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March/April 2014 • Issue No. 5 • GRATIS



Celebrating the foodways of Tucson and the borderlands.


Hot Sauce · Feeding the Line · Micheladas Member of Edible Communities

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Contents March - April 2014



8 VOICES Eight refugees living in Tucson prepare their favorite dish from their native country. 12 GLEANINGS Alfono Olive Oil opens new location; Xoom Juice gets juicy; Arches save water and grow plants; New Eats around town. 20 FOOD JUSTICE Higher ed in Arizona hits higher purpose—eliminating the food deserts that surround many campuses. 24 POLICY Cultivating an appetite for citizen advocacy. 28 IN THE BUSINESS Q&A with the Food Bank’s consignment program coordinator. 33 DISH That one thing they should never take off the menu. 35 KIDS’ MENU Mixing it up with Haile Thomas. 37 WHAT’S IN SEASON 40 MEET YOUR FARMER Members of the San Xavier Cooperative Farm sow new heritage. 44 ARTISAN After 90 years, Poblano Hot Sauce is as strong as ever (literally). 50 HERITAGE Three award-winning Native American chefs discuss a vision for a traditional cuisine’s new future.

above: A fresh michelada at Mariscos Chihuahua, photographed by Steven Meckler cover: Michelada, photographed by Steven Meckler

Features 64 THE REVOLUTION REQUIRES COVER CROPS In Ajo, community members are seeking nothing short of a total food transformation for their town. 80 SHORTENING THE LINE When one of every five people in southern Arizona struggles to put enough food on the table, leaders in emergency food relief are asking: What else can we do?

56 TABLE At Overland Trout in Sonoita, Greg LaPrad caters to local cowboys and day-tripping locavores 76 BORDER The Mariposa Community Health Center is harvesting wellbeing in Nogales, Arizona. 92 SABORES DE SONORA Hola, coyota—meet the empanada’s Sonoran cousin. 98 BUZZ Seeking the history and mystery of the borderland’s best cerveza preparada—the Michelada. 112 INK Book reviews: Ottolenghi: The Cookbook; The Art of Fermentation; One Soufflé at a Time. 117 THE EDIBLE HOMESTEAD The best time of the year—springtime, tomato time, and, for some, cholla harvest time. 127 SOURCE GUIDE 138 LAST BITE Luis Alberto Urrea on finding Tucson—and grace in food.


grist for the mill


t’s a fact: One in five people in Baja Arizona struggles every day to put enough food on the table. Megan Kimble explores how the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona—nationally recognized as one of the most innovative food banks in the country—is working to “shorten the line” by fostering opportunities for economic development, enabling people to grow their own food, and supporting communities so they have the capacity to be self-sufficient. Although there’s still much work to be done, it’s an exciting and inspiring story of success and empowerment. In 1862, the U.S. Congress passed the Morrill Act to establish a land-grant university in each state to deal with issues of food and water for health and prosperity. The act mandated that “the leading objective” of land-grant institutions—the University of Arizona is, of course, Arizona’s land-grant university—would be the instruction and dissemination of agriculture and life sciences necessary to feed the populace of each state. Gary Nabhan makes the connection between the existence of “food deserts” in our midst and the galvanizing role that our institutions of higher learning can play in retaking control to solve our communities’ food security challenges. Continuing the theme of self-reliance: At the San Xavier Coop Farm on the Tohono O’odham nation, there is a resurgence under way in growing heritage crops that have fed Native populations for centuries. The goal is to create spiritual as well as physical sustenance. In tiny Ajo, the former copper mining town two and half hours west of Tucson, a miraculous transformation is under way. Led by the Ajo Regional Food Partnership, residents are rebuilding a community food system from the ground up. And in Nogales, the Mariposa Community Health Center started a local food system initiative in 2012 that is dramatically improving lives in the border town and surrounding areas in Santa Cruz County. Native American chefs are leading the charge to transform traditional foods into a new cuisine that is both healthy and delicious. Nephi Craig, the founder of the Native American Culinary Association and executive chef at the White Mountain Apache tribe’s Sunrise Park Resort, told Lee Allen at a recent Chef’s Challenge at Desert Diamond Casino: “Native people are emerging from a great interruption in traditional food ways. Precontact, we were expert hunters, gatherers, fishermen, farmers, and cooks. Then came the reservations with high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods and a turn away from the most important ingredient in Native cuisine: healing. Native foods are not a trend—they are a way to recover our communities.” And that’s just the beginning. Dave Mondy goes in search of the history and mystery behind the borderland’s best—and spiciest—cerveza preparada: the Michelada. Scott Calhoun surveys the tasty tradition of the Sonoran pastry known as the Coyota. And the local spice makers at Poblano Hot Sauce are celebrating their 90th anniversary. Edie Jarolim profiles chef Greg LaPrad’s courageous foray into farm-to-table cuisine at Overland Trout, his new restaurant in Sonoita. Of course, there’s much more to discover in the pages of this issue—and out in our community. Edible Baja Arizona has teamed up with the nonprofit Heirloom Farmers Markets to bring you the first Viva la Local Food Festival on April 6 at the historic Rillito Park. With the biggest farmers’ market ever assembled, up to 50 local restaurants offering tasting plates, local craft beers, and Baja Arizona wines, and music by some of Tucson’s best artists, including fabulous headliners Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, this is a Sunday that you won’t want to be anywhere else. Check out VivaLaLocalFoodFest. com for all the details. And, as always, a huge shout out of gratitude to the amazing advertisers that support Edible Baja Arizona, numbering more than 200 in this, our fifth issue. Quite simply, these businesses make it possible for us to bring you this magazine every eight weeks. Please make it a point to patronize them and let them know how much you appreciate their contribution to our local foods economy. Thank you! We’ll see you around the table. — Douglas Biggers, editor and publisher

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Gary Paul Nabhan COPY EDITOR

Ford Burkhart INTERN


Becky Reyes, Stephanie Chace, Kenny Stewart CONTRIBUTORS Molly Kincaid, Merrill Eisenberg, Romi Carrell Wittman, Haile Thomas, Michael Mello, Vanessa Barchfield, Lee Allen, Edie Jarolim, Kati Standefer, Jonathon Shacat, Scott Calhoun, Dave Mondy, Martha Ames Burgess, Luis Alberto Urrea PHOTOGRAPHERS & ARTISTS Omer Kreso, Michael Moriarty, Liora K, Paul Mirocha, Danny Martin (Illustration), Steven Meckler, Jeff Smith, Scott Calhoun WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. 307 South Convent Avenue, Barrio Viejo Tucson, Arizona 85701 520.373.5196 Edible Baja Arizona is published six times annually by Coyote Talking, LLC. Subscriptions are available for $36 annually @ Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used without the express written permission of the publisher. Research and community outreach for Edible Baja Arizona is cosponsored and funded by the W.K. Kellogg program in Borderlands Food and Water Security at the University of Arizona.

Eat well. Feel good.






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7065 E. Tanque Verde Rd. dine-in / pick-up / delivery follow us on facebook

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Voices Eight refugees (and their families) from all over the world show off their favorite meal. Photography by Omer Kreso

Aljashami Family From: Iraq Dish: Biryani

Mahmood S Hamzah From: Iraq Dish: Teshreeb

Hamid Salim From: Sudan Dish: Shayga

Musab Arbab From: Sudan Dish: Gima

Mukadesa Muftic From: Bosnia Dish: Baklava

Nebiat Gebrtatias From: Eritrea Dish: Siga, Culwa Saga & Alicha

Noor Family From: Somalia Dish: Baris Hizib

Saeed Family From: Sudan Dish: Kufta

Help local refugees by volunteering or donating to Refugee Focus at 520.721.4444 or


At Alfonso Olive Oil’s new store in Tucson, visitors can sample from an array of freshly pressed olive oils. Photo by Michael Moriarty

Keepin’ It Fresh Alfonso Gourmet Olive Oils and Balsamics opens a new location By Molly Kincaid


ost home cooks k now that a shot of high-quality finishing oil can really make the flavors of a dish pop. But many of us still turn to cheap supermarket oil for cooking. That is changing, however, as is evident in the success of local business Alfonso Gourmet Olive Oils and Balsamics, with its flagship location in St. Philip’s Plaza. Because of the growing demand for fresh oil and quality vinegars, in February, Alfonso opened a new store on North Oracle Road, at Magee Road. If you haven’t yet been convinced that fresh olive oil deserves a place in your pantry, stop into Alfonso to give it a whirl. Yes, it may be a splurge, but aside from the vast taste difference, customers can also justify the extra cash because of the health benefits. Olive oil is loaded with polyphenols and antioxidants, but since there’s no telling when supermarket olive oils were made, nor how long they’ve been on the shelves, they likely have far fewer nutrients than their fresh counterparts, and may even be rancid. Oil stored in clear bottles under fluorescent lights oxidizes rapidly and loses nutrients. Alfonso’s oils are stored in dark bottles, and are clearly marked with recent “crush dates.” “We have a lot of doctors and nutritionists recommending fresh oils,” said Tom Alfonso, the owner. “It’s been really well-received, and we have a large regular customer base.” Alfonso rotates import locations every six months to ensure extreme freshness—in the winter, Southern Hemisphere oils hail

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from Chile, Argentina, and Peru, while Northern Hemisphere oils come from Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal in the summer. While not local, of course, those whose exports reach Alfonso are selected based on their ethical practices and close relationship with farmers and producers in those countries of origin.  Of course, flavor reigns as the ultimate raison d’être. Customers can sample the wide selection of both oils and vinegars. “Oil should taste like olive juice,” said Alfonso. “It should have a nice, fruity green olive-y taste with a peppery finish.” And for those who are wary of cooking with olive oil because of toxins, Alfonso says this is a myth that applies only to low-quality oil. “Because they are fresh, you can cook with our olive oils up to 450º. Supermarket olive oils have a very low smoke point, so they can become toxic when heated to a certain temperature.” Alfonso also carries specialty oils such as truffle, sesame, and walnut, as well as an extensive line of natural gourmet balsamic vinegars, from a stellar white to fig or cranberry-pear. They’ve all been aged in Italy for 18 years. Alfonso regulars receive perks of the “recycle rewards program,” wherein customers receive a free 200 milliliter bottle or $10 off coupon when they return 10 used bottles. Regular prices are: $10 for 200 mL, $15 for 375 mL and $28 for 750 mL. ✜ 4320 N. Campbell Ave., Suite 40. 520.441.9081.


622.0761 · 444 E. UNIVERSITY

The Plant Whisperer


M ichael R ay builds arches to pamper his plants and save water. Considering our dry climate, the diversity and abundance of food grown here in Baja Arizona is at times astonishing. Even so, because many of these crops require supplemental water, when Tucson retiree Michael Ray became concerned about the amount of water he was using to grow his own food, he set about designing an ingenious solution. It’s called Nurse Tree Arch, and while it looks like a miniature greenhouse, it is, oh, so much more. (Indeed, in the Sonoran Desert, nurse trees often act as shelter for saguaros and other slow-growing plants as they mature.) Ray has been gardening in Tucson since the ’70s. In addition to challenges such as the poor soil quality, blazing sun, and desiccating winds, he says he’s witnessed the incrementally worsening drought conditions in the region. “Because of warming, we have a smaller spring window,” he said. “Spring has become very unpredictable.” Undaunted, Ray now designs and constructs modular arch structures that protect his plants from wind and sun, while retaining precious moisture. “I’ve dropped the idea that I need to garden in the sun,” he said, proudly gazing at his tomato vines, still healthy in late January. Golf-ball sized ruby fruits peek out from underneath velvety emerald foliage—a far cry from the withered brown vines that plague many backyard gardeners in Arizona. Ray’s arches are different from greenhouses because of their many intersecting rectangular panels, which can be removed altogether or tilted inward to allow rain to run in. He uses Luminet, an aluminum covered cloth, to reflect heat and to filter and scatter sunlight. Underneath the soil, he lays perforated pipes, which are hooked up to a fan and circulate moisture. “The roots of plants are very intelligent about water. They’re designed to seek it,” he said. “This system tells the plant’s roots that there’s water down there, so you get deep root growth and much better performance than with a drip irrigation system.” The arch system has worked remarkably well, and Ray plans to design a kit to market to small-scale urban agriculturists, restaurants, schools, and the like. At the moment, a custom-built arch would run about $5,000, which he knows isn’t within the reach of most backyard gardeners. “Ultimately, I’d like to contract that work out,” he said. “I see myself on the design end of it—but these are meant to be reproduced.” ✜ ucsonan


· BREAKFAST · LUNCH · DINNER + COCKTAILS · 520.792.6684 · 943 E. University 14  M arch - April 2014 520.609.3653.

Local Food Fest! April 5, 2014 10am - 4pm Not interested in running or walking the trail? Just come for the food! Everyone is welcome. Vendors, tastings, and more! See what southeastern Arizona has to offer in the way of fresh, local, and ethical foods. 2100 N. Amerind Rd. Dragoon, AZ 85609

The Amerind Museum in partnership with Bisbee Vogue Inc. present the inaugural Amerind’s Texas Canyon 10K Trail Run. Here’s your chance to intimately experience this awe inspiring region that is normally closed to the public. Proceeds go to support the Amerind Museum.

To register, go to



Photo by Steve McMackin

Not Your Everyday O.J. Downtown Xoom Juice has fresh, cold-pressed juices (again)


ucson is rock ing urban cool like it’s going out of style. Our world-class cuisine is expandin by the minute, we’ve got bike lines and a streetcar, and could we have any more quality local brewers? Now, we’ve got a local entrepreneur who’s getting a jump on the buzzy trend of “cold-pressed” juices. The cold-press method is being lauded of late because, unlike its 70s-era hippie centrifugal ancestor, it squeezes more nutrients from the pulp of fruits and veggies, and better preserves their “nutritional profile” by using minimal heat. And if you’re justifying that midnight mac-and-cheese by drinking a morning green juice,

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“I’ve seen a demographic change downtown, so it’s an acknowledgement of that changing scene.”




well, every nutrient counts. Back in 2001 when he first opened Xoom, owner Ari Shapiro started out with fresh squeezed juices as part of his menu. But those were the smoothie boom days, and sales for smoothies vastly outweighed the juices. He gave away his juicers and focused on making the quality, healthy smoothies Xoom has become known for. But after witnessing (and participating in) the food trends in Tucson of late, Shapiro, who also owns Falora and Sparkroot, decided it was time to give juice another go. The downtown location will now be offering design-your-own juices with ingredients like beets, cucumber, lemon, lime, kale, aloe, mint, coconut water, ginger, and cayenne. “This isn’t meant to be a meal replacement on its own,” Shapiro said. “To me, a green juice and a Lärabar is a great light meal.” Xoom also carries locally made health bars such as Julie Bar. Downtown Xoom’s smoothies will also get a makeover. Though the old beloved combinations will still be possible, the ordering process will be streamlined and customers will get a pen and paper to mark their favorite ingredients (much like the Bloody Mary bar at Hotel Congress). Xoom’s signature acai bowls will be designyour-own as well. Customers can make it a meal by adding hearty seeds, nuts, oat bran, raw coconut, and more. What inspired the change? Shapiro said, “I’ve seen a demographic change downtown, so it’s an acknowledgement of that changing scene. There are more professionals who may be looking for a lighter, healthier lunch option. You have to be flexible and fluid and willing to change it up.” For his part, Shapiro has been eating smoothies or a juice and bar combination for lunch for over five years. “I’m the guinea pig for this. I feel clean, remarkable, never weighed down. The calories are working for you, not against you.” ✜

1600 n tucson • 326.8300 2739 E. Speedway. 520.321.9666. 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.

For the record: The story in the January/February issue, “Food for Ascension Lifts Off,” misidentified the owners of Food For Ascension Café. It is owned and operated by Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage.

edible  Baja Arizona 


by Jared R. McKinley

New ways to fill your belly in the Old Pueblo


ucson is exper iencing a surge of comestible-oriented establishments—we can hardly keep pace. Check in and report back on these new eats! The Metzger family have a few projects in town—think The Abbey and Jax Kitchen. A new project of theirs, Gio Taco (350 E. Congress) opened up in January and is serving incredible “no rules” tacos. Although Jax Kitchen closed its doors in February, the Metzgers are staying busy, opening Poppy Kitchen in the former J Bar location (3770 E. Sunrise Drive at Westin La Paloma). The menu will offer a fusion of the flavors and flair of the Metzgers’ other spots across town—but with a better view. In December, Iron Chef-winner Ryan Clark opened his new restaurant Agustín Kitchen in the Mercado San Agustín (130 S. Avenida del Convento). Agustín Kitchen features “local new American cuisine” and highlights ingredients native to Baja Arizona. Want to try some of the Iron Chef magic at home? Clark’s new cookbook, Modern Southwest Cooking, is now available at bookstores. Seis Kitchen, the food truck that derives its style from the “six culinary regions of Mexico” is settling into brick and mortar in the same building as Agustín Kitchen—although they promise to maintain their presence as a food truck and catering business. Another food truck, Serial Grillers (5737 E. Speedway Blvd.), has found a static location, serving pizza, sandwiches, burgers, and salads. (Their dishes are often named after fictional serial killers from the big screen.) If you’re like me, you’re champing at the bit for the opening of the new locally sourced Proper Meatery (the second Tucson project by Proper restaurant owner Paul Moir)—but the locally sourced butcher shop opening has been postponed until the fall. Patience: good things come to those who wait. Want breakfast? You have two new options: Prep & Pastry (3073 N. Campbell Ave.) has been slammed since it opened in January. Don’t let the upscale breakfast, brunch, and lunch mislead you—most dishes are priced under $10. Another great breakfast and lunch spot is helping the longtime Ethiopian-favorite Cafe Desta bridge the gap between downtown Tucson and South Tucson: At 5 Points Market & Café, the menu is simple and simply delicious. To meet the needs of hungry residents of Barrio Viejo, Armory Park, and Barrio Santa Rosa, the market will be building inventory to offer a variety of staples, like produce, milk, flour, hot sauce, cereal, and coffee (from Café Aquí)—and, eventually, beer and wine. While restaurants often open weeks (ahem, months) later than planned, Nox (6370 N. Campbell Ave.) actually opened on schedule this January. Enjoy the new American cuisine and craft cocktails while surrounded by deer mounts, aged wood paneling,

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Vanessa Snyder with local produce and Sharon Moon with a few dishes from 5 Points Market & Restaurant. Photo by Liora K.

and intimate lighting. If you’re in the mood, shimmy up to the wrap-around bar that’s partly outside, open to the patio. Plans for a February opening of The Coronet (402 E. 9th St.) have been pushed to March, but it’ll be worth the wait. Owners Sally Kane and Gregor Kretschmann have a vision for their Brasserie-style restaurant—the “old world rustic cuisine” theme will extend right down to the details in the light fixtures and picture frames. A few of our local favorites have expanded: Tucson Tamale Company opened up a new location in the northeast side of town (7153 E. Tanque Verde) and Miss Saigon has a new downtown location (47 N. Sixth Avenue). Diana Teran of La Tuana Tortilla has opened up a healthy option for Mexican food. Committed to non-GMO, organic, and natural ingredients, Mexico In Season (3820 S. Palo Verde) promises to be a great option for vegans, though there will also be many non-vegan options. Plans for a February opening opening of The Coronet (402 East 9th street) have been pushed to March. Owners Sally Kane and Gregor Kretschmann have a specific vision for their Brasserie-style restaurant serving “old world rustic cuisine” down the the details in the light fixtures and picture frames. Easily missed on the busy Fourth Ave., 4th Avenue Delicatessen (425 N. Fourth Ave.) serves Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, as well as bread from the locally owned Vero’s Bakery. They invite you to “come for the sandwich, stay for the pickle!” Spanish-style dining informs the menu and atmosphere of the new Bodega Kitchen & Wine. An emphasis is put on pairing wine, beer, and cocktails to food in this new addition to St. Philip’s Plaza. It’s finally here: Chris Bianco, of the legendary Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, will be opening a Tucson location (272 E. Congress St.) in April—look for full coverage in the May issue. Bon Appétit and Vogue have both rated Pizzeria Bianco best in the nation. ✜ Send information about new restaurants, markets, and culinary businesses to Jared R. McKinley is the associate publisher of Edible Baja Arizona.

edible  Baja Arizona 



Higher Ed Hits Higher Purpose Southern Arizona’s institutions of higher education must collaborate with people living in so-called ‘ food deserts’ to form long-term solutions to food access. By Gary Paul Nabhan


T ucson any which way—north to south, east to west—and it’s likely that you’ll enter at least two and perhaps several “food deserts,” during your journey. These are barrios, low-income neighborhoods, or housing developments that have fallen on hard times, where access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate foods is limited for low-income families without working vehicles or thick wallets. Appearances aside, in these “food deserts” residents are not passive victims of a crippled economy and its broken food system; they are often seeking collaboration with a variety of Arizona’s educational institutions, nonprofits, agencies, and socially conscious businesses to alleviate poverty, traumatic eating disorders, and health issues facing their families and neighbors. Recently, a work group has emerged among faculty and students at Pima Community College, Prescott College’s Tucson campus, and the University of Arizona to collaborate with these low-income communities for more lasting food solutions. Anita Fernandez, the director of Prescott College Tucson, is optimistic that the emerging tri-institutional collaboration can be in greater service to pressing community needs. “Between all of us, I think we have a really strong set of resources not just for looking at food justice, but for taking some tangible actions together with communities and individuals at risk,” she said. Across town at the Pima Community College campus, Jodylee Estrada Duek talks to her predominantly Mexican- and Native-American-students about sustainable foodways in both r i ve across

nutrition and environmental studies courses. “In both my classes and in informal settings, I spend time with students in the garden we manage so that they know that they have the capacity to grow nutritious food in this climate,” she said. “Everyone goes home with some fresh food, as well as new skills and ideas.” At the University of Arizona, Tucson’s oldest institution of higher education, a new, interdisciplinary food systems network of faculty, staff, and students has emerged under the leadership of Doug Taren, the associate dean for Academic Affairs at the Zuckerman College of Public Health. As a board member of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Taren is imagining a program that not only would have strong links to community nonprofits and grassroots alliances in the Tucson area but also would engage students through in-service learning in fostering food solutions. Rafael de Grenade, a post-doctoral research associate who is helping to facilitate the program, said that she hopes the network will function “as a way to facilitate collaboration and stimulate research related to food justice, applied nutrition, and integrated food systems. Our goal is to transmit new knowledge, improve practices and policies that conserve water, and strengthen our local food system to decrease food insecurity throughout the southern Arizona foodshed.” These initiatives have emerged none too soon, since both poverty and food insecurity are plaguing at least a third of all urban and rural residents in southern Arizona at this time. Select indi-

A goal to transmit new knowledge, improve practices and policies that conserve water, and strengthen the local food system to decrease food insecurity throughout the Baja Arizona foodshed.

