a little nutritional boost—mix one part worm casting to three parts soil. In outdoor raised beds, use two to four inches of castings to start, then add a side dressing during the growing season of half a cup per plant every two months. “We were surprised to learn that not everyone knows the benefits of worm castings,” said Michael. “We’ll start small at farmers’ markets, educating the public, and extolling the fact that castings are a great way to enhance our soil.” Word of mouth marketing is already starting a buzz. One farm, an organic orchard in southern Arizona, has already placed a thousand-pound order. But it’s the inch-by-inch, bag-by-bag growth curve that’s in their business plan. “We’ve been polluting our planet for a long time and we need to change the way we do things,” Sandra said. Inch by Inch. 860 E. 19th St. 520.245.5273.

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Wendy Garcia, owner of Tumerico, says that her signature tamales have “good ingredients, hard work, patience, and love.”

Made with Love

Tumerico offers fresh, healthy food—and tasty, too. By Lee Allen | Photography by Elijah LeComte


T ’ S 3 O ’ CLOCK in the morning, but the light is already on in Wendy Garcia’s kitchen. There are butternut squash tamales and gluten free tacos to be made. “I want to fix food that is interesting, flavor-filled, and healthy—all at once,” she says. Despite her seven-day-a-week commitment, cooking is not just a job for her; it’s a passion. “My foods are fresh, locally sourced, organic, and tasty—and prepared with love,” she says. “When you say vegan or gluten-free, people think it’s not going to be tasty, and I want to change that perception.” Growing up in a meat-eating family in Hermosillo, Mexico, Garcia got her cooking gene from her father. “En mi casa, es papa en la cocina,” she says. Garcia became a vegan a decade ago, a choice reflected in her Tumerico products as she celebrates her second anniversary. “Making food is putting myself out there because a little part of me is in every product. I want people to feel comfortable when they come to the Tumerico table at farmers’ markets. I want them to enjoy my efforts and the love and passion I put into my cooking. I put a lot of heart in what I do. I have fun orchestrating production in the kitchen hoping that others will enjoy eating my food.” The first thing she started selling was butternut squash tamales, now her signature product. “I take advantage of the extra pair of hands when my mother comes to visit me. She’ll

20 November /December 2015

tell me stories while we’re making 500 to 600 tamales at a time, working all day and stopping only when we run out of masa. I never have leftovers when it comes to tamales because they go well with rice and beans. What’s not to like there?” While tamales are No. 1 on her menu, other products include sweet potato enchiladas, quesadillas, vegan tacos, tortillas from rice and garbanzo bean flour, wraps, a super burrito, and quinoa burgers. “I also make a good curry from scratch and because I personally love spices, I make super spicy salsas that are so hot few people can eat them.” The hard-working chef offers a catering menu for groups of five to 50, working with clients to prepare their favorite dishes. Garcia offers a table of tasty treats at the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market and sells pre-packaged foods at Aqua Vita, New Life Health Center, and the Food Conspiracy Co-op. Look for a Tumerico food cart on the patio of Revolutionary Grounds coffee shop on Fourth Avenue every Friday and Saturday evening starting in November. “It’s like a big hot dog cart that doesn’t sell hot dogs, not even vegan ones,” she says. “Good food requires good ingredients, hard work, patience, and love, and I think my cooking includes all of those.” Tumerico. 520.270.2055. Lee Allen likes to see what’s growing in other people’s gardens.


Chiltepin peppers begin to bud at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park.

A Plant’s View

Tubac’s ethnobotanical garden puts beauty—and history—on display. By Kathleen Vandervoet | Photography by Elijah LeComte


garden planted in May of 2014 at the 11-acre Tubac Presidio State Historic Park is thriving, acquainting visitors with native and native-adapted plant species, demonstrating water conservation principles in landscape design, and enlivening portrayals of 18th and 19th century Presidio life. Tubac residents Ursula “Uschi” and Dave Young schemed up the garden to show the complex relationships between the many cultures that have lived in Baja Arizona and how they interacted with plants. A visitor guide explains how plants were used by native people. Brewed tea leaves from Mormon tea (Ephedra nevadensis) helped relieve stomach and bowel disorders. Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate) could prevent infection in wounds, stop internal bleeding, and treat headaches and colds. Root powder from ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) was applied to contusions and joints to reduce swelling. While the Youngs were students in the University of Arizona Master Gardener program, they went to the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park for an assignment. “It was really bleak,” Uschi recalls. “There wasn’t a whole lot of stuff to observe other than mesquite trees.” So they got approval to start a small master gardener’s program, beginning with a few creosote plants. “We started with creosote because it’s such an interesting plant,” Uschi says. “We learned people had started looking down their noses at it in Tucson developments for a number of years.” The small successful addition drew an unexpectedly positive response from local folks, who asked if they could help out. Uschi suggested that they donate funds to buy plants. N ETHNOBOTANICAL

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Residents have since donated more than $9,000 for plants, irrigation, signs, and information pamphlets, says park director Shaw Kinsley. Established in 1752 next to the Santa Cruz River, Tubac was the first European settlement in what later became Arizona. The Tubac Presidio State Historic Park became Arizona’s first state park when it opened in 1958 and today includes an 1885 Territorial schoolhouse, a museum, an underground archaeology exhibit, and the printing press on which Arizona’s first newspaper was printed. Among the garden’s 27 listed plants, there are yucca, agave, sage, ocotillo, chiltepin peppers, and beargrass. Twelve of the 14 varieties of Texas ranger, or purple sage, are growing in the garden—with a search ongoing for the final two varieties, Young said. The historic orchard includes peach, fig, pomegranate, plum, and quince trees. The garden’s plan was developed by Dave Young; to find plants that had historically thrived in this climate, he relied on Daniel E. Moerman’s book Native American Ethnobotany. “It was a ton of work,” Uschi says. “The nicest part was that there were some local volunteers who said, ‘I don’t know anything but I can make a hole if you show me where to make it.’ “And the master gardeners from Tucson would come down once a month and they had the knowledge as well as the willingness to dig,” she said. “The addition of the ethnobotanic garden is the most wonderful addition we have made to the park because of its beauty and ... its historic and cultural significance,” Kinsley says.  Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. 1 Burruel St., Tubac. 520.398.2252. Freelance writer Kathleen Vandervoet has lived in Tubac since 1978 and enjoys the desert-adapted plants that grow around her home.

edible Baja Arizona


A trip around the world, right here in Tucson.


story. Michele Frazier knew her husband, Joe, wanted a café of his own after 30 years working as a chef in corporate America. “So,” she says, “I Googled ‘restaurant for sale.’ It was ironic. I didn’t know anyone who could help me, but I thought maybe I could find some people to talk to.” Instead, she found their future: a crêperie for sale on Fourth Avenue. That was in 2009. She laughs, “Who buys a restaurant when the economy is down? We did.” The rest is Café Marcel history. Cooking in a space so cramped they could barely turn around without bumping into each other, by the winter of 2015 they’d relocated to their new location, the old Checkerboard Café on Oracle just north of Grant. Michele says, “It’s comfortable.” It’s all that plus a slice of mom-and-pop paradise. Black tables, black and white tile, pine paneling. The ideal cozy spot to hang with friends for breakfast or lunch. And there’s plenty of parking. Whatever you call crêpes, they’re an egg-based batter poured out onto a griddle in a big circle that is used as a vehicle for fillings, then rolled up. Café Marcel’s are light and huge, even their half orders. My friend says a crêpe is the French version of the taco. To new customers, Michele describes it as a French burrito. Technically, they’re very thin cooked pancakes. Originating in Brittany, they’re considered a national dish in France. Many cuisines have similar dishes: Africa has the injera; Mexico, the tortilla; India, the dosa. ER E ’ S A CRÊPE

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Now, chef Joe can get all fancy with his seasoned-to-perfection grill. My friend and I split the half order of ham, brie, spinach, and tomato with a side of their creamy herb sauce and our forks dueled in competition ($5.60). It was just the right amount of fresh filling before we lit into the spinach, tomato, pesto, and feta cheese crêpe ($4.75), and tasted more magic. The feta really made the flavors pop.

Café Marcel’s sweet crêpes.

Café Marcel offers sweet and savory fillings. I never turn my back on dessert, so we split the pear, apple, brie, and honey crêpe with a drizzle of confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream, topped with berries (half $5.25). It was sweet, but not overwhelming. They’re known for serving Arbuckles coffee—local, organic, fair trade—with its share of enthusiasts who show up daily for their Arbuckles fix ($2.54). One woman even calls in her coffee order ahead. And Joe created the popular Nutella Mocha ($3.75) that has stirred up quite a following. Great food; happy local owners. 2281 N. Oracle Road. 520.623.3700.



and my friend Jennifer and I are ready for our culinary tour of Kalina’s Russian Restaurant and Tea Service, so close to the local library I can almost sense the ghostly presence of Dostoevsky drinking his homeland’s most popular libation. So raising a glass to the famous and the dead, we tasted some of Kalina’s abundant vodkas. Trending lately are varieties with two and three ingredients; we sampled an infused bison grass, so smooth it went down without any afterbite. Our tsarina of food, Natasha Kalina, the owner, started our adventure with an assortment of sweet and savory tastes—baked spinach robed with dill cream cheese wrapped in salmon, eggplant caviar, walnut-crusted blue cheese bites with an edge of raspberry sauce, stuffed egg, and thin salami slices. Which goes perfectly with vodka, Kalina instructed as she handed another shot of a Polish distillation to Jennifer. With Mother Russia, there is always a story. A bit of drama. Even with their dumplings. Kalina explains, “They’re usually made and kept outside in the icy cold, and when someone is hungry for a warm meal, they’re dunked in boiling water for a few minutes.” Traditionally, pelmeni dumplings are packed with meat while their cousins, the vareniki, are vegetarian. The pelmeni are lightly seasoned, round, chewy dough balls of pork and beef served with a side bath of vinegar and topped with sour cream. The vareniki are folded dough pockets crowded with seasoned smashed potato, served with sour cream and caramelized ribbons of

edible Baja Arizona


True Tucson-meets-Mexican cuisine: Rosa’s enchiladas (above) and chips, guacamole, and salsa.

onion. And with Russian food, there is always fresh dill marking the landscape. It’s the perfect Russian Federation. Everything’s cooked in house, and daily, the way Kalina remembers growing up back in Ukraine. With family recipes passed down, Kalina’s warm version of borscht, from her Ukrainian grandmother, is dense with root veggies, while the cold soup, from her Jewish grandmother, was slightly sweeter, with a bright sparkle of cooked purple-red beets, boiled egg, and cucumber slices. (cup $5/bowl $7). Drinks also get their due here. There’s nothing like a trip back in time with the Russian Quaalude, a salute to the 1970s, a blend of vodka, Fratello, and Irish Cream Liqueur ($8). The various Russian/Polish vodka tastes kept pace with the food, but no trip to Russia would be complete without authentic beef stroganoff. I could live off the stuff, the sauce rich with earthy mushrooms and sour cream, the steak chopped, the noodles tender ($20.95). For dessert we polished off a house-made mint sorbet and pastry stuffed with real whipped cream and strawberries. We sat and watched the monsoon storm whip tree branches across the parking lot as Kalina said, “I want people to experience my food the way you would in Russia. Slow paced and social, spending time with nice food, nice drink. It’s almost sacred,” she says. “You’re creating memories.” 8963 E. Tanque Verde, Suite 210. 520.360.4040.

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1970, Rosa’s Mexican Food has been dishing out its traditional recipes, long enough to have been visited by Johnny Cash, ZZ Top, and Willie Nelson, and earning its status as a Tucson institution. Tucked away in a strip mall at Fort Lowell and Campbell, Max and I head to a corner table. I go out to eat food that I either can’t cook or will never be able to learn to cook well. And really good Sonoran-style cooking, which the Old Pueblo can claim as its own with an air of knowing superiority, falls flat in my hands. After having eaten Mexican food in New York, California, Texas, and New Mexico, all those meals just made me homesick for the f lavor blends that only happen in Tucson. To me, food that even Phoenicians make a pilgrimage down to sample speaks for INCE

itself. Well, that’s Tucson and Mexican eats. And it’s definitely Rosa’s. It’s a down-home, family-friendly, fiesta-colored two-room paean to Mexico, including the hand-painted murals by local legend Frank Franklin. All of which gives Rosa’s some charm and history. Here, the white corn chips are light and house made—never greasy—and their salsa has some fiery kick with a garlicky finish that might make your nostrils flare, but sets up your palate for the next course. We dip into some creamy guacamole, thick with avocado and a hint of dairy. Max creates a sampler plate of what he thinks are Rosa’s standouts: Chile relleno, white cheese cocooned in a roasted poblano green pepper (not too spicy) blanketed in yellow cheese, is melt-inmouth excellent. And their shredded beef tamale was both piquant in flavor and perfect in texture. They’re known for their interesting combo plates, and this one, including the mound of carne seca, with its filaments of well spiced shredded beef, caramelized onions and green chile, is all chowed down with a side of serious frijoles. I make short work of my bean-stuffed enchiladas, half covered in red sauce, the other half in their house green-pepper sauce (Ortega style), which registers as ideal on my comfort food meter. Rosa’s cooks its dishes with the deft hand of tradition on one side and experience on the other. Their combos run $10-14 a plate. 1750 E. Fort Lowell Road. 520.325.0362.

edible Baja Arizona


Yoshimatsu’s edamame and crispy pan-fried pork gyoza.


Healthy Japanese Eatery has a food-dojo-meetsJapanese-pop-culture-theme park vibe with a collection of bizarre toys, anime, karate-superhero, and kaiju paraphernalia peppering the interior. It’s all housed in a cavernous building that’s been through several incarnations as 24-hour chain diners. A cool edifice with high ceilings, it’s acoustically one of the best places I’ve eaten without the decibel level going into the land of infinite reverb. (How do you say “amen” in Japanese?). Since they opened at this location in 2002, Yoshimatsu has been serving healthy Japanese cuisine with a minimum of chemical enhancements. They avoid MSG, use only canola oil, and try to serve organic foods, all while aiming to keep costs down. My group of four decided to embark on a food adventure by picking a selection of random tastings. We started off with O S H I M AT S U

28 November /December 2015

salted edamame ($3.50) and crispy panfried pork gyoza ($5.50). Then Miles insisted, “I want the fried squid tentacle roll.” Hey, I don’t say no to a 9-year-old wanting to eat something I’d be afraid to run into in the dark. So, along came the squid, its protruding chewy appendages wrapped in sticky rice with a hint of smoky and spicy ($4). Miles’ face lit up, so his younger brother Ian tried two pieces, though he preferred the karaage fried chicken—think, Japanese popcorn tenders. ($6.50). The spicy tuna roll ($5) was perfectly Sriracha’d and complemented the warmed, bitter Sake ($4) while the vegetarian merry-go-round roll—a mélange of mizuna, asparagus, yamagobo, sweet egg, nori, and cream cheese all dipped in tempura and fried, was some dense real estate packed in an epically-sized vegetarian roll ($9.00). We also ordered a small bowl of vegetable yakisoba

(buckwheat noodles), ($3.95) cooked just right, that had a nutty sesame flavor and a pleasing al dente feel. With Japanese food, it’s all about the subtlety of the flavors and the dipping sauces that give contrast. Yoshimatsu’s menu is extensive and their food has a homemade feel. And I cannot get enough of the cultural touches—like the glass cabinet holding elaborate plastic food replicas, called sampuru, once used as home decorations until restaurants in Tokyo began installing them to attract customers. Yoshimatsu is a full service restaurant, but Sushimatsu, their sushi restaurant, is in a separate dining room in back—you can order off that menu in the main dining room. We came while it was still happy hour (5-7 p.m.), when appetizers and drinks are discounted. And there’s a nifty gift shop. 2660 N. Campbell Ave. 520.320.1574.

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Right: Tavolino’s salad of burrata, tomatoes, prosciutto, and basil strands. Below: Beet ravioli and chicken cannelloni from Tavolino.


some days that only pasta will do. And preferably the delicate kind kneaded with eggs and flour and rolled out by hand. So when that kind of mood strikes, I head to Tavolino Ristorante with my mom, who appreciates anything she doesn’t have to cook (hey, she burns water). I love their space, large with vintage family black and white photographs, enormous windows, plenty of light, and upmarket without pretension. We were doing lunch family style, and tried the beet ravioli ($14), the Bolognese lasagna ($12), the chicken cannelloni ($14), and a salad of burrata, tomatoes, prosciutto, and basil strands. Like an answered prayer, all the pastas were thin and made from scratch. Their traditional Bolognese lasagna in tomato sauce is airy and light, the kind that you walk away from having eaten every bite but don’t feel HER E AR E

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Arizona’s nuttiest family fun, the Seventh Annual Sahuarita Pecan Festival on Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Started in 2009 with 10,000 visitors, the festival now attracts 20,000 people to this old time country fair with an agricultural vibe. Think pony rides, tractors, and live animals mixed up with some modern kidfriendly bouncy houses, bungee jumping, and rock wall climbing. There’s enough stimulation to get you just tired enough to fill up on choice grub from food vendors all across the Santa Cruz Valley. The hayride is a $3 charity event that delivers you to the pecan orchards—all proceeds go to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. There’s even a pecan pie contest (registration forms can be picked up at Mama’s Hawaiian Barbecue in Sahuarita or online). 520.329.5790. Visit • For the first time, the Celebration of Basketry and Native Foods Festival & Symposium is open to the public. Join indigenous cooks, chefs, farmers, scholars, artists, nutritionists, historians, seed savers, and basket weavers in celebrating the vitality of indigenous people, land, and food. On Thursday, Nov. 12, and Friday, Nov. 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., head to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for hands-on basket weaving workshops, chef demonstrations and tastings, traditional agricultural practices, and a tasting lunch featuring indigenous foods prepared by guest chefs. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. 2021 N. Kinney Road. 520.883.1380. • In January 2016, one of my favorite local eateries, Roma Imports, is adding World Food Lunch Specials to its already deep menu. They’ll be featuring three options daily, cooking up specialty dishes from Germany, Greece, India, El Savador, Hungary, and other parts of the globe. Their restaurant and store is the best-known wellkept secret in Tucson. 627 S. Vine Ave. 520.792.3173. Check our their menus and specials at  ON’T MISS

weighted down ($12). The cannelloni is a tube of handmade dough, with a fresh blend of spinach, ricotta, smoked mozzarella, and pulled rotisserie chicken, showered in red sauce ($14). And the beet ravioli, again, a purple pasta square, stuffed with goat cheese, with just the right amount of chew, with marinara on top. (Me and tomatoes are going steady). They have a cheese guy and he is very, very good. Their burrata is fresh mozzarella with real cream hiding out, kind of like a cheese piñata, with my mouth as the bat. The chef and owner, Massimo Tenino, pays tribute to the rustic Northern Italian recipes taught him by his mother and grandmother. And in paying homage to family, he stocks plenty of wines from his brother’s vineyard in Italy, as well as a full bar. Tavolino’s is a full-scale authentic Italian eatery, from just-charred wood burning pizzas to rotisserie meats to house-made pasta dishes. And check out their happy hour menu—it’s a joyful salute to Italy. 2890 E. Skyline Drive. 520.531.1913.