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viduals at our institutions of higher education have lent their skills to community-based efforts to deal with hunger, obesity, diabetes, and food insecurity. Now, however, they are beginning to use these issues as a galvanizing effort to bring together a wide range of talent, skills, and resources now being requested by Tucson’s many community organizations and ethnicities. Ironically, one might argue that such a galvanizing vision for Arizona’s health and economic well-being was what originally prompted the establishment of such institutions in our state. In 1862, the U.S. Congress passed the Morrill Act to establish a land grant university in each state to deal with the issues of food and water for health and prosperity. That act mandated that the “leading objective” of land grant institutions would be the instruction and dissemination of agriculture and life sciences necessary to feed

the populace of each state. Arizona first developed its land grant college in Tucson in 1885. But today, it would be difficult to argue that the collective efforts of our fine educators and researchers have been sufficiently focused on the issue of food security to keep the nutritional and economic health of our state and local residents from deteriorating. But as Lisa Pino, former USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, told participants at the Arizona Food and Farm Finance Forum, held in January at Biosphere 2 in Oracle, “Arizona holds much potential in developing local food production and strengthening its community economies through agriculture. Both universities and the many USDA programs can help in this effort. This need is further compelled as Arizona holds one of the highest childhood food insecurity rates in the nation.”


10 Pima Community College

University of Arizona

Prescott College



South Tucson

86 Davis-Monthan Air Force Base

Tucson International Airport

19 Map by Paul Mirocha


FOOD DESERT (An urban neighborhood or rural town without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.) COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY

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Among the recommendations that emerged from the forum were the following action items relevant to improving the health and well-being of those who reside in the so-called food deserts of our community:

1. That our educational institutions work with state and federal agencies, businesses, and nonprofits to increase the volume, diversity, and nutritional density of healthy affordable foods available to residents of food deserts by jump-starting new locally owned food and farm micro-enterprises in both urban and rural areas. 2. That students as well as faculty become more fully engaged with community members of all races, ethnicities, and income levels to participate as co-designers of a more just, resilient, and healthful food system that generates more green jobs with livable wages. 3. That further assistance be provided to young farmers and social entrepreneurs in a wide range of innovative options for financing food solutions through hybrid for-profit/ nonprofit corporations and collectives. 4. That our institutions provide technical support to design, finance, and rebuild the food processing infrastructure once found in Arizona, specifically meat processing, milling, malting, fermenting, composting, and food distribution hub facilities, which will create jobs across the entire food supply chain.

While such big, bold, and far-reaching goals may seem unachievable, or at least daunting to skeptics, those involved in the first Arizona Food and Farm Finance Forum left the Biosphere 2 with the sense that we must retake control to solve our communities’ own food problems. In a provisional poll of financial resources in the forum that could be potentially dedicated to such solutions, the 70 participants in the room revealed that there was more than $370,000 of personal transferable assets and $2 million more of institutional assets that could be rededicated to such food system transformations in our state. Imagine the impact we might leverage if every reader of this magazine reinvested some small share of his or her personal resources into the local food system. In so doing, we could incentivize our institutions of higher education to do the same, to address the urgent issue of food access and food security in our region’s food deserts, and perhaps most importantly, teach our state’s students how to invest in a sustainable food future. ✜ Gary Paul Nabhan is an internationally celebrated nature writer, food and farming activist, and proponent of conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity.

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Eating Is Not a Spectator Sport Cultivating an appetite for citizen advocacy. By Merrill Eisenberg | Illustration by Danny Martin


ox anne G arcia , the market manager at Heirloom Farmers Markets, became interested in policy change when the Pima County Health Department began enforcing sanitation policies at the farmers’ markets. Although the sale of whole produce is not regulated, once food is cut or prepared in any way, certain rules must be followed. Garcia said, “They were applying Costco rules to small vendors. We needed to redefine this for microbusinesses, not huge conglomerates.” After discussions with the Pima County Health Department, Garcia and other farmers’ market representatives were invited to help devise reasonable rules that protect public health in a way that is appropriate for small-scale operations. Jeff Terrell, the program manager for Consumer Health and Food Safety at the health department, explained that “safety is our number one interest, [but] we see ourselves as partners in this process.” Working hand-in-hand with policy makers, as Garcia is doing,

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is one way to be involved in policy making, but there as many ways to be involved as there are policies—which is to say, many. Individuals and organizations that make an effort to participate in the policy conversation can be very effective. Call me a sucker for democracy, but I believe that governance is not a spectator sport, and that when ordinary citizens show up in the policy making process, their voices are heard. Everyone who eats has a vested interest in public policies related to food. For policies made at the federal level, it is difficult for individual citizens to have a say—at least directly. But the process is more accessible at the local and state levels, where policy makers are literally closer to the voters who elect them than are their federal counterparts. They are also less influenced by lobbying from corporate interests than those who work at the federal level—so they are more likely to be influenced by you. The deliberation process that leads to policy change is open to the public. Indeed, many public policy issues are required to be informed by citizen

input before policy makers vote on them. One way to affect policy is to take an issue directly to the voters. A grassroots organization, Right to Know AZ, is developing a statewide ballot initiative for the 2014 election to require labeling of products that contain GMOs in Arizona. In Baja Arizona, Right to Know AZ is working closely with GMO-Free Tucson to collect signatures for the initiative. Jaime Hall, GMO-Free Tucson’s creative director, is enthusiastic about taking the issue directly to the voters. “We can spend hours and hours talking to local government and only get so far,” Hall said. “But consumer demand is what moves the system. We have to educate first.” To learn more or to help with gathering signatures, sign up for the GMO-Free Tucson mailing list at or visit School food policy is another issue that has been receiving citizen attention. And who better to create policy progress in schools than the people most impacted by the policies—students! Jennifer Reeves, a nutrition scientist at the University of Arizona, has been organizing student advocacy and leadership clubs since 2006. Today, more than 1,000 students in 30 middle and high schools throughout Baja Arizona are participating in policy and advocacy work, working alongside the adult members of school health advisory councils to create policies that promote healthy eating and physical activity in the school setting. In some schools, they are working on changing lunchroom design to make healthier food choices more visible and convenient. After identifying the healthy snacks students are interested in, some clubs have worked with vending machine operators to replace the less healthy choices. If you would like to start a club in your school, contact Jennifer Reeves at Finally, citizens who support or oppose the Tucson urban agriculture zoning code revision have been involved in drafting new rules, and a full public participation process is unfolding, giving all Tucson residents an opportunity to make their opinions known. You can email Adam Smith from Tucson Planning and Development Services at to get on the mailing list to receive updates and announcements about upcoming opportunities to participate. You can also email me at eisenberg. if you are interested in working with other urban agriculture proponents to support the amendments to the code. Also, check in with the Pima County Food Alliance to see what projects they’re working on and how you can get involved at There is a role for citizens in just about every type of local policy development. Your level of participation can range from active—engaging in the development of policy ideas or organizing support or opposition to policies that are being proposed—to supportive—signing petitions, contacting your elected officials directly, or attending public hearings that precede votes. The key to effective advocacy is knowing your issue, showing up in the process, and being willing to compromise with folks who may have a different opinion on the issue. Remember, democracy is not a spectator sport. There is opportunity for us all to get in the game. ✜ Merrill Eisenberg is an applied anthropologist who is retired from the University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health. Her interest in food policy comes from her commitment to community empowerment and participation in policy development.

Mouthwatering Conservation!

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and our Retail Store: 3061 N. Campbell, south of Fort Lowell edible  Baja Arizona 


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edible  Baja Arizona 



From Garden to Green Audra Christophel runs the Community Food Bank’s consignment program, which gives small, local growers the chance to sell their produce. By Romi Carrell Wittman | Photography by Liora K

What is the consignment program? The consignment program is really for any backyard gardener or small farmer. We encourage people to bring anything from one small bunch of radishes to big coolers of produce. We’re always trying to find any extra produce in the area. We’re just trying to make a variety of local healthy food available in all areas of town. I’m never sure who is going to bring what.

local farmers and see what they’re selling things for, and I also check prices at the [Food Conspiracy] Co-op. I allow the person bringing in the food to make a suggestion, too. They definitely have a voice in that, especially if it’s something unusual.

So how does a gardener get started?

Yes! The growers get paid for 90 percent of whatever sells and 10 percent goes to the food bank. Sometimes we’ll take produce that doesn’t sell to additional markets, if it’s something that’s going to last. Whatever is left over goes in emergency food boxes, unless the grower prefers to pick up their remaining produce.

First, you have to fill out an application, which you can download from the Food Bank’s web site. We require that they be growing themselves, without any pesticides or chemicals. We don’t require organic certification because that’s a costly process. We find that the folks who are gardening tend to be pretty educated about it and they’re aware of those risks. They tend to be growing for their families. The growers then sign their application saying they’ve read the guidelines and are willing to abide by them. We don’t allow for any reselling. It’s truly local food, grown here.

How are prices set?

Where do the growers drop off their produce?

We update the price list every season and we have a basic guideline we’ve built up over the years. It’s such fine-tuning—we’re trying to help make fresh, healthy food available to everyone in the community while also supporting our local farmers. I check in with

They can drop it off at any of the Community Food Bank-run

Do the growers get paid for their produce?

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Audra Christophel, right, works with more than 180 active gardeners and growers who sell their produce at the Food Bank’s four farmers’ markets.

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P I Z Z A / PA S TA / G R E E N S / S A N D W I C H E S / W I N E / B E E R / C O C K TA I L S

markets. I’m at most of them [including] the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market, and the Community Food Bank Farmers’ Market. We give them a receipt for what they submit and we label everything and keep track of prices.

But what if I’m a gardener, not a marketer? What can I do to make my produce sell?


Just from experience, presentation is huge. People like when the produce is the right size, when it’s clean and easy to pick up and grab. People aren’t going to buy a bunch of loose lettuce. I absolutely adore my job because I get to interact with all these great people and work with them on marketing and how to best prepare their produce to sell. I work one-on-one with gardeners on how to best harvest, clean, and present their produce for market—this translates into more money in their pockets to pay for seeds or to put toward their water bill. It feels really good because I have good working relationships all around and that’s really key.

What’s the history of this program? It was started in 2005 by a former Food Bank employee, Amanda Morse. Our markets were pretty new back then, and we were trying to get local food out to the community. Some farmers were taxed in terms of how many markets they could visit and this program was a way to fill that gap and target areas where people have a need. The program has grown a lot. I started here in 2009 and there were 60 or 70 active members, and now we’re at 180. I’m excited at how much knowledge there is in the community.

What’s the future hold for this program? I would like to see more one-on-one work to serve as a hub of information and building skills. There is definitely so much potential to tap into the incredible knowledge and skills of the consigners. We want to create opportunities for consigners to teach each other through workshops at the market, or for more experienced gardeners to share their skills with new gardeners through formal mentoring relationships.

Aside from connecting people to local, healthy food, what role does this program play in the community?

Located behind reilly, entrance off of scott

We’re really excited about the economic development part of this program. This program bridges access to nutritious food while fostering local farmers and businesses. A lot of consigners want to go into business and this program is a low-risk entry to the business world. ✜ You can drop off produce at the consignment table at any of the Food Bank’s farmers’ markets. Contact Audra Christophel at 520.882.3271 or visit Tucson native Romi Carrell Wittman is a marketing and communications director by profession and a freelance writer for fun.

101 E. PENNINGTON STREET 5 2 0 . 8 8 2 . 5 5 5 0 • R E I L LY P I Z Z A . C O M

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That one thing they should never take off the menu. Photography by Liora K Clockwise, from top left: Black Bean Croquette with Rajas Nopales

Apple & Goat Cheese Salad

No. 15

Grilled marinated sea bass

Tasteful Kitchen This vegan dish is anything but dull: it’s served with slow cooked peppers, onions, cactus, organic roasted corn salsa, and avocado. Don’t miss the chili and cocoa roasted sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and greens sauté. $16

Blue Willow Blue Willow’s blackened salmon was a close contender, but for a lighter lunch that’ll hold you until dinner, try this a salad piled high with seasonal apples, goat cheese, and spiced pecans on organic mixed greens with apple cider vinaigrette. $10.50

Lerua’s Fine Mexican Foods Nothing says simple comfort like this classic combination. Calabazitas, green corn tamale, beans, and tortilla come together in delicious harmony. $10.95.

Kingfisher Even after all these years, Kingfisher is still Tucson’s spot for seafood. This one is the stack of the town. The sea bass comes atop golden beetsweet onion salad, fingerlings, and red Swiss chard, finished with lemon-basil aioli. $24.

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edible  Baja Arizona 


If a picture paints a thousand words... this is where you start the conversation.

Take a class. Explore your creative side.


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Mixing It Up


ne of my favorite fruits is the avocado. I love avocados sliced on sandwiches, mixed in smoothies or salad dressings, and of course in a variety of creative guacamole dips. Luckily, in addition to being yummy and versatile, avocados are also super-nutritious. They have nutrients that help teeth and bones stay strong and healthy, our heart function normally, our muscles grow and develop, and our bodies digest food. So, enjoying avocados frequently is not a problem for our family—and now even more than before, with the creation of my yummy avocado, pineapple, and coconut pops. That’s right: avocado popsicles! Who knew?  Well, I love mixing it up in the kitchen, and experimenting with my favorite fruits and veggies to create new and delicious culinary treats.  And that’s just what I did to create this dessert with avocado as the star ingredient. These pops are creamy, sweet, and satisfying, and super simple to make. I am excited to share the recipe and hope you’ll give it a try. Let me know what you think!

Photo by Haile Thomas



2 large avocados 1 cup pineapple juice 1/3 cup coconut milk 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 2-4 tablespoons coconut nectar dash of salt

Cut and remove avocado seed. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. Enjoy!

Haile Thomas is a seventh grader at St. Gregory College Preparatory School, a motivational speaker, and a young chef recently featured on the Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy: Kids CookOff. She is an advisory board member with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, ChopChop magazine, and the Tucson Village Farm. Haile is also the founder of the HAPPY Organization, which partners with the YWCA to offer kids cooking classes, fun physical activities, and nutrition education. This is the first in a series of recipes designed for kids, by kids.

Photo by Steven Meckler

Tropical Avocado Popsicles

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To find where to buy seasonal produce, visit for a complete listing of CSA programs and farmers’ markets.




What’s In Season



1. Artichoke 2. Squash blossom 3. Tomato 4. Lemon 5. I’itoi’s onion 6. Asparagus 7. Bean sprout 8. Snow pea 9. Orange 10. Cabbage 11. Red potato

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Digging Tradition Thousands of years after their ancestors settled along the Santa Cruz River, members of the San Xavier Coop Farm are sowing new heritage. By Michael Mello | Photography by Liora K


n yone consulting a m ap of the Tucson metro area will find a thin, but obvious, line—sometimes optimistically colored blue—called the Santa Cruz River. There was a time when the Santa Cruz wasn’t as dry as the desert surrounding it, a time when water actually made its way northward along that channel. It was real water, not just excess runoff from a sufficiently prolific July thunderstorm. For centuries, near what is now the San Xavier Mission, the ancestors of today’s Tohono O’odham tapped the river. They guided the water toward the corn, squash, and bean seeds they had planted in the clumpy clay soil the river had deposited over millennia. Now, decades after the river ran dry, the O’odham farm more than 850 acres with the goal of producing spiritual as well as physical sustenance. The Tucson area was once dotted with farmland, noted Renee RedDog, one of more than 1,000 plot owners who allow their lands to be farmed as part of the San Xavier Coop Farm. Today, there are a few cattle ranchers in the area, but the cooperative farm is one of the few spots growing crops, RedDog said. And though agricultural production in the San Xavier area has been re-established for more than 30 years, the farm is still growing. Those who run it have ambition. “The farm could be a jewel. It could be the center of the community,” RedDog said. More importantly, it’s a place the Tohono O’odham can rely on for fresh, local food. Some of the crops at the farm include corn, squash, beans, and peas that have been grown in the area for centuries. Part of the idea behind the heritage crops is to provide nutrition as well as tradition. “For me, to carry on the traditional farming is huge,” said O’odham tribal member Gabriel Mendoza. He got his first taste of farm work volunteering for TOCA, the Tohono O’odham Community Action group. They needed help with some field work as part of a harvest festival. “It just all sort of fell into place,” Mendoza said. He learned about irrigating crops and how to drive a tractor. When it was time to move on, the San Xavier Coop seemed a natural fit, he said, to work with the earth

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in the place his ancestors did. He has what he describes as “a connection with the land. I’m not afraid to get dirty, work in the sun, and be part of this.” Situated along Interstate 19 south of Valencia Road, the baize carpets of alfalfa almost scream in contrast to the rocky hills studded with saguaros across the freeway. A residential neighborhood skirts the northern border of the farm, but it feels as though it’s miles from Tucson; the tractors seem to outnumber Toyotas, and roadrunners dash through furrows dotted with garlic and onions. It wasn’t always so. In the 1900s, RedDog said, the City of Tucson plunged more and more wells into the earth as the city grew and got thirstier. That, combined with nearby mining efforts, sucked dry the river and the water table beneath it. In the 1970s, the San Xavier Cooperative Association was formed to revive farming efforts in the area. But the wells they used soon fell victim to the dropping water table, and farming without a steady supply of water is a task “difficult” doesn’t begin to define. The O’Odham community turned to the courts for relief. When they sued the City of Tucson, the tribe won the right to have Central Arizona Project water lines extended to the farm to provide free irrigation. More importantly, the tribe’s ancestral claim to the area means they have priority water rights in times of drought. “If something goes wrong,” RedDog said, “the community can rely on the farm.” By the end of the 1990s, there were fewer than 100 acres in production, mainly alfalfa. Over the years, the farm has grown, and continues to do so; the cooperative’s governing board is looking at acreage across I-19 for possible expansion into orchards and organic beef operations. Some things haven’t changed with the growth. “There are no pesticides [used], still,” RedDog said. “That was a vision we had. They wanted the farm to succeed, but they wanted it to be a healthy farm and grow traditional crops.” One of the expansion plans includes a larger composting oper-

The 850-acre San Xavier Coop Farm is owned by more than 1,000 plot owners, including Verna Miguel, top left, and Danita Rios, top right. Below, Rios shows a palmful of I’itoi’s onions, a desert adapted crop traditionally grown by the Tohono O’odham.

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ation. When a compost program at the University of Arizona needed a new home, the coop welcomed it, said Cie’na Schlaefli, who helps to run the farm’s nursery program. Coop directors have eyed diverting much of Tucson’s green waste to build up the compost reserve. Some of the compost will go to farms and gardens tended to by a local food bank, Schlaefli said, but most will help to amend the farm’s soil without the use of chemical fertilizers. Coop board members say the farm is self-sufficient and gets no money from the Tohono O’odham nation. A main crop is still alfalfa, and the farm grows other grasses meant for livestock consumption. Although market prices for cattle feed are high, those who run the farm say they’re more interested in crop diversity than high profits. Enter Bob Sotomayor, a man with the weathered hands and worn shirt that signal experience with serious farming. If it’s green and edible, that means Sotomayor is trying to find a way to get it to grow in the farm’s arid, taxing microclimates. Because the farm is located along the Santa Cruz River, it has a lower elevation; in the winter, when cool air pockets sink along the river, the farm can be 10 degrees colder than other parts of the Tucson area. Sotomayor oversees two large greenhouses packed with budding plants. With an almost breathless enthusiasm, he shows visitors the grapes, cauliflower, oregano, and baby fig trees he’s cultivated. At the right time, he will select a plant and put it in the ground at the farm and wait to see if it can handle the cool winter, scorching summer, and somewhat alkaline soil of the farm. His dozens of chile plants produce peppers in shades of green, red, and even purple, with heat scales ranging from mild to thermonuclear. “We do this to see what’s adapted to here, to see what we can expand,” Sotomayor said. Pointing to a small fig tree, he noted that figs pack a nutritional punch without providing a similar wallop to one’s blood sugar. That’s just the sort of healthy product he said the farm should be providing to the O’odham community. They know this fig species will do well at the farm, as it’s one the Spanish planted hundreds of years ago near the San Xavier Mission. The farm also counts among its crops the Tohono h:al, a mildly sweet squash that resembles a pale yellow pumpkin on steroids. In addition to the crops, the coop offers flour ground from beans gleaned from the mesquite trees at the farm. Pickles and other canned goods are offered at the coop’s store, which is open to the public. The store is probably one of the few places in the country to buy mesquite and oatmeal cookie mix in a jar. “A lot of people come in the door for our alfalfa, but then they see our other foods,” Schlaefli said. Summertime offerings include watermelon and cantaloupe, but with the plant experimentation moving along, in the future the shelves could be filled with locally grown apples, plums, and even peaches. But buyers don’t have to head to San Xavier to buy the farm’s produce. Tucson residents have likely already picked some up at local farmers’ markets, Whole Foods, or the Food Conspiracy Coop on Fourth Avenue. ✜

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Michael Mello is a writer who has worked for The Orange County Register and The Los Angeles Times. He is currently lost in Arizona.

edible  Baja Arizona 



The Power of Poblano After 90 years and two generations, the family-run Poblano Hot Sauce is as strong as ever (literally). By Vanessa Barchfield | Photography by Steven Meckler


t ’ s one of those instantly recognizable Tucson icons: A woman with bare shoulders and braids, wearing a sombrero as she holds her chile high. It’s the Poblano bottle, of course—“The Sauce Supreme.” During the seven years I lived in Austria, on each visit back to Tucson, my suitcase grew increasingly heavier on the return as I crammed more and more of those classic bottles of green Poblano into any empty space I could find. When I ran into other

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Tucsonans abroad, I realized I wasn’t alone. A lawyer in Vienna eschewed suitcases altogether and had his parents ship him a case of the sauce; a musician friend of mine toured Europe all summer with Poblano in his backpack. The first bottle that made the journey with me from Tucson deep into central Europe in 2007 had a label announcing Poblano’s 83rd birthday; by the time I moved back home earlier this year, that number had climbed to 90.

Ninety years that the neon green hot sauce has been tempering Tucsonan’s scrambled eggs and quesadillas, right? Well no, not exactly. Just as Tucson is a very different city today than it was in the Model T days of the 1920s, Poblano is a very different company. In fact, in 1924, it was neither called Poblano nor was it a hot sauce. When Poblano’s founder Nicolas Segura went into business in Tucson, his first venture was a restaurant. “My parents came from Mexico to Tucson in 1920, in search of a better life,” said Nicolas’s son and the current owner of Poblano, Oscar Segura (or “Big Oscar,” as I was told to call him the first time I phoned the company). Nicolas, who had been a taco vendor at a train station in Mexico before coming to the United States, opened the doors of his restaurant in September of 1924. “Other than El Charro, it was the only Hispanic restaurant around.” The story goes that the restaurant was the first in Tucson with “folded” tacos on the menu. It was there that Nicolas eventually began serving a hot sauce made of chiltepin peppers and vinegar, a recipe his father in Mexico passed down to him, to accompany his tacos. “The sauce was so good, people started telling him he should bottle it and sell it to stores,” Oscar said. But language barriers and, presumably, family obligations—Nicolas and his wife, Angelita, had five sons and three daughters—kept him focused exclusively on his restaurant through the 20s and 30s. “It was in the 40s that he closed the restaurant and started packaging his salsas,” Oscar said. Nicolas funneled those initial batches of his hot sauce into empty Miller Beer bottles. “We all helped,” Oscar said, “the whole family. My brothers, Johnny, Nick, and Georgie, and myself, we did the packaging. But eventually Nick joined the Marines and Johnny joined the Army, and then Georgie followed suit. I would help after school but then I joined the Army as well.” While his sons got older and started their own families and fought in wars abroad, Nicolas’s salsa business kept growing. He and a rotating cadre of close family members managed most of the operations, but the one outsider who played an important role in Poblano’s early days was a man named Bill Pinder. “We called him Chile Bill,” Oscar said.

Chile Bill and Nicolas’s youngest son, Gilberto, handled distribution, placing Poblano bottles on the shelves of grocery stores in Tucson and, eventually, in larger chain stores around the state. Poblano’s business remained fairly steady until 1985. “I was 51,” Oscar said. “I worked then as a cashier at Fry’s but still helped my dad with the business.” In March of that year, Nicolas, who had been suffering from kidney problems, was hospitalized at St. Mary’s. “We had just

Oscar Segura, or “Big Oscar,” holds the reins at Poblano Hot Sauce today, continuing the legacy his father, Nicolas, began 90 years ago.

ordered a fresh batch of jalapeños. We cleaned them. Then they needed to be ground. But only my father knew the exact recipe,” Oscar said. Nicolas was released from the hospital on a Friday and spent that weekend in the Poblano factory with Oscar, his second youngest son. “He showed me the exact method for grinding and

edible  Baja Arizona 


In the one-room factory that houses the entire Poblano production, bottles are filled and labeled by hand.

mixing. He did the first barrel. The second barrel, I did. Everything was very secret. He told me: ‘What you see here, don’t tell anyone else.’” Nicolas died a few days later. In many ways, the Poblano Hot Sauce Company of today hasn’t changed much since the ’40s. It remains an entirely family-run business. Oscar himself has five sons and two daughters. “My son Oscar and daughter Tammy decided to work with me. Then my wife joined, too.” But now, Oscar said, he’s less involved in the business. Like his father, he’s plagued with kidney troubles. “I have to get kidney dialysis three times a week. I’m there from 10 to 2—there are two needles that draw and recycle my blood. It’s that machine that’s keeping me alive,” said Oscar, who’s now in his late 70s. “I can’t risk getting contaminated, so [my son] Javier de-stems and grinds the jalapeños. I do the administration and paperwork. My family, they do the packing and distribution.” Oscar said after Food City placed an order last year for 600 cases of hot sauce, he called his daughter Angela and her husband, Bobby, to ask for help with the labeling. “They were working so hard. She asked me, ‘Can I take some?’ I said ‘M’ija, you’re part of the family. Take what you want.’” Poblano also remains available almost exclusively in Arizona.

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It’s on the shelves of Food City, Fry’s, and Safeway. If it’s not on your table at the Cup Café, just ask for some. Although he’s long eyed the larger markets of San Diego or Los Angeles, Oscar said he’s never been able to find the right people to take his product further afield. If customers outside of the Arizona state line want Poblano, the Segura family ships to them directly. While I’m sitting with Oscar in his one-room factory in a South Dodge business park, a restaurant in Kansas City calls to place an order for four gallons of the green jalapeño sauce. “We had a gentleman in New York City. He was a part-time movie actor who had been in some Westerns at Old Tucson. He bought 10 cases of our salsa ranchera and sold them on the sidewalks of New York for a while. But then he got more into the movie business and had to stop.” But probably the most important way Poblano remains true to its origin is its very composition. “The green jalapeño sauce hasn’t changed at all; it’s still my dad’s original recipe,” Oscar said. He’s vague when I ask if he’s already passed down the recipe to one of his children, as his father did to him. What he’s not vague about is the size of his company and the

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direction he wants it to move in. “We sell 175,000 cases each year and are growing bigger all the time.” He’s on the lookout for a new facility to house his still-blossoming business. “We’re checking out a place on Main Street and Speedway now. This is just too small,” he said, looking around the room. It’s cramped with empty bottles waiting to be filled and labeled, with barrels holding the jalapeños, spices, and mustard that marinate together over the course of several days. Before I leave the Poblano factory, Oscar opens the barrels for me to sniff the four distinct sauces his company produces. There’s the green jalapeño, the red jalapeño, the so-called Mexican hot sauce, and salsa ranchera. My eyes tear from the spices. So what is it about these Poblano sauces that makes us Tucsonans resort to excessive measures to ensure a bottle is always close at hand? I think it’s actually quite simple: They taste like home. ✜ Poblano Hot Sauce. 3250 S. Dodge Blvd. 520-519-1330. Vanessa Barchfield is a reporter and producer at Arizona Public Media.

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Under the Violet Sky March 18 - June 5, 2014

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Woodworking Class Grade 5 Project

Ongoing enrollment in all programs Preschool & Kindergarten 3349 E. Presidio Road

Grades 1-8 3605 E. River Road • School tours available weekly RSVP: 529-1032 or

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A New Spin on Native Coming from different tribal backgrounds with different food traditions, awardwinning Native American chefs concur on highlighting heritage. By Lee Allen | Illustrations by Danny Martin


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ining on desert delights offers a menu far different from what you’ll find at most five-star eateries. For centuries, indigenous people of northern Sonora subsisted on an array of traditional desert dishes ranging from nopales and chile posole to mesquite crepes and acorn soup. Today, several award-winning Native American chefs are out to transform these traditional—and traditionally healthy—foods into an array of delicious dishes ready for both five-star restaurants and at-home cooks. “You put ‘healthy’ in front of ‘cooking’ and it can scare some people away, but native dishes are not only delicious, they’re also good for you,” said Navajo chef Freddie Bitsoie, who hails from the Four Corners region and is known as a crusader in the cause of redefining Native American cuisine. “The stereotype is that healthy cooking frequently ends up with bland, boring, tasteless dishes. Not true. Native American cooking results in delicious foods and

when you add the unintended health benefits, selling the concept gets even easier.” Many health practitioners subscribe to the theory that our cupboard can act as medicine cabinet, with traditional foods providing a solution to a lot of what ails us. “Our desert terrain is both a supermarket and a pharmacy,” said Carolyn Niethammer, the author of American Indian Cooking. Bitsoie, who lectures on healthy cooking in places like the Mayo Clinic, likes to use organic native ingredients. Garbed in a starched chef’s apron at a Phoenix cooking demonstration, he introduced his menu—Sonoran Three Sisters Salad of tepary beans, acorn squash, corn, and cholla cactus buds, accompanied by a corn chowder with green chiles, followed by a juniper berry and sage-rubbed Navajo lamb dressed in a sumac sauce. “Calling it [just] Native American fare is not fair,” Bitsoie said, “because food is a product of culture and all native cultures are different in preference and preparation. I strive to prepare dishes that elders can taste and recognize as a dish they have had most of their lives.” In November, several of Bitsoie’s culinary cohorts competed in a Chef’s Challenge held at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, where the defending title holder, Nephi Craig, executive chef at the White Mountain Apache tribe’s Sunrise Park Resort, noted, “Native people are emerging from a great interruption in traditional foodways. Precontact, we were expert hunters, gatherers, fishermen, farmers, and cooks. Then came the reservations with high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods and a turn away from the most important ingredient in Native cuisine: healing. Native foods are not a trend—they are a way to recover our communities.” Craig walks his talk as founder of the Native American Culinary Association, or NACA, which is dedicated to the research, refinement, and development of Native American cuisine. “Everything is back to our roots for me,” Craig said. “It’s indigenous principles of community, leadership, fatherhood, and hard work—the kinds of things that embody my life. My home in the White Mountains offers lots of opportunity for traditional cooking. The western Apache demographic covers everything

from desert terrain up to 10,000 feet, so we’ve got an abundance of both wild and cultivated edibles to select from.” Now supervising an all-Apache staff of 14 cooks and 14 waiters at his resort, Craig has been intrigued by the hands-on cooking experience since he was a child. “Food is very powerful,” he said, “and I’ve been given an opportunity to weave a very intricate traditional pattern of my people, Apaches and Navajo.” Although he was trained in classical French methods, something was missing for him. “We used a lot of local ingredients—acorns, seeds, nuts, corn, squash, rabbit, venison—that I recognized as part of indigenous culinary history, but prepared in French style,” he told a Newsweek reporter. “But something was missing and as I got better as a chef, I began to think about using my skills to showcase my own people’s culinary ways.” It was a decision that started him down the path of rediscovery of indigenous edibles, using traditional ingredients to prepare haute cuisine and putting him in the vanguard of Native American chefs. Indeed, Craig is now cooking alongside such chefs as Ron Dimas, the 2013 Chef’s Challenge winner. Dimas took top honors with his Broken Arrow Ranch Venison Loin with a liver and heart ragout, roasted butternut squash purée, and mesquite flour crepes. “I create menus that focus on naturally raised meats, environmentally responsible seafood, and locally grown produce,” he said. “I support the movement toward more traditional food preparation because I’m afraid of losing it. Traditional cooking is so natural because it’s all connected to the earth. Trends are cyclical. [For example] 15 years ago everything was about spa food, and 10 years before that, everything centered around butter and cream. I think we’re headed back into another healthy food phase, perhaps spurred by growing medical concerns. But whatever the reason, I welcome the direction we’re headed in.” While Dimas won the judges’ hearts, the Casino Del Sol executive sous chef, Enrique Alcantar, won the thanks and votes of

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diners with a People’s Choice Award for his Braised Buffalo and White Tepary Bean Cassoulet. “With a native foods focus, I decided to go with lean and healthy buffalo short ribs and tepary beans that have been a diet staple for thousands of years— traditional foods cooked in contemporary style,” Alcantar said. The 25-year-veteran five-star cook also appeased attendee appetites with a chef’s surprise, an opera cake made with smokehouse almond flour and topped with a ganache of aged whiskey. Fellow local skillet wizard Pascual Rodriguez, a 26-year kitchen magician now performing as executive chef at Desert Diamond Casino, is another supporter of traditional cooking methods. “I try to use traditional foods wherever I can because that type of cooking is a standard. There’s nothing uniquely original here; you just combine flavors to make

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it your own version by using colors and garnish—you trick it out here and there to make a nice appearance match a good taste.” There are lots of ignition points to fire up this return to tradition. One of the best known names in Native American cuisine, former PGA golfer-turned-entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist Notah Begay III, is one of those ignition points, as the founder of KivaSun Foods, a seller of lean and healthier bison meat. “If we don’t start making changes in our lifestyles, life spans will continue to get shorter,” he said. Lois Ellen Frank is a part-Kiowa chef-scholar based in Santa Fe and the author of Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations. Frank admits that identifying Indian food as such is confusing, because there are as many variations on a theme as there are tribes—over 500 of them federally-recognized, 22 of which are in Arizona. In her book, she writes that traditional cooking feeds the body wholesome food, which is akin to feeding the soul. Frank, like many chefs, gathers natural ingredients from the land—prickly pear, yucca blossoms, purslane, and other wild edible greens—that she uses in her culinary creations. As the founder of the Coyote Café, she bridges historical with modern in creations such as an ordinary blue corn tortilla complemented by blue corn gnocchi arrowheads and guajillo chili sauce. She partners her Piñon Chile Bean recipe with warm frybread and Navajo zucchini potato soup and what she calls “prairie butter” (buffalo bone marrow). “Food is sacred,” she said. “What you eat is a gift of a person’s culture. It has love. It has thought. It has prayer.” ✜


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Local by Land

At Overland Trout, Greg LaPrad is crafting a menu to cater to everyone from local cowboys to day-tripping locavores. By Edie Jarolim | Photography by Steven Meckler


L a P r ad is no newcomer to the restaurant business. The 32-year-old chef spent eight years at the helm of Quiessence, in Phoenix, where his creative farm-to-table fare earned him a devoted Valley following. But since last October, when he opened Overland Trout in the high desert grasslands of southern Arizona’s wine country, he has discovered that he still has a few things to learn. LaPrad is not only facing the challenges of rural life in Sonoita (population: 818), with logistical glitches like slower, or nonexistent, product delivery. In setting out to define borderlands cuisine, to create, as he puts it, “a Sonoran-Arizona cooking style that’s distinct from New Mexican and Tex-Mex,” the chef is also butting up against the limits of trying to establish a sense of place in a place that already has a distinct sense of its own identity—one that sometimes parts ways with the chef’s concept. Not that LaPrad is trying to impose an outsider’s vision of the region. Quite the contrary. He and his staff have done extensive historical research on the food of the Santa Cruz County area, much of it at the library in nearby Patagonia. This research is the source of the restaurant’s tongue-in-cheek name—“overland trout” is cowboy slang for bacon—and it inspires much of the menu. Take the three oyster dishes that are staples of the shape-shifting bill of fare. LaPrad says, “We saw photographs of piles of oysters behind restaurants in Tombstone. Protected by their shells, they would travel well on trains from the East Coast in the cooler months, even without ice or refrigeration.” As a result, he says, “Oysters were part of the culture and identity of the area. Cowboys on the range for weeks at a time would look forward to their fresh flavors when they came back into town.” Who knew? Not, apparently, many of the locals—which is why running Overland Trout can be a bit of a juggling act. LaPrad reports strong traffic on the weekends from Tucson and Phoenix, and figures that he’ll get the more adventurous diners who are open to trying something new when they come down once or twice a year to visit the wineries. But in order to get the restaurant in the black, he says, “We need to actively engage the people who are around us, to give them a reason to come in for dinner once a week.” This is a very different MO from Quiessence. “With millions of people in the Phoenix area, you can do what you like, and there’s a market for it somewhere,” LaPrad says. “You only need to draw .01 percent of the population and you’ll be a big success.” The Mountain Empire area—as the nexus of Sonoita, Patagonia, and Elgin is sometimes known—totals 3,300 to 3,500 people, and LaPrad estimates that he needs some 75 or 80 percent of them to come in regularly. Combatting suspicions about big city dining snobbery is essential to this enterprise. Rather than being able to rest on his gourmet laurels, LaPrad says, “I have Quiessence to live down, the idea that this is a fancy, special occasion restaurant.” r eg

With fine-tuning based on constantly sought-after diner feedback, the menu now incorporates items designed to appeal to a broad range of tastes while still maintaining a creative edge. The French fries, for example, are dusted with Mexican oregano and chiltepin peppers from the region. And there is always a dish on the menu called Meat and Potatoes that costs less than $20 and is “a tribute to the cowboys who were just hearty, down home eaters, and not big on vegetables,” LaPrad says. The preparations are simple—slow roasted pork, say, with mashed potatoes—and more-or-less vegetable free, but LaPrad also slips in such gourmet garnishes as shaved marinated radishes. Even catering to meat-and-potato tastes is not without complications. This is ranching country, home to large commercial enterprises that produce corn-fed cattle. Many locals are unaccustomed to grass-fed beef, a staple of Overland Trout’s menu. But it cuts both ways in the borderlands; in Mexico, as in most of the world outside the United States, cattle graze on grass. LaPrad says, laughing, “One of our servers is from Nogales, Mexico, and he says that people in his country come up to the U.S. and ask, ‘What’s wrong with your beef? It tastes weird.’” Another ball to keep in the air: Paying tribute to the area’s Mexican roots while cooking outside the mainstream, highlighting a tradition different from familiar Americanized street food like tacos and quesadillas. Instead, the menu might feature Pastel de Azteca, corn tortillas layered with slow-roasted chicken, poblano chiles, panela cheese, and salsa verde—“almost a play on lasagne, a traditional hearty recipe that someone’s grandmother would make them at home,” says LaPrad. The chef’s animation when he talks about his creations dispels any sense you might get of concern about Overland Trout’s bottom line. And while one sector of the community may pose some resistance to his cooking ambitions, LaPrad has had nothing but support from another that’s central to his enterprise—the winemakers. LaPrad began coming down to the area to buy Arizona wines for Quiessence, and was soon buddying up with vintners like Kent Callaghan of Callaghan Vineyards and Todd and Kelly Bostock of Dos Cabezas Wineworks. He fell in love with the landscape, and with the idea of being part of the growing wine industry in Sonoita, the oldest in the state and its only designated American Viticultural Area (AVA). In 2013, LaPrad was at the end of his lease at Quiessence when a space on Sonoita’s main street, where Viaggio Italiano used to be, opened up. “I had the opportunity to make a change, and the stars kind of aligned,” LaPrad says. He is in the process of expanding Overland Trout’s wine list and getting it ready for evaluation by Wine Spectator magazine. LaPrad says, “We eventually plan to have the largest Arizona wine list in the state ... really, in the world.” But he also wants to provide wine lovers with the context of an international selection, to put the state’s bottles on the world stage. This can only benefit the

“We need to actively engage the people who are around us, to give them a reason to come in for dinner once a week.”

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community, too: “We have lots of winemakers here every night who don’t necessarily want to drink only Arizona wines. Drinking something from France, from Spain, from South America, experiencing different flavors, gives them inspiration.” Local spirits such as bacanora, distilled from agave grown in Sonora and only recently imported legally into the United States, are also given the big picture treatment. In the Smoke and Mirrors cocktail, for example, the bacanora is embraced by orange and chocolate Sabra liqueur along with ginger beer. And international classics get a local spin. An infusion of local bison grass into the vodka gives the Sonoita Grasslands Martini a distinctive kick.

incentive to visit this region. Former customers from the Phoenix area head for Sedona when the mercury rises, and LaPrad wants them to consider the Mountain Empire. “It’s beautiful here, too, and we’re at about 5,000 feet so it’s cooler in the summertime.” He still has his work cut out for him, getting the word out to a larger market while securing the home front, but LaPrad is optimistic. “We have a lot to learn about how to best serve this community,” he says, “but so far most people have been willing to trust us and try different things. We hope this continues.” Those of us who live within easy driving distance of Overland Trout fervently hope so too. ✜

Pointing to the sweeping grassland vistas from the picture windows and from the back patio, bartender Steven Blume calls the martini he created “this view in a glass.” The vistas, the rustic equipale chairs, tile floor, photographs of local scenes—they all enhance the sense of place created by the food and drink. And that’s the ultimate goal. “I want people to come from Tucson, Chicago, Boston, or anywhere else, and say they had an experience that was unique to the region, something they wouldn’t find anywhere else,” LaPrad says. The restaurateur is looking forward to partnering with the wineries to convey the message that Overland Trout is just the latest

Above: One step past Meat and Potatoes: Overland Trout’s Pan Roasted Duck Breast comes with a stack of roasted potatoes. Behind, elote con chile (roasted corn with chile) and a jar of pickled vegetable completes the meal.

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Overland Trout. 3266 Highway 82, Sonoita. 520.455.9316.

Edie Jarolim is a freelance writer and editor. Her articles have appeared in Eating Well, National Geographic Traveler, Sunset and Travel + Leisure, among other major publications, and she is the author of three travel guides and one dog book.

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COFFEE • BAKERY • SHOPS Mercado San Agustín Public Market is home to locally owned shops and eateries, representing the best of Tucson’s vibrant culture. Our beautiful old- world courtyard hosts a Thursday Farmer’s Market, weekend brunch and many special events. • 520.461.1107

La Estrella Bakery • 520-393-3320

A Tucson staple with yummy traditional Mexican pastries and pan dulce you won’t find anywhere else in town. Monday-Saturday 7am-6pm , Sunday 7am-2pm

Blu A Wine & Cheese Stop • 520.314.8262

Cheese plates, gourmet sandwiches, seasonal salads, and small bites served in an old world setting - combined with retail cut-to-order cheese, salami, wine, craft beer, fresh olive oil and specialty items - a must-stop for food lovers. Monday-Thursday 11am-7pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-9pm, Sunday 11am-3pm

San Agustín Trading Co. • 520-628-1800/520-971-7803 In addition to handmade moccasins from artisan Jesse Aguiar, this shop showcases fascinating Native American crafts and jewelry. Seis Kitchen • 520-622-2002 Experience the sights, sounds and smells of Mexico’s beloved street food at its finest- warm handmade tortillas, hot off the griddle quesasdillas, fire-roasted salsas or artisan tortas, Seis Style, inspired from 6 culinary regions of Mexico! Dolce Pastello • 520-207-6765

Specializing in Mexican home-made style cakes such as pastel de tres leches in vanilla, caramel, chocolate and 20 other varieties, sold whole or by the slice. Also available home-made style Tamales. Monday-Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 10am-4pm.

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Savor the flavors of the border at this raspadería offering fresh-squeezed juices, ice cream, fruit salads, and yep, snow cones too!