Laura Greenberg is a Tucson writer. Email with information about new eats.

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The Plate Plate the



The spiciest thing they should never take off the menu.

1234 Photography by Isadora Lassance

Boca Tacos Roasted Habanero Salsa Salsa selections rotate daily. A scoop of the roasted habanero salsa will turn your carne asada tacos into another experience entirely. Order with a side of chips or grab one of their custom-made salsa jars to continue the torture at home. Chips and salsa, $4.50; small jar of salsa, $5.95. 828 E. Speedway Blvd.

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Jun Dynasty Stew in Tongue Numbing Flaming Chile Oil over Cabbage The title alone should make beads of sweat pop on your forehead. Choose from tofu, chicken, pork, beef, or fish. The broth comes loaded with so many peppercorns that food will be tasting spicy long after you finish the stew. $12.95. 2933 E. Grant Road

Poco and Mom’s New Mexico Style Hatch Green Chile Enchiladas A spice you won’t soon forget. Served flat, these enchiladas come layered with cheese, corn tortillas, and Poco and Mom’s signature fresh—and spicy—Hatch green chile enchilada sauce. $9.99 for cheese; $10.99 with meat. 1060 S. Kolb Road

Sher-E-Punjab Chicken Tikka Masala This spicy curry dish is made with tender pieces of chicken cooked in the tandoor— typically, a cylindrical clay or metal oven heated by charcoal—and simmered in masala sauce. It’s definitely not a dry heat. $9.75. 853 E. Grant Road

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34 November /December 2015

edible Baja Arizona



Chilling Out Understanding chill hours for deciduous fruit trees. By Amy Belk | Illustrations by Danny Martin


n Baja Arizona , we have the privilege of being able

to grow an extraordinary array of fruits and veggies at home. In addition to what we can grow in our garden beds and the citrus or fig trees that frequent our landscapes, many newcomers are surprised to learn that we can also grow peaches, apples, pears, cherries, plums, nectarines, apricots, almonds, quince, and persimmon, too. It’s often assumed that our summers and winters are both too warm to keep deciduous fruit trees happy. It’s true that our cultivar choices seem limited when compared with cooler climates (especially in the warmest areas of Baja Arizona) but there are still a good many fruit and nut trees that really thrive here.

The very first step to a bountiful harvest from your own home orchard is to research the number of chill hours your area gets every year. Knowing this magic number will help you select cultivars that are genetically inclined to grow well in your climate. After you plant your trees, knowing how many chill hours you get throughout the season will give you good clues about what to expect from your tree come springtime, and what to watch and plan for over the next year. Whenever discussing fruit trees with customers or clients, this point of the conversation brings up a lot of questions: What are chill hours, and what’s the difference between chill

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[E.H.] What’s happening within a tree when it goes dormant? hours and cold hardiness? Why does a plant need a certain number of chill hours if it’s hardy enough for my area? Why does one variety need more chill hours than another? If my house gets more chill hours than a cultivar needs, then that cultivar should do fine here, right? Chill hours can be confusing to discuss because even the experts aren’t in complete agreement about what they are. The quick and dirty definition is that they’re the cumulative number of hours that a tree spends resting during its dormant period. Calculating chill hours can be a bit befuddling, but we’ll get into that later. First, let’s look at why chill hours are so important.

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As temperatures begin to cool and days become shorter in fall, deciduous trees prepare for dormancy by slowing production of growth-promoting hormones, and growth-inhibiting hormones begin to build up instead. Leaves change colors as chlorophyll breaks down, and their yellow, orange, or red pigments become more visible. Eventually, the growth-inhibiting hormones take over, and leaves are shed to conserve water when the tree goes dormant. In the warmest areas of Baja Arizona, it’s sometimes necessary to water sparingly in fall to help coax deciduous trees into taking a break. Plants are much hardier to the cold once they’re resting, and shutting down many of their normal functions helps conserve energy while they protect themselves through winter. Fruit trees can tolerate extremely low temperatures while dormant, but cultivars vary in how long they like to slumber. It takes a specific number of accumulated chill hours, longer day lengths, and warmer temperatures for a deciduous fruit tree to begin growing normally again. If one or more of these factors isn’t quite right, it will be difficult or impossible for some trees to wake up. It may seem odd that a plant should need a designated amount of cold weather in order to break dormancy, but this requirement is important because it keeps the tree from resuming growth during any random winter warm spell. Such growth would certainly be damaged when normal winter temperatures

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[E.H.] returned, resulting in wasted energy, high stress, and multiple pathways for disease, fungus, or insect infestation where branch tips were damaged. It’s best to choose cultivars that need the same number of chill hours that your area gets. If minimum chill requirements aren’t met (winter is too short) then flowering and leaf break may be prevented or delayed, quality and quantity of fruit is often reduced, and the tree may produce excessive suckers or show other signs of stress. If you get more chill hours than a tree requires, there’s a risk that it will begin growing or flowering before the final cold snaps are over.

Tracking Chill Hours Once a tree is dormant, some scientists believe, the growth inhibiting hormones built up within the tree are slowly broken down throughout the winter, primarily when the thermometer reads between 32 and 55 degrees. However, chilling effectiveness varies with temperature. Research has found that the most effective chilling occurs between 32 and 45 degrees, and sustained warm temperatures can negate chill hours that have accumulated in the last 36 hours. Unfortunately, it seems like the more we learn about chill hours, the more confusing it gets.

The roughest method to track chill hours has us simply tally the number of hours below 45 degrees that occur while the tree is dormant. Temperatures don’t have to remain continuously below 45 degrees to count, but studies have shown that plant processes are ridiculously slow when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, so many growers count only the number of hours spent between 32 and 45 degrees. As a home grower, I can say that’s about as detailed as I’ve ever had to get with tracking chill hours. Growers in areas that experience high fluctuations in temperature are more frequently looking to a dynamic model that counts chill “portions” over a longer time frame rather than just chill hours while dormant. Of course, the fastest and easiest way to find out about chill hours in your area is to contact the nearest county extension office or your local master gardeners. There’s a good chance that someone has already recorded and published this information for public use—and it’s also likely that these same sources can provide you with a list of specific fruit tree cultivars that do well in your area. ✜ Amy Belk is a garden writer and photographer, a certified arborist, and a certified nursery professional who has been learning from her garden for 15 years. She and her husband homestead on a little piece of the desert in the heart of Tucson.

W HAT TO PLANT Even the very highest elevations in Baja Arizona can still plant onions in November and December, either by seed or by sets. The rest of us can also plant asparagus asparagus, beets, carrots beets carrots, Swiss chard, chard leaf lettuce, lettuce green and bunching onions onions, parsley parsley, radish radish, rutabaga rutabaga, spinach spinach, and turnip. turnip In the warmer zones, head lettuce should be planted by mid-November. Cabbage Cabbage, cauliflower, ower collards collards, and endive should be planted by the first of December, and then leek and mustard by the middle of that month. Cabbage seed can be planted until mid-November if you’re below 1,000 feet elevation, and until the beginning of December above 1,000 feet. All but the very warmest zones can plant parsnip parsnip. Garlic, kale Garlic kale, and kohlrabi can be still be planted this time of year, but get them in before the first of December if you live below 2,000 feet elevation. (Tucson’s airport is 2,640 feet.)

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If you’re between 2,000 and 3,000 feet elevation, you can plant horseradish horseradish, rhubarb rhubarb, and salsify in addition to everything in the previous paragraphs. Spring peas can be planted only in the sweet spots between 1,000 and 2,000 feet elevation until mid-December. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts can still be planted in the warmest regions (below 2,000 feet elevation), but have them planted by Dec. 1 if you’re in the 1,000 to 2,000 feet range. Only the lowest elevations of Baja Arizona (below 1,000 feet) will be warm enough to plant pepper and tomato (by seed), potato potato, and then cantaloupe cantaloupe, cucumber, muskmelon after Dec. 1. After around the cucumber 15th, it will likely be warm enough to plant summer squash and watermelon watermelon, too.



s cold weather arrives, what can you do to

protect your citrus from the coming freezes? The first step is to harden off your trees by reducing how often you water. This will slow down their growth resulting in thicker stems that are better able to cope with freezing temperatures. When freezing temperatures do arrive, protect your trees by watering them the day before up to the evening of the freeze. The added moisture releases latent heat as the temperature drops, helping to keep the trees warm. Covering your trees with frost cloth will also aid in protecting your plants. Make sure the blankets reach the ground, if possible, and that the corners are secured to prevent the blanket from blowing away in the wind. Adding old Christmas tree lights, or any other type of heat-emitting light, will add more protection. If the temperature is expected to be at or below 28 degrees for more than three hours, add additional frost blankets or consider leaving the water running at a slow drip overnight. Citrus vary in cold hardiness. Lime trees are the most sensitive, withstanding temperatures only to 32; lemons are typically hardy to 30, except the Meyer lemon, which is hardy to 26. Grapefruit are hardy to 28. Mandarin oranges, better known as tangerines, are hardy down to 26, with satsuma mandarins hardy to 24. However, mandarin fruit is damaged at 28, especially if exposed for prolonged periods of time. Sweet oranges are hardy to 26, and their fruit to 27. Tangelos are hardy to between 26 to 28. Kumquats are the hardiest, all the way down to the upper teens. Harvesting your citrus fruit when it is ripe will also help protect it from the freeze. Citrus fruit does not continue to ripen off the tree, so harvesting early will not help. Stone fruits, such as peach, apple, pear, and plum, not only like the cold, requiring no frost protection, they also actually need a certain amount of chill hours to produce flowers. So remember, although your citrus fruit may love a little winter chill to sweeten them up, anything more than a kiss without your protection, their heart will turn to ice. ✜ Tony Sarah is a UA graduate in horticulture with 34 years of experience in the Tucson nursery and landscape business.

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Half Baked Exploring Arizona’s home baked goods program. By Laura Greenberg | Illustrations by Danny Martin


f I get to come back in another life, I want to be

born and raised in a bakery. Bread, cookies, cakes, bars—all have a soft spot in my soul and my kitchen. It started years ago when I worked at a restaurant and churned out about 35 cheesecakes a week, in assorted flavors. Lately I’ve been on an Eastern European baking binge and wondered: If I wanted to go all street legal, how could I sell the good grub? Then I discovered the Arizona Home Baked Goods Program (AHBGP). Whether your moniker is the Cookie Lady or Grandma Cookie or High School Bake Sale Supplier, anyone with a hankering to release their inner pastry chef can join. If you’re a Pima County resident you need to attend the food handler’s 4.5-hour certification class and pass their test. There are assorted rules and regulations that need following, nothing overwhelming, depending on your county of residence. All are neatly laid out at their website. As of May 2015, more than 4,000 people were registered with the AHBGP.

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Tim Keene, the market manager at Food In Root farmers’ markets, says he looks for bakers who offer something different or present a local spin. That’s how baker Nadira Jenkins—long a chef specializing in vegan and vegetarian cuisine—found her sweet spot. A recent Tucson transplant, she was having a hard time finding a commercial kitchen when she stumbled across the AHBGP and shortly after started her business, Home Baked Goods by Global Fusion. With an emphasis on gluten-free, vegan, and norefined-sugar desserts, she’s now in business selling her pecan bars, banana-lemon bars, cashew protein bars, fruit-filled empanadas, and assorted cookies at several of Food In Root’s farmers’ markets. She also has her sweet treats in the Ajo location of New Life Health Center. Jenkins practiced until she felt confident her textures were similar to “normal” desserts before she went commercial. For Maureen Octavio, her goals were more personal. When she originally moved to Rio Rico from Hawaii,

she just wanted to get out and meet people. So, as an experienced home baker, she teamed up with her daughter and created A Taste of the Islands. She specializes in both banana-walnut and mango breads while her daughter bakes mini loaves in pineapple-coconut, blueberry, and other flavors. They sell at the local Green Valley farmers’ market as well as FoodInRoot’s University Medical Center and St. Philip’s Plaza locations. The mother-daughter team’s busy season hits in fall. Then, Maureen sells about 50 loaves of her banana-walnut and mango loaves a week. Her daughter sells closer to 100 mini sweet breads a week, along with cookies and biscotti. The extra money her daughter earns is enough to pay for her family’s grocery bills. But the local rock star of the home baking movement is bread guru Don Guerra of Barrio Bread. He manages to produce 800 loaves a month of handshaped, artisanal breads selling out to his ardent fans within an hour of putting them up for sale online early Friday mornings. He’s pushed the home baking program to a new level with a vertical business model that is more for the professional than the average at-home cookie meister. He’ll explain that originally the home program was for people with disabilities who needed to be able to earn extra to cover bills. Guerra makes bread employing ancient long and slow sourdough fermentation and hearth baking. But his business model is more entrepreneurial. You have to register to buy his bread on his website, and after ordering, you can pick them up at certain times and locations. He produces nothing that isn’t already sold before he leaves his house.

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Guerra believes in the community supported baker approach, which allows him to produce elite quality nutritional bread, sell it, teach classes on it, and assist others in creating their own baking dreams. Working out of his garage, he’s the new food entrepreneur in a very old business. He says about the AHBGP that it’s far easier to lay out even a hefty $50,000 to start a baking business from home than to get involved in a five-year brick-and-mortar lease, and a build-out of closer to $250,000. So whether you just want to commune with other foodies, earn some extra cash, or perhaps end up with a full-blown business out of your garage, the home baking program has a place for you. ✜ Visit Laura Greenberg is a Tucson writer.

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Kitchen 101

Text and Photography by Shelby Thompson Fresh, local ingredients make the best traditional and vegan pies.


ie is not only a holiday tradition, but an American

tradition at its finest. With endless sweet and savory varieties, pie has long been the perfect way for bakers to show off the season’s bounty and to showcase and celebrate the local harvest.

TRADITIONAL PIE An apple pie enclosed in a rich, flaky crust and filled with sweet, warm apples is enough to summon memories long forgotten. Using (almost) all local ingredients for this year’s holiday pie will make your crust taste richer and your apples taste even sweeter.

Butter While it’s easy to buy a pound of butter at the grocery store, it’s almost as easy (and far more rewarding) to make it at home. The creamy freshness of homemade butter is palpable, and will undoubtedly enhance the flavor and texture of your pie crust. You don’t even need heavy equipment, just a sturdy Mason jar and a strong arm.

Ingredients: 1 quart local heavy cream (I used Danzeisen Dairy heavy cream)

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Pour 1 quart local heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, or into a large widemouth Mason jar with lid. If using the mixer, lower the whisk into the bowl and turn the mixer on to its lowest speed. Slowly increase the speed of the mixer until it reaches its maximum speed. After 2 - 3 minutes, the cream will turn into whipped cream. Keep whipping, for another 8 - 10 minutes, until the contents of the bowl have separated into two consistencies: thick yellow butter and milky liquid (buttermilk). Pour the buttermilk out of the bowl, ensuring that there is as little buttermilk left as possible. (Buttermilk can be saved to use in pancakes, salad dressing, and muffins.) Put the butter (sans buttermilk) into an airtight container and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the butter from the fridge and remove any more buttermilk that has separated from the butter. At this point, the butter is ready to be used in the pie dough recipe. Note: if you are planning to keep the butter for a longer period of time, it will need to be rinsed of any lingering buttermilk to prevent spoiling. If you are using a Mason jar, pour the heavy cream into the Mason jar. Shake the heavy cream in the lidded jar until the butter separates from the buttermilk (about 15 minutes). Proceed the same way you would if you had used a stand mixer.

Basic Pie Dough

As simple as the ingredients for pie dough appear to be, it can be difficult to achieve a dough that is flaky, light, and delectable. High quality ingredients and good technique are essential for creating the perfect pie crust.