Stella Java • 520-777-1496 Enjoy delicious grab-n-go and espresso drinks made from locally roasted coffee beans at this unique family-owned Tucson cafe. Monday-Saturday 7am-5pm, Sunday 7am-3pm, Open for Farmer’s Market La Cabaña • 520-404-9008 Offering an artful collection of furniture and decor including traditional Talavera, blending Spanish Colonial and classic styles from around the world, antique and contemporary. Estudio De Piel • 520-882-5050 • This beautiful skin studio is the perfect place to treat yourself. The professionals at Estudio De Piel provide relaxing massages and clinically effective skin care treatments. Transit Cycles • 520-352-9490 Tucson's premier shop for commuter, cargo and touring cyclists. Monday-Friday 10-6, Saturday 9-5, Sundays closed MAST • 520-495-5920

A local lifestyle boutique. Specializing in handmade jewelry, leather goods, accessories, home goods & select furnishings. The three co-owners create the lion's share of the stock, artfully curating an enticing selection from fellow independent designers and artisans. Tuesday-Saturday 11am-6pm, Sunday 10am-2pm

Agustín Kitchen • 520-398-5382

Chef/owner Ryan Clark's special brand of Local New American Cuisine, focusing on ingredients "made and grown in Southern Arizona", including beef, produce, olive oils, breads, flour, cheeses, etc. Local wines, artisan brews, spirits and more are reflected in the outstanding craft cocktail selection, the wine list (with over 15 wines by the glass) and a large selection of Arizona seasonal draft beers. Tuesday-Friday 11am-10pm, Saturday & Sunday, 10am-10pm, Happy Hour 3pm-6pm, Late Happy Hour Friday & Saturday 10pm-12am, Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10am.

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In Ajo, community members are turning empty lots into gardens, school kids into cultivators, and youth into leaders, seeking a total food system transformation for their town. By Kati Standefer | Photography by Jeff Smith


rr eeq uvi r o l u t i o n es cover crops


Ajo students, hard at work: (From right) Abbileigh Morris, Kyle Watkins, Roberto Narcho, and Jose Luis Martinez work together to tend the gardens at the Loma Bonita garden (previous page) and at the restored Curley School (above).

you turn in Ajo, there’s another garden. There’s a garden for WIC clients at the health clinic. There’s a garden at the elementary school. There’s a community garden over near Marcela’s off Route 85, a market garden tucked into the neighborhood on McKinley Street, and two gardens at the Curley School. Behind Ajo’s sole beer and burger joint, 100 Estrellas, clusters of cilantro peek happily out of a raised bed. And at St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, pea shoots curl up from a cast-off toilet tank. A tomato plant rests fashionably in a pair of upright, soil-filled jeans, which are clipped vertically to the chain link fence with bungee cords and a pair of bright red, yellow, and blue suspenders. There are more gardens, of course, but let’s stop there. t seems every w her e


he gardens are perhaps the most visible proof of the food system transformation occurring in Ajo, a town that for most of its history has been referred to as a “food desert.” Established in 1918 as a mining town, in a region with an average annual rainfall of seven inches, Ajo has always relied on food imported from elsewhere. The town flourished alongside Phelps Dodge’s New Cornelia copper mine for more than 60 years, reaching a boomtown population peak of 10,000. When the mine closed in 1985, however, the town slowly withered. Today, the population in Ajo hovers around 3,300. Unemployment tends to be twice the rate of Tucson or Phoenix, and half of Ajo’s working age adults are not in the labor force. Highway 85, as it threads through town, is lined with slumping houses, boarded-up restaurants, and chipping paint. Obesity, diabetes, and food insecurity rates are high. Just 40 miles north of the Mexican 66  M arch - April 2014

border, the green-and-white trucks of Border Patrol agents wait in every pullout south of town. “I think people can make a snap judgment driving down the road,” said Ajo community artist Morgana Wallace-Cooper. “You might blink and miss it. Or you might look out and see a derelict house. What people see on the main road isn’t a reflection of what’s actually happening here, though. It’s a vibrant town.” That vibrance is readily apparent in the work of the Ajo Regional Food Partnership (ARFP), a group of organizations dedicated to creating a more sustainable local food system in the rural Ajo region. In 2011, the collaboration received $225,000 in funding from the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona. It has since leveraged funding from other sources to begin building, from the ground up, a community food system—from production (gardens and farms) to education (food and nutrition programs) to preparation (prepared food sales, microbusiness development, and cooking demonstrations) to markets. It’s hard to say where the change began. In 2009, when the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona approached the International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) with a request for collaborative funding proposals, Ajo’s local food movement already had legs. The Ajo Community Garden Consortium had developed its first plots in the old Curley Elementary School playground in 2007. In 2008, Nina Altschul founded Ajo Community Supported Agriculture (now the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture) when neighbors talked about the lack of local, organic produce available in town. Altschul connected the CSA with Crooked Sky Farms in Phoenix, the closest farm to Ajo, and each week a member drove the 100 miles to pick up shares. Eventually, Ajo CSA members began holding gardening workshops and food

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demonstrations, establishing their own gardens for local shares, and selling produce at the farmers’ market. With so many ideas and projects already on the table, the Ajo Regional Food Partnership’s task was to coordinate collaborations that could accomplish more than any individual organization or group could alone. As its first step, the ARFP tackled infrastructure, removing asphalt from proposed garden sites, transporting dirt from Tucson, installing fencing, and purchasing a chipper to build rich soil. “We’re in this for life,” Altschul said. “I’ve seen over and over how a group of people with a good idea can go out and make a change.”

more zealous and the teachers were incredibly resistant. But eventually it got to where it wasn’t a chore; it was actually kind of fun.”


elanie Daniel, AUSD’s garden program director, said classes in the garden are 45 to 55 minutes long. Students typically rotate between three stations, two of which are hands-on and facilitated by volunteers or interns. At the third station, Daniel teaches a short academic lesson—the anatomy of a bee, for instance. Margot Bisoll of Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge visits monthly to teach the youth about pollination and local wildlife. “We relate it to the Sonoran Desert, to Ajo, to the food they’re tasting. The kids are game to try anything,” said Bisoll. “We end every class with a food tasting,” said Daniel, her eyes gleaming. “Always local. But this coming Monday will be the first time the students get to taste something they’ve grown.” Although Daniel is proud that the program helps students achieve Arizona state standards in Sciences and Social Sciences—she’ll sometimes see her handouts up in other teachers’ classrooms—she said the most important part of the program goes beyond individual skills. “I want the kids to have a feeling of empowerment that they’re not dependent on the trucks coming in,” she said. “It’s pretty special when a student starts lighting up, saying, ‘Oh! It’s garden day.’”


s local food projects were ramping up all over Ajo, over on Morondo Avenue, Gayle Weyers had a vision. The big, sprawling white house across the alley from her home had been empty for several years, neglected since one of its occupants passed away and the other moved to a nursing home in Phoenix. “I Three days a week, classes convene in the courtyard of Ajo Elementary for lessons on everything from kept looking at it with such sadness,” Weygardening to beekeeping, soil science to nutrition—a program that’s proved popular among students. ers said. She began scheming. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, she thought, if she and her husband Don could purchase the lot and bulldoze n Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, the courtyard of Ajo the house? “I started to dream about a garden up there, and fruit Elementary fills with students. They plop down on hay trees, and terracing the hillside,” Weyers said. But when she asked bales or crouch beside vegetable beds. They get their the owner of the lot, he said no—he wasn’t ready to part with the fingers dirty. They plant seeds. They discuss a worm’s four hearts, property. or pollination in the Sonoran Desert. She kept asking. Although the first school garden program in the Ajo Unified Two years later, he agreed. The Weyerses purchased the lot on School District began in 2008, only five classes had access to the November 9, 2010. By Christmas, the house was demolished, in garden. It wasn’t until this school year that gardening became what Gayle referred to as “the opposite of a barn-raising. Friends compulsory for all students in prekindergarten through seventh came, everybody came,” she said. “We recycled everything we grade. could—even the insulation, the pipes, the plywood, the trusses on “The first year, the kids were a little slow getting into the the roof.” By January, they’d planted the first five trees, and Don garden and the teachers were incredibly resistant,” said Fran began carving vegetable beds with a pickaxe. Driver, an Ajo Unified School District (AUSD) parent and CEO Loma Bonita—Spanish for “pretty hill”—got its first major of Desert Senita Community Health Clinic, which partners with boost in the fall of 2011, when the Weyerses received a $6,000 the school in the program. “The second year, the kids were much


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grant from PRO Neighborhoods and the Pima County Health Department to complete terracing, stabilization, and fencing. The garden now includes three community beds, a chicken coop, several overflowing compost heaps, and endless tangles of flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables. Big beige gourds hang from the fence; small curls of dry wood crown the fence’s top prongs. Atop the site, where old concrete stairs still protrude from the ground, the Weyerses have built a thatched-roof ramada from railroad ties and dried palm leaves. It’s the perfect place to sit and have coffee, looking out over Ajo. “It has truly been a neighborhood project,” Gayle said, “with lots of folks pitching in and stopping by to talk.” Pitching in goes both ways: The Weyerses give away extra produce, offer the community beds with water free of charge, and keep the bottom gate unlocked so neighbors can drop off compost. Gayle and Don recently began work on Loma Bonita East, an empty plot of land less than a block away, which a community member offered them. Gayle hopes the plot will eventually contain four robust beds—one for them, and three for neighbors. She is also busy maintaining a demonstration garden down at St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, where she is growing carrots in a raised pallet bed—“To show old people they can garden standing up!” she tells me. (She’s responsible for the sweet peas in the toilet tank and the tomato plant-in-pants, as well.) “This is like a second career for both of us,” Gayle said. “Our 70  M arch - April 2014

A new pecking order: Mentors of the 4G program hope students, like Jose Luis Martinez, will gain real-world job skills that transcend the garden.

kids have come here, they love it, and they’re taking back organic gardening for their children.”


n what used to be a gravel lot bursting with Bermuda grass, two young men tussle an irrigation line into place. One wears a camouflage hoodie; the other, a black bandana with small white skulls. Behind them, neat rows of radish greens and purple lettuce spill out of the dark soil. A fruit tree rests in a deep hole. The men jostle the tube carefully, glancing up at one another to coordinate their movements. The young men are Anthony Garcia and Bobby Narcho, and they’re part of a job-training program called Get Going, Get Growing, known around town as the 4Gs. It’s perhaps the best illustration of Ajo’s large-scale collaborations around food: The 4Gs are trained and organized by ISDA, but funding comes through the Ajo Regional Food Partnership, and they operate as a sort of roving garden support team, working on plots all over Ajo. “When the partnership got started, after the second or third year they realized the volunteer base wasn’t enough for all the projects,” said Christine Johnson, the 4Gs’ Youth Program Coordinator. In a town with high unemployment and low prospects for youth advancement, the solution was simple: Hire help. Altschul

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proposed a gardening-based youth-empowerment program to Tracy Taft, the executive director of ISDA, and after the two designed a grant through the ARFP, the first round of youth (ages 17-25) began the program in early 2013. “I saw it as a capacity-building program,” Altschul said. “Building teamwork, articulation skills. Seeing the results of your work. For a youth to put a seed in the ground and three weeks later pull out a radish is very powerful. Sometimes we need to see the results of our work.” Most of the 4Gs don’t come to the program with much gardening knowledge, and more often than not, this is their first job. That’s okay, said ISDA’s Director of Economic Development Programs, Aaron Cooper. “We’re teaching basic core soft skills,” he said. “Can you show up on time? Can you work while you’re there? Gayle Weyers (middle) works with a regular group of students at the Loma Bonita garden, Can you be responsible? Can you commuteaching them how to plant, tend, and harvest food. nicate professionally? Some of them may decide this agriculture stuff is really where they want to go with their careers, but we don’t think that will be For those who do take to local food work, Cooper said, the everyone, and we’re fine with that.” position may lead them further into the field. “The other vision is that it’s a mentor connection,” he said. “They’re getting to work with people throughout the community. If, say, the community courtyard garden really takes off, then Nina’s already worked with a few of them, and she may think, ‘Hey, here’s an employment opportunity. I want them to come work with me, I’ve already worked with them.’” Most of the 4Gs’ work is predictable: digging holes, moving rocks, turning soil, planting, composting. The 4Gs help Melanie Daniel at the Ajo Edible Schoolyard Project, work with Morgana Wallace-Cooper on community art installments, man booths at local festivals, and tackle one-time projects. (The 4Gs cite shoveling a pile of donated manure as one of their favorites projects; Narcho showed me a music video he put together of fellow intern Kyle Watkins digging into the brown pile.) The 4Gs also help unload shipments of food from the Tucson Food Bank, including handing out donated produce from gardens across the community. These days, there are five interns on the team, and the success stories are accumulating. One former 4G member now works maintenance for a local hotel. Intern Abby Morris has advanced so that she now can supervise half of the team. She’s worked for the program since February, and recently applied for a position 72  M arch - April 2014

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as the Desert Senita Community Garden Coordinator, she tells me shyly. Her seven-year-old daughter, who often accompanies her to the work site, now has her own garden. Narcho hopes to one day compose soundtracks for movies. “My plan B is welding,” he said. For now, though, “it’s cool to see that stuff grow from a seed into a beautiful, beautiful plant.”


t the Curley School campus, the sounds of hammers ring out. Drywall scraps, closet doors, and salvaged chalkboards lean against the walls of the old elementary school, where a team of local apprentices are transforming classrooms into guest bedrooms. The construction is ISDA’s final stage of renovation at the Curley School, a seven-acre educational campus at the heart of Ajo. The elegant two-story high school, built in 1919, towers over town, with a smooth, high brown dome and distinctive Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Empty for years after the mine closed and the population plummeted, ISDA purchased the property in 2003 as part of their arts-based economic recovery programs. In 2007 they re-opened the renovated high school as apartments for an artist residency program. The former Curley Elementary School is next. If all goes as planned, by the end of next year the horseshoe of classrooms will be an international retreat center. Twenty-one bed and bath units will open onto the center courtyard where Ajo CSA’s Farm Ajo flourishes. And the pomegranate trees, chicken palace, and loamy vegetable beds will feed the guests. To Ajo’s local food advocates, perhaps the most exciting part of the retreat center is a new commercial kitchen, which, pending inspections, will allow guests to eat local during their stay. The commercial kitchen also functions as a small business incubator, said ISDA’s Aaron Cooper, “if people came up with [value-added]

products or something else we’ve identified as really marketable.” Gayle Weyers is optimistic about using the kitchen to capitalize on the area’s robust mesquite pod harvests. “We purchased a hand-grinder, and we’ve collected dried mesquite pods, and we’re grinding those pods into mesquite meal or mesquite flour, which is quite nutritious, non-gluten, and delicious,” Weyers said. ISDA Maintenance Manager and Ajo native Adrian Vega sees this export model as essential to the revitalization effort. “We can’t expect everybody to come here,” he told me in the courtyard. Vega is working with winter resident John Cox to recover an old beekeeping practice in the valley, and envisions Ajo products like honey on the shelves in Tucson, Phoenix, and beyond. And successful specialty food businesses, Cooper told me, may create a job market for 4G interns to step into. “Youth retention has definitely been an issue,” Cooper said. “Certainly youth who go on to tertiary education have a tough time finding a space to come back to. So we’ve certainly been looking for ways—how do we support entrepreneurship? How do we support alternative modes of employment?” To Altschul, these jobs are essential to the long-term success of the local food projects, inviting a wider portion of the community into the dialogue. “When we pay people, we invest in people,” Altschul said. “Our work here is really to change the food culture.” “It’s important that local food be available to everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, nationality, income. Local food movements can often turn into a privileged people’s culture,” Altschul said. “If you build a strong network, then the network will sustain itself.” ✜ Kati Standefer is an MFA candidate at the University of Arizona, where she teaches creative writing and composition.

Under the care of the student gardeners, the restored Curley School will soon open its doors as an international retreat center—with a commercial kitchen capable of processing the very produce grown in these gardens.

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Growing Health, Preventing Disease In Nogales, Arizona, the Mariposa Community Health Center is harvesting well-being, one program at a time. By Jonathon Shacat | Photography by Jeff Smith

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n W ednesday mor nings in Nogales, Arizona, 15 or 20 people convene at the Mariposa Family Learning Center, work boots on, gloves in hand. They’re part of the Nogales Garden Club, a casual, social group of backyard gardeners that convene once a week to talk, eat, share gardening advice, and, as of late, help others with their own backyard gardens. This is just one project of the Mariposa Community Health Center (MCHC), a nonprofit organization working to increase community health in this border town. In 2012, the health center started a local food system initiative, known as Cosechando Bienestar (translated as Harvesting Wellbeing). While its programs operate only in Santa Cruz County and Nogales, Arizona, some gardening programs attract participants from Mexico and outside Santa Cruz County, said Matthew Fornoff, Food System and Policy Specialist for MCHC. Cosechando Bienestar “is a collaboration funded by a threeyear grant from the USDA Community Food Program. Its purpose is to connect local residents with local food producers to increase the consumption of fresh, healthy foods. The initia-

tive promotes development of a local food system as something key to both health and economic development. Our success will only be as strong as our partnerships,” said Susan Kunz, Chief of the Health and Wellness Department at Mariposa Community Health Center. MCHC is working with lead partner Avalon Organic Gardens in Tumacácori to provide local residents with training every week at Avalon Gardens through the Community Garden Leaders program. After attending 13 training sessions at Avalon, participants will put their new knowledge and skills to work back to Nogales, working on projects ranging from helping neighbors to install and improve gardens, to working with schools and churches, and communicating food production information through the media. Fornoff said participants range in age from 40 to 60. As of January, 10 individuals had completed the training and started their community outreach projects. Cosechando Bienestar was also integral in getting the Nogales Farmers’ Market up and running. After about six months of planning, getting community input, and creating an advisory

Left, four young women take advantage of the Friday Nogales Farmers’ Market, which accepts SNAP and WIC vouchers, to stock up on fresh produce. Below, several members of the Nogales Garden Club convene to help maintain a recently installed garden.

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Above, from left, Santos Yescas, a program manager at the Nogales Community Development, and Susan Kunz and Matthew Fornoff, of the Mariposa Community Health Center, keep an eye on the Nogales Farmers’ Market, which they helped found. Right, a regular vendor at the Mercado offers homemade dill pickles.

committee, the Mercado officially opened in early April 2013. “We’ve had about 40 unique vendors sell at the market — everything from farmer-producers to small home businesses and backyard gardeners. As part of the original plan, the Mercado became qualified to accept SNAP benefits, Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program benefits, and Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) Cash Value Vouchers. We’ve been lucky to have strong support from some key vendors who provide high-quality product and who agreed to stick with us every week through the slow start-up months. Now, we’re at a point where we have eight to 10 vendors every week,” Fornoff said. Customers are primarily Hispanic residents of Nogales. By accepting WIC and SNAP benefits, the Mercado tries to serve lower-income residents while also reaching out to higher-earning people who can help support the vendors, Fornoff said. Public awareness about the Mercado is continuing to grow and community support seems strong, but they still need people to come out and support the vendors every week, Fornoff said. Interest has slowed down, possibly due to the weather and the holiday-season interruption, as well as the fact that it gets darker earlier—the Mercado runs from 3 to 6 p.m.—giving shoppers a shorter window. Magdalena Garcia, of Nogales, Sonora, has been particularly active in Cosechando Bienestar programs, selling jamaica flowers and nopales at the Nogales Mercado, participating in the Nogales Garden Club, and taking classes through the Community Garden Leaders project.  “It’s important to me because I like gardening,” she said, adding that some of her interests include planting garlic, corn, and lettuce, and making compost for fruit trees. As part of their efforts to support access to healthy foods, Cosechando Bienestar also supports entrepreneurial food-related 78  M arch - April 2014

businesses, with Nogales Community Development as the lead partner. They provide business start-up and financial education, as well as small business loans. Fornoff said MCHC recently started developing a local food policy council to help Nogales become a community that supports residents’ rights and abilities at a policy level to produce their own food, sell that food locally, and improve their individual and community health. The council is working to engage community leaders and stakeholders in facilitated discussions that will lead to the formation of an organized group that can take on this task. MCHC also sees its work as directly serving the goal of fighting many diet-related diseases facing their constituents—most notably, individuals living with diabetes. With help from consortium partners, MCHC developed a series of educational classes for diabetics. After attending a few of these classes, an individual qualifies for a special “healthier” food box through the Nogales Community Food Bank, Fornoff said. The local food movement in Nogales is just getting off the ground, Fornoff said. “Before working here, I spent a couple years working in local food projects around Tucson, where these efforts have been going on for decades. In Nogales, to me this seems all brand new—particularly the concepts of local food systems and local food policy,” he said. “It seems the local food ‘movement’ is just reaching Nogales now with this program and a few others, so we’re starting everything pretty much from scratch.” ✜ Mariposa Community Health Center. 1852 N. Mastick Way, Nogales. 520.375.6050.

Jonathon Shacat has covered news and features along the U.S.-Mexico border in both Arizona and Sonora for more than six years.