Ingredients: 2½ 2 1½ 1

cups pastry flour (I used Hayden Mills Type 00 flour) tablespoons cane sugar teaspoons salt cup very cold butter, cut into small pieces (approximately one half of the recipe for home-made butter) 8 tablespoons ice-cold water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cane sugar, and salt. Add the pieces of butter to the bowl. Using a pastry blender or large fork, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the bowl consists only of pea-sized pieces of the flour/butter mixture. Evenly sprinkle half of the ice-cold water into the mixture and continue to combine the mixture with a fork or a pastry blender for another 30-60 seconds, or until the mixture begins to form a large mass of dough. Sprinkle the rest of the water into the bowl and continue to mix until the mixture forms a smooth, large mass. Divide the dough into two rounds and wrap each individual round with plastic wrap. Store the wrapped dough in the fridge for at least two hours, or until it is very cold.

Cinnamon Apple Pie Ingredients: 3 ½ ¾ 2

Pie dough pounds local, organic apples, peeled and thinly sliced cup local honey tablespoon cinnamon tablespoons flour, plus extra for rolling out the pie dough

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator 10 minutes before you begin working with it. In a large bowl, toss sliced apples, honey, cinnamon, and flour together with a large spoon. Liberally sprinkle flour on a wide, clean surface. Place one round of dough onto the floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large circle, about ¼-inch thick. The dough will initially be difficult to shape, but will become more manageable as it warms to room temperature. Fit the sheet of rolled dough into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate, using your hand to gently press the dough into the corners of the plate. Make sure to leave about an inch of dough hanging over the lip of the pie plate. Fill the pie with the apple mixture. Roll out the second round of dough in the same manner that you rolled the first round. Lightly drape the rolled dough on top of the apples in the pie plate, leaving an extra inch of dough around the sides. Pinch together the edges of the top and bottom pieces of pie dough to create a strong seal. Poke a few holes in the top of the pie so that air can escape. Feel free to make a pretty design. Bake the pie at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for another 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the apples are bubbling. Let the pie cool for 3-4 hours to allow it to set.

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V EGAN PIE Free of butter, flour, and sugar, vegan pies rely on produce that is fresh and in season. Almost all of the ingredients for vegan pies can be found abundantly at farmers’ markets around town.

Basic Vegan Pie Dough Vegan pie dough does not get baked in the oven. In fact, its two basic ingredients, nuts and fresh dates, need only to be processed together to create a sweet, nutty, and crunchy pie crust that stands up to almost any filling. A vegan pie made with this dough is the perfect way to please anyone with a sweet tooth and an appreciation for seasonal produce.

Ingredients: 1 1 ¼ ⅛ ¾ 1½ 2

cup raw walnuts cup raw pecans cup shredded unsweetened coconut teaspoon sea salt teaspoon cinnamon cups pitted fresh medjool dates teaspoons melted coconut oil

Add nuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the nuts, shredded coconut, sea salt, and cinnamon together until they reach the consistency of rough flour. Add dates and coconut oil to the bowl and process on high speed until all ingredients are evenly combined. Firmly press the dough into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round pie plate. Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Ingredients: Basic vegan pie dough 3 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin flesh (fresh or canned) 1 cup pitted medjool dates 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil 2 tablespoons cinnamon Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend on high until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the refrigerated vegan pie crust and distribute it evenly. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.  Shelby Thompson practices yoga, hikes with her black lab Cola, and cooks. Her blog provides nutritious, plant-based recipes.

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edible Baja Arizona


Fiore di Capra’s herbed goat cheese.

FARM REPORT What’s in season in Baja Arizona. By Sara Jones | Photography by Liora K


e are in the middle of an El Niño interval that many meteorologists believe to be the strongest in decades. This year, El Niño brought drought to many areas of the country, but Baja Arizona enjoyed relatively wet and temperate weather. More unusual weather is expected at the end of 2015 and early 2016. But even favorable weather conditions can have unexpected consequences in agriculture. This year a warm and wet spring led to an early infestation of cucumber beetles that plagued many farms in the region. Growing a wide variety of produce and planting each crop in succession can help farmers ensure a constant supply of produce for market, even if they can’t foresee every crisis. Produce farmers aren’t the only ones affected by unusual weather. Alethea Swift from Fiore de Capra Goat Dairy

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and Creamery says they are expecting their first batch of kids early this season. “Our goats usually come into heat when the monsoons start. Because of an early monsoon season, our first baby goats will start arriving in December,” she says. Since goats take a break from milking during the kidding season, farms keep production up by staggering breeding. This allows them to have a continuous supply of milk while ensuring that each goat gets a break from milking. A continuous supply of milk means a continuous supply of cheese—good news for farmers’ market shoppers. “Customers love our sun-dried tomato and pesto torte. Together with a baguette it is an easy party food,” says Swift. At their booth at the Sunday Heirloom Farmers’ Market at Rillito Park, find goat’s milk and cheeses as well as specialty items like chèvre flan, truffles, and goat’s milk caramels.

Edible Shade


Sunday, November 22, 9am – 12pm, WMG’s LIVING LAB: 1137 N Dodge Blvd

You can have your shade—and eat it too!

Come celebrate the delicious shade of mesquite, pomegranate, olive, and other edible native and desert-adapted trees. Enjoy live music, an artisan market, and educational presentations as you explore sustainability practices in action at WMG’s Living Lab and Learning Center. Bring the whole family—and come hungry for a tasty Tucson tradition with the Mesquite Pancake Breakfast!

RSVP and invite your friends at Skip the ticket line! Pre-pay for pancakes at Thanks to our sponsors:

In fall, farmers are watching the weather for signs of frost. The average first frost on most farms in our region is in November, though it is usually possible to find warm weather produce like tomatoes and peppers at the market in December. Farmers protect these crops from the cold with row covers and strategic irrigation, insulating them from light frosts. If a hard freeze is expected, farmers with tomatoes left in the field will usually harvest them green. These end-of-season tomatoes can be left to ripen on the countertop. They also make an excellent tangy tomato sauce. As the last of the summer produce disappears, leafy greens become more prevalent. Many farms offer a variety of “baby” greens, which are small and tender and milder than the full-grown leaves. These baby greens are perfect for salads. Quick-growing radishes are also one of the first signs of the winter season at farmers’ markets. A variety of winter squash in all shapes and sizes is available, as well as potatoes and sweet potatoes. Apples are still plentiful and citrus begins to appear. Soon markets will be flooded with all sorts of roots and greens that thrive during the winter months. Winter wheat is another crop that does well in the mild winters of Baja Arizona. “White Sonora wheat is the oldest wheat in the Americas, brought to the Sonoran Desert by Padre Eusebio Kino. O’odham people, skilled at desert irrigation, adapted the wheat to grow in the mild Southern Arizona winters,” says Terry Button of Ramona Farms. This ancient wheat was once an important crop for the region. After near extinction, it is making a comeback with the help of Native Seeds/SEARCH and local farmers like Terry and his wife, Ramona. The crop is planted between Thanksgiving and New Year when conditions are just right. “Sometime in May or June we harvest the wheat, once the moisture content in the kernels is low enough,” he says. Ramona Farms wheat and pinole (roasted wheat flour) are available at the Flor de Mayo market stand at the Sunday FoodInRoot Farmers’ Market at St. Philip’s Plaza as well as at Native Seeds/SEARCH and Whole Foods. You can also taste the wheat in the pappardelle pasta dish at Ermanos Craft Beer and Wine Bar. White Sonora wheat pasta.

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FALL S ALAD You could use lettuce for this salad, but the texture and flavor of greens like kale or mustard will work better with the other ingredients. No need to remove the skin on small squash like acorn or delicata, but larger squash should be peeled before roasting.

Ingredients: 1 cup wheat berries Several cups loosely packed greens, washed, dried, and chopped 1 acorn squash ¾ cup toasted pecans or pistachios, chopped 2 apples, peeled and diced ¼ cup citrus juice 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper to taste Chile powder Crumbled goat cheese Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice squash into ¾-inch wedges. Drizzle lightly with oil, sprinkle with chile powder, and toss to coat. Spread squash in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramelize around edges. Let cool. While squash is roasting, cook wheat berries in a medium pot in at least one quart of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes, until cooked through (wheat berries will remain somewhat chewy). Drain and set aside. Mix together juice, honey, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper. Pour about half of the mixture over wheat berries while they are still warm. Mix well. Dice cooked squash into bite-size pieces, mix together with apples and greens and season with remaining dressing. In a large bowl, combine wheat berries and veggies and top with cheese and nuts to serve.  Sara Jones is a longtime employee of the Tucson CSA. Spicy arugula.

edible Baja Arizona



Conservation Burger At downtown Tucson’s Diablo Burger and Good Oak Bar, Derrick Widmark is building infrastructure for local food—one burger at a time. Interview and Photography by Megan Kimble

You opened the first Diablo Burger in Flagstaff in 2009. How’d it begin?

I was running Diablo Trust, a ranching-based nonprofit conservation group. It was housed at NAU [Northern Arizona University]. Gary Nabhan was at NAU at the time and brought these guys down from Idaho from a group called Lava Lake Lamb. They had a nonprofit like ours and, like ours, they were having trouble making ends meet. They were raising lamb and they started selling their lamb products at local, high-end restaurants; they found that as the sales of the lamb went up, the appreciation for their conservation work went up. That was the lightbulb moment for Diablo Burger. When people realize that what they’re feeding themselves and their families comes from the local community instead of just a shelf in the supermarket ... there is an awareness that having that land remain open and undeveloped and home to food production and wildlife and carbon sequestration and water storage is valuable to the community. That work of communicating the value of land stewardship, that’s the work of Diablo Trust. And food tells that story maybe in the most powerful way.

What were some early challenges in opening Diablo Burger?

From Day 1, we said 100 percent of the beef that we would serve would be local, sustainably grown, a product of this landscape-scale stewardship. Why isn’t there a Diablo Burger in every town in the West? The answer is infrastructure. As soon as we started doing this, we realized that the infrastructure for a local-foods-based burger joint—processing, storage, transportation—didn’t exist. It would have been a dealbreaker for me, 62 November /December 2015

except I had a relationship with these ranches already, and they saw the value in taking the leap into an infrastructure-less place. In that absence of that infrastructure, we had to create it. We invested our first $20,000 of income in an off-site freezer area. The ranches looked for a processing facility that would do 50 animals at once on a custom basis. The tragedy of it in Arizona, where beef is the largest cash commodity, is that there is not a single facility in this state that will do that. Since 2009, we have done all of our processing in Colorado, at a family-owned facility. It’s a model that requires trust between the producer, the ranches of the Diablo Trust, and the restaurant.

Beyond beef, how else are you supporting local producers?

We said, Day 1 all beef will be 100 percent sourced locally. And we’re going to incrementalize on everything else. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quickly we’ve scaled up. With the exception of a few products, everything is local. As more people see that it’s viable, more people want to be a part of it. Restaurants want to work together. It’s a challenge for any business that wants to source locally. There’s an absence of economy of scale, absence of vertical integration. It’s really only over time and through relationships that require personal investment. For example, Aaron Cardona [at Arevalos Farm] and I have been talking about this for the past six months. At Diablo Burger, we use a ton of green chilies; we would love to have a single local Derrick Widmark opened his second Diablo Burger location on Congress Street in downtown Tucson in 2013.

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Diablo Burger’s Señor Smoke burger comes with ancho grilled onions, grilled avocado, bacon, cilantro, and sriracha mayo.

source, so [we said]: We are interested in investing in this kind of solution with you. His model is: I would like to grow this crop and get paid 100 percent at the time of delivery. And our model is: We want to meet with you halfway and pay a certain amount at seeding, at delivery, and as we use it. It’s an interesting conversation. It’s an example of how you have to have to figure these things out together so that there is a shared comfort level, risk, and benefit.

The average Diablo Burger costs $9. What feedback do you get from your customers about the price?

One of the reasons that Diablo Burger is a burger joint rather than a steakhouse is that I personally was turned off by the idea that local food had to be exclusive. The reality is that we are in a national and global context of all food costs going up because fewer and fewer people are growing food for more and more people. The cost of commodity food is artificially low and going up. The cost of what I call artisanal food is organically high and going down. It’s a question not of price but of value. And yet, we live in an economic context of 99 percent of the population living hand to mouth. Making a decision on a value rather than a price-point comparison is not always feasible. But I have had families with kids come to me and say, “The difference between spending $47 for a family of four eating at Diablo Burger versus $39 for a family of four eating at McDonald’s is a comparison that deeply favors spending the extra $8 here.” We fight this fight for the right reasons—for the good of the greater community, not just the good of that small percentage of the population who are price insensitive when it comes to feeding themselves. It needs to be inclusive, accessible. It needs to make sense to someone who is counting pennies. 64 November /December 2015

What would you like to see change or grow in local food?

Connecting local supply and demand is the end goal. If Diablo Burger can show that the local community would rather eat local beef than commodity beef, [hopefully] somebody with greater capacity and deeper pockets would say, we need to have a local processing facility. I want to demonstrate that local supply and demand can be connected, and connected with greater efficiency. I think you help create that connection through public/ private partnerships. You say, “If we had a processing facility here in Pima County, it would create X number of jobs, it would connect local supply with local demand.” There would be this economic multiplier effect of forging those connections. That takes vision and courage. The reality is also that things are changing. These problems that we’re up against in Arizona are problems that are true across the country. We’re all trying to figure them out. Diablo Burger is in our seventh year, and in that time so much has changed in terms of awareness, interest, language. The value of trying to do it, struggling to do it, is in these little microsteps forward. Again, compared to the efficiencies and numbers in the commodity market, it’s a drop in the bucket. But the drops add up over time. We want to nudge the world, one local food meal at a time. ✜ Diablo Burger. 312 E. Congress St. 520.882.2007. Megan Kimble is the managing editor of Edible Baja Arizona and the author of Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food.

edible Baja Arizona



Local Girl Goes Local Kate ate local food–and only local food–for 30 days. Here’s how it went. By Kate Selby | Illustrations by Katya Granger

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10-month-old daughter had surprised us both going to fit?” so easy to make, you’ll never want by opting for a marathon afternoon nap, and Five weeks ago, my husband, to buy the premade we were taking full advantage of the baby-free Chad, and I were staring at the three versions again. time. School was back in session for Chad, in local chickens we’d purchased from the Double Like beans. And addition to his full-time job, so he studied while Check Ranch at the farmers’ market for that tortillas. I prepped a week’s worth of local food. Of course, night’s family potluck dinner. My extended family the idyllic afternoon didn’t last—the baby woke and had all volunteered to cook 100 percent local (or as needed to nurse, so Chad gave up on his schoolwork close to it as possible) for this dinner, since I was in the and took over cooking. We ended up arriving at dinner 45 middle of a 30-day challenge to avoid any food not sourced minutes late—but brought with us two juicy chickens resting on within 250 miles of Tucson. Knowing that they would balk at a bed of roasted onions and tomatoes, with some cheesy polenta the idea of paying $20 for an uncooked bird, I had signed us up as a side dish. Except for a little white wine and some pepper, to provide two roast chickens. The third chicken was for later everything had been grown, raised, or harvested in Baja Arizona. that week. We were trying to cook all three at once in pursuit I started Local Girl Goes Local with a simple goal: To eat of every desert-dweller’s summer goal: to turn on our stove the 100 percent locally sourced food for 30 days. Everything I ate absolute minimum number of times. need to have been grown or raised within a We managed to squeeze all three chickens into the ing 100 would t a E 250-mile radius of Tucson. Prior to this project, I oven with an inch to spare. I turned my attention per n ce had never been to a farmers’ market. My cooking eL ar back to the local cauliflower and butternut squash Being able to expertise was somewhere in-between “capable arrayed on our countertop. A bag of Hayden eat 100 percent of making box mac and cheese fancy with Flour Mills dry polenta waited patiently in local at a restaurant is sautéed spinach, ham, and sriracha” and line. The roasted tomatoes, prepped earequivalent to winning “can throw together a delicious casserole, lier that afternoon, were cooling on the the lottery. Instead, but don’t let her anywhere near a roast.” I stovetop, ready to be peeled and added to focus on rewarding restaurants that make the had always considered eating local to be the the now-roasting chickens and onions. Our R E THEY ALL

effort to source local ingredients.

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And yet, as the project continued, I found myself spending kind of thing I would love to do—emphasis on the “would”—but fewer late nights cooking, as I got faster in the kitchen and my when the Edible Baja Arizona staff floated the idea at this year’s stock of pre-prepared local foods increased. My food preparation editorial retreat, I saw the challenge as an opportunity to finally routine became quite literally routine, and I soon reached the make the switch to a more deliberate way of eating. point where it seemed strange when I didn’t have some I’m happy to announce that I emerged from my 30 ting 100 pe a E days of eating local with both my sanity and my rce food maintenance task to perform. By Day 18, eatn r a ing local had gotten easier—a lot easier. Anyone wallet more or less intact. I had expected it to be e who’s had a baby knows that once you get past a lot of work, and I was right: I cannot count Eating local requires planning— the terrifying notion of being responsible for how many nights I stayed up until 2 or 3 a.m. but not as much as an infant, you accept that the baby’s needs in order to find time to work. Part of this was you’d think. By keeping and moods are just your new normal. I had a due to the fact that our daughter acquired her common ingredients in similar experience with eating local. Instead third tooth during the 30 days and required stock and cooking in of heading to the grocery store whenever extra large helpings of parental attention, and bulk, I could easily prepare a meal on a we ran out of something or happened to find part of it was due to me replacing my work whim. a gap in our schedules, I designated time for time right after the baby went to sleep with going to the farmers’ market, and made sure to cooking. My routine became focused around go, no matter what. Instead of longing for the foods food: remembering to put the beans in water to that are not part of Baja Arizona’s foodshed, I focused soak at night; getting up in the morning and turning on figuring out what I could make from the foods that are. on the crockpot; feeding and stirring my sourdough starter Most importantly, I allowed eating local to become a way for every 12 hours; planning what to cook to last us until the next me to have fun. Getting to know the local food community was farmers’ market or CSA pickup.