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SHORTENING THE LINE 80  M arch - April 2014

As one of every five people in southern Arizona struggles to put enough food on the table, leaders in emergency food relief are asking: What else can we do? By Megan Kimble

Photography by Jeff Smith

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he food pantry at the Community Food Bank is surprisingly quiet. It’s quiet like a warehouse is quiet—not soundless, just diffuse. The line is full—40 or 50 people wait, muted, for their turn at the front. A blond teenage boy, headphones thrumming. A middle-aged Hispanic woman, a curly-haired toddler rocking on her hip. A white-haired man, leaning over a walker. It might take 20 minutes to get to the front of the line; it might take two hours. Either way, at the end of this wait, there is a box of food. It’s not a lot of food—a jar of peanut butter, three cans of vegetables, a bag of rice, maybe a box of cereal. Depending on the day, the box might contain a watermelon, a bag of salad greens, or a handful of tomatoes. But for the 1.2 million Arizonans that struggle to get enough food to feed themselves and their families, it is a lifeline. “It’s huge and incomprehensible to put a face and voice to hunger,” says Michael McDonald, the CEO of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. “Hunger is broad, diverse, and, unfortunately, it’s deep.” Just two weeks into his tenure at the helm of the region’s largest food relief organization, McDonald is still wrapping his head around the statistics. (He came to the food bank from Habitat for Humanity Tucson. “I like basic, tangible services—food, housing,” he says.) Today, nearly 50 million Americans—14 percent of the country’s population—are food insecure, which means they often lack access to safe, healthy, nutritious, and sufficient quantities of food. Seventeen million of those are children. “Everyone complains about the conditions of our roads. Everyone can see it’s a crumbling infrastructure,” McDonald says. “But behind closed doors, there’s the crumbling infrastructure of a family’s household budget that is just insufficient for basic necessities like food.” In Arizona, one out of every four adults is food insecure. In Arizona, one out of every three children is food insecure—that is, 30 percent of children in Arizona are at risk for hunger, a rate that puts us third in the nation for childhood food insecurity. In some communities, like South Tucson, the statistics are even grimmer. Over the course of the year, the 14,000-square-foot warehouse

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Robert Ojeda leads a team of 25 people at the Community Food Resource Center, which is known nationally for its innovative approach to building long-term food security.

at the Community Food Bank will receive, sort, and distribute 27 million pounds of food. “Who is the face of hunger in southern Arizona?” McDonald asks. “It’s people we know. “I think people think that those who come to the Food Bank are unemployed, chronically unemployed, or unwilling to work,” he says. “That’s just not the case. They often have jobs, they have income. It’s just insufficient income.” Indeed, it’s a truism in the world of food banking that hunger is a symptom of poverty. According to Janet Poppendieck, the author of Sweet Charity? Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement, if the federal minimum wage—currently $7.25—had kept pace with inflation from where it was in the 1970s, it would now be $16 an hour. That increase represents the difference between an annual income of $15,080 and $33,280—between requiring assistance and maintaining self-sufficiency. If your wages are insufficient, if you are often uncertain about how you will feed yourself or your family, the U.S. government tries to offer some certainty. You can walk in the door of a food bank and walk out with a box full of food through what’s known as The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP. In Arizona, for a single-person household, if you earn less than $1,211

Every year, the 14,000-square-foot warehouse at the Community Food Bank receives, sorts, and distributes 27 million pounds of food.

a month, you can apply for continued relief through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) or WIC, the Women, Infants, and Children nutritional assistance program. And many do. Every month, the food bank serves more than 225,000 people in southern Arizona; every month, it helps 2,000 individuals and families submit or start an application for SNAP benefits. Every day, 365 days a year, the food bank distributes enough food for 63,400 meals.


don’t come every month to get a food box,” says Josefa Peralta, 40. “Only when we need it. I think we should be conscious. When you don’t need it, there are other people who need it more.” Peralta has been coming to the food bank on off for five years to pick up a box full of food, which she takes home to her husband and four children. Her husband works as a groundskeeper at The Westin La Paloma Resort and makes $1,500 a month—a sum that’s quickly spent on rent, utilities, and childcare. “Even though we’re working a lot, it isn’t enough,” she says. “And food can be so expensive.” Peralta also worked at La Paloma, although she had to quit in September to take care of her mother, who was ill with Alzheimer’s. Now enrolled in English classes—she speaks only Spanish—and studying for the GED, Peralta plans to go back to work in March. In the meantime, with only one income, the family became eligible to receive SNAP benefits. “The support they give us is so wonderful,” she says. The extra money helps her buy such staples as milk, eggs, cheese, tortillas, and some vegetables like chiles, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, carrots, and celery. She shops around for the lowest prices—the milk is cheapest at Fry’s, the chicken at Food City—but even so, “the food stamp money doesn’t last all month.” When her four kids, who range in age from 10 to 16, are on vacation from school, “they eat a lot more, because they’re home all day. They’re all growing kids, so they need to eat a lot.”

The food bank enrolls individuals and families in the SNAP program through the Gabrielle Giffords Family Assistance Center. Nadia Khatib, an Outreach Specialist at the GGFAC, says its clientele has increased considerably since October, when the Affordable Care Act moved all applications for federal assistance programs online, making it harder for the elderly and others without internet to access. “On top of that, when the federal stimulus package expired [which cut $5 billion from SNAP] I got 10 phone calls a day from people asking what would happen to their benefits,” she says. “If you’re getting 100 dollars a month in food stamps, a 20 dollar decrease is a huge amount.” Most families experienced cuts of up to $65 a month—enough to drive up visitations at food banks around the country by as much as 10 percent. In October, Peralta received a SNAP-issued debit card loaded with $428 dollars. By January, that number had fallen to $407. “It’s noticeable,” she says. “It’s so great to have this help, but it’s going down, and food prices are still very high in the store.” As funds are being cut for hunger relief programs like SNAP, the number of people showing up at food banks requesting food has grown. At the Amado and Green Valley branches of the Community Food Bank, which serve primarily rural families, McDonald says they’ve seen a 30 percent increase in visits from the year prior. 2014 marks the 50th year since President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty—a war “we obviously haven’t won,” McDonald says. Tackling hunger—and therefore poverty—is “a complex issue. There are hungry people today and you have to feed those people. In the food banking world, it’s called ‘feeding the line.’ You just feed the people in line who show up and get in line,” he says. “But we want to shorten that line.”


ust south of Silverlake Road, down the straight and gray Cottonwood Lane, past small, box houses, quiet cars, and knobby speed bumps, beyond a gate adorned with a block-letter sign, you’ll catch a glimpse of green.

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Francisca Cruz tends her garden plot with her son, Erik, who is a member of the youth farm apprenticeship program. Three years ago, this land was a vacant plot of dirt; today, thanks to the work of Cruz, Pain, and other community gardeners, it brims with food. 84  M arch - April 2014

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“Are we going to get away from traditional food boxes anytime soon? Probably not. We’re just not going to solve hunger that quickly,” McDonald says. “But if we don’t invest as much as possible in the local food security piece, then we’re going to be trapped in this cycle of poor nutrition and a handout model that no one wants, not even the people receiving these handouts.” Three years ago, Las Milpitas—which means “little fields” in Spanish—was an abandoned plot of land—long, dusty, shadeless. Today, 94 garden plots brim with vegetation. Broad mesquite trees spread shade. Thick foliage emerges out from dark soil, wide leaves that hide heads of cauliflower or bunches of broccoli. There is kale: curly, lacinato, purple. Spicy arugula and perky splays of lettuce. The beginnings of basil; the promise of sweet summer corn. Some plots are adorned with yellow sticks, a signal to other gardeners that the produce in this plot is for the picking—for the sharing. The sum of these small impressions is striking, inescapable. This is a lot of food. “Las Milpitas is an example of a process that really captures the essence of what we want to do,” says Robert Ojeda, the director of the Community Food Resource Center (CFRC), a branch of the Community Food Bank that focuses on long-term food security and sustainability. The CFRC began 13 years ago when a few food bank employees, focused on access to health food and nutrition, built a small demonstration garden next to the food bank. “This effort brought some vibrant discussions at our food bank, to talk about what the end goal of our work was and is now,” Ojeda says. “Looking at the national trends, resources are more and more limited [for emergency food relief]. At the same time, you have a growing number of folks that need support. So, we asked, what else can we do?” The answer: “Provide sustainable community food security.” That is, they realized they could help to shorten the line at the food bank by fostering opportunities for economic development, by enabling people to grow their own food, and by supporting communities so they have the capacity within themselves to be self-sufficient. Over the past decade, the work of the CFRC has expanded to include free, bilingual training on home food production, youth farm training apprenticeships, and support of 50 school gardens and four farmers’ markets that accept SNAP and WIC vouchers. Five years ago, the CFRC created a home gardeners’ cooperative to support those wanting to install gardens in their own backyards. Those at the receiving end of the garden installation had only to commit to attending three garden workshops over 86  M arch - April 2014

the course of the year and to helping other community members install their own gardens. Today, more than 250 gardens in low-income homes throughout Tucson owe their beginning to the CFRC. “The demand for this program is huge,” Ojeda says. So they wondered: Why not take that expertise—that interest—and root it a community? When City High School approached the Community Food Bank and asked to partner in developing the space that would become Las Milpitas, “We first went out to the neighborhood, before we did anything,” Ojeda says. “We said, ‘There’s this space next door. What would you like to see happen in that space?’” The community consensus was clear: They wanted the capacity to grow their own food. Anna Pain, 54, dug in right away. “My neighbor saw me trying to fill some pots in my backyard and she said, ‘You know, they’re giving away plots of land next door for free,” she says. “I didn’t have a green thumb in my body. I really didn’t think I could do this, but here I am!” It’s a sunny winter’s day at Las Milpitas and Pain has work to do. Aphids have been munching on her broccoli. She pulls out a spray bottle filled with soapy water and starts her assault. When she pulls back a beefy leaf on the edge of the plot, she comes face to face with a bright white sphere of cauliflower and exclaims an ecstatic “Oh!” Pain spent nearly a decade working as a cashier at Safeway until 2011, when she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by chronic fatigue and pain. She believes it was a series of unlucky car accidents that damaged her nerves and catalyzed the fibromyalgia; in any case, she could no longer bear the physical strain of cashier work—standing on her feet for eighthour shifts, lifting 50-pound bags of cat food or 20-packs of water bottles. “My thumbs were giving out on me. I’d get home and I wouldn’t be able to move them,” she says. After looking for work for over a year, Pain decided to pursue a lifelong passion and get certified in massage therapy. She now works two days a week as a massage therapist at Barefoot Studios, which allows her ample time to recuperate—and to garden. “Working in the garden helps me. It keeps my joints limber. It’s

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grounding. Especially in the summer, when the ground is hot— it’s healing for my hands.” Pain has been receiving SNAP benefits for the past year and a half. Before she started gardening, she says that she and her daughter, 36, didn’t eat nearly as many fresh vegetables as they do now. “We’re eating much healthier,” she says—and they’re spending less money. “I used to spend maybe $50 a week at the store. Now, I go maybe every two to three weeks and just buy canned foods and herbs. I’ll get a few pieces of meat and stick them in the freezer—and they sometimes stay there a long time! It’s a hope shared by many in the CFRC. “We’re seeking opportunities for people not only to eat healthy and have access to nutritious food, but also for them to make some income off of that endeavor,” Ojeda says. Any gardener at Las Milpitas—in fact, any home gardener in Tucson—has the opportunity to sell surplus produce at one of the four farmers’ markets sponsored by the food bank. If successful, they can become community cultivators and gain access to a quarter-acre plot of land. In addition to all the food they’re producing, Ojeda measures the impact of the hundred gardeners at Las Milpitas by the extent to which they’ve become change agents in the community. “We have this group there, a community organization, that is so excited to see themselves as having the ability to change things and is also really connected with each other and the space,” he says. When Francisca Cruz joined the farm three years ago, she was just excited to be able to garden, to learn how to plant, harvest, and cook healthy foods for her husband and their three kids. Together, they started tending chickens at the farm and taking the eggs home; soon, they were coming to the farm three times a day. When they noticed the flavors of the foods they were pulling from the ground, they stopped buying as much food at the grocery store. As the ground yielded crops, as the community blossomed and grew, so did Cruz’s sense of pride in what her family—and the community—had accomplished. “I’m very proud to belong here, to the farm, and to live here, in this neighborhood,” says Cruz, who speaks Spanish but has started taking English classes. Cruz is one of a dozen gardeners that make up the Las Milpitas de Cottonwood Community Organization. “We have a plot here, but we’re also working together 88  M arch - April 2014

to try to improve our neighborhood—the streets, the streetlights. We do community events in the garden. Our goal is to get more people from the community involved with us.” Cruz also serves as the vice president of the Santa Cruz Southwest Neighborhood Association. After nearly a decade in the neighborhood—her family moved to Tucson from Sonora, Mexico—“We hardly knew any of our neighbors,” she says. Now, little by little, they are getting to know them. “People bring recipes to the garden. With, say, the kale, which we weren’t accustomed to growing or eating, they help us and say, ‘Oh, you can prepare it this way.’ It’s so exciting to see your plot when your vegetables are almost ready to harvest. To know that you planted them and then you yourself are harvesting them.”


ecause of projects like Las Milpitas, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona is now nationally recognized as one of the half dozen most innovative food banks in the country. “We started with a little garden here [in Tucson] and moved to really having a national role,” Ojeda says. Of the 120 full-time staff at the food bank, about 20 are working for the CFRC—a level of support he says is unparalleled in other food relief organizations. In October, the Community Food Bank hosted a national conference of food banks, bringing more than 130 organizations from across the country to Tucson. One goal of the conference was “to develop a national platform and allow us to have a place at the table” in policy conversations, Ojeda says. A persistent question throughout the conference was one the food bank had been wrestling with for years: How do hunger relief organizations juggle a system of emergency food relief—one dependent on the excess of a flawed national food system—with investments in long-term food security? (Investments that, more often than not, require work outside of the existing food system and, thus, outside the interests of the large food corporations that continue to corporations that continue to fund many food banks.) While traditional food banks measure their impact according to the quantity of calories distributed, many leaders are coming


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“I don’t know how long food stamps will be around,” she says. “I hope I can grow enough stuff so that I don’t have to worry about going to the grocery and so I don’t have to rely on food stamps.” around to the fact they must also consider the nutritional quality of those calories. McDonald’s vision is for programs like those supported by the CRFC to become central to the work of food banking, rather than peripheral. “Traditional food banks tend to look at pounds that are brought in and the pounds that are distributed to what number of people,” Ojeda says. “We’re a food bank that distributes millions of pounds of food. But what is the true value of a home garden? If you had to buy the 30 to 40 monthly pounds that a home garden produces, how much would it cost? What is the nutritional value of that?” Although he says they now have people working to answer these questions, many remain difficult to answer. “What is the impact that training and engaging with a young leader can have on our community?” What might be easier to measure is the impact access to healthy foods might have on the 500,000 Arizonans who suffer from diabetes—an epidemic that costs the state $3.8 billion a year in medical costs. “I think we might need to re-position ourselves as a preventative healthcare organization,” McDonald says. He’s of a mind that building a secure local food system and fighting hunger is one and the same. “I know a criticism [of local food] is that some of this is still more expensive and time con-

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suming. If you have four jobs and access to a plot, do you even have time to garden?” Instead of asking people to come to the food bank to fill emergency food boxes, McDonald proposes the food bank might harness the energy of community volunteerism to help others grow their own food. “It could be as simple as: ‘Can I help you garden?’” McDonald says that food banking is often reduced to a logistics problem—how do we distribute the most pounds of food to the greatest number of people in need? “But there needs to be this other, social impact, entrepreneurial ecosystem of food production, education, preparation—a farm-to-table approach, which is a holistic ecosystem approach,” he says. “And that’s looking at community assets instead of what gets shipped to us from USDA or from large grocers.” ✜ To read this story in Spanish, translated by the University of Arizona National Center for Interpretation, visit Megan Kimble is the managing editor of Edible Baja Arizona. For the latest on food in Baja Arizona, follow her at or @megankimble.

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Hola, Coyota Meet the empanada’s Sonoran cousin. Text and Photography by Scott Calhoun


to Sonora, I became obsessed with a certain Sonoran pastry known as the coyota. I bought a dozen in Guaymas, another in San Carlos, two more in Hermosillo, and one in Magdalena. When I returned to Tucson, I sought them out at Mexican bakeries. Although I shared a few with friends and family, I mostly hoarded them. In January, as I drove my daughter across Texas to take her back to college, I made sure we had a dozen in the back seat. To me, they had become as essential as coffee. In fact, I’m eating one right now, doing my best to keep brown sugar crumbs off the keyboard. n a r ecent tr ip

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Invented in Sonora, the coyota is a truly regional treat. Why are they so good? For one, they’re versatile. Coyotas are the perfect complement to breakfast coffee; a great rejoinder to spicy savory dishes like egg and chorizo burritos, machaca, and carne asada; or a lovely dessert, especially when paired with coffee or tea. Coyotas can be topped with a scoop of ice cream, as you would do with pie, or dipped in milk like a cookie. Coyotas are also a great conversation starter. If you show up with coyotas at a dinner party, you are almost guaranteed to have a postprandial treat most of your guest won’t have tried; in addition, you’ll have a story to tell.

The word coyota literally translates as “female coyote,” but is also Sonoran slang for a girl of mixed Indian and Spanish heritage. In a bakery, a coyota is a flat, usually round, stuffed pastry not entirely unlike a turnover and similar to an empanada (with some important differences). The tradition of the Sonoran coyota began in 1954 in Villa de Seris—a village that’s since been absorbed by greater Hermosillo—when a Spanish woman, known only as La Espanola gave her neighbor, a baker named Doña María González Ochoa, a recipe for this sweet treat. Ingredients include wheat flour, butter (or vegetable shortening), salt, and Mexican brown sugar (piloncillo) sold in pylon-shaped chunks. The bakery that Doña María subsequently founded, Coyota’s Doña María, now produces up to 11,000 coyotas a day for markets in Sonora and for export to Arizona. In addition, competitors have proliferated. In Villa de Seris, coyotas are cooked in traditional wood-fired ovens, although other bakeries employ standard bread and pizza ovens. The popularity of coyotas has spread all over Sonora, so much so that even the bakery inside the new Guaymas Walmart produces them. Variations on the original coyota are widespread: you can also choose from a whole host of fillings in addition to the original brown sugar (piloncillo): flavors like caramel (cajeta), burnt milk caramel (jamoncillo), dates (datil), guava (guayaba), figs (higo), peaches (durazno), pineapple (piña), and quince (membrillo). The good news is that you don’t have to go to Sonora to sample coyotas. Take a tour of Tucson’s Mexican bakeries and you’ll find a different style of coyota at nearly every stop. Although coyotas are typically round, other shapes are popular in Tucson. Erica Franco, of La Estrella, explains that because many of Tucson’s Mexican bakers come from Central Mexico, they have dressed up the standard Sonoran coyota so much that when Sonoran customers see them they sometimes exclaim, “That is not a coyota!” Franco says that Tucson’s bakeries are unique in that, like La Estrella, most make their coyotas in a Napoleon’s hat shape with fancy crimped ruffled crust. The consistency of coyotas varies from maker to maker, and ranges from flaky pie crust, semihard cookie, hard bread, crusty bread, to hard cookie. Franco says, “Our recipe is a balance. It aims for a texture between hard cookie and empanada.” Indeed, there is a difference between coyotas and empanadas.

Coyotas are the perfect complement to breakfast coffee; a great rejoinder to spicy savory dishes like machaca and carne asada; and a lovely dessert.

Above, Maria Elena Gallegos, an employee at La Estrella, shows off their Napoleon’s hat-shaped coyota. Below, at Dolce Pastello, owner Ahydée Almazan sells flat, round, Hermosillo-style coyotas.

edible  Baja Arizona 


Yes, they are both stuffed, turnover-like pastries made from flour, but a coyota is bigger (in diameter), flatter, flakier, and harder. Coyotas also tend to be less uniform than empanadas, and have beauty marks like air pockets and burnt spots. To taste varieties of coyotas filled with caramel, dates, and other goodies, you’ll need to make a stop at Dolce Pastello in El Mercado, where Ahydée Almazan sells the flat, round, Hermosillo-style coyotas that bear her mother’s name: “Doña Ofi.” After all, her mother, Ofilia Almazan, does make them. When I talked with the younger Almazan at Dolce Pastello, she shared a game-changing tip about coyotas: “You can reheat them in the toaster.” Sonoran Pop-Tarts! Why hadn’t I thought of this? I can’t decide which Tucson coyotas I like best, but I think the versions made at La Estrella and Dolce Pastello are both top-shelf examples of two very different styles. Visiting these bakeries, filled with bread smells, Spanish, and smart and lovely young bakers, reminds me of how much I like living in Tucson. I’m already gear94  M arch - April 2014

ing up for my next adventure, the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo mountain bike race, and because they travel so well, taste so good, and offer so much fuel, you can bet that some coyotas will be coming along in my backpack. ✜ Dolce Pastello. 120 S. Avenida del Convento. 520-207-6765. La Estrella Bakery. 5266 S. 12th Ave. 520-741-0656. Coyotas Doña María. Sufragio Efectivo 37. Hermosillo, Sonora. 52-662-250-5883 Scott Calhoun is the author and photographer of six books about the American Southwest. He spends as much time as possible in the Mexican backcountry searching for new plants and eating local specialties. Scott runs Zona Gardens, a garden design studio in Tucson.



Dominic, Kristel, Alexandra & Isabella of Isabella’s Ice Cream. Locally sourced. Lovingly made. Really, really good. What we are all about.


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Coyotas 2 pounds flour + 5 tablespoons for filling
 1 pound of shortening
 6 piloncillos (brown sugar shaped into pylons available at Mexican grocery stores)
 2 tablespoons yeast
 1 cup water
 2 eggs, beaten for brushing


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In a cup of water dissolve 2 piloncillos and set aside. Crush the other 4 piloncillos and mix in 5 tablespoons of flour. Mix well by hand and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl add flour, shortening, yeast, and water with dissolved piloncillo. Mix well until it reaches a doughy consistency. Add more water if needed. Knead dough by hand and roll into 40 balls. With a rolling pin, roll each ball into tortilla size and shape. Add 1 to 1½ tablespoons of piloncillo flour to 20 of the rolled out dough tortillas. Cover with the other dough tortilla and bend in the edges.