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As for the cost of the food, I’m happy to report that while an opportunity to talk and relax, not just rush to our grocery bill did go up, all cost increases were more than the checkout line. Cooking was a chance for ting 100 pe a E balanced out by the reduction in what we spent at restaume to get creative and challenge myself rce rn n Lea rants and fast food joints. Cutting back on the dining out to make something exciting, not just was a needed change: since the baby arrived, Chad and stick with what I knew. I had grown accustomed to embracing the siren song Which brings me to the milIt’s awkward to refuse food. Be prepared to of the drive-through. In our month of eating local, lion-dollar question. Was I able to assure your host–multiple we actually ended up spending about $100 less on eat 100 percent local for 30 days? times–that it’s a voluntary food than we averaged in the months leading up to Not exactly. I did discover that inconvenience for a good the challenge, and that includes money spent on bulk is it possible to spend a month eatcause and no apologies item purchases that have outlasted the initial 30 days. ing exclusively local food. It is also are necessary. To be fair, we had already been purchasing organic fairly easy to do so once some basic produce and free range and antibiotic-free meat, milk, routines are in place. But I did not and eggs prior to the challenge, so we’re used to spending manage to totally avoid nonlocal foods. a bit more on our groceries. Still, I was pleasantly surprised I realized that refusing to eat outside my to find that although I spent more time shopping for food (I own house was hardly a realistic portrayal of a went to the farmers’ market three times in the first week), I well-rounded locally sourced life, so I also ate at Diablo Burger did not actually spend more money on our food. This was true and Zona 78, both restaurants with a commitment to local even when I added the cost of eating out on top of the money I sourcing—but not necessarily 100 percent. Worse, when my spent at the farmers’ markets, CSA, and local co-baby-wrangler headed out of town for a work conference, 0 1 stores. (Time Market was the pressure of spending every moment outside of work caring Eating 0 perc grocery n r a particularly good source for for one tiny human almost dragged me off the wagon with a ent Lea Hayden Flour Mills’ prodmere four days left in the challenge. Graze Premium Burgers ucts, and Food Conspiracy saved me from eating a meal devoid of local ingredients Co-Op was a good place that night—they purchase their beef from Double Check You will be shocked to to get Fiore di Capra Ranch—but it was a significant compromise, given how realize just how little local goat cheese and Arizona many ingredients were not sourced locally. In the end, food is sold in supermarkets. I would never have been able Cheese Company cheese while I cannot say I ate 100 percent local, 100 percent of to eat entirely local without curds.) That said, our the time, I can say that for 30 days, every single meal I the farmers’ market and CSA ability to afford the highate included at least some local ingredients, and that 98 pickup. er price tag and the fact percent of the time, my meals were indeed 100 percent that we had both reliable locally sourced. transportation and a working Was eating local as difficult I expected it would be? Absokitchen mark us as significantly lutely not. Some of my initial assumptions were correct. Eating privileged—there is still a great local is frequently more time-intensive, both when it comes to deal of work to be done to ensure local shopping for food and when it comes to preparing meals; the food is as accessible as possible for the entire Baja Arizona food from small local farms often costs more than the food from community. industrial-scale farms; and there are a number of foods that I had I had initially worried about the restrictions on individual previously taken for granted that are basically impossible to find foods—or rather, the temptation that I expected restrictions within the Baja Arizona foodshed. would bring. I panicked at the thought of not being able to While these challenges did mean that I had to change my eat any bread, but when my sourdough starter failed, I ended eating habits, they were hardly the back-break0 1 ing burdens I had feared. I found myself ating 0 per up forgetting to pursue local bakeries—I’d already been E n cen getting my fill of carbs with homemade tortillas, pancakes, savoring my weekly trips to the farmers’ r Lea and pasta. And every temptation I encountered was markets and Tucson CSA. Within the made more bearable by reminding myself that my tents and tables of Tucson’s farmCheese will be harder choice to eat local was not some dietary whim, but ers’ markets, there exists the most to come by—but it tastes rather a deliberate step toward supporting a more delightful community: producers like heaven when you do sustainable and diverse foodshed. and consumers striving together find it. The first time I got ahold of some goat cheese, I Like any major lifestyle change, there were moto abandon the industrialized ate half of the log directly ments where it took all of my willpower to hold the food system in favor of a more from the package. steering wheel straight and ignore the convenient human—and in the case of meat, temptations of the multiple grocery stores, hot dog milk, and eggs, more humane—way carts, and restaurants we passed every day. The best of sourcing food. The food I bought at trick I found for resisting was to make sure I never left market was food I could feel good about. the house hungry, or always brought a snack. Sure enough, I could talk face-to-face with farmers who the one time I found myself on the road without food in my knew exactly what had gone into growing some stomach or in my purse was the time I ended up at Graze. of the reddest tomatoes I had ever seen.

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fun or easy. I feared that localizing What surprised me the most ating 100 per E our eating habits would leave was how easy it was to make n ce ear me feeling deprived or that I healthy food choices while would never be able to jugsourcing 100 percent loYou will Google “how Eating local can to make _______” on a gle all my obligations and cally. It wasn’t so much mean learning to daily basis. I eventually maintain a (mostly) local that I had decided I make do, or do without. got tired of piling sautéed Having local limitations diet. I was wrong. Eating couldn’t eat ice cream; veggies on top of wheat caused me to become local does require some it was just that in order berries and calling it more creative—and changes in how we expeto eat it, I would have to dinner. more confident—in rience our food system, make it, and tracking down my cooking. but it’s trading an old set of the equipment and ingredicompromises for new ones. ents needed was just not worth A few nights ago, I picked up my time. Beyond making sure I our first non-locally sourced meal consumed enough nutrients to support from Nico’s Taco Shop: Super Nachos for one 19-pound baby’s local milk source (a.k.a. me), my energy was me, a Carne Asada Burrito for Chad. It was easy, it was cheap, spent making sure my food came from within the Baja Arizona and goodness gracious was it tasty after 30 days of eating so region. For now, most locally sourced foods are only available very, very clean. But when I picked up my food and asked the in a whole, unprocessed state, and because of this I couldn’t help cashier how her day was going, she responded with a but fill up my mealtimes with healthy whole foods. standard “Fine, thanks”—nothing like the genuine They were easier to cook and took less time to conversations I’d grown accustomed to at the prepare than the rare non-whole food item I farmers’ market and CSA pickup. When consumed, and I consistently went to bed I looked at the Styrofoam box of nacho with a happily filled stomach. goodness, my inner environmentalist Finally, eating local also brought cringed at the waste. And while I did with it some surprising rewards. True, manage to turn my nacho leftovers into we only ate at restaurants three times the base of a pretty amazing rendition over the course of the month—but of huevos rancheros the next morning, the luxury of eating food prepared by there was no real sense of pride to find in someone else was something I started to my microwaved accomplishment. appreciate far more. Eating out became Eating local has become something A Big Deal. For that matter, so did eatthat I not only believe I should do, but ing in—and my freshly minted next-level something that I enjoy doing. I feel empowcooking skills can attest to the added value I ered by the knowledge that I’m supporting local gained from being forced to spend more time growers and helping sustain the next generation of in the kitchen (nevermind American farmers. I get to discover foods I wouldn’t even the lesson learned when ating 100 per I, attempting to follow a pasta glance at in the grocery E store (if they were there for me to see at c arn all), and the reduction in ready-made foods provides compelling recipe’s instructions, piled my motivation for me to continue to learn new skills in the kitchen. ingredients on the counter Experiments fail. I feel more connected to my food, and my body appreciates the instead of in a bowl, and That’s O.K. My extra attention it receives from the fresh, whole foods that eating ended up desperately scramsourdough starter was local invites into my diet. I can state with confidence that eating bling to contain the liquid a terrific flop: lots of funny-smelling jars, local is something I’m going to be doing for a long time–even if ingredients overflowing my no bread. I don’t continue to source 100 percent local food, 100 percent of too-shallow well). Another the time. I only regret not having done so sooner. ✜ thing I didn’t realize I could gain by eating locally? Pride. Not in a smug, localer-than-thou Kate Selby is Edible Baja Arizona’s digital content kind of way, but an actual, I-workedg 100 pe manager. While she may be done with her 30-day n i t a E rce local eating project, there’s lots more to see hard-on-this kind of pride. Every time I pulled together rn a localized take on a recipe or whipped something up and learn from Local Girl Goes Local. Forcing on a whim, and it resulted in an actually tasty, Instayourself to go Check out her ongoing series of vlogs, gram-worthy meal, I couldn’t help but puff out my full-on locavore blogs, kitchen experiments, sourcing initially makes eating chest a little bit. guides and more at LocalGirlGoesLocal. mostly local afterward When I started this project, I thought that eating Follow her on Facebook at a walk in the park— local would be something I should do in order to lessen or usually, the our household’s environmental impact and support the farmers’ market. Arizona economy. “Should,” as in, I would do it because it was the right thing to do, not necessarily because it was

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Farming Economics At the off-the-grid SouthWinds Farm, Joe Marlow is optimistic about growing organic produce and changing behavior. By Autumn Giles | Photography by Jeff Smith


M AR LOW pinches off the end of one of his tomato vines and comments about how beautiful it is. He isn’t holding a tomato. A fat, happy tomato hornworm, longer than his thumb and just as thick, is clinging to the stem. He explains that it’s best to pick off the devastating caterpillars one-by-one, by hand. “I’m an economist, so one of the things I think about is externalities,” says Marlow, the owner of the off-the-grid SouthWinds Farm outside of Benson. By day, Marlow is a senior economist at the Sonoran Institute. Externalities are “costs and benefits as a result of economic activities that accrue to people who are not party to a decision to engage in those activities,” he explains. In the case of a negative externality like pollution, for example, “someplace someone’s bearing the cost for that.” This clearly informs how he farms. “They’re pretty cute … really cute, in fact,” he says, admitting his fondness for the roundtailed ground squirrel, another of the creatures that threaten the Corno di Toro peppers, I’Itoi onions, Royal Burgundy beans, and other crops at SouthWinds, a farm run sustainably, organically, and almost entirely on solar energy. For the round-tailed ground OE

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squirrels, this means that when they manage to get inside the garden fence, Marlow traps and “deports” them. Thanks to a 3-foot-deep, 15-inch-wide moat of coarse gravel that he built around the fence to prevent the ground squirrels from digging underneath it, this has only happened three times in the three years since he bought the property. Marlow calls himself a “super data geek.” His professional background is incredibly varied and includes working as a mechanic and soil scientist. Before starting SouthWinds, he ran a co-op garden, what he calls a “trial run” for becoming a farmer. “It’s one thing to grow food in your garden; it’s another thing to farm at scale,” he says. He made everyone in the co-op keep data and calculate the market value of what they grew. The results were encouraging. But then came 2011, “one of those sort of hellish years,” recalls Marlow. After undergoing treatment for melanoma, he reorganized his priorities and bought the eight acres that would Joe Marlow, owner of SouthWinds Farm, works by day as a senior economist at the Sonoran Institute; he brings his work home with him, considering positive and negative externalities on the farm.

edible Baja Arizona


Recognizing their crucial contribution to the ecosystem, Marlow farms with his bugs, not against them.

become SouthWinds Farm in October 2012. “When I got it, it was just desert,” says Marlow. He made smudge sticks from the creosote that had to be cleared in order to put in his beds. Production ramped up slowly. He started out delivering to attorneys’ offices in Tucson, connecting with “people who knew people who wanted vegetables.” Likewise, the CSA program started with 20 people, then 30, and now he’s shooting for 50 in the third season. Marlow is conscious of the compromise that can accompany growth. “I think there’s something that happens when you scale things up,” he says. He has about a half acre of his eight acres under cultivation and he’d like to double that. Marlow holds high standards for himself in terms of sustainability, which is evident when he says things like, “I kind of hate running the generator,” or, “We use a lot of plastic on this farm.” He half-apologizes for importing organic goat manure from Fiore di Capra Dairy and Creamery, which is six miles down the road. His goal is to have “as few inputs from off the farm as possible.” He’d like to never have to run the generator, which is used primarily to supplement the power used by the window AC 84 November /December 2015

unit that Marlow tweaked to make a walk-in cooler, where he often finds the interns and WOOFers (farm volunteers) hiding out during the hotter months. At its simplest, he sees sustainability as an exercise in behavioral change and he’s incredibly optimistic about it. “All you have to do is change the way you do things and amazing things happen,” says Marlow. “Humans are good at changing their behavior.” He credits the six years he taught at the Tohono O’odham Community College, in Sells, with his own significant change in outlook. “I learned a completely different epistemology” working with the tribe, says Marlow. He describes the school as existing in “the hyphen between tribal and college,” where he learned a healthy skepticism of logic—“to think about everything before you, do the Descartes on it”—and that “maybe everything isn’t nailed down by science.” He says his time at the college impacts his farming, albeit in a completely ineffable way. “I don’t know how it translates, but it’s there.” True to his economist roots, he talks about working with local restaurants in the context of diversification of his income

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portfolio. The Coronet was his first restaurant account, and he speaks highly of The Coronet’s head chef, Erika Bostick-Esham, saying, “She knows food.” Bostick-Esham has a number of dishes on the menu that highlight SouthWinds produce. “They’re just perfect,” she says of Marlow’s poblanos. “They have an authentic heat to them that you can’t really find when you get them at the grocery store.” She has used them in The Coronet’s rajas and a special chiles en nogada. “He’s just super easy to work with because he loves food,” she says. “We get to geek out over the melons that he’s growing.” Bostick-Esham has used SouthWinds’ butterscotch melon along with his muskmelons to make what she describes as “a beautiful melon jam.” 86 November /December 2015

“I get face time with Farmer Joe every week. I don’t think a lot of people can say that about their produce,” she says. She describes her relationship with Marlow as very responsive. “He’s so communicative and so involved with what we’re doing in terms of seasonal ingredients and seasonal produce.” He developed a salad blend especially for The Coronet that utilizes greens that he’s able to grow year-round, even in the height of summer’s heat. “I like these cycles,” he says of the “constant churning” of planting greens and harvesting peppers that comes with farming organically in a fairly small area. In contrast, he appreciates the pomegranates, jujubes, and figs for their relative self-sufficiency. He expects that his fruit trees will begin producing within the next few years. He’s sure that “the neighbors think I’m crazy for

watering the mesquites,” which he plans to encourage as a natural fence along his property line so they don’t see him out at night harvesting by headlamp. Since starting SouthWinds, he’s worked preposterously long hours, splitting his time between the farm and Tucson in order to maintain his job at the Sonoran Institute. That’s all about the change. “I just can’t do it ad hoc anymore,” says Marlow, who is currently in the process of transitioning out of his day job to devote himself to the farm full time. Doing things—irrigation, harvesting, pest control—by hand means “you have to pay more attention,” says Marlow. “So far, it’s worth it.” “My most favorite thing is when I harvest some exquisite vegetable that I’ve grown for the first time,” says Marlow.

“There’s all that blue sky out there when you’re thinking about potential.” His enduring wonder at the act of putting seeds in the ground and getting “really cool turnips” is palpable. “It grew,” he states simply. “That’s a really amazing thing.” ✜ Autumn Giles is a freelance writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in Modern Farmer and Punch. Her first book, Beyond Canning: New Techniques, Ingredients, and Flavors to Preserve, Pickle, and Ferment Like Never Before, will be out in February 2016.

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Forward to the Past Revisiting chicken politics in the Old Pueblo. By Merrill Eisenberg Images from the United States Department of Agriculture Poster Collection


H EN Whip the Kaiser,” the promotional posters said. During the First World War, Uncle Sam urged all Americans to keep chickens in their backyards as a patriotic duty to help the war effort. “The European contest will be won by the side that can feed its people and its soldiers the longest … It’s both patriotic and profitable to keep the laying hen.” A century ago, backyard chickens were part of a national strategy for household food security and a symbol of American solidarity. But since then, social changes have driven changes in public policy so that in many cities, including Tucson, backyard chicken-keepers are operating outside the law. Hens are now back on the public policy agenda as the City Council considers an urban agriculture zoning code update that includes permitting community gardens and backyard food-producing animals like chickens in urban residential areas. The updated code will enable an urban environment more similar to the way things used to be. E T T HE

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At the beginning of the 20th century, Tucson was a city of about 7,500 residents, the majority of them descendants of people who had lived in the area since before the land was purchased from Mexico in 1853. In the barrios, families had long kept gardens and food-producing animals. These animals had been prohibited from running at large since 1887. Four years after the 1894 adoption of the first city charter, Tucson adopted an ordinance barring cattle, sheep, and swine in the city, but chickens were welcomed. The first mention of chickens in city ordinances was in 1907, when coops were required to be placed at least 20 feet from any dwelling. According to Josefina Cardenas, whose family has lived in today’s Barrio Kroeger Lane since before Tucson’s territorial period, “Keeping animals in Tucson was a way of life. Our barrio elders recall keeping horses, chickens, and ducks when they were growing up.” Food production was an important component of the A poster from WWI urges Americans to contribute to the war effort.

Cardenas family household economy. “My grandfather told me about walking with a basket filled with produce and eggs and taking it to the Chinese grocery stores to sell,” she says. The government’s call to raise chickens wasn’t necessary for residents of Tucson’s Southside barrios, as it was already a part of their cultural heritage and an important contribution to household economics. At the same time that the government was urging Americans to keep chickens, other social trends were underway that would come to encroach on backyard food production. Health conditions in large cities at the turn of the century were deplorable. Pollution from industry and slaughterhouses, mixed with overcrowded tenements and the accumulation of horse manure in the streets led to outbreaks of cholera, yellow fever, and tuberculosis. In response, many cities adopted zoning codes and designated the types of activities that were permitted or excluded in each zone. Residential, agricultural, industrial, and commercial land uses 92 November /December 2015

were separated, a practice that the U.S. Supreme Court found constitutional in 1926. Tucson did not share the urban environmental challenges of the large cities, but it did adopt a zoning code in 1930. The code separated industrial, manufacturing, trade, and commercial activity from residential areas, but agriculture was not mentioned at all. By midcentury, backyard food production was still a way of life in the barrios. Cardenas recalls backyard food production from her own childhood in the 1960s: “We grew everything edible in season: corn, squash, chiles, watermelon … we had fruit trees and figs. There was a small ramada for grape vines, and we had chickens and little pigs.” She remembers that the food produced would be shared with family and friends in the neighborhood. Margarita Kay, an anthropologist who studied health and illness in Mexican households, documented that there were not only chickens but also cows, horses, goats, and turkeys being raised in Barrio Kroeger Lane in the 1970s.





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In Anglo neighborhoods, the story was different. An inf lux of Anglos between 1950 and 1960 resulted in a 368 percent population growth, fueling a housing boom that expanded the city to the north and east. In those days, Anglo-Americans idealized a suburban lifestyle, one that included large residential lot sizes, privacy from neighbors, and ornamental vegetation rather than food-producing plants. As the population size exploded, population density decreased, resulting in what we now call “urban sprawl.” Land use policies assumed reliance on automobiles and supermarkets for household food needs rather than on local food production and neighborhood reciprocity. Backyard gardening became a hobby rather than a necessity and chickens were replaced by dogs and cats. Today, we abide by rules created in the 1960s that require a 50-foot property line setback for chicken coops, effectively banning them on most urban residential properties. Fast-forward to the 21st century. The health and social consequences of urban life have come full circle. Rather than communicable diseases, today’s urban design creates a breeding ground for chronic diseases related to obesity, such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, and cancers. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Planning Association, as well as many other national health and environmental organizations, now endorse policy adjustments that enable more neighborhood and household food production. There is also increased concern about industrial agriculture practices, the carbon footprint of the food system, the sustainability of our cities, connecting children to nature, creating green spaces, supporting local economies, and protecting cultural traditions. Interest in urban agriculture has grown to be a social movement. Here in the Old Pueblo, the old is new again, as community gardens and household food production have become widespread—which is good 94 November /December 2015

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news for chickens. Thousands of residential properties, located in every Tucson neighborhood from the barrios to the foothills, now include a small flock of backyard hens. The Food Conspiracy Co-op sponsors an annual chicken coop tour, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona offers classes in household chicken-keeping, and the University of Arizona’s Cooperative Extension offers a chicken coop demonstration project that teaches children how to care for chickens in an urban setting. More than 2,000 people belong to Tucson CLUCKS, a Facebook group where all aspects of keeping small food-producing animals are discussed. But Tucson’s 20th century land use rules have not kept pace with the social forces that have resulted in this increase in backyard food production. Most urban chicken-keepers are outlaws because of the 50-foot setback rule for animal shelters. City zoning officials have loosened their interpretation of the rules, and they are only enforced if a neighbor complains. However, if there is a complaint, the hens have to go. Jim Mazzocco, deputy director of Tucson’s Planning and Development Services Department, has been responsible for developing the code update that will remove many current barriers to urban agriculture. His position is that city land-use codes should be “more aligned with the local traditions and practices that have not created nuisances for surrounding property owners.” Under his leadership, current chicken-keeping practices were documented by researchers from the UA College of Public Health. Chicken-related code enforcement efforts were found to account for only 0.1 percent of all code enforcement issues. 96 November /December 2015

The proposed code update is based on this work as well as expertise from the Community Food Bank, UA Cooperative Extension, Community Gardens of Tucson, Compost Cats, the Pima County Food Alliance, and input from about 250 citizens who attended a series of urban agriculture community forums sponsored by the city in 2014. As long as the city’s animal welfare rules and neighborhood sanitation and nuisance rules are followed, the proposal will allow two hens for every 1,000 square feet of property in urban residential areas, with a setback of 20 feet from a neighboring home. (Roosters will continue to be banned.) The updated code is currently under review by Mayor and Council. Anthropologists say that public policies “encapsulate the entire history and culture of the society that generated them.” But cultures are always changing and public policy frequently lags behind social change. The saga of the backyard hen follows the history of urban development and changing cultural ideals in Tucson. If approved by Mayor and Council, Tucson land use policy will be a step forward to the past and urban hens (and their keepers) will be able to come out of the shadows and breathe a sigh of relief. ✜ Join Tucson CLUCKS at Merrill Eisenberg is an applied anthropologist who is retired from the University of Arizona’s Zuckerman College of Public Health. Images courtesy of the U.S.D.A.’s Poster Collection, part of The Federal Library and Information Network, hosted by

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Kitchen Community A program at Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse is helping women reclaim the kitchen—and reconnect with themselves. By Lisa O’Neill | Illustrations by Catherine Eyde


T ’ S T H E F I R S T time you spooned chocolate chip cookie batter onto a cookie sheet. It’s the smell of enchiladas in the oven. It’s your mom teaching you how to slice onions for dinner. For many of us, the kitchen is a source of laughter and connection, intimacy, and abundance. For most of the women at the Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, the kitchen is the opposite: a trigger point. The kitchen reminds them of restricted diets, of empty pantries and bare fridges, of where they were physically abused, of when their lives or the lives of their children were threatened. So, it was only natural that at Emerge!, the largest provider of domestic abuse prevention services and programs in southern Arizona, the kitchen was a constant source of tension. Meals were mostly made of processed, convenience foods. The space became perfunctory. Women mostly stayed away.

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But leadership at Emerge! saw a chance to transform the kitchen into a space for healing. “In many houses, everything naturally gravitates to center around the kitchen,” says Melissa Gant, the case coordinator for life skills and nutrition at Emerge! “So many women come in feeling terribly about themselves because they’ve been told that they’re terrible for a long time. And this time is about reconnecting with themselves. And I see that happen so much in the kitchen.” Emerge! is based on an empowerment model. Most activities are voluntary and survivors of domestic violence, both women and their children, can stay at the center for up to four months. All participants take part in sessions with their caseworkers, weekly community meetings, and a different community contribution each week. One community contribution is working to prepare the daily meal: dinner for up to 50 people.

Gant shops at the Community Food Bank’s agency market and supplements with a weekly delivery of fresh produce, meat, and dairy products. However, she doesn’t plan menus in advance. Instead, she asks the participants in charge of cooking what they want to prepare. The kitchen becomes not only a place for discussing ingredients and recipes, practicing techniques, and preparing meals but also getting to know one another, building trust, and restoring belief in themselves. “A huge part of it is building self-confidence,” she says. “If they can do this thing they’ve never done before—cook for 50 people—and they can make something they can share with their community, they’re going to feel good about themselves and gradually they can work to try something else.” “A lot of women, when they come in, it’s the first time they have had to breathe in so long,” Gant says. “You have to do that before you can get engaged with looking for housing, and work, and daycare.” Because of privacy and safety concerns, Gant relayed details of the women’s stories using pseudonyms. Before arriving at Emerge!, Kate had been in and out of prison and involved in multiple abusive relationships. The first time Kate worked in the kitchen, Gant asked what her favorite food was. “I don’t know,” Kate answered. “Well, if you went to a restaurant and could order anything you wanted what would you order?” Gant asked. She still couldn’t say. After years of abuse, many women have lost touch with their own needs and desires and have to get to know themselves again. Kate and Gant worked in the kitchen together; a couple of weeks later, every time Gant went into the kitchen, Kate was there. Making biscuits and gravy, potato salad, tacos, for herself and her roommates. One night this summer, Gant made homemade pizza with Sofia and Aracely and their three children. Gant took the kids—4, 6, and 8—to the garden to harvest basil and tomatoes. The kids chopped vegetables with butter knives while the women kneaded and rolled out the dough. Sofia, a skilled cook, often volunteers

even when it’s not her turn. Gant believes cooking gives her an opportunity to show love for her daughters and to maintain consistency in their lives, even though they’re in shelter. When Shayna first came to Emerge!, she was pregnant and kept to herself, seemingly defeated. One day, she approached Gant and said, “Melissa, I’m about to have this baby, and I’m trying to get back custody of my other daughter and I don’t know how to make anything. If I’m going to have two kids, I really should know how to cook. Will you teach me?” Gant guided her through the process of making chili and lasagna, meals she could make in advance and freeze so that she would have food when the baby was born. Meals that are also her daughter’s favorites. The women who gather around the table every night come from different backgrounds. Some were born and raised in the United States. Others are from Mexico, from Africa, from China, Turkey, Colombia. Some of them have children. Some don’t. Some come from wealth but most come from poverty. They are gathered around the table because they are survivors of domestic violence. Now, they are trying to cultivate a new relationship to home. Working together has challenges. Trauma’s effects are long lasting and participants’ behavior sometimes ref lects their pain and distrust. But in the kitchen, no one is asking them to sit down and talk about their most painful experiences. “Instead, it’s: Let’s sit and chop vegetables for a half hour and make something that you can feed to your children and share with your community,” says Gant. “Something that will fortify you. The food is not just nutritious because it has vitamins. This can nourish you.” ✜

They are gathered around the table because they are survivors of domestic violence. Now, they are trying to cultivate a new relationship to home.

102 November /December 2015 Lisa O’Neill is from New Orleans but has made her home in the desert, where she writes and teaches writing. Her gumbo is not as good as her mama’s, but she’s working on it. Home Made is a column looking at the ways people are creating community in the garden, in the kitchen, and at the table.

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S ER R ANO R EYES knows what it’s like to be separated from her husband and children. She knows what it’s like to try to cross the rugged deserts of Arizona. She also knows what it’s like to be hungry. Originally from the Central Mexican state of Puebla, Reyes and her husband crossed the United States-Mexico border close to Naco in January of 2011, and were later apprehended by the Border Patrol. She spent a night in a detention center, was separated from her husband, and was deported the next day. Fortunately, she was deported with another Mexican woman who knew about an eating hall close to the border in Nogales, Sonora, known simply as the comedor, where migrants are given free meals twice a day. “I didn’t have any money. Didn’t have a phone. Didn’t remember my parents’ numbers,” Reyes recalls. If she hadn’t been offered food at the comedor, she suspects she would have been “begging on the streets.” Instead, she found a safe space and a warm meal. Now, and for the last three years, Reyes has been cooking breakfast and working at the comedor six days a week. Her husband, with whom she was reunited a week after her deportation, runs security and helps with maintenance. They’ve since brought their children from Puebla to live with them. In 2008, Sister Noemí Peregrino González, from the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist, led a small group of women to hand out basic meals close to where many migrants were being deported to Mexico. They set up under an overpass on the street and dished out quick meals there and at a small government-funded tent close to the border—but soon found that many migrants were preyed upon by thieves and smugglers. Engracia Robles, a Jesuit sister, described the area around the tent as a “nest of coyotes.” Witnessing what amounted to a humanitarian crisis, the Jesuit Refugee Service founded the Kino Border Initiative, which runs Casa Nazareth, a shelter for migrant women, and the comedor, officially CAMDEP (Centro de Ayuda al Migrante Deportado, or Aid Center for Deported Migrants)—a space to provide a meal and a few moments of respite for migrants. Men and women were being deported—sometimes as many as 200 a day—so famished and worn out that handing out food was the priority. “We have a slogan,” Robles told me. “You have to eat before you are Christian ... In our experience we have come to know that you need to eat first. It’s not all there is, but it’s the first thing.” AR IANA

First coming to the comedor after being deported from the U.S., Mariana Serrano Reyes now cooks breakfast for recently deported migrants six days a week. 106 November /December 2015

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The comedor serves principally recently deported migrants, but also those still trekking north, and occasionally the needy or homeless from Nogales. At two meals a day, cooks and volunteers at the comedor have served 27,097 meals in 2015 (as of early September). That’s on pace for more than 40,000 meals this year. Despite what sounds like a monumental effort, the Rev. Sean Carroll, executive director of the Kino Border Initiative since 2009, stresses the importance of collaboration: the Green Valley Samaritans, No More Deaths, and San Toribio Romo Migrante, among other migrant aid groups, all collaborate to provide medical aid, distribute used clothing, conduct Know Your Rights presentations, engage in advocacy, receive wired money, sometimes sing a few songs, and serve up hot and typically delicious meals twice a day. The comedor has become a community center—and sometimes much more—for many who have left or been torn from their communities. David Hill, longtime No More Deaths volunteer and a member of San Toribio Romo Migrante, said that “safe spaces are few and far between in [migrants’] journeys.” Which is what the comedor offers: a place where, as Reyes explains, migrants feel good. “It’s a home for them.” Though I go regularly to the comedor as a No More Deaths volunteer, the day I visit to report this story, Sept. 8, is Mexico’s Migrant Day, and Reyes is cooking up a special meal: barbacoa in a terra-cotta-colored red sauce, white rice, and creamy refried beans. On the side is a chunky, tomato-heavy salsa and fresh tortillas. With strung balloons occasionally popping like fireworks above the migrants’ heads, the air in the comedor is festive. The Rev. Samuel Lozano, KBI’s director of programs, plays the guitar and belts out traditional Mexican ballads as migrants settle into the bench seats. Before the meal is served, a thin, older migrant from El Salvador stands up and, refusing the microphone, sings a powerful (and powerfully gesticulated) version of Joan Manuel Serrat’s song “Caminante No Hay Camino”:

Wanderer, your footsteps are the path, and nothing else… As a group of Green Valley Samaritans helps pass out the steaming plates, I sit down to speak with Horacio (who preferred I not use his last name), a man who lived for 28 years in the United States, between Tucson and Los Angeles. (His favorite Tucson restaurant was Las Cazuelitas on South Sixth, which is now closed.) Originally Guillermo Guerra left El Salvador after gang members murdered his wife. He took cargo trains north through Mexico; a fall earned him the golf-ball sized lump on his left arm. 108 November /December 2015

from Hermosillo, Sonora, Horacio talked to me about typical Sonoran fare, as well as what he ate in prison (he served time before being deported) and how he likes the food at the comedor. While he tells me that he’d be “fine eating nothing but beans,” he became so tired of the prison fare that he learned to cook, training himself to be, as he termed it, “a microwave chef.” The food in the commissary was too expensive, he explains, and so he would improvise to make his own dishes. He soaked potato chips in hot water to make masa to form into tamales, and even MacGyvered prison cell-made cheese: Microwave-boiling milk in a bowl and adding, little by little, Italian dressing, which slowly curdles the milk into a block. I ask if the cheese was any good. He shrugs, smiling. He says the food in the comedor is much better, and takes a bite of barbacoa-soaked tortilla. As Horacio and I are talking, the man sitting to my left, who had been deported two days before, offers me his own slapdash recipe. Originally from Tabasco, Ezequiel Montejo had lived 15 years in California working in the pea fields, which, he

110 November /December 2015

explains, grew peas mostly for Chinese food restaurants. Montejo tells us his recipe for mole sauce: Mix sesame seeds, animal crackers, and Doña Maria chocolate in a bowl. “That’s it.” Serve the sauce over rice cooked in chicken stock for a simple, sweet, and, according to him, delicious mole. “Está bastante bueno,” he assures us. “It’s pretty good.” Montejo had just gone a full day—during his deportation— with nothing to eat but a small package of crackers and a juice box. Perhaps his charitable palate gives credence to what the famed itinerant knight Don Quixote once claimed: “Hunger is the best sauce in the world.” Montejo mops up the last of the barbacoa juice on his plate with a corn tortilla, wolfs it down, and excuses himself. After the meal I pull aside Guillermo Guerra, the man who sang “Caminante No Hay Camino,” and ask him what he’s eaten so far on his trip. Guillermo is a thin, rope-muscled raconteur in his 50s, with leathery skin, a thin, gray-speckled moustache, and lively eyes. He worked as a mechanic and maintenance man in San Salvador, and is fleeing the gangs, who extorted him and, he candidly reports, murdered his wife. Taking buses and riding the

cargo trains (commonly known as The Beast) through Mexico to Nogales (a trip that lasted nearly a month) he spent a three-day period on the train, in which “nothing but water” passed his lips. He shows me the cuts and golf-ball size bump on his left forearm he earned from falling off the train. After talking about Central American politics and the difficulty of life in El Salvador for a few minutes, he reminds me that I had originally asked him about food. His favorite dish, and what he most misses from El Salvador, is red beans. Any way you want to prepare them, he’ll eat them. I ask him what he expects of American food if he crosses successfully into the United States. He’s heard that Americans eat bacon and eggs, along with toast and jam, every morning for breakfast. “That’s good enough for me,” he says, adding that he doesn’t usually eat very much. Carroll says he notices the difference in the migrants’ postures before and after they eat in the comedor: “They have been reminded of their human dignity.” As the migrants stream back into the bright streets, I feel that I can see their heads held a little higher. Guerra himself stands ramrod straight,

cowboy hat slightly cocked, and chest puffed out as he poses for a photograph. After the dishes are cleared from the long tables, KBI and Samaritan volunteers lay out the clothes and basic hygiene products offered to the migrants, and David Hill sets up to help people cash checks and receive money. I sit down with Erminia Hernandez Velasco, originally from Baja California, who finds a used pair of New Balance sneakers to replace the cracked and dirty shoes she walked in for days during her desert crossing. Velasco had lived eight years in Florida, working the tomato and strawberry harvests. Though she didn’t have papers in the United States, she returned to Mexico voluntarily, taking her kids, who are U.S. citizens, with her to her brother’s funeral. Knowing that they would have few opportunities for decent education or future employment in the small town in rural Baja, she wanted to get back into the United States and then send for her kids. After she crossed the border with a coyote, however, her group spent 15 days in the desert. They ate very little and drank dirty water collected from cow tanks and filtered with their T-shirts. After she was apprehended, the food the Border

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(Above) Before they eat, the migrants settle in and join together in song. (Below) The Rev. Samuel Lozano, KBI’s director of programs, plays the guitar and belts out traditional Mexican ballads. Behind him, a mother nurses her young infant.