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Makes 20. Recipe courtesy of


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Mission: Michelada Seeking the history and mystery behind the borderland’s best—and spiciest—cerveza preparada. B y D ave M ondy | P hotography


G ener al shambles through saloon doors dusty from dirt bullied airborne by the battle without. Battle? No! Revolution! Times like these call for a beer, but not just any beer—this beer shall have lime juice and hot sauce added to it, for that is what El General wants for him and his men; someday soon, Pancho Villa himself shall drink such a beer from this very saloon, for this is the year 1910, and this is the town of San Luis Potosi, and it is during the Mexican Revolution that Don Augusto Michel has created the drink which will forever be named after him: The Michelada! So goes one story. l



ust try it!” someone said. “Beer mixed with Clamato and hot sauce and what else?” I thought. “No, no, no.” But I tried it—and I loved it: The Michelada. “Where’d this come from?” I wondered. •••


l General’s story, it turns out, is just one of the many dubious stories of origin for this famous beer cocktail (cerveza preparada) that came out of Mexico. Another story, more prosaic, says the mythic michelada met its moniker via the Tecate corporation in the 1950s. Hoping to hide the tinny taste of their cans, Tecate made a marketing push to suggest their beer was best imbibed with lime and salt, and from there, the recipe grew as— No, such a suggestion is too cynical (even for me). Perhaps the real tale is told by one Michel Esper Jorge in the 98  M arch - April 2014


S teven M eckler

1970s, related in issue No. 10 of Vive (a magazine out of San Luis Potosi), who claims that he came to play tennis at the local club and asked for a beer accompanied by a glass of ice, lemon juice, hot sauce, and Maggi seasoning sauce. “What is that called?” asked a bewildered waiter. “Well, I guess it’s a Michelada,” Michel replied. This anecdote has the advantage of occurring after the advent of readily available ice cubes in Mexico, crucial to the michelada. But still: Are we really to believe someone telling the story of a drink named after themselves? Maybe the etymological explanation is most compelling. Michelada is simply an elision of “mi chela helada.” Chela being a term for a light beer in Mexico (similar to the American allusion of lager as “blonde”), when you ask for your chela cold, you get: Mi Chela Helada… Michelada = My Cold Beer. Sounds good to me. •••


propos that the michelada has a murky past; the michelada itself is murky, and I’m not just referring to the Clamato clouding the beer. Ask five different enthusiasts and you will get five different answers to the question, “What is a michelada?” If you really want to start a fight, you can ask, “Who has the best michelada in Tucson?” In certain parts of Mexico, the terms chelada (beer with lime and salt) and michelada (the chelada with other ingredients added) swap meanings—and in Tucson, the meaning of the michelada may be found in Clamato—a spiced mixed of clam and tomato juices—or Tajín—a spice mix of chile, salt, and lime—or anywhere in between. I’m an amateur etymologist but a professional booze writer—which is to say: I know what I like, and know what I don’t

know. I knew I liked micheladas and knew I didn’t know enough about them. So, after a serious survey, I set out to taste as many of the recommended micheladas as my schedule/ liver permitted. •••


At BK Tacos, your michelada comes with an appendage—an upside-down beer, ensuring you get even chelada-cerveza distribution throughout.

t Restaurant Sinaloa, located on Prince near Oracle, the menu proclaimed a panoply of Mexican seafood, the flatscreens played only soccer (i.e., football, i.e., Copa Mx on the crawl), and an abundant arsenal of hot sauces awaited, expectant, at every table. When my companion ordered a beer, a plain beer, it arrived with a salt-rimmed mug pre-filled with a finger of lime juice (she added beer, sipped, and proclaimed it great). Yet no michelada appeared on the menu. “Can I get a michelada?” I asked our server. “What beer?” she asked. As I’d later understand, the michelada often arrives at the table as a mixture of Clamato and secret spices in a separate glass, to which the customer adds their preferred beer—which they must specify. Upon further questioning, our server suggested I order the “special” michelada. “They mix it up in back,” she said. “They use some of the shrimp juice.” Cooks bringing the composition of cooking to cocktail creating? I had to order it. The concoction landed on the table with no accompanying beer—the beer was already within the massive mug, heavy enough that every hoist to my lips could qualify as a curl. Huge, heavy. But when my meager mortal’s muscles managed a sip? It was delicious. There was briny shrimp juice in there, but something else, too. Something they wouldn’t say. Those who care—care enough about the michelada—care enough to not give away their recipe. But Sinaloa’s version was one of my favorites. Their brine—an elusive flavor. Briny magic hanging in my mind, we walked out as a slo-mo footballer hung, mid-air.

edible  Baja Arizona 





ariscos Chihuahua wants you to believe you are under the sea. All walls are coated in oceanic murals with three-dimensional plaster pieces sprouting out of the paintings— waves crest over your head and coral formations form at your feet. In one corner, a lighthouse looks out over the roiling water; in another, a paint-and-plaster waterfall cascades over a light switch, down the wall, and eventually eddies around a box of hot sauces. Below the cash register, some denizen of the deep hovers in the shadows of a rocky cove. Even in the bathroom, a pod of dolphins smile buoyantly in a tableau above the bowl. It’s the sort of simulacrum that can seem silly, easy to skewer—but actually, it grows on a person, eventually becoming charming. This particular Mariscos, located off Speedway Boulevard and Swan Road, is a small space, and the aquatic vibe infuses all inhabitants. (A far cry from the small seafood stand that opened over 40 years ago in Nogales.) It made me want to settle in and try, say, a whole fish, as the table next to me had done. But I was on a michelada mission, and there were more stops on my list. So, instead, I ordered up a seafood cocktail—which not only turned out to be one of the best seafood cocktails I’d ever ingested, but also offered itself as perhaps the perfect partner to the michelada. As at the Restaurant Sinaloa, I experienced a bite of brine, though this time it came from cocktail’s shrimp and scallops and octopus (and even sea snails!), bobbing in a bath of Clamato, onion, and jalapeño. Paired with the well-balanced Clamato mixture in their michelada, I started pre-planning for August afternoons. A snack of seafood cocktail and Mariscos michelada sounds like a sweet antidote to summer heat. “Good michelada?” my server asked. When I responded in the affirmative, she said, “They mix them up in back,” pointing back at the chef. The theme repeating—a chef concocts a proper michelada. I nodded toward a chef who may or may not have nodded at me—then I swam outside and floated across Speedway to Sir Veza’s.

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eally? It’s named Sir Veza’s?” was my initial thought. I wouldn’t seek out steak at some place named Arnie A. Sada’s, or try out salsa fresco at a spot called Pete O’Daguyo’s—so I wasn’t thrilled to be looking for a beer-based beverage at Sir Veza’s. But inside the bar (a muscle-car-and-mariachi mash-up marinated in a sporty aesthetic), patrons unbiased to pun-y names enjoyed many a michelada. It made me smile. And it seemed especially Tucsonan: college boys and gals out on the town, and many patrons in between, were all watching basketball on the flatscreens while hoisting huge chalices filled with Clamato-colored beer. And I do mean huge chalices. I was shocked at the gargantuan goblet set before me, filled—in addition to the usual michelada ingredients—with a side salad’s worth of diced cucumber (and several lemons thrown in for good measure). “You sell a lot of these?” I asked my bartender, Daniel. “Oh yeah,” he said. “Slow night I’ll maybe make 10 of them. On a weekend night, 50 or 60.” He held up a huge plastic jug filled with their freshly made michelada mix. “On a Saturday or Sunday, I’ll go through five or six of these.” I only went through one chalice myself, meal-like as it was, but it was satisfying. •••


The décor at Mariscos Chihuahua is all aquatic— complete with a waterfall pour of beer to refresh your michelada.

ith its glowing bar and live projections of the solar system, Sky Bar always reminds me of a hip Starship Enterprise— an unlikely milieu for a memorable michelada. But indeed it was. Sky Bar’s version is more of an interpretation than a direct translation of the michelada. The addition of muddled cucumber gave off light, effervescent aromatics, and something was different about the spiciness, too. Dena, my bartender, plunked down the source: a habañero and jalapeño bitters. The drink still had that beer-and-savory base that I’d come to love, with a refreshing twist. “Do you sell a lot of these?” I asked. “Yeah,” she said. “On Sunday, we sell more of these than Bloody Marys.”


Friday, April 4, 2014 · 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Come celebrate the ART in pARTy and celebrate a world of WINE, FOOD, and ART in the lobby and courtyard of the Tucson Museum of Art in historic downtown. Taste more than 100 different wines from famous wineries and sample fantastic cuisine offered by 27 local restaurants. Bid on fabulous items including wine, art, travel, experiences, and more in our silent auction! Tickets are $75 per person ($45 may be tax deductible. CRUSH VIP tickets are $150 ($90 may be tax deductible).


Saturday, April 5, 2014 · 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM A gala evening of wine, dinner, auction, and dancing at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. The Saturday night live auction, conducted by Bonhams, International Auctioneers and Appraisers since 1793, is the perfect way to add to your collection. Elegant dinner follows the auction and then dancing with the George Howard Band! Tickets are $225 per person ($100 may be tax deductible). Tables begin at $1,800. You must be at least 21 years of age to attend CRUSH events.

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Photo, previous page: Everything on the table—At BK Tacos, Tori Silva spreads out all of the ingredients that go into just one michelada.

“I’d never really heard of the michelada before moving to Tucson,” I admitted. “Me neither,” she said. She talked about the michelada as a typical hangover cure, but then moved on—she wanted to say that it was more than that. Something a person could drink after work, too. “I think of it as a working man’s drink … you know, the beer is diluted, [so] you can have one at the bar, go home, and not feel guilty. You earned it.” •••


K’s Carne Asada and Hot Dogs! What a boisterous finale! Though often known as one of Tucson’s premiere purveyors of Sonoran dogs (along with El Güero Canelo), BK’s seems to have some serious word-of-mouth michelada momentum, too. I’d heard their name murmured many times among enthusiasts, and after my visit, I could see (see: taste) why. Bouncy bass-and-beats give off a subtle clubby undercurrent beneath the quirky corner bar comfort of the décor—complete with Lotería cards lacquered into the woodwork of the table. I sat down in front of El Sol and El Sandia and, not knowing their secret portents, feared the worst. But when Tori Silva swooped the micheladas onto the table, immediate relief arrived in beverage form. Much the same, I’m sure, as the swarms of hung-over supplicants who seek this relief every Saturday and Sunday at BK’s. In many ways, their michelada melded together many of the best elements of the others I’d enjoyed. The pleasingly-ponderous chalice recalled the heft at Sinaloa and shape at Sir Veza’s, the Tajín coating the rim (instead of the standard salt) reminded me of the topping on many previous favorites, and though there wasn’t exactly the added brine of a few of my previously preferred micheladas, there was definitely … something. Something … Something super-tasty. Unique. But what was it? “The secret,” Silva said. “What’s in it?” “People always ask … They want the recipe … They say, ‘Just tell me one ingredient.’ It’s secret,” she repeated. “What’s as much as you can tell me?” “Fresh-squeezed key limes,” she said, “Clamato, celery, salt and pepper, and …” she trailed off, her grin an ellipsis that, quite distinctly, would not lead to an answer. As I’d later learn, customers often try to recreate the recipe at home and then, hoping for a hint, report on their progress to Silva. Similarly, when she mixes up a to-go batch for tailgating at Wildcat games, many a plea is proffered by super-fans. In all cases, Silva remains forthright as a sphinx. Still, sensing the presence of a michelada master, I had to ask more questions. For example: What would you say to those who’ve never tried a michelada? “A lot of people in the U.S., when you tell them about it, they say ‘ewww. That doesn’t sound good,’” she said. “I say, ‘trust me. When you try it …’” She smiled. “They’re hooked.” Do you still enjoy the michelada? “Yeah!” For hang-overs?

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“Yeah!” Is that the primary draw of the michelada? “No,” she said. People enjoy them after work, at all times—but then she said, “But yeah. Saturdays, 9 a.m., I’ve got hung-over people, couples still in their clothes from the night before, lined up outside the door.” So, even though micheladas can be found in many U.S. cities with significant ties to Mexico, is there something very Tucson about the michelada? “I feel it’s definitely more popular in Nogales and Tucson; it’s got that border vibe. Sometimes, when I go up to Phoenix, I go to a Mexican restaurant and ask for a michelada and they don’t have it.” She then spoke of an act so repellant she could barely bear to state it aloud. Sometimes, well … (if there are children in the room, you may wish to ask them to leave) … a restaurant used straight-up tomato juice instead of Clamato! So even if a Phoenix restaurant offers a michelada, “I have to ask them what they use,” she stated, dead serious. Eventually, I had to know when she first encountered the michelada. “In San Carlos … in Sonora … back in … I don’t want to …” She didn’t want to age herself, but the dangers of spinsterhood seemed dim in light of the confidence attending the following phrase, buoyed by a smirk bespeaking memories: “I’ve always said, the best thing about Mexico are the micheladas and the men.” She laughed, then excused herself to serve more micheladas and Sonoran dogs, which she swore were the best in Tucson. Legions of her michelada adherents would certainly agree. •••


ut really. Who has the best michelada?” That’s a question I heard all-too-often. Fortunately, this is Edible Baja Arizona and not Buzzfeed, because I’m a bit allergic to ranked lists. Sure, I appreciate insta-drama, but what about nuance? It’s a question unanswerable, for there are so many more michelada spots left to visit. Mi Nidito, Los Portales, La Botana— these are but a sampling of the proper nouns proffered when I asked that very question, that of the best michelada. Ultimately, I offer myself as Enthusiast, not Expert. Rather than follow my footsteps, ask for a michelada at your favorite Mexican restaurant, even (especially) if it’s not on the menu. At worst, you’ll feel silly for a second. At best, you’ll enjoy an evening resulting in a morning where you’ll wake up with this thought: “I need a michelada.” ✜

Restaurant Sinaloa. 1020 W. Prince Road. 520.887.1161. Mariscos Chihuahua. 999 N. Swan Road. 520.881.2372. Sir Veza’s. 4699 E. Speedway. 520.323.8226. BK’s Carne Asada and Hot Dogs. 2680 N. First Ave. 520.207.2245. Dave Mondy is a freelance writer/imbiber, as well as a college instructor.

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Booze News by Dave Mondy

All the news that’s fit to drink


ocktails on tap? Yes, and depending on your disposition, this is either terrifying or fantastic (obviously, I’m leaning towards the latter). Regardless, Gio Taco continues to surprise and satisfy in its debut downtown, and now offers six signature cocktails on tap. There’s the Gringo, with brown rice horchata, homemade coffee liquor, vodka, and a splash of Pepsi, the Gio Punch, with pineapple granita, strawberry-infused rum, and pineapple sour, and others. If you’re looking for a bargain, hit the happy hour from 3 – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; everything on tap is half-off, including cocktails, wine, and beer. Gio Taco. 350 E. Congress St. #150. 520.882.8226. Gio isn’t the only new spot downtown sporting a liquor license. The beautiful new Cartel Coffee is now serving beer and wine, including many craft varieties (as well as their own brews). Along with Sparkroot, that marks two spots in the heart of downtown where you can fuel up with premium caffeine, get your work done, and then becalm yourself with a beer, decompressing from said work—all without ever stepping outside. And if you stay up too late, there’s always the venerable stalwart Shot In The Dark, still open 24 hours a day. Cartel Coffee. 210 E. Broadway Blvd. Shot In The Dark. 121 E. Broadway Blvd. Another craft brewery? That’s right. Tucson’s acquires another local brewery with John Adkisson opening Iron John’s Brewing Company. Adkisson has been a big name on the local beer scene for years; his home brews have earned him gold medals in national competitions, he’s served as a consultant for Nimbus, and has taught classes at Brew Your Own Brew for over a decade (10 years? He should be tenured!). Iron John’s hopes to be selling bottles (there will be many varied brews) by March 1. Iron John’s Brewing Company. 245 Plumer Ave. 205.737.4766. Brew Your Own Brew. 2564 N. Campbell Ave. # 106. 520.322.5049. The pairing of altruism and alcohol is a time-honored tradition. And there will plenty of opportunities to do just that in the next two months.The Alzheimer’s Association will put on A Wine to Remember on April 28 at 3 p.m. to raise money for those affected by dementia, while the vaguely-named The Event will raise money for The Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson at La Encantada on Sunday, April 13, complete with lots of fine wine, spirits, and food.

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Don’t miss the big Crush Party at the Tucson Museum of Art from 6 - 9 p.m. on April 4; there will be over 100 different wines to taste, food from 26 different restaurants, and a large silent auction. Tucson Museum of Art. 140 N. Main Ave. 520.624.2333. Café Roka, the great gourmet spot in Bisbee, is celebrating its 21st year by opening up a wine bar. Not only will there be plenty of wine/food pairings on special tasting menus, but much of both will be local; fare will be featured from local favorites like Juliette’s Beaumont’s Guadalupe Baking Company and Margaret’s Olives, and many of the highlighted wines will be from Cochise county. On your next Bisbee excursion, for a real up and down (or down and up) experience, head deep down into the old abandoned mine, then surface for a classy repast accompanied by local vino. Café Roka. 35 Main St., Bisbee. 520.432.5153. On May 3 and 4, the Tucson Folk Festival is coming back to downtown Tucson for its 29th year—with Thunder Canyon Brewery as a sponsor, you’ll be able to enjoy some local alcohol with your acoustic riffs, always a winning combo. If you’re seeking more beer and music, yet find you’re feeling less Llewyn Davis and more mariachi, head to Casino Del Sol and ask for a michelada during the Tucson International Mariachi Festival, starting on April 30. Want to have your new brew, cocktail, event, or opening featured in Booze News? Email with submissions, including full contact information.

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The rush on Whiskey Del Bac is surprising and flattering.  In response we are building a new, large-scale craft system that will be up and  running in September. Until then we are working our little distillery as hard as we  can to supply your local bars and restaurants. Thank you for lifting our spirits.

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Book Reviews by Molly Kincaid Ottolenghi and Tamimi are anything but fussy, and possess an admirable sense of restraint. But their instructions are thankfully quite specific and detailed. Their philosophy includes a lot of touch, taste, experimentation, and getting your hands dirty. Shape Eggplant-Wrapped Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Butter in your hands gently. Take care not to overcrowd Cauliflower and Cumin Fritters in the frying pan. Gingerly wrap Lamb Kebabs with grill-marked slivers of zucchini. “Very (!) lightly dust” your Brioche bowl with flour. Good food is worth taking extra care, and this book is a Zen master’s effort in moderation and creativity. A gorgeous study in techniques and flavors for the curious chef, Ottolenghi will not disappoint.

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook By Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ten Speed Press, 2013)


hy, in the Golden Age of the food blog, do we need paper cookbooks? Do they satisfy some antiquated need for holding something in our grubby little hands? If any good, they are destined to become tomato-sauce-splattered, rag tag, and scrawled with notes—hardly worthy of coffee table display. But I would argue that a physical cookbook can offer a philosophy of cooking in a way that a blog cannot. It represents months of thought, curating, and editing. As a medium of communicating a philosophy of food—both intuitive and learned—Ottolenghi is peerless. (That is, aside from the other cookbooks, Plenty and Jerusalam, written by this London chef duo, which are definitely competitors.) Ottolenghi was actually the first recipe collection by these two restaurateurs, published in the United Kingdom in 2008, but it only recently became available to Americans. Influenced by both chefs’ hometown of Jerusalem and more classical training in London, Ottolenghi is full of fresh, mostly simple recipes rooted in the anchor Middle Eastern flavors of lemon, garlic, tahini, yogurt, feta, and mint. “Lemon juice can transform boring to exciting in a squirt,” they write. Occasionally, the book calls for more elusive ingredients like sumac and za’tar, and these are generally worth seeking out when recommended. 112  M arch - April 2014

One Soufflé at a Time: A Memoir of Food and France By Anne Willan (St. Martin’s Press, 2013)


nne Willan is not a household name in the vein of Julia Child or Simone Beck, but perhaps it should be. From the same generation, and close friends with the famous cookbook authors (she refers to Beck by her pet name Simca), Willan arguably did as much as either to advance women’s place in the culinary arts and demystify French food. In any case, she generally led a fabulous and enviable life worth reading about. Willan is best known for her celebrated cooking school, La Varenne, which she opened in Paris in 1975 and later moved to Burgundy, to rival the entrenched Cordon Bleu, which she had


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attended years before and had found stuffy. While still in her 20s, British-born Willan worked as head chef at Château de Versailles, during a period when it was undergoing renovation and grand dinner parties were hosted there. Later, she decided on a whim to move to America, where she cooked and nannied for Vogue food editor Tatiana McKenna; impressed the legendary New York Times food critic Craig Claiborne with her Shrimp and Cheese Soufflé so much that he offered to mentor her fledgling food writing career; and eventually became an editor herself at Gourmet in its heyday. Later, she worked as the food editor at the Washington Star—in D.C., she befriended then law clerk Stephen Breyer, whose recipe for Strawberry brûlée is included in the book. In fact, her life reads a little like Forrest Gump—“So, I went to the White House. Again.” So I cooked at Versailles. No biggie. Willan is incredibly humble and candid about her luck and her talents. She chalks it all up to a healthy appetite from birth, constantly referring to her pudginess and her lack of planning what was to come next. Her memoir is a riotous and entertaining, and, at times, poignant read, studded with old-school French recipes that promise to take all day but will doubtlessly be delicious. There’s a refreshing lack of concern for health—in the era in which she cooked, people simply practiced portion control. Willan includes her own recipes as well as classics like Blanquette of Veal with Morels, Ribboned Bavarian Cream, and Red Wine Risotto. You won’t find anything including kale or coconut oil here, but there’s something to be said for learning the classics. On her Cherry Tomato Salad and Coronation Chicken Elizabeth (with curry mayonnaise—homemade of course), she writes, “Both are what I would call granny food and right back in style!”

The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from around the World By Sandor Ellix Katz (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012)

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he first time I tried to make sauerkraut, it rotted. I used two whole heads of cabbage and in the end, the whole gloppy, smelly mess went into the compost. The experience proved to be so frustrating that I didn’t attempt fermenting vegetables again for a year or so. This time, when The Art of Fermentation landed in my lap, I had much better luck. The truth is, from my personal (admittedly limited) experience, fermentation is primarily trial and error. Even with Katz’s book, I managed to oversalt one jar, and another was oddly spiced. But several jars have been fantastic, and besides, the joy is in the process of experimentation. The waiting. The smelling. The cautiously taking the first bite. It is the eureka moment when you realize that you have cultivated your own little bacterial colony on your kitchen counter, simply by submerging vegetables in salty water. Katz is a gentle and nurturing guide on this journey. This is Katz’s second tome dedicated to fermentation, and he is generally known as the “it” guru of the field, likely in no small part because of the profound personal quest he has undertaken to fully learn the history and scientific processes of fermentation. Particularly interesting are his chapters on the co-evolution of bacteria existing in the world and in food, and our own human evolution. He gives a persuasive argument as to why we should all be consuming fermented foods with relish, as our guts and immune system need live bacteria in order to function properly. Katz famously has suggested that consuming live-culture foods improves the condition of living with HIV, which he has had since 1981. Here, he also posits that eating fermented foods is actually safer than eating raw foods, as foodborne pathogens such as salmonella and listeria cannot survive in a stable community of bacteria. In a world where foodborne illness outbreaks are increasingly common, this is something to consider. He also discusses how fermentation can improve digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, and celiac disease, which have become much more common in recent years. In addition to fermenting vegetables, Katz instructs extensively on the myriad products one can ferment: mead, wine, cider, sour tonic beverages, yogurt, and even beans, seeds, nuts, meat, fish, and eggs. (Eggs? Yes, eggs). In short, Katz has created an all-encompassing introduction to live-culture foods—and probably the only guide to fermentation one will ever need. ✜

The joy of fermentation is in the process of experimentation. The waiting. The smelling. The cautiously taking the first bite.

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.