Patrol gave her—some crackers and a juice box—didn’t satisfy, and she had had little to eat for days. She was deported without a dollar in her pocket and suspects she would be begging for food if it weren’t for the comedor. I asked what her plans were. “To try [to cross] again,” she told me. “It’s the only option.” Erminia told me that chilaquiles is her go-to meal for her kids. “I’m a single mother. It’s hard … But my kids will always eat my chilaquiles.” After most of the migrants have left, I sit down with Reyes to enjoy our own plates of her barbacoa and rice, and she tells me another of her motivations for feeding migrants. Her sister-inlaw went missing while crossing the desert in 2012. The family never heard from her again and believe her to be dead. “I know what the desert is like,” she says, starting to tear up. “I know how hard it is … I know all they have been through. That’s why I want to cook well for them. We want to make it delicious. I always try to put love and flavor into the food.”

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For the length of a meal, sitting shoulder to shoulder, passing the tortilla basket and the salsa bowl, the migrants in the comedor seem to taste and feel that love. Perhaps their travails haven’t ceased, but for a few minutes, at least, they have a safe place to sit and a warm bowl in front of them. For some, it seems a luxury.  Visit for updated reports about migrant abuse and family separation during detention and deportation at the United States-Mexico border. John Washington is a novelist, teacher, and translator. His translation of Sandra Rodriguez Nieto’s The Story of Vicente, Who Murdered His Mother, His Father, and His Sister: Life and Death in Juarez (Verso Books) was published in November. Visit jblackburnwashington. com or find him on Twitter at @EndDeportations.

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(Previous page) Brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies, and brown boobies, along with several other bird species and California sea lions, follow the trawlers in the hopes of catching an easy meal. (Top) As the sun sets, the anchor is raised and the boat begins trawling in the bay. (Bottom) A small octopus, captured as bycatch, hides inside an empty clam shell. (Right) A crew member separates shrimp from the massive pile of bycatch.


N THE DEAD OF NIGHT , a deep rumbling of machinery signals the crew to begin hauling up the nets once again. As the boat rocks precariously from side to side, bulging nets are lifted overhead and the contents are spilled out onto the deck. Thousands of writhing fish fill the space, octopi climb any surface they can find, and sharks gasp for air, but the fishermen push them aside, uninterested. The majority of what lies here is considered bycatch, or accidentally captured nontarget species. These fishermen are in search of America’s most popular seafood, the reward for one of the most destructive fishing techniques in the world: shrimp.

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However, in the wild shrimp fishery in the Gulf of California, there aren’t many shrimp to be found. “This year was much lower [in production] than the years before. The catch has been reduced by about 40 percent,” says Captain Chato perched atop the chair in the wheelhouse of the boat he navigates through waters just off Bahía Kino. His bloodshot eyes strain to see ahead of the bow. He has been awake for 36 hours and counting. “Sometimes,” he says, “I force myself to stand while driving so if I fall asleep, I hit my head against the wheel and immediately awake.”

This rusty-blue boat is using a shrimp harvesting process called bottom trawling, in which a pair of nets outfitted with heavy chains drags along the seafloor, indiscriminately capturing benthic animals. Out on deck, much to the joy of the boisterous flock of birds overhead and determined sea lions trailing the boat, Chato’s crew of six men sweep the deck clean of all the bycatch and are left with several baskets of shrimp. They sit in a circle, quickly de-heading the shrimp, then freeze it bag by bag, as they await the next haul. Nearly all of the product is destined for the plates of consumers in the United States. This is the nightly agenda of the crews working on the 1,247 shrimp boats in Mexico from September to March every year, with very little time to rest between trips. Chato, who clearly loves fishing, also acknowledges the hardships of the job. “We suffer to fish and spend more time here than with our families. Apart from being fishermen, we are also human,” he says. Chato has three children and has spent more than 30 years of his life working on a shrimp trawler. “Sometimes, the crew is more like family.” Shrimp is the most valuable fish that Mexico produces, and the industry contributes to the economy by creating more than 10,000 fishing jobs annually, as well as many more indirectly. However, the environmental impact of bottom trawling is immense, primarily due to the high rate of bycatch which totals more than 86 percent by weight in the region. This means that for each pound of shrimp captured, there are nearly nine pounds of other organisms that are thrown back to sea dead or injured. Sea lions, sea turtles, and well over 200 species of fishes and invertebrates are among those frequently killed by the practice. Many fish populations are heavily impacted because a high number of the individuals that are removed from the ecosystem are juveniles. This has widespread consequences within the marine environment and represents an economic loss for many artisanal fishers who depend on the sea for their livelihoods. (Right) Crew members de-head shrimp after every set to maintain the freshness of the product. (Far right) Between every set, crew members clean marine debris out of fishing gear. 120 November /December 2015

for each pound of shrimp captured, there are nearly nine pounds of other organisms that are thrown back to sea dead or injured.

For each pound of shrimp captured, there are nearly nine pounds of other organisms that are thrown back to sea dead or injured.

“The shrimp trawlers are the principal murderers of the sea and they kill all of the juveniles. We need limits on the number of boats here. We also need more closures; currently there are very few and they aren’t respected,” says Eduardo Becerra, a small-scale fisherman of Bahía Kino, a Sonoran fishing town. 122 November /December 2015

The trawlers frequent Kino Bay as nonresident vessels and are considered unwelcome by many locals. Some of the problems within this fishery have been addressed, but not enough. Concern about the accidental capture of sea turtles as bycatch prompted importing countries to push for the

A Shovelnose Guitarfish, frequently captured as bycatch, ends up on the deck of a trawler. This species, already listed as “near threatened,” is particularly susceptible to over-harvesting because it matures late and gives birth to few young.

required use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) for all Mexican shrimp-trawling vessels. Since 1996, these devices, among other regulations and restrictions, have been required, but a lack of enforcement and a general dislike for TEDs among fishermen allow these policies to be regularly broken.

The power to change current shrimp-harvesting techniques largely remains in the hands of consumers. According to Lorayne Meltzer, co-director of the Prescott College Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies, “The consumer is really the driver behind what is happening in the gulf.” It is their

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(Top) Crew members raise the nets to dry in the morning sun after a night’s work. (Bottom) An anchored trawling vessel and panga, a local fishing skiff in Bahía Kino. Panga fishers purchase a fraction of the bycatch from trawler crews to sell within the community.

“responsibility is to know the impacts of their choices and become educated about where their food comes from.” Alternative technologies to harvest shrimp more sustainably exist, such as small-scale net fishing outside the vaquita’s range and shrimp pots, which are small wire cages used to trap shrimp, but these methods don’t meet the product’s high demand. Shrimp aquaculture, despite its growing popularity, maintains its own array of significant social and environmental impacts. 124 November /December 2015

The most sustainable option “would be the employment of shrimp pots, which would mean a drastically reduced supply on the global market of shrimp and a drastically increased price,” says Meltzer. “If that were to happen, the consumer might make the choice to buy that more expensive product, just like they would buy organically raised beef because it comes with less of an impact on the environment. Right now, the only real choice to impact or reduce trawling is to not buy shrimp or reduce your consumption.”

The nets from the last set of the night are raised as the sun rises in the Gulf.

To the east, the first hint of orange light illuminates the edges of the waves and reveals the line between sea and sky. The tired crew finishes sorting shrimp as the sun rises, then drops their anchor to the now-barren seabed. With luck, they will find time to rest between chores until resuming work tonight. The marine creatures who eluded the trawler’s nets are left to explore their altered home; whether they stay swimming in the sea is up to us to decide. ✜

Prescott College Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies. 151 Calle Cádiz y Puerto Vallarta. Bahía de Kino, Sonora. 928.350.2236. Maria Johnson is an artist, conservationist, and lover of the desert and sea. She teaches at Prescott College’s Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies.

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In a factory just south of downtown, Tucson’s HF Coors is continuing a 90-year legacy of manufacturing durable dinnerware for restaurants, hotels, and homes.




T M AY BE APOCRYPH AL , but the story endures. In 2003, when the Aspen fire tore across Mount Lemmon, destroying hundreds of structures, a set of HF Coors dinnerware, stored on the third floor of a cabin that burned to the ground, survived—unbroken. “The dishes are curiously strong, like Altoids,” says employee Beverly Stripling. How strong are HF Coors dishes? They are so strong that a Chinese buffet in California, where the company began, called 17 years after their initial purchase to order replacement dishes. Choice Greens, a Tucson salad joint, used to break so many bowls they’d have to reorder every few weeks; since they switched to HF Coors, they’ve ordered new bowls every two years. “We used to have this crazy salesperson,” says president and CEO Dirck Schou. “She used to grab a plate and throw it on the ground, just to show customers how strong it was. Whenever I heard it, I’d cringe. They’re strong, but they’re not that strong.” Schou must still be cringing back in his office, a few feet from the factory store. “Whenever I’m in the store, I take a couple of bowls and smash them together for customers,” says master artist Robert DeArmond. “They’re always taken aback. The stuff is just really, really strong.” Located just south of downtown Tucson on Cherrybell Stravenue, the HF Coors factory turns 20 tons of clay and 5,000 pounds of glaze into more than 25,000 dishes every single week. The factory is 33,000 square feet of clay-covered motion. Gray crumbles crunch under white-dusted shoes. It is a tactile place—it is impossible not to touch anything, from jumbled piles of earthen curlicues to bins filled with floppy clay mugs that didn’t make it past quality control. A machine invented on-site to glaze mugs gushes shiny white paint in two crisscrossing streams, a Willy Wonka fountain of pigment. And that’s just the factory. People come to HF Coors from all over the world for their hand-painted dishware and colorful designs. “No two dishes are the same,” says DeArmond, who has created most of the patterns that crowd the colorful factory store. The pottery is imaginative, distinctive, diverse. It is heavy; it is homey. It is used in hundreds of restaurants across the United States, dozens in Tucson. Four Ritz-Carlton locations use HF Coors dishware; guests on the Ellen DeGeneres Show sip coffee from mugs made by HF Coors. And it is all made in Tucson.

Master artist Robert DeArmond is responsible for nearly all of the hand-painted pottery produced by HF Coors. “There’s the charm, the slight variation in something done by hand,” he says.

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(Above) Vice president David Sounart spends most of his days on the factory floor, troubleshooting machinery and working quality control on orders. (Right) President and CEO Dirck Schou, standing in the HF Coors factory store, got into the pottery business because, he says, “I got a job at a pottery.”


that would become HF Coors began in Tucson in 1990 as Catalina China, a pottery specializing in commodity mugs. “When we started making mugs, we were making three million mugs a year,” says Schou, who started Catalina China with David Sounart, now HF Coors’ vice president. “It was a barebones commodity; it would sell on price,” he says. “But the objective was always to do more than mugs.” Schou is soft-spoken and precise, quietly likable. His posture is impeccable; his khakis, pressed; his cell phone is set to military time. After six years in the army, he earned his MBA at Harvard Business School, paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs. “They didn’t pay my living expenses, so during the summer I ended up working for this pottery in Pennsylvania,” he says. It was then one of the biggest potteries in the country, with a 200-year-old pottery in England that Schou managed—and eventually bought—after he graduated. “But I wanted a company here in the states,” he says. Although he spent only a year of school in Tucson—fourth grade—Schou has always called Tucson his hometown. His grandfather was a HE BUSINESS

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professor at the University of Arizona; his parents met there in college. “My dad was a mining engineer, so we lived in Bisbee for a while. We lived all over South America. But we always came home to grandma’s house, which is right near campus,” he says. Schou met David Sounart in 1989 through a mutual business contact; they quickly joined forces, founding Catalina China in the Grant Road Industrial Center. But after only a few years in business, “the Chinese came in,” says Schou. “When we started, they still hadn’t come into the market. And then they came in like gangbusters. They just decimated us. We were making a commodity product, so they could beat us on price. Very few people wanted Made in America back then. “That’s when we decided that we’d better change,” says Schou. “And then Coors came along.” The HF Coors China Company was founded in California in 1925 by Herman Franklin Coors, the son of the Coors you know. After being told by his father, Adolph Coors, that his older brother would be taking over the Golden-based brewery, Herman moved to Southern California in 1922 to pursue a

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“valuable clay deposit,” according to the company’s written history. “Mr. Coors developed formulas for china bodies, and glazes, equal to the finest Eastern and European products. He then felt that he was qualified to successfully manufacture vitreous china for the hotel and restaurant industries.” In 1925, he opened the HF Coors China Company. Eventually, he would pass the company along to his son, Robert Coors, who would sell the company to Standex International Corporation, which continued to operate HF Coors out of Englewood, California, until 2003, when the company went up for sale. “I had known about Coors for a long time,” says Schou. He’d been looking at potteries across the United States with an eye to acquisition; when they bought HF Coors, Schou decided to relocate the company to Tucson. “In order to do that we had to buy this building, because we didn’t have a building,” he says. “It took us roughly a hundred 54-foot trucks to ship everything over here. And we had two months to do it.” Today, remnants of that move are still scattered in front of the factory: machinery that didn’t fit into the new space, the kiln that had occupied the old one, as if the company is still settling into its desert home. HF Coors dishes begin as bags of minerals. Silica, feldspar, alumina, ball clay, kaolin, stacked in 100-pound bags in front of the factory. “We want to control our process as much as possible,” says Schou. “We start almost 100 percent with raw materials.” Minerals become clay becomes dishware in a south to north progression through the rectangular factory. There are molds everywhere—stacked on top of cages, stored behind machines. A master mold makes a mold; a mold makes a mug; makes a plate, platter, or pitcher. As the company grows, as they offer new product lines, “we have to figure out what to do with all the molds,” says Schou.

Perla Cervantes pays close attention to a bowl’s finishing details. 132 November /December 2015

Michelle Lorona (left ) and Maria Carpio work the mug station together. Mug handles and mug bodies are made separately and then attached together by hand.

North along the factory line, at a ram press, a mold is making a platter. A worker places a log of clay below the press and flips a switch. A hundred tons of force presses the clay against the mold. It is sharp, deliberate. Clay squelches out the sides of the press like mud under a tennis shoe. The press lifts. Compressed air pffts, separating platter from machine; the worker removes the platter with what looks like a pizza peel and places it on a cart where dozens more platters rest, awaiting paint and fire. It is a mesmerizing process. Every station has its minutiae, its messes. Sixty people are employed by HF Coors; 40 are on the floor during a typical shift—it’s mostly women, says shift supervisor Lourdes Gerardo. (“Los hombres se cansan,” she says. Men tire.) At the mug station, a worker feeds a 134 November /December 2015

tube of clay into a machine, which plops measured portions into the mug mold. The mold looks like a lampshade with a hollow opening the size of coffee mug. Every few seconds, a mold rotates forward and a cylindrical metal rod presses the clay into the shape of a mug. A few feet away, a queue of handles awaits their mugs—a handle without its mug looks like a question mark, an interrogation. Two women are tasked with attaching handle to mug, and they do it quickly, efficiently. Handle to mug, handle to mug, handle to mug, again and again—3,000 mugs a day. They fix handle to mug until there are enough mugs to fill a drying rack, enough mugs to start the glazing fountain, enough to fill a cart—enough to wheel to the kiln.

Marybel Montoya applies a base glaze to mugs at the glazing machine invented by HF Coors.


ALK INTO THE FACTORY and your attention first goes to the spinning clay, the ram presses and fountains of paint, but behind it all the kiln thrums—it is the heart of HF Coors, quietly beating, breathing, radiating heat. Firing at 2,330 degrees, the kiln is one reason why HF Coors dinnerware is so durable. The kiln is a tunnel 195 feet long, roughly the wingspan of a Boeing 747. A cartful of pottery enters one end—an angry line of orange and red visible in its distant interior—and emerges on the other side 10½ hours later. The kiln is so hot that pottery shrinks by 12 percent during firing. The kiln runs nonstop, Tuesday through Friday. The kiln is why HF Coors pottery survived the fire on Mount Lemmon and endured 17 years of abuse at a Chinese buffet.