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The Best Time of Year by Jared R. McKinley | Illustrations by Danny Martin


his time of year makes even the worst gardeners feel like horticultural magicians. You can grow almost anything right now. The cool season crops are still going strong and the warm season crops are starting to grow and produce. As temperatures warm up, you will want to increase watering frequency, especially on those windy, balmy days in April. For most crops, feeding with kelp meal is ideal. Get the water-soluble kind, which is much easier to get into the ground and, thus, to the root zone of your plants. As temperatures increase, aphids become a problem on some greens. Spray them off with water, or just pull them up. Sometimes a plant is telling you that it is done when it becomes susceptible to problems. Move on and plant some tomatoes.

The Most Famous Vegetable, er ... Fruit For the backyard gardener, the king of all crops is the tomato. Tomatoes are very rewarding, provided you have acquired the appropriate variety for your purposes. They produce copiously—often the biggest challenge is in managing your yields and preventing waste. Few people would frown at the sight of an abundance of fresh tomatoes, but they also lend themselves to storage. You can dry them, make soups and freeze them, assemble salsas and sauces and can them, martinos roma

or even ferment them. Tomatoes don’t get boring with their countless variety. What is more, those tasteless store-bought tomatoes that were picked green and ripened with ethylene gas pale in comparison to even the most pedestrian variety of vine-ripened garden tomatoes.

Which tomatoes should you grow? First of all, if you get the timing down, you can grow any type of tomato in Baja Arizona. What you have to keep in mind is the timing of the variety. For example, most of the large-fruited varieties need to be planted out as soon as possible to take advantage of the fruiting window before the temperatures get too hot. When the highs get into the triple-digits, tomato flowers stop producing fruit. So if you have a variety that needs 80 days to mature, you should start them indoors in December or January and plant them out as soon as frost is no longer a threat (or if you plant them outside before then, protect young plants from frost). If you are looking for varieties that are time-tested, go to your nearest plant nursery, where you’ll find Early Girl, Celebrity, Super Sweet 100, Yellow Pear, Husky Red, Roma, Golden Jubilee. These all produce well, without you having to set them out too early. But once you have played around with the

edible  Baja Arizona 


[E.H.] standards, experiment with the called vining tomatoes, sprawl many other amazing varieties all over the place and need to out there. Be aware that some be caged (see below) while dechains sell varieties not always terminate tomatoes are bushy, appropriate for our seasons or stout, need no staking, and are climate (many are sourced from more suited for pots. granny catrell California). For example if you see Planting Beefsteak tomatoes available in April, there probably isn’t enough time for that If you start from seed, it is best to start in plant to produce fruits before the heat sets in—yet another pots, but be sure to keep them well watered. When the plants reason to shop locally! have grown three to five sets of leaves, you can transplant to There isn’t enough space to discuss the variety of tomatoes your garden. Starting from seed allows you the widest array of in these pages—I could fill a book with tomato tidbits. But choices. You are also certain of the history of your plant; that some varieties are better for slicing, some for drying, some for is, you know if it was sprayed with pesticides or synthetic fertilsauces; you will have to sleuth for yourself what works best for izers. If you don’t have the time to get things going from seed, what you need—which is part of the fun of growing for yourpurchasing plants from a local nursery suffices. There will be self. Tomato varieties differ by color (yellow, pink, red, purfewer varieties to choose from, but the choices are usually more ple, almost black, striped) and shape (round, almost square, time-tested and easy to grow. While you can grow almost any pear-shaped, oval, even warty). Indeterminate tomatoes, also variety in Arizona, many varieties, like the nationally popular

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reisetomate tomato Beefsteak tomato, need more time and must be planted early. When you are ready to plant in the ground, consider trying an old trick that will eventually help the plants be more sturdy and fruit more copiously (a trick that would kill many other garden plants). Snip off the lower leaves of your seedling, and plant it deeper. Seedlings will send out new roots from their stems. Most tomatoes are indeterminate and need stakes, cages, or some sort of support that doesn’t block the sun. I prefer the rectangular cages over the more common conical cages. Though more pricey, they are sturdier and last longer. Conical cages tend to collapse as the plants get big and loaded down with fruit. Tomatoes prefer moderately rich garden soil, and benefit from a nice layer of mulch at the base. Plants do best when planted in full sun. As the heat of summer arrives, you can cast a bit of shade on them. But a smarter move is to pull up

older plants and start new ones. Those newly planted plants will grow and start to fruit when the monsoon comes. Often, the smaller-fruiting plants, like cherry tomatoes and pear tomatoes, can produce even in the heat, especially if you give them a good layer of mulch and keep them watered. Tomatoes can keep producing until the first frost, and plants that have been through a hot summer can sometimes find a second wind when the cooler temperatures of fall arrive. If they don’t, pull them up and plant something new. If you haven’t planted your tomatoes yet, stop reading this. Go to your local plant nursery and pick up some plants. In just about a month, you will be making salsa or spaghetti sauce from scratch—or maybe you will just be popping yellow pear tomatoes into your mouth in the garden. Many tomatoes don’t make it to the kitchen!

Plant Now Cool Season Crops: You can almost plant anything right now. Keep planting new successions of your favorite leafy greens, root crops, and cool season herbs, but select shorter season varieties—pay attention to how many days each variety needs to mature. Make sure you have enough time for your variety to mature and produce before temperatures stay in the triple digits. Look also for slow bolting or heat-resistant varieties, which are less likely to go to flower as the days get warmer. Some of those crops may tend to bolt (go to flower) when the temperatures get warm. Warm Season Crops: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, tomatillo, corn, beans, basil, sunflower, potatoes, artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, squash, melons, pumpkin, amaranth, cucumbers, gourd, horseradish, epazote, burdock, Malabar spinach, New Zealand spinach, roselle, sweet potato. You can plant any perennial plants throughout the warm season. Just beware that the later you plant them, the more carefully you should monitor watering. Plant herbs like oregano, thyme, tarragon or lemongrass, fruit

trees, artichoke, asparagus.

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Easy Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut at Home

hroughout history fermented foods like sauerkraut found their way into almost every cuisine in the world not only because they store well and taste delicious, but also because they also encourage healthy digestion. In the days before we knew about microorganisms, we knew that the results of eating fermented foods made our stomachs feel good.

Today, we know that these foods encourage the development of healthy digestive flora, which make the nutrients in food more readily available for absorption. Home-fermented foods are often superior to those available in stores because, outside of concerns for shelf life and stability, they’re able to posses more bacterial diversity. Making your own sauerkraut is a very simple endeavor. Indeed, it’s so simple that you might be tempted to try more ambitious fermentations!

You’ll need: Cabbage (you can use any kind), whey (optional) and sea salt (avoid iodized salt; it can prevent the proper organisms, mostly Lactobacilii species, from developing). You will need a jar with a lid, something with which to smash down the cabbage, a cutting board, and a knife. Cut up cabbage into the sort of chunks you prefer to eat. Anything from a coarse cut to thin strips will work. Stuff the cut cabbage into jar and smash down with a blunt tool. The idea is to crush the cabbage down, layer by

layer, so that it becomes covered in its own juices. As you go continue to fill the jar and crush, layer by layer, you will want to add sea salt, and perhaps whey. If you use only salt, you will want to use 1 – 2 tablespoons for the whole jar. If you use whey you can decrease the amount of salt you add. Whey assists the development of the

Lactobacili and some say it makes for a better flavor. If you want to avoid consuming too much sodium, using whey decreases the need for salt. As a sidenote: If you want to use whey, you can make your own by taking high quality yogurt (like good Greek yogurt) and putting it into cheese cloth suspended in a jar. Leave at room temperature overnight and the whey will separate from the curd. Once you extract the whey from yogurt, you’re left with what is essentially cream cheese. Leave a little head space—don’t fill cabbage all the way to the top of the jar. The result doesn’t have to be covered totally in liquid, but it should look very wet when you are done. Put a lid on loosely and store in a cool, dry place for a few days. Don’t screw the lid on too tightly—the bacteria will emit carbon dioxide and you will want that to escape from the jar so it doesn’t explode. The fermentation process will need a few days. The longer you leave the jar at room temperature, the softer the cabbage will be, and the stronger the flavor. As long as you follow these basic instructions, very little can go wrong. Wash your hands, the jar, and your tools before assembling ingredients (and, to state the obvious, don’t handle rotten foods or manure). The Lactobacilii that colonize the cabbage are very exclusive and little else can compete. Depending on the amount of salt, your sauerkraut can last up to a year. Jared R. McKinley is the associate publisher of Edible Baja Arizona.

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A Budding Meal Harvesting cholla buds offers culinary hope in a time of climate change. By Martha Ames Burgess


he heat is on! And that’s a good thing—with these hot days and cool nights, it is CAM-plant weather in the desert. CAM-plants? Those are the thick-leafed succulents that punctuate and enrich the Sonoran Desert— century plants and cacti, including my favorite cactus, the much-maligned (yea, oft ignored) cholla cactus! (CAM is short for Crassulacean acid metabolism, a way succulents outsmart aridity by completing their photosynthesis gas-exchange in the cool dark of night.)

From early April into May, our Baja Arizona chollas— staghorn, buckhorn, cane, and pencil cholla—explode with flowers of dazzling colors, sprout new growth, and offer life-giving food to myriad desert creatures, including bipeds. As soon as the first cholla flower opens, the harvest time is here. My Tohono O’odham grandmother and mentor Juanita would spur me into action to help her jump through that window of opAbove: Cylindropuntia versicolor buds portunity each spring Photo by J.R. Mondt to harvest as many Below: Cholla pasta salad of the swelling buds Photo by Carolyn Niethammer as possible before they opened. It was both a joy and also hard, hazardous labor out combing rocky desert hillsides, watching for rattlers, getting spines imbedded in every inch of skin. I learned early how narrow a space between shrubs I could fit through, and not to wear loose

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clothing. In fact there isn’t much one can do to get those tiny, hair-like glochids out of one’s clothes if a prickly pear is accidentally touched. Best to minimize clothing, and to harvest, as Juanita taught, in early morning and late-late afternoon when long sleeves were not as critical for sun protection. Hat and boots, yes. Jeans or sleeves, no. Watch out—even the buds have spines. Fortunately staghorn, cane, and pencil cholla tend to have relatively easily detachable spines, some of which can be brushed off the buds before picking. Before her tongs gripped the first bud, Juanita would pluck a handful of leafy stems from a nearby bursage or creosote bush to brush spines off the clusters of buds on cholla branch tips. She taught me how to fashion tongs from a section of saguaro rib, split it in half, and tie one end loosely with a desert fiber cord. Voilà—you have “Papago chopsticks,” as she called them, or wah’woh in Tohono O’odham terminology. One bud at a time, Juanita would pick carefully, bending the bud back and forth until it disconnected from the stem. I never saw her pick all the buds off of one branch. She knew “we are all in this together,” and that the cholla needs to feed many beings besides humans, as well as produce its own children. She always left one to bloom. While getting up close to a cholla bud can feel dangerous, it offers surprises and treats. You can spot a long-horned cactus beetle, like a miniature black rhino, chowing down on the young green tissue. Or you may see where a packrat cut out a taste of bud in the night. Looking closely, you might see anatomical spots, called aereoles, on the waxy succulent tissue of new stem growth and buds, out of which emerge the cactus’s spines and tiny temporary leaves. These small, dunce cap-shaped leaves are removed with the spines. But wait: What is that shiny bead of crystalline moisture resting on each little aereole? And what are those ants doing, gathering around it like piggies at a trough? With a toothpick to sample a bead of this moisture, you’ll find out why the

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[E.H.] honey-ants are excited. Chollas have genetically “discovered” over the eons that if they share some of their nectar outside of the flower with their ant-helpers, the ants will return the favor by attacking critters which might otherwise chomp the flowers. (Scientists call these extra-floral nectaries.) Some grand old cholla trees will keep producing buds for a few weeks. Every year, Juanita would take her whole extended family to her favorite plant, which measured some 12 feet in diameter. We would surround the cholla, all picking from different branches for more than 20 minutes. I’ve since realized how psychologically and culturally important these group harvests were to us, and I have strived since then to continue Juanita’s example, introducing new groups to the desert through communal foraging. When her bucket was full, Juanita would take the buds to an outdoor screen box, much like one used for sifting potting soil. With a broom, which had been dedicated solely to de-spining, she would brush the buds back and forth until all spines had dropped through the wire mesh. Since cactus tissue is full of precious water and nutrients, it would have been devoured by thirsty animals were it not for the cactus’s internal chemical defense system—more significant than its external spine armor. Cholla buds, like many in the Opuntia family, contain oxalic acid for protection. Calcium oxylate crystals, such as those in the houseplant dumbcane, are toxic to most mammals, including humans, if ingested. So, how then to get to the calcium and to de-nature the oxalic acid in cholla buds? Traditional Tohono O’odham have known since the time of their Hohokam ancestors. Roasting was one way: Ancient cholla roasting pits have been excavated in archaeological sites around Tucson. Juanita preferred a faster method—boiling. She would boil the de-spined buds for about 15 minutes until the fresh green color turned dull. Then they were ready to eat—and delicious! Juanita would cook the prepared, drained buds with green chiles, garlic, and I’itoi’s onion; she might add them to meat stews or teparies. She always served cholla buds at any feast, ceremony, funeral, or celebration. After the abundant bud harvest in the spring, she would dry the prepared buds for storage. Placing them on trays or screens in the heat of her ramada (not in direct sun as the drying process should be slow and sure in order to be complete), she would shake and turn the shrinking buds daily until they were like little rough stones too hard to crush. In the 1970s Juanita and I started a cholla harvest workshop at the Desert Museum, and she instructed me to continue passing her knowledge along. When my son was born, Juanita gently admonished me, “You eat your chi’o-lim!—your cholla buds!” sharing her traditional knowledge that its highly available calcium was important to nursing mothers. Now, as an elder, with osteoporosis looming on the horizon, I can hear her reminding me again, “Marfin, you eat your chi’o-lim.” Cooked cholla buds are a zinging treat to the palette, like a tangy-centered asparagus tip. On the buffet table or hors 124  M arch - April 2014

d’oeuvre tray, they are a whole new adventure. People will look suspicious, but hold your ground. Those weird bumpy buds provide amazing complex carbs that balance blood sugar, provide sustained energy, and help remove cholesterol. Imagine a desert food that appeals to everyone from athletes and diabetics, gourmets, health nuts, and sustainable aggies, available to everyone poor and wealthy alike! For the Baja Arizonan cook, chef, and consumer, cholla buds present a lengthening smorgasbord of delectable ideas— stir fried with veggies, cholla buds in mole sauce, pickled buds with garlic, tossed in a colorful pasta salad, or pulverized for a healthful gravy thickener. So bring on the CAM-plant weather—we can cope with climate change. We have cholla cactus, giver of super-nutrition, appropriate desert agriculture, and great tasting tradition. Watch for up-coming cholla bud workshops scheduled through Native Seeds/SEARCH, Tohono Chul Park, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and Pima County Parks and Recreation. Martha Ames Burgess, ethnobotanist, artist, and gardener, has contributed some of her favorite native chollas to the Mission Garden Project. Select cholla cuttings are available at the Flor de Mayo booth at Sunday’s St. Philip’s Farmers’ Market. Dried cholla buds may be purchased seasonally at the Native Seeds/SEARCH Store and through Tohono O’odham Community Action. For recipe ideas, visit

Juanita Ahila harvesting cholla buds Courtesy of


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SMALL PLANET BAKERY We started baking bread in February of 1975. At that point, we were a collective of six, only one of whom had any baking experience. We now service 14 stores and do custom baking for eight restaurants and participate in three farmers’ markets. 411 N. 7th Avenue 520.884.9313 BEER, WINE, & DISTILLED LIBATIONS ARIZONA HOPS & VINES We’re a small winery that’s awesome! One of many great Sonoita-area wineries in Southern Arizona, our family farm is a fun, warm place for families and wine aficionados alike. Come in and enjoy our patio, tell some stories, and explore the wonders of a winery that has free Cheetos. 888.569.1642 BEAST BREWING COMPANY Arizona’s first and wildest craft beer. Our mission is to inspire a renewed passion for flavor, one pint at a time. 1326 W. Highway 92 #8, Bisbee 520.284.5251 BORDERLANDS BREWING COMPANY A wholesale production microbrewery, brewing about 500 gallons of beer a week for Tucson’s local bars and restaurants. The brewery’s tap room is open Wednesday through Saturday from 4pm-8pm. The brewery hosts live local music most nights. 119 E. Toole 520.261.8773 BREW YOUR OWN BREW The Southwest’s largest home brewing supply store. It’s where the art of brewing starts. Ingredients and equipment for making beer, wine, sodas, liquors and cheese. 2564 N Campbell Avenue 520.322.5049

Hours: M-F 7:30am - 2pm 525 N. Bonita Ave. Tucson, AZ 85745 (520) 884-7810 edible  Baja Arizona 



Source Guide




CALLAGHAN VINEYARDS Located in the rolling, oakdotted hills of southeastern Arizona, at an elevation of 4800 feet, we produce rich, complex red and white wines from a 25 acre vineyard. Mediterranean and Spanish varietals—Tempranillo, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Petite Syrah and Grenache—are the basic building blocks for our red blends, while Viognier and Riesling are blended for our estate white wine. 520.455.5322 CHARRON VINEYARDS & WINERY Less than 30 minutes from downtown Tucson is a small vineyard producing quality hand crafted Arizona wines. Visit one of the oldest wineries in Arizona where you can sample an array of award-winning wines in the glass enclosed tasting room or on the wine deck surrounded by mature vineyards and breathtaking mountain views. 520.762.8585 CORONADO VINEYARDS We believe that whether your palate prefers sweeter and fruitier wines, or dry, complex sophisticated wines, you only should consume wine which you enjoy. 520.384.2993

Grammys.AZ Always a great place to find Briggs and Eggers organic fruit. BRING YOUR KIDS BY FOR A FREE APPLE!

Find us at all Heirloom Farmers’ Markets and the Sierra Vista Farmers’ Market

DOS CABEZAS WINEWORKS Planted, harvested and fermented in Arizona! Come try a glass! Our winery tasting room is open Friday-Sunday 10:30-4:30. Tasting fee of $15 includes a souvenir glass. 3248 Highway 82, Sonoita 520.455.5141 DRAGOON BREWING COMPANY Dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of craft beer in Arizona. Enjoy our beer at various restaurants and bars in Tucson or come to our tasting room at 1859 W Grant Rd., #111. 520.329.3606 FLYING LEAP VINEYARD With developed acreage in both Sonoita AVA and Cochise County, Flying Leap offers a diverse portfolio of ultra-premium, carefully crafted wines. Visit the tasting rooms at estate vineyards in Willcox and Sonoita, and tasting rooms in Bisbee and Tucson. 520.954.2935 HAMILTON DISTILLERS Whiskey del Bac is handmade by Hamilton Distillers in small batches using a copper pot-still and house-malted, mesquite-smoked barley. Three desert single-malt whiskeys made in Tucson. Contact: Stephen Paul: IRON JOHN’S BREWING COMPANY A rotating selection of small batch craft beers all bottled by hand. We produce all our beer at our brewery and have a small retail bottle shop on site. We invite you to stop by and purchase some of the beer you like. 245 S Plumer Avenue 205.737.4766 KIEF JOSHUA VINEYARDS A small family business with 20 acres in beautiful Elgin and 40 acres in Willcox Wine Country. Our Elgin tasting room is open daily and is situated right in the middle of what is know as “winery row.” The Sonoita Arizona Wine Tour boasts ten different tasting rooms and was selected by USA Today as one of the top ten wine trails in the United States. 520.455.5582

shop local. shop online. shopOrganic. Organic, Non-GMO, Fair Trade and Eco-Friendly products delivered to your door or available for local pickup. 128  M arch - April 2014

LIGHTNING RIDGE CELLARS A small family winery proud to offer wines based on our Italian heritage. Our estate wines are made from classic Italian varietals: Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano, Primitivo, Malvasia and Muscat Canelli. Clay soils, long warm summers, cool nights and an Old World style of winemaking provide the perfect combination to produce rich, full-bodied wines. 520.455.5383 PILLSBURY WINE CO. Winemaker Sam Pillsbury is dedicated to crafting fine wines that celebrate Arizona’s high desert terroir. His sustainable Rhone vineyard in Willcox’s Kansas Settlement produces award-winning wines that are crisp, clean, and dry— created to complement the foods you love. 928.639.0646 PLAZA LIQUORS A family-owned and independent store, Plaza has been around under the ownership of Mark Thomson for 35 years now. Plaza specializes in familyowned wineries, breweries and distilleries from around

the world. The service and selection speaks for itself. 2642 N. Campbell Ave. 520.327.0542 SAND-RECKONER VINEYARDS Located on the Willcox Bench at 4,300 feet in elevation, Rob and Sarah Hammelman tend to the vineyards. Our name, SandReckoner, means ‘sand-calculator,’ and references Archimedes’ revolutionary and thought provoking third century B.C. writing. In this text, Archimedes calculates the size of the universe by figuring the number of grains of sand that will fill it. The name alludes to our sandy loam soils, our connection to the cosmos, and the infinite calculations required to create a wine that expresses the very sand into which our vines’ roots grow deep. 303.931.8472 TAP & BOTTLE A craft beer and wine tasting room in Downtown Tucson featuring hundreds of beverage options to enjoy on site or carry out. Look forward to beer flights, events and merchandise. 403 N. 6th Avenue 520.344.8999 UNPLUGGED We’ve sourced the wine world to find a unique blend of varietals at prices that are right for all occasions. Come downtown for this exceptional experience. We also regularly feature live jazz. 118 E. Congress St 520.884.1800 VILLAGE OF ELGIN WINERY The largest producer of wine in the Sonoita AVA. This family-owned winery still produces wines in the traditional manner. Classically styled and aged in fine European wood, the wines reflect the subtle grace of Arizona terroir. The winery produces a wide range of wines to please all of its customers’ tastes. 520.455.9309 ZARPARA VINEYARD Visit our tasting room at the vineyard just 15 minutes south of historic downtown Willcox. Sample exceptional, hand-crafted wines while you experience breathtaking views of the Dos Cabezas Mountains from the outdoor terrace. Open FridaySunday, 11am-5pm. 602.885.8903. DESIGNERS & BUILDING SUPPLIES ARIZONA DESIGNS KITCHENS & BATHS, LLC Your home should be an extension of things in life you enjoy and value. Our designers have more than 100 years total experience designing kitchens and baths in homes throughout Southern Arizona. Come see us! 2425 E. Fort Lowell Rd. 520.325.6050 CARLY QUINN DESIGNS Custom and one-of-a-kind hand glazed tile murals, trivets, coasters, house numbers and more. We hand glaze all of our tiles right in our showroom in downtown Tucson. Great for indoor and outdoor use. Located in The Old Market Inn Tile Shop. 403 N. 6th ave. #119, 520.624.4117 CarlyQuinnDesigns. com ORIGINATE NATURAL BUILDING MATERIALS SHOWROOM Specializing in environmentally-friendly building materials made from natural, renewable & recycled resources. We offer innovative and unique materials that rival the aesthetics and performance of more traditional interior finishes. Flooring, countertops, cabinetry, paints, plasters, alternative plywoods, fireplaces, and architectural salvage. 526 N. Ninth Avenue 520.792.4207 COFFEE & TEA BISBEE COFFEE CO. Hot Beans! Bisbee’s original and best coffee roasters and coffee shop in downtown Old Bisbee. Award-winning favorites include: Miner’s Blend, Bisbee Blues Blend, Copper Queen, and Bisbee Breakfast Blend. Café open daily. 2 Copper Queen Plaza, Bisbee. 520.432.7879. CAFE JUSTO Grower-owned coffee cooperative based in Chiapas, Mexico with roasting and exporting in Agua Prieta, Sonora. The coffee is excellent, fresh, organic and LOW in ACID. Fair Trade and Direct Trade is GOOD TRADE. 826 E 11th, Douglas, 866.545.6406

CHIVA RISA We make artisanal, all natural, Europeanstyle cheese on an off-grid, sustainable site situated in the upper San Pedro Valley near the Mexican Border. We treat our animals, land, and cheese with the utmost care and respect. Sharing nature’s bounty with our community through finely-crafted cheese is Chiva Risa’s primary goal. 520.901.0429

EXO ROAST COMPANY Exo seeks out the world’s finest coffees, craft roasts them in small batches, and distributes them in limited quantities to ensure unequaled quality. Roastery and café open MondaySaturday, 7am to 7pm, Sunday 7-3. Come by for free twice-weekly tastings. Custom wholesaling for area cafes and restaurants. 403 N. Sixth Ave. 520.777.4709

DOUBLE CHECK RANCH We are a family business that raises, processes (on-farm), and directly sells hearty, wholesome pasture-raised meats in ways that would be familiar to our grandfathers. For eighteen years we have been reinventing local, small-scale agriculture in a way that respects land, animals, and people. St. Philip’s Plaza (Sat/Sun), Santz Cruz Market (Thurs), Phoenix/Gilbert (Sat). 520.357.6515

SAVAYA COFFEE Our goal is to offer superior quality coffees available around the corner from where you brew at home, so the fresh flavors of the Americas, Africa and Asia are right here for you to enjoy. Three locations in Baja Arizona: 5350 E. Broadway, 2905 E. Skyline and 12120 N. Dove Mountain Boulevard, Marana.