The kiln is where the elements that make a strong piece of pottery cohere. Industrial pottery should be vitreous, or glass-like, says Schou, which means that it won’t absorb water under pressure or over time—“that is the key test for strong pottery,” he says. “Strength is based on the minerals used and the formula for mixing the minerals. Strength also depends on the product design, and on the ‘fit’ of the glaze to the clay. All of [that] is designed so that the high temperature can be withstood and create the overall durability of the product.” One of the only companies, and the largest, still manufacturing pottery on a commercial scale in the United States is West Virginia’s Homer Laughlin, which makes the ubiquitous Fiestaware. “They are huge,” says Schou. “They have a plate machine with

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Marybel Montoya tends to a tray of mugless handles.

eight heads on it. So they can make 24,000 plates on that one machine in a day, and they might have two of those machines. They’re just spitting out Fiestaware.” “We don’t compete on price,” says consumer sales manager Mike Petrosky. “We compete on quality.” Quality is what distinguishes HF Coors from its competitors, and yet quality is not what drives many consumers. When you can walk out of any big box store with a 16-piece dinnerware set for $59.99, why venture to HF Coors, where that 16-piece set might cost $200? “We’ve bought other lines, cheaper china, commonly used in other restaurants, but they chip a lot more, even though they’re for commercial use,” says Penca Restaurant owner Patricia Schwabe. She says HF Coors dishes “are pricier but when you invest in them, you don’t have to keep buying new dishes every few months. They are maybe a little more expensive, but I don’t think they are expensive— saying that doesn’t justify the value because they last so much longer. There is a value in the price. And their appearance stays nicer longer. My dishes look beautiful and so my food looks really nice.” “Sometimes things may cost a little more initially, but in the long run it’s less expensive,” says DeArmond, the master artist. “That’s the whole thing about buying quality products, whether it’s a cheap dress or anything else. You’re usually going to save money in the long run because you don’t have to replace it as often, or it doesn’t look as worn out. A lot of things look old quickly. I always tell people to pick out something they like because this stuff is going to be around for a long time.” 136 November /December 2015

Sounart calls DeArmond “the archives.” He’s been working for HF Coors since the 1970s, longer than anyone else in the company. HF Coors dishes look the way they do largely because of DeArmond’s creativity—and it’s a popular look, earning the 68-year-old introverted artist a dedicated following, “unexpected so late in life,” he says. He’s worked with dozens of chefs and restaurant owners in Tucson and across the country to craft the perfect plate to showcase their food. “Design can enhance the food and not be its competitor,” he says. “If it’s up to the chef, it’s been my experience that they want just a white plate because they don’t want any competition. The food has to be the star. It’s usually the owner or the manager who wants something that’s highly decorative.” When DeArmond designed dinnerware for The Rumrunner’s Dish bistro, which has since closed, he played with colors already on the menu. “They would serve a lot of desserts with chocolate raspberry sauce, so when we designed a plate, I carried those colors out,” he says. “After, every time I ate there, people would take out their camera and take a picture of their dessert before they ate it. There’d be a little brownie thing with some raspberry sauce, and the colors would carry out and your eye would think you were getting this humongous thing—but a lot of it wasn’t even food.” In 2010, DeArmond started a specialty line of one-of-a-kind Sonoran Desert dinnerware depicting scenes of the Sonoran Desert—javelinas among prickly pear, saguaros against vivid sunsets. It is art-gallery-quality craftsmanship on commercial-grade pottery. “I’m fortunate that my artwork goes on a piece of ceramic that is so durable, so bulletproof,” he says. “It could be one of those things they dig up in 3,000 years and still find it.”


T HURSDAY afternoon, after most workers have left for the day, Sounart peers into the ram press. He says he’s trying to get the press to make a tighter push so that the stringy edges to those platters will get smaller with each press. Sounart is on the factory f loor most days, checking the thickness of glazes on mugs, troubleshooting the mechanical kiln loader, packing orders. “The desire to have products made in America used to come and go, but it kicked back in after the recession,” he says. “In 2008, we got customers back that we’d lost to the Chinese. People were willing to pay more to get American made.” And increasing concern over products coming out of China has only driven more customers to HF Coors. “The FDA is supposed to be controlling the quality and toxin level of dinnerware that comes into the U.S.,” says Beverly Stripling, who oversees direct to consumer management and social media for the company. “But somewhere there’s a big hole, because there’s a lot of dinnerware coming in from other countries that has toxins in it, which will absolutely leach out into your food.” All HF Coors pottery passes or exceeds California’s Proposition 65 standards for toxic chemicals, including lead. Sounart says they’re trying to get more customers into the factory, one reason why they started their first Saturday monthly sales, where customers can buy factory seconds at up to 90 percent discount. “We want to get people to see, to touch, to feel,” he says. “There are some people who have been at the first Saturday sales every month for four years,” says Stripling. “People like Made in the U.S.A., but they also love that it was made in their hometown. If we spend our money here, we’re helping the businesses here, helping to create jobs here. It’s a great community investment, to partake in something that your community manufactures.” A cart packed with white mugs rolls slowly out of the kiln—shiny and hard, handles pointed parallel, seamlessly adhered by heat and glaze. Mug after mug after mug after mug. A banner hangs above the packing room—an old HF Coors advertisement. On it, a round lump of clay sits before a blurred background of molds and mugs. It says, simply, “Believe.” ✜ ATE ON A

HF Coors. 1600 S. Cherrybell Stravenue. 520.903.1010. Megan Kimble is the managing editor of Edible Baja Arizona and the author of Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food.

Soft clay spins off a ram press, used to make plates. 138 November /December 2015

The 2,330-degree kiln burns red hot, transforming clay into pottery across its 195-foot path.

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A Wine by Any Other Name Arizona winemakers are working to protect their growing industry—and the premium that comes with growing grapes in Arizona’s rugged terrain. By Paul Ingram | Photography by Amy Martin


EAR ING A BASEBALL CAP and dark sunglasses against the glaring sun, Mark Beres clipped a cluster of petit verdot, a red grape varietal that’s one of the dozen grown on 15 acres of land owned by Flying Leap Vineyards south of Willcox. Called “small green” for its tendency to ripen late in the colder climate of its French homeland, petit verdot grows well in the sandy acid soil owned by Beres and his two business partners. “This is such good stuff,” Beres said, picking a grape off the vine and popping it in his mouth. Flying Leap is one of around 100 vineyards that operate in three distinct areas in the state, including the Verde Valley in central Arizona, the Willcox area, and Sonoita, which is marked as one of the nation’s American Viticultural Areas. Here vintners are trying to carve out a business in the rugged territory that gives Arizona wine its distinctive flavor. Flying Leap’s vineyard is tucked downslope of the granite peaks of the Dos Cabezas Moun-

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tains. At an elevation of 4,359 feet, the vineyard gets sunny days and cool nights, a combination that Beres called “perfect for wine grapes.” The harvest began at Flying Leap in mid-September. Four workers quickly snipped grape clusters from the vine and dropped them into plastic trays in deft, practiced movements. They stacked the trays and hauled them to huge plastic bins, where thousands of grapes would be trucked to the winery’s crush facility near Elgin, 80 miles to the west. They were working hard, drinking water from Camelbacks and wearing gaiters over their boots to protect against any errant rattlesnakes hiding in the brush beneath their feet. (Left) Viticulturist Laura Poteau holds a bunch of tempranillo grapes that she pruned from Flying Leap’s Elgin vineyard. (Right) Mark Beres aerates grenache grapes at the Flying Leap Winery in Elgin. Oxygenating the skin, pulp, and juice aids in the fermentation process and creates the rich, deep red color.

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Beres picked at another vine, a white grape called piquepoul blanc, or “lip stinger.” “Look you cannot make good wine with bad grapes,” he said. “Unlike beer or whiskey, wine’s character, quality, and price are tied directly to where the grapes are grown.” Yet, despite the relationship of a wine to its terroir, the taste and flavor a wine acquires from its environment, some wine producers in Arizona may be intentionally mischaracterizing the source of their wine, labeling it as “Arizona wine” when the grapes in fact come from elsewhere. For Beres and other wine growers, selling grapes produced in California or New Mexico as Arizona wine presents a threat to the state’s growing wine industry. This threat surfaced in January of 2015 in a contentious court case. According to court filings, the co-owner of Sand-Reckoner Vineyards, Rob Hammelman and his wife, Sarah, sued the owners of Aridus Wine Company, which operates a custom crush facility in Willcox; they argued that the company was engaging in “unfair and deceptive” practices by “misleading labeling and marketing its wines.” Hammelman went further, writing that three of Aridus’ wines were sourced using California grapes, but that its label gives the impression that all of Aridus’ wines were produced in Arizona. Aridus’ label describes the Arizona desert as “both inhospitable and devoid of life, but behind this facade exists a landscape teeming with life. This wild, untamed terrain is home to Aridus.” Other winemakers filed their own briefs in support, including James Callaghan, owner of Rune Wines in Sonoita, who wrote that “referring to the desert terroir in the description Aridus is intentionally misleading consumers as to the origin of the wine.” From top: Kent Callaghan of Callaghan Vineyards hand-prunes vines on his Elgin property as monsoon storms grow. Rob and Sarah Hammelman, co-owners of Sand-Reckoner Vineyards, take a sip in their Willcox winery. Mark Beres and Marc Moeller, best friends since they were 17 years old, pose with their wine at the Flying Leap Elgin tasting room. 142 November /December 2015

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part of producing wine is growing grapes, Arizona winemakers want to defend the brand, and the slight premium, that comes with growing grapes in Arizona’s rugged terrain. While frost and drought are wellknown problems, the possibility of blight, or disease, is a constant concern. Crops have even been destroyed by wind-blown smoke, including several crops damaged by the 2011 Horseshoe 2 Fire near Sierra Vista. Kent Callaghan of Callaghan Vineyards knows this all too well. Frost wiped out one of his crops in 2006; in 2010 he lost another crop to hail. And, yet these risks also help make Arizona wine distinctive. “Everything is a double-edged sword. Easy growing conditions usually yield pleasant, boring wines,” he said. “There’s a reason people plant vineyards on hillsides around the world and it has nothing to do with easy.” In 2010, Callaghan was able to buy fruit in Arizona, but for his next two vintages, he bought California grapes as a way to stay in business, he said. “Sometimes it doesn’t take a lot. We’re all on the edge,” said Rod Keeling, president of the Arizona Wine Growers Association, a group that lobbies for the state’s wine producers. “We had frost after frost, but all it took was two to four degrees and it changed,” said Keeling, who owns Keeling Schaefer Vineyards. “I went from almost going broke to four good vintages,” he said. “It is much cheaper for someone making wine in Arizona to buy their grapes from other sources,” said Sam Pillsbury of Pillsbury Wine Company. “Many winemakers do so, preferring out-of-state sourcing of grapes to the time, expense, and bone-crunching hard work involved in raising your own grapes in the Arizona earth.” “It’s pretty damn hard to make money in this business,” Keeling said. Winemaking is 80 percent janitorial, he said. “Something’s always broken when you wake up. Imagine your house. Now multiply that by 50 times and you’ve got a winery.” ECAUSE THE R ISK IEST

Late monsoon storms build over the iron-rich soil of Callaghan Vineyards in Elgin. 144 November /December 2015

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Kyle Poteau prunes tempranillo vines at Flying Leap’s Elgin vineyard. More than half of the original vines are pruned to concentrate the energy of the vine into select grapes.

For consumers, knowing the origin of a wine at a glance can be difficult. The Lanham Act, a 1946 law that prohibits false advertising, as well as regulations enforced by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau offer strict requirements for labeling, but there are still loopholes that can make the origin of a wine fuzzy. “Generally speaking, the requirements for labeling are easy, but there are parts that are counterintuitive,” said Thomas Ale Johnson, a graphic designer who has produced many labels for winemakers. “You can’t call a wine ‘fortified’ because people might think it has vitamins,” he said. Wine labels also uphold products with a protected designation of origin. “A new dessert wine can’t be called Port wine; the TTB will say no, just like you can’t call any new sparkling wine Champagne,” he said. However, wineries can use the appellation “American” because that designation just means the wine was produced in the United States. Other wines can use the term “vinted,” a word that simply means produced. That could mean almost anything, Johnson said. “Really, the best indicator is to look for good descriptions about the region,” Johnson said. “The ground is the key element.” 146 November /December 2015

A wine that was grown, produced, and bottled in Arizona is an Arizona wine, Johnson said. Johnson said that the size of the state’s wine industry actually makes this easier. “You can just get in touch with the winemakers,” he said. “They’re going to be proud of what they made, and they’ll talk about their wine.” Rebecca Safford, co-owner of Tap & Bottle, agreed. “Every vineyard that we sell, we’ve spoken to or met the people who run it,” Safford said. “As a retailer, I want to know where our products come from … From a pragmatic view, Arizona wines are pricey,” she said. “But, Arizona wines have a lot to offer, and I feel like I can stand behind them.” Keeling said that transparency is essential. “Authenticity is how we position our wine brand,” he said. Six years ago, he said, he told an association meeting that the group needed to work on authenticity, and he “got ripped. People weren’t happy with me,” he said. “We have to be clear with the label because it’s unfair for people who aren’t putting in all this blood and sweat to reap all the branding benefits of Arizona wine,” said Beres. “Arizona wine is more expensive because of all the work that goes into it.”

Clockwise, from left: Sourced from 17-year-old syrah vines, Sand Reckoner 7 is made from some of the oldest vines planted in the Willcox vineyard. Flying Leap Vineyards produces 90 percent of Arizona’s petit verdot. Petit verdot is rare in Arizona; it’s strong, bold, and spicy. Callaghan Vineyards Lisa white wine blend combines viognier, riesling, marsanne, roussanne, malvasia bianca, fiano, and picpoul blanc.

Until recently, the lack of consistent crops made it hard for wine producers to get grapes grown in the state. But that situation has changed over the last few years as more vineyards have come online. Because of hot, sunny weather, good rain, and improved operations, some vineyards are so successful that they will leave grapes in the field as compost for next year’s crop, said Keeling. And yields are improving. At Flying Leap, Beres showed off a system of sensors that are connected to two giant fans. When the air temperature threatens to freeze the vines, the fans—which resemble helicopter blades pitched vertically—begin to spin, dragging warmer air down to the grapes. Beres said that he’s also actively tweaking the chemistry of the soil to get better yields, and experimenting with European vines grafted to American roots. But challenges remain. There’s a “constant battle to defend business rights,” Keeling said, especially as the Arizona wine industry grows. The Willcox region faces two challenges— water and development. The area sits above a closed basin, so groundwater remains the only potential source of water, even as there’s growing competition from new pecan growers and other large-scale agriculture. However, Keeling thinks the wine business will remain and grow to become a powerful influence on rural communities. “How in the world does a town like Willcox have good schools, clean water, and do all the things they want to do?” 148 November /December 2015

he asked. “They need economic development and the wine business has the potential to really change some of the rural communities.” For Willcox, this means a chance to relive the agricultural days of post-World War II, when 26,000 acres were cultivated in Kansas Settlement, an area of farms established in the early 20th century. There in the sandy soil in that part of the sky islands area, where the desert lowland is punctuated by vast mountain ranges, farmers grew a variety of cash crops, including cotton, sorghum, field corn, and alfalfa. Today, Kansas Settlement is at the heart of the state’s most productive wine region. In 2013, the Willcox area produced around 74 percent of the state’s wine, according to a report by the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service. The growth of the wine industry doesn’t mean just farms but also tasting rooms and restaurants that have opened among downtown Willcox’s abandoned storefronts. “There’s a lot of pride and accomplishment here that comes with trying to do something really, really well,” Beres said. “It is like a drug, and you’ll do anything to do it again.” ✜ Arizona Wine Growers Association. Paul Ingram is a Tucson-born writer, photographer, and multimedia producer based in southern Arizona. He can be found scribbling in a notebook at one of the city’s many taco shops.



component of the Johnny Gibson’s courtyard, Independent Distillery, has finally opened for business. The new bar is staffed with faces familiar to anyone who has gone for a drink downtown in the past few decades. Owners plan on beginning production on their own line of distillates in very early 2016, government bureaucracy willing, starting with housemade gin and vodka. Until the distillery is active, Independent has stocked a concise and classic back-bar of both legacy brands and contemporary craft spirits, hoping to set the tone for its own products. Beautiful interior design, a highly accessible cocktail list, and a spacious shared patio would be enough for this bar, let alone the excitement of house-made spirits on the way. Independent Distillery. 30 S. Arizona Ave. 520.284.7334. HE FINAL

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apostles have been strong-arming neighborhood after neighborhood throughout southern Arizona. Arizona Beer House opened recently in an old tile shop at Broadway and Kolb, offering craft beers on tap and a take-away selection that only a few years ago was hard to imagine in the area. Arizona Beer House shares the intersection with fellow bars Whiskey Tango, the Kolb Street Lounge, and the Liquor Barrel Saloon—not exactly a hotbed of craft beer innovation. Luckily Arizona Beer House gently enters the market with a completely unpretentious experience and asks nothing of its guests but a desire to drink good beer. The airy tap room sports a small bar area, large open seating area with lots of community table options, and a wall of roll-up doors that begs for fall weather. If you find yourself needing a good pint on the east side, make sure to drop in. Arizona Beer House. 150 S. Kolb Road. 520.207.8077. RAFT BEER


of craft beer meccas cropping up where you least expect them is not limited to the eastside. Tucson Hop Shop finally had their grand opening on Dodge just north of Fort Lowell in the Metal Arts Village. On my first visit, the bottle shop and homebrew equipment selection were still a bit limited, to be expected during a soft opening, but the 20 taps were already in full action. From the beautiful lighting on the front of the building to the breath-taking beer garden in back, I already have warm feelings about the long hours I will be dedicating to sampling beers at this new spot. Thanks to the close proximity to The Loop, the Tucson Hop Shop is bound to be an important waypoint for riders looking for a break and a pint. Tucson Hop Shop. 3230 N. Dodge Blvd. 520.908.7765. H E PH E NO M E NO N

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Provisioner White Table Wine, Provisioner Wines

Machii Cocktail, Obon Sushi Bar Ramen

Dirty Blonde Rye Saison, Public Brewhouse

An important pattern of healthy growth in a new sector of alcohol is the segmentation of the market. By offering various price points and multiple perceived levels of value and quality, a new style of wine must permeate every drinking occasion and price point to become important and lasting. Provisioner Wines was founded by Eric Glomski of Arizona Stronghold and Page Springs Cellars to flush out the all-important sub-$10 retail space for Arizona wines. The 2014 Provisioner White Table Wine is made from Colombard, Chenin Blanc, and Malvasia, all sourced from Fort Bowie Vineyards just east of Willcox. The Colombard maintains an important acidity and bright fruitiness despite the warm climate in Arizona, Chenin Blanc lends that unmistakable weight in the mouthfeel, and a touch of Malvasia (a grape that should now be a required crop in every Arizona vineyard) brings the incredible floral aromatics that drive so many important Italian whites. This wine’s inexpensive price fits perfectly with what the drinker finds in the glass: a simple, bright, and easy-drinking table wine. Provisioner White Table Wine. $8.25 for members at the Food Conspiracy Co-Op.

Matt Martinez and the bar staff at Obon have been serving drinks for only a few months and have already made an impact on downtown Tucson. The beer program, sake program, and spirits program (especially whiskey) are all well curated and the cocktail menu is bulletproof. The Machii cocktail was the immediate standout for me. Served in a beautiful cut-glass vessel free of any ice or garnish, the cocktail is a stirred beverage with blended Scotch, peated Islay (pronounced EYE-lah) Scotch, sesame-infused amaretto, and jasmine essence. Immediately off the nose, the aromatic palate is overtaken by smells of rosewater. After the first taste, roasted almonds and cashew flavors from the blended Scotch and amaretto couple with the original aromas to create an experience nostalgic of baklava. Islay scotch brings a touch of smoke to finish the cocktail. Enjoy with some yellowtail crudo as a nightcap after a stressful day. Obon Sushi Bar Ramen. 350 E. Congress. 520.485.3590.

Public Brewhouse, located in a garage on Hoff Avenue just north of downtown, has been open for only a few months and has already begun rapidly rotating its list of house-made beers. On a quiet Monday, I stopped in and had a pint of the Dirty Blonde Rye Saison. The addition of crystal rye makes a bold departure from the traditional Belgian style of saison beers that have become the darling of many microbreweries across the country. The rye lends a touch of darker fruits and a certain mild Werther’s hard-candy flavor, allowing the whole beer to express a distinctly honeyed mouthfeel. Past the rye notes, the beer reads like a traditional saison with some dirt, lots of fruit, and unmistakable spiciness. Stop by the garage but don’t expect this beer to be available—rotating beers means a new surprise on every visit. Public Brewhouse, 209 N. Hoff Ave. 520.775.2337. 

152 November /December 2015

Bryan Eichhorst is a native Tucsonan, unapologetic sommelier, dedicated evangelist of Oaxacan mescal, and the beverage director at Penca.



Exit #281


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18585 S. Sonoita Hwy, Vail 520.762.8585 Thu–Sun: 10-6

DOS CABEZAS WINEWORKS 3248 Hwy 82, Sonoita 520.455.5141 Thurs–Sun: 10:30-4:30


3450 Hwy 82, Sonoita 888.569.1642 Thurs: 10-4, Fri-Sun: 10-6

4 5


3989 State Hwy 82, Elgin 520.456.9000 Sat-Sun by Appointment


21 Mtn. Ranch Dr., Elgin 520.455.9291 Nov–March: Daily 11-5 April–Oct: Fri – Sun 11-5 Mon-Thurs by Appointment

154 November /December 2015

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RANCHO ROSSA VINEYARDS 32 Cattle Ranch Lane, Elgin 520.455.0700 Fri–Sun: 10:30-3:30

CALLAGHAN VINEYARDS 336 Elgin Road, Elgin 520.455.5322 Thurs–Sun: 11-4

FLYING LEAP VINEYARDS 342 Elgin Road, Elgin 520.455.5499 Daily: 11-4


To Ft. Huachuca (50 min.) Sierra Vista (1 hr.)


370 Elgin Road, Elgin 520.455.5582 Daily: 11-5

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15 N 4th Street, Tombstone 520.261.1674 Daily: 12-6

14 S334 E AllenS Street,WTombstone ILVER



520.678.8200 Daily: 12-6

edible Baja Arizona



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SAND-RECKONER 130 S. Haskell Avenue 303.931.8472 By Appointment Only FLYING LEAP VINEYARDS: WILLCOX TASTING ROOM 100 N. Railroad Avenue 520.384.6030 Wed-Sun: 12-6 KEELING SCHAEFER VINEYARDS: WILLCOX TASTING ROOM 154 N. Railroad Avenue 520.766.0600 Thurs-Sun: 11-5 CARLSON CREEK 115 Railroad Avenue 520.766.3000 Thu-Sun 11-5 ARIDUS TASTING ROOM 145 N Railview Avenue 520.766.9463 Tasting Room Daily: 11-5 Crush Room Daily: 11-5 w/appt. ARIDUS CRUSH FACILITY 1126 N. Haskell Avenue 520.766.2926 Mon-Fri: 11-5, Sat-Sun: By Appt.

11 12 13 14 15 16



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PASSION CELLARS AT SALVATORE VINEYARDS 3052 N. Fort Grant Road 602.750.7771 CORONADO VINEYARDS 2909 E. Country Club Drive 520.384.2993 Mon-Sat: 9:30-5:30, Sun: 10-4 FORT BOWIE VINEYARDS 156 N. Jefferson, Bowie AZ 520.847.2593 Daily: 8-4 BODEGA PIERCE TASTING ROOM 4511 E. Robbs Road 602.320.1722 Thurs-Sun: 11-5, M-W by Appt. PILLSBURY WINE COMPANY 6450 S. Bennett Place 520.384.3964 Thurs-Sun: 11-5 Weekdays by Appointment ZARPARA VINEYARDS 6777 S. Zarpara Lane 602.885.8903 Fri-Sun: 11-5, Mon-Thurs: By Appt. KEELING SCHAEFER VINEYARD 10277 E. Rock Creek Lane 520.824.2500 Wine Club Events Only LAWRENCE DUNHAM VINEYARDS 13922 S. Kuykendall Cutoff Road 602.320.1485 By Appointment Only GOLDEN RULE VINEYARDS 3525 N. Golden Rule Road 520.507.2400 Thurs-Sun 11-5 Mon-Weds: by Appointment FLYING LEAP VINEYARDS: BISBEE TASTING ROOM 67 Main St. Bisbee 520.384.6030 Fri-Sat: 12-7 Sun: 12-6

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Book Reviews by Molly Kincaid The Ethical Meat Handbook: Complete Home Butchery, Charcuterie, and Cooking for the Conscious Omnivore By Meredith Leigh (New Society Publishers 2015)


L L R EC OV E R I NG V E G E TA R I A N S have their reasons for returning to meat—some simply needed meat for energy and iron, others could not resist the lure of crispy, fatty, salty, heavenly bacon. Meredith Leigh remembers clearly the moment she reverted to meat after nine years of vegetarianism and two years of veganism. While traveling after college, she learned that it is a gesture of friendship in Vietnam to place food in a companion’s bowl. In a rural village one evening, a woman named Loi placed a piece of water buffalo—from an animal she had raised and slaughtered personally—in Leigh’s bowl. After gratefully eating the buffalo, she began to wonder if there was a more ethical way to eat animals. Since then, Leigh has done a complete 180, becoming an expert in raising, butchering, and cooking animals. Leigh gives four main tenets for ethically eating meat, and not all of them are easily accomplished for the consumer with limited time and resources. One, the animal must enjoy a good life, enduring little stress. Two, the slaughter must be performed humanely, rendering the animal completely unconscious before killing it. Three, the animal should be butchered properly and efficiently. Finally, the meat should be cooked to maximize the whole animal, thus honoring the life of the animal. Leigh’s handbook gives a step-by-step guide, with photos, on how to butcher chickens, cows, lamb, and pigs. The list of butchery equipment is long, and breaking down a whole cow is likely impractical for many readers. Still, it is a fascinating read for discerning eaters. Leigh gives practical tips on purchasing meat, explaining how to navigate the maze of unclear labeling. She writes that even if the animal was fed USDA-certified organic grain, it may not have died a just and clean death. Her best advice is that if you can’t raise your own meat, try to purchase it directly from a community member who has raised it. And accept the fact that you will pay more than supermarket prices. Although the price of ethical meat may seem expensive, it’s usually a fairer price than supermarket meat, which is heavily subsidized—and along with those cheap prices looms the specter of antibiotics and other health risks, and a probable poor quality of life of the animals. You can make up the difference by learning how to utilize the cheaper cuts to their fullest, most delicious extent. Leigh includes recipes that lovingly employ all parts of the animals, right down to the bones. Her prose on beef is particu-

158 November /December 2015

larly effusive. On stock, she writes, “Oh, beef bones. I love them. Rich stock is just one reason why. If you don’t know what to do with beef stock, I’m very sorry for you. Here are just a few ideas: braising, marinating, making sausage, drinking warm when ill or when not ill, making sauces, soups, and stews. Cooking grains. Cooking vegetables. Its uses just do not end.” Many recipes are simple while others are quite complex, piquing the reader’s curiosity with unexpected flavors. Earl Grey Braised Lamb Shank with Herb Dumplings combines bergamot and saffron to brighten earthy lamb. Lime Cream Curry Lamb Sausage with Dosas and Raita begins with whole spices that are ground with both lean and fat lamb parts. Chicharron with Apple Butter and Cilantro Crème Fraiche makes use of pig skin while headcheese involves boiling an entire pig head and a trotter (a pig’s foot). Breakfast Scrapple with Arugula, Eggs, and Maple uses pork heart and liver, along with pork trimmings and bacon ends for a plethora of porky goodness. Although some of the more obscure animal parts might make us squeamish, this is only because we have been conditioned to find ribeyes succulent and sweetbreads (special pig organs) and trotters less appealing. Leigh’s thesis, though, is that to truly eat animals ethically, we must endeavor to lovingly prepare and savor each and every meaty bit.

edible Baja Arizona


Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat

By Barry Estabrook (W.W. Norton & Company 2015)


O E S T H I S M E A N I’ll have to give up eating bacon?” This was the question on the lips of Barry Estabrook’s partner when he set out to research and write a book on the pork industry in America. It is also the question that keeps cycling through the mind of the reader as Estabrook recounts his journey through pig farms large and small, slaughterhouses, and science labs. A modern-day Upton Sinclair, Estabrook approaches the industrial pig farming business with an even hand but with a healthy dose of skepticism. Indeed, there are unsettling moments in the book that would make any conscientious eater think twice about eating pork—or perhaps any meat. For example, the sheer number of pigs it takes to supply America’s tables with cheap chops, sausages, bacon, and pork roasts takes a major toll on the environment. Several chapters of the book are devoted to the waste produced by pigs. In middle America, where most factory pig farms are located, residents are plagued by the noxious odors exuded from the “farms” which house thousands of animals, cheek-to-jowl, in tiny crates that don’t allow them to turn around. To make matters worse, pig farmers spray liquefied pig excrement on crops being grown for pig feed, thus slinging the stinky mess through the air. Estabrook recounts the story of a Kansas City law firm that specializes in nuisance class-action suits. Sadly, industrial pig farmers simply regard such settlements as the cost of doing business, and have thus far refused to take measures to clean up their act. Another major woe of industrial pig farming is the rampant use of antibiotics. Because factory farmers pump their pigs with low levels of antibiotics to ward off infection and increase growth, antibiotic-resistant diseases like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and salmonella have been on the rise. Despite many recent scientific studies proving that halting the use of antibiotics results in dramatic drops in the frequency of superbugs like MRSA, the conventional wisdom in industrial pig farming is still that using low levels of antibiotics is the best strategy to maximize profits. Then there are the requisite slaughterhouse horror stories. Pigs are legally required to be stunned or anesthetized before being turned upside down and having their throats slit, but

160 November /December 2015

Estabrook recounts many violations. Because of human error, pigs are sometimes still conscious when they die, raising obvious concerns that they experience fear and suffering. As if that weren’t horrifying enough, there’s the human cost to consider. Estabrook tells the story of Ortentia Rios, who worked in a slaughterhouse in Milan, Missouri, until she became physically incapable of doing the intense physical labor. Her duties included removing knife blades from conveyor belts of meat as it passed by quickly, which had been deposited there by “de-boners” who came before her on the conveyor line. Even worse, she was assigned to arrange meat on the conveyor just before it entered a slicer, her hands and fingers narrowly escaping the sharp moving blades all day long. When a co-worker of hers was killed after falling into a meat-blending machine, the resulting OSHA report termed the accident a “fatal laceration.” The number of Latino immigrants working in meat-packing plants has increased drastically in recent years. Estabrook writes that U.S. citizens have left for better, safer jobs so that, horrifyingly, Mexican workers in the United States generally are nearly twice as likely to die on the job than are citizens. Though Estabrook spends considerably more of his word count relating these atrocities of the industrial pig business, he does include a note of hope. There are many ethical meat purveyors in the United States, such as Niman Ranch, that eschew the use of antibiotics and crates and guarantee that animals are humanely raised and slaughtered. Estabrook ends his pig tale with a traipse through an idyllic 150-acre farm in the Ozarks where Russ Kremer raises 1,200 hogs. Estabrook reports seeing pigs freely roaming in and out of barns, exploring rocky ridges, and even frolicking—yes, frolicking!—in fields and woodlots. Along with 33 other small farmers, Kremer created the Ozark Mountain Pork Cooperative, which requires that its members forgo feeding animal by-products and administering antibiotics. The group supplies D’Artagnan (a New York gourmet food purveyor) and Whole Foods Markets with pork products, proving that small, sustainable, and humane pork producers can turn a profit. Estabrook says that consumers have the power to support such ethical and humane operations with our wallets. He writes, “My partner and I still eat bacon. We’re just a lot more choosy about where we get it.” ✜ Molly Kincaid is a Tucsonan who is obsessed with tinkering in the kitchen and reading cookbooks. Her favorite foods are, paradoxically, kale and pork belly.

edible Baja Arizona



Getting Back to the Garden By Molly McKasson


S EPTEMBER and I was organizing seeds before my son, Clay, arrived to help put in the winter garden. The seeds that I held in my palm could easily be mistaken for the droppings of a very small mouse. They appeared to lack any provenance or agency—the sort of specks you sweep and blot away without a thought. Yet I knew from experience that from these nondescript jots would spring large, leafy clumps of Amish Red Deer Tongue lettuce, as luscious to the eye as they are to the tongue. But being heirloom seeds, they’re hard to find. Which is why, a few weeks earlier on a warm August morning, I’d plopped myself down in the backyard beside an old grocery sack of dry Deer Tongue stems to try to salvage seeds from last year’s garden. Lettuce seeds are hard to judge. From the minute the plants bolt in the spring, I try to keep an eye on their whirly stalks. But overnight they divide and multiply. Then they have to dry—but not so long that they burst—before I cut the tops off the stalks and stash them in a grocery sack. My intention is always to winnow the seeds within a week. But it’s a time-consuming task and easy to put off. So when I finally get to it at the end of August, many seeds have been pulverized by bugs and weather: deferred seed-saving can mean no seed-saving at all. Such was the fate of last spring’s Prize Head Lettuce. But for some lucky reason the tufted Deer Tongue pods survived. So for several hours that summer day, I rolled them gently between my thumb and index finger, releasing streams of teeny black beads into a small glass jar. I walked inside the garden-to-be, which lay open and still in the late afternoon light. We’d already dug in the compost, mulched, and repaired irrigation lines. On a low wall to the east of the garden were the seeds we intended to plant: storebought packets of White Daikon, Lake Valley beets, Rainbow chard, Russian kale, Nantes carrots, Red Sails lettuce, Bright Lights radishes. Beside these were my own jars of arugula, snow pea, cilantro, and Deer Tongue seeds. Small seeds are nerve-racking. I feel more comfortable with large ones. Like the lima beans we used to plant in school. Hefty enough that when they sprouted and split apart you could actually see how they nourished themselves, their T WAS LATE

162 November /December 2015

translucent parts feeling for the edges of the Dixie cup. Contrast that to a Deer Tongue seed—like a sliver of dirt under your nail—which appears to have nothing inside it. How on earth could such an unsubstantial thing bring forth such beautiful salads of long, pointy greens? As soon as my son arrived, we began to rake and even the garden rows, our conversation full of expectation. But I kept wondering about those tiny seeds: Would they come up this year? Would anything come up? “Should we plant all the radishes together?” Clay asked. “Yes,” I told him. Though I didn’t know for sure. I do what I do in the garden because it worked the last time, not because I understand. It’s when things don’t work that I’m forced to learn something new. As my grandfather used to say: “Farmers are the biggest gamblers in the world.” I hate gambling. So gardening becomes a deeper practice for me. A couple of thrashers whistled to each other from the neighbor’s mesquite, no doubt discussing how delicious the seedlings would be by the middle of next week. The sun began to set. I reached down and squeezed the soil. It was friable and dark and smelled like sweet tobacco. I ran a furrow down the western-most row in the garden. Then I unsnapped the lid on the Deer Tongue seeds, knelt down, and carefully sprinkled them out. Gently I pressed them into the earth, hoping it wasn’t too deep or too shallow. “Don’t do too many, Mom,” Clay said. As usual, I poured out extra. Just in case. I was shaking out a second row of carrots when Clay had to hurry off to meet a friend. By the time I finished, I couldn’t see where the seeds were dropping. I sprayed the planted rows with a hose, and stood for a moment to the side of the garden, hoping that the universe would help. Then I knocked the dirt from my soles and headed up to the unlit house. A thousand things could always go wrong, but my body was too tired to care. By the time I turned on the kitchen light, the seeds we had planted were already starting to move in the dark. ✜ Molly McKasson is an actress, teacher, and freelance writer, currently working on a collection of essays called The Small Sweet Self. This winter’s garden will be her 35th.

刀䰀 䴀伀

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