FEATHERED REPTILES FARM Local hobby poultry farm raising chickens and turkeys on organic feed. Processed organic chickens and eggs. Show quality heritage and standard breeds for backyard flocks. Farm pickup near Ina & Silverbell Roads. FeatheredReptilesPoultry@gmail. com,

SEVEN CUPS An American tea company based in Tucson. We source traditional, handmade Chinese teas directly from the growers and tea masters who make them, and we bring those teas back from China to share with people everywhere. Seven Cups is the only American tea company with our own Chinese trading license, so we are in complete control of our supply chain from tea maker to consumer. 2516 E. Sixth Street 520.628.2952 SPARKROOT A cornerstone of a burgeoning downtown, Sparkroot serves up Blue Bottle Coffee & vegetarian fare with flare, in a striking atmosphere. Vibrant community flavor, morning through evening. Great meeting spot; you can even reserve our loft! Beer, wine & killer Irish coffee. 245 E. Congress at Fifth Avenue 520.623.4477 STELLA JAVA Enjoy delicious espresso drinks made from locally roasted coffee beans at this unique family-owned Tucson café. Mon-Sun 8am-2pm 100 S Avenida del Convento 520.777.1496 COMMUNITY EDUCATION & WORKSHOPS THE DRAWING STUDIO When you take a class at The Drawing Studio, it’s not just about learning how to draw, or paint or sculpt. It’s about learning to look at things in a whole new way. The Drawing Studio is not just about art classes and instruction—it’s about possibilities. 33 South Sixth Avenue 520.620.0947

P O AL H S C Matt’s Organics LO


FIORE DI CAPRA Raw Goat Milk, Yogurt, Kefir, Artisanal Farmstead Goat Cheese and Confections. Healthy, happy goats fed grass, alfalfa and local browse. Awardwinning products can be sampled and purchased at the Heirloom Farmers’ Market, Sunday at St. Philip’s Plaza. 520.586.2081 HARRIS HERITAGE GROWERS Pick it your self veggies right out of the field. Also a small shop filled with paintings, handcrafted wood items, crafts, handmade jewelry and much more. 27811 S. Sonoita Highway (Highway 83), Sonoita 520.455.9272 OSWALD CATTLE COMPANY Not all beef is grown equal. High quality irrigated pasture and Black Angus genetics make our meat better. Happy land makes happy cattle, which means delicious beef. Available at the Tubac Market and Walking J Farms. Amado, 520.398.2883 PATAGONIA ORCHARDS An organic grower, packer and shipper based in Rio Rico, Arizona. We ship premium organic fruits grown in Arizona and Mexico to wholesalers and retailers throughout the U.S. and Canada. We partner with more than 15 organic growers. 520.761.8970 RAMONA FARMS Akimel O’odham Farm producing ancient, heirloom food crops on ancestral land along the Gila River. Products grown and packaged on farm. Visit our website for wholesome, delicious, traditional Pima recipes for tepary beans, corn and wheat. Shop at our online store. Wholesale + food service prices. Sacaton, AZ 602.322.5080

Landscape Design Darbi Davis, MLA, ASLA 520.247.2456

FARMS, RANCHES, PRODUCE COMPANIES APPLE ANNIE’S U-PICK FARM A fruit and vegetable U-Pick farm for the whole family. Go to website for information on seasons for various crops. ARIZONA FRESH FOODS Locally owned and operated to provide the freshest produce on the market at the best prices. 520.223.6790 AVALON ORGANIC GARDENS & ECOVILLAGE Avalon Gardens practices traditional permaculture principles and time-honored techniques of organic gardening, as well as new sustainable technologies; they also promote seed-saving and the cultivation of heritage varieties of produce provided to our local area through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Tours available by appointment. 2074 Pendleton Dr., Tumacácori 520.603.9932, CHIRICAHUA PASTURE RAISED MEATS Home of “Josh’s Foraging Fowls” pasture raised poultry (chicken, eggs, and holiday turkeys). Also high quality grass-finished beef and lamb. All of our livestock are raised on our irrigated pastures near Willlcox, AZ. Visit us online or call to order. 520.507.3436

RIO SANTA CRUZ GRASS FINISHED BEEF Our farm on the Santa Cruz River near the US-Mexico border uses the Argentine beef finishing system based on a chain of annual forages crafted for the climate and soils of Santa Cruz County. Our calves are born on our ranch in the uplands of the Santa Cruz River. At weaning, they are moved six miles to our finishing farm on the Santa Cruz River. Here they live peacefully and naturally on forages sustained by irrigation and summer rains. 520.394.0243

SAN XAVIER CO-OP FARM The San Xavier Cooperative Association envisions a farm committed to sustainable farming practices that support economic development in the community. Visit our farm store. 8100 S. Oidak Wog 520.449.3154 SLEEPING FROG FARMS Sleeping Frog Farms is an intensive 75-acre farm nestled in the Cascabel corridor of the San Pedro River Valley in Southern Arizona. Our mission is to improve the health of our land and community by growing high quality fruits and vegetables without the use of chemicals. 520.212.3764

At the Tucson Botanical Gardens 2150 N. Alvernon Way

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CARTEL COFFEE LAB Craft. A faddy buzzword marketers use to spin anything not-so-mainstream. But craft is more than a fad. It’s Cartel’s origin, philosophy, daily practice. No corner-cutting. No compromising. Craftsmanship: our sourcing, roasting, brewing, and serving. Since day one. Two locations in Tucson. 480.432.8237

STARBAR RANCH Natural grass fed beef. Lovingly and humanely raised in beautiful Southeast Arizona. Our beef is dry aged 28 days. Saturdays at the Oro Valley Farmers’ Market. Online & phone orders.The way beef used to taste! 520.805.3345 SUNIZONA We are a family-owned, certified organic farm in Willcox, Arizona growing fruits and vegetables with sustainable, veganic practices and greenhouse technology. CSAs available all over Baja Arizona. 5655 E Gaskill Rd. Willcox 520.824.3160 WALKING J FARM A polyculture farm specializing in grass fed, pasture-raised beef, poultry and pork, and organically grown vegetables. At Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market on Thurs, Nogales Farmers’ Market on Fridays, and Heirloom Farmers’ Market on Sun (St. Philip’s Plaza). 520.398.9050

Available at these locations in Tucson: Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market on Thursdays§ Saturday Farmer’s Market at The Loft§ Food Conspiracy Co-op§ Aqua Vita* Time Market Maynard’s* St. Phillips Farmers’ Market every other Sunday Sprouts and Whole Food Stores Rincon Market Albertson’s on Silverbell Safeway on Broadway And downtown at our bakery on 411 N. 7th Avenue§ §

*Bread and Cookies at these locations Bread, cookies, handpies, cinnamon rolls, granola, horse treats and more at these locations

WHOLESUM FAMILY FARMS In 2012 the Crisantes family began farming in Southern Arizona after farming for generations in Mexico. The greenhouses built here are of the finest quality and latest technology available anywhere in the world. With three generations of experience, Wholesum Family Farms is producing outstanding quality organic tomatoes. 816.522.8262 GROCERS, FARMERS’ MARKETS & CSAS APPLE ANNIE’S COUNTRY STORE Open year-round offering our famous pies, apple bread, fudge, jarred good, gifts and other Apple Annie’s goodies that you love! Visit our U-Pick farm in season. 1510 N Circle I Rd, Willcox 520.766.2084 BISBEE FARMERS’ MARKET Vibrant village market appears magically at Vista Park in the Warren district in Bisbee every Saturday morning. We feature local musicians while you enjoy shopping for healthy local foods and artisan crafts. Choices for Sustainable Living booth features workshops for healthy lifestyle changes. 9am-1pm, Saturdays, FOODINROOT FARMERS’ MARKETS FoodInRoot is dedicated to building a better blueprint for farmers’ markets, while helping new markets grow and existing ones to flourish. There are currently several locations offering locally-sourced foods grown, made, or prepared by small businesses. 520.261.6982. FOOD CONSPIRACY CO-OP Located on funky Fourth Ave., the co-op is a natural foods grocery store that has served the Tucson community since 1971 and emphasizes organic, local and fair trade options. Among its many delicious offerings, the co-op serves homemade bagels, muffins, and green chili breakfast wraps, and features a hot food and salad bar. Everyone can shop at the co-op and anyone can join. 412 N. Fourth Ave. 520.624-4821


HEIRLOOM FARMERS’ MARKETS Four local farmers markets that support our region’s farms by: connecting consumers directly to local food producers, strengthening urban-rural agriculture and small food businesses. Heirloom Farmers’ Markets dedicated to the benefits of local food. 520.882.2157 HIGH DESERT MARKET Gourmet food and gift market and cafe. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with indoor and outdoor seating. We do all our baking on premises, serve generous gourmet salads and sandwiches, quiches, pizzas, desserts and more. 520.432.6775 203 Tombstone Canyon, Bisbee, AZ 85603 MATT’S ORGANICS Dedicated to providing convenient home delivery of top quality organic fruits and vegetables. You have the satisfaction of supporting organic farmers and the knowledge that you are eating the healthiest food free of pesticides. We guarantee 100% satisfaction on all purchases. 520.790.4360

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NOGALES MERCADO Enjoy the border experience at our all-local farmers’ market in the heart of downtown Nogales with Santa Cruz County produce, meat, baked goods, jams/jellies and much more every Friday afternoon. The Nogales Mercado is part of Cosechando Bienestar, an initiative in Nogales to renew food traditions so that locally-grown food is enjoyed by all for better health. 520.375.6050 RINCON VALLEY FARMERS & ARTISANS MARKET Enjoy the beautiful scenery and discover a one-of-akind shopping experience featuring fruit, produce, eggs and meat from local Arizona farmers, local raw honey, artisan breads, beautiful artwork, crafts, furniture, aprons and more handcrafted by our Artisans. We are open EVERY Saturday year round from 8am to 1pm. 520.591.2276 RIVER ROAD GARDENS We are a small urban farm, using Biodynamic principles, located on the grounds of the Tucson Waldorf School. CSAs available. 3605 E. River Road, 520.780.9125 SANTA CRUZ RIVER FARMERS’ MARKET Fresh, sustainably grown foods from local farmers. Arizona fruits and vegetables, free-range meat, eggs, honey, baked goods, and natural plant products! Live music, cooking demonstrations, children’s activities and free workshops. A great place to get to know your community! West Congress Street, just west of I-10 at Mercado San Augustín, 520.882.3313 SHOPORGANIC.COM An online retailer of carefully selected Organic and Non-GMO products. Local Tucson customers can shop online and pick up at our facility. We offer shelf stable groceries, bulk foods, personal care, household items, gluten free, raw, and more. 520.792.0804 SIERRA VISTA FOOD CO-OP Our mission: to provide the benefits of natural foods and products, economic cooperation and sustainable practices to as many people as possible in our community. Our store has a full natural & organic grocery selection as well as frozen, dairy, bulk foods, organic and local produce, specialty & organic cheeses, olives, cruelty-free cosmetics, premium supplements, and more! 96 S. Carmichael, Sierra Vista 520.335.6676 SIERRA VISTA FARMERS’ MARKET Open Thursdays at Veterans’ Memorial Park in Sierra Vista, AZ. Meet local growers, ranchers, beekeepers and bakers. Take home some of the bounty of southern Arizona! Grass-fed meats, desert heritage foods and plants. Contact TIME MARKET A neighborhood market since 1919, we bring specialty goods to the table: craft beers, esoteric fine wine, wood-fired pizza, espresso, and artisan handcrafted organic natural yeast breads. We sell organic produce and use it for our restaurant in sandwiches, salads and pizzas. We are committed to honest communication about sourcing, and enjoy featuring local farms in our menu. 444 East University Blvd., 520.622.0761 TUCSON CSA Offering weekly boxes of local, organically-grown produce since 2004. We also offer pasture-raised eggs and chickens, grass-fed meats, cheese, and bread (from Barrio Bread). Pickups are Tuesdays or Wednesdays, 4:00-7:00 pm, The Historic Y, 300 E. University Blvd., HARWARE & HOUSEWARES ACE HARDWARE Locally-owned and managed, we are an affiliate of the Ace Hardware co-operative. Five locations across Tucson, from Downtown on the West to the far Southeast side. We look forward to helping with your next project, no matter how small or large. Our locations listed at

HERBAL MEDICINE DESERT TORTOISE BOTANICALS We provide handcrafted herbal products from herbs wildharvested and organically grown within the Sonoran desert bioregion. Owner John Slattery conducts the Sonoran Herbalist Apprenticeship Program, wild foods class, private plant walks, and individual wellness consultation services. 4802 E Montecito Street TUCSON HERB STORE Located in the Heart of Downtown since 2003. Dedicated to serving a variety of ethically wild-crafted and botanical products of the southwest desert. We carry: bulk herbs, teas, herbal tinctures, beauty care products, soaps, books, incense, and much more! 408 N. 4th Ave., 520.903-0038 YARD WOMAN An old-fashioned natural remedy shop specializing in herbs and herbalsin the Western Herbal Tradition. Custom blending, essential oils, homeopathics, handmade soaps and lotions, books, tarot cards and yard art. All natural. Servicing Baja Arizona since 2004. 6 Camino Otero, Tubac 520.398.9565 INNS AND B&BS ARTIST’S GUEST HOUSE Charming Armory Park furnished home. Two bedrooms, bath, studio, all linens supplied. Fully equipped kitchen, comfortable living room, wood floors; gated yards, gardens, shady porches. Local coffee, home-grown eggs. A/C, washer; We compost, recycle, harvest rainwater, graywater. Go to: or Facebook Artists Guest House. CAT MOUNTAIN LODGE A bed & breakfast in the desert! Featuring eco-friendly accommodations in a vintage ranch setting with five unique spacious rooms. Providing Southwestern comfort—mixed with modern conveniences. Enjoy free full breakfast at Coyote Pause Cafe. Reserve on-site Star Tours at Spencer’s Observatory. 2720 S. Kinney Road 520.578.6085 COPPER CITY INN A truly delightful inn in the heart of Old Bisbee, with beautiful rooms, excellent queen beds, abundant lighting, spacious bathrooms, balconies, free wi-fi, complimentary bottle of wine, organic coffee, parking, free off-site continental breakfast, DVDs, electronic locks. View website video: WYSIWYG. Bisbee is cool! 99 Main, Old Bisbee, 520.432.1418 ELDORADO SUITES HOTEL Offering an excellent downtown Bisbee location, expansive outdoor balconies, beautiful views, spacious suites, and many modern amenities. 55 OK St, Bisbee. 520.432.6679 JAILHOUSE INN Once the Bisbee Police Station, the historic Jailhouse Inn offers five clean, quiet rooms with full modern baths, Cable TV, wi-fi, refrigerator. Perfect downtown location, parking available. Walking distance to restaurants, bars, galleries, shops and Old Bisbee attractions. 8 Naco Road, Bisbee 520.432.8065 LA POSADA DEL RIO SONORA La Posada del Rio Sonora is a boutique hotel and restaurant on the Plaza Principal of Banámichi. Our 250 year old adobe has 10 rooms and suites and two apartments. This is the heart of “La Ruta Rio Sonora” with nearby hot springs. 70 Calle Pesqueira, Banámichi, Sonora, Mexico,


TUMACOOKERY 45 minutes south of Tucson, in Tubac, this well-stocked kitchen shop is a foodie destination for gadgets, appliances, cutlery, gourmet food and more. Great local products, and knowledgeable, friendly staff, make Tumacookery a regional favorite. Worth the drive to Tubac all by itself! 2221 S. Frontage Road, Tubac, 520.398.9497

LANDSCAPING & PERMACULTURE AHIMSA LANDSCAPING Ahimsa Landscaping is an ethically-focused, small design + build business specializing in creating sustainable landscapes through the integration of permaculture design principles and water harvesting techniques for the desert environment. Inquiries at 520.345.1906 LOCAL ROOTS AQUAPONICS We raise fish and plants together to create mutually beneficial ecosystems with a focus on food production. Aquaponic system sales, live fish, heirloom seedlings, consulting, site assessments, pool/pond conversions, tours, workshops, speaking events and more. 765.276.6427 RED BARK DESIGN, LLC Landscape Design + Consultation. RedBark Design offers regionally and ecologically appropriate landscape design services for residential, commercial and consulting projects. P.O. Box 44128 Tucson, Arizona 85733, 520.247.2456 SOUTHWEST GARDENWORKS A full vegetable garden service that installs and revamps existing gardens. Our gardens are built to last! Using bio intensive methods and soils we ensure the best results with your backyard garden.3661 N. Campbell #312, 520.419.2886 WATERSHED MANAGEMENT GROUP Helping you with water harvesting, soil building, edible and native gardens, and watershed restoration. We’re a Tucsonbased non-profit serving the community by sharing our technical expertise and offering hands-on workshops, training programs, custom property consultations, site plans, and project implementation. 520.396.3266 LITERATURE ANTIGONE BOOKS Zany, independent (and 100% solarpowered) bookstore. Books for all ages plus large selection of unusual gifts and cards. Regional books on cooking, gardening, sustainability, green living and more. Voted Tucson’s best independent bookstore. Located in Tucson’s unique Fourth Avenue shopping district. 411 N. 4th Avenue 520.792.3715 BOOK STOP A Tucson institution for decades (since 1967!), the Book Stop stocks thousands of quality used and out-of-print titles. Monday-Thursday: 10am-7pm, Friday-Saturday: 10am-10pm, Sunday: noon-5pm. 213 N. 4th Avenue, 520.326.6661 MASSAGE, SPAS & SALONS COYOTE WORE SIDEBURNS A high quality progressive hair salon. Our stylists are well-trained and current. If you would like to speak to a stylist about your hair service prior to making a commitment, consultation appointments are available. New location: 2855 E. Grant Road 520.623.7341 DR. FEELGOOD’S SPA & SALON A full service salon in Bisbee offers women’s and men’s hair styling, nail service, facials, waxing and more. We also offer a variety of relaxing massages and the only private sauna and hot tub in Bisbee, Arizona. 8 Naco Road, Bisbee 520.432.8065 ESTUDIO DE PIEL This beautiful skin studio is the perfect place to treat yourself. The professionals at Estudio De Piel provide relaxing massages and clinically effective skin care treatments. 100 S. Avenida del Convento 520.882.5050 GLOW SKIN CARE & LASHES Melinda M. Spreng’s philosophy is ‘beauty from within.’ She uses all natural products and methods to make you look and feel your best! 3101 N Swan Rd. 520.261.4635

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ORGANIZATIONS BISBEE HUB Are you traveling to Bisbee soon? Find out what’s in store before you travel by visiting BisbeeHub. com and checking out the events calendar. We are also working on a business directory so come back again and again and see why Bisbee is so special! COSECHANDO BIENESTAR An initiative to renew food traditions in Nogales so that locally-grown food is enjoyed by all for better health. We do this by improving access, building residents’ capacity to grow food, supporting sound policy and promoting local business. 520.375.6050 FOOD TRUCK ROUNDUP Helping independent chefs do what they love to do: cook great meals in their motorized, mobile kitchens, or full-size trailer. Gathering several times a month, in one place, at different locations, so that you can sample their innovative menus with your family and friends. KXCI COMMUNITY RADIO Connecting the communities of Tucson and Southern Arizona to each other and to the world with informative, engaging and creative community-based radio programming.Tune in at 91.3 KXCI Tucson, or listen on-line at


MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART The MOCA inspires new ways of thinking through the cultivation, interpretation and exhibition of cutting-edge art of our time. 265 S. Church Avenue 520.624.5019

Guest Ho s t s i u rt



ROOTED THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE & BODYWORK A small, locally-owned clinic staffed by independent massage therapists located in the heart of Tucson, minutes from downtown and the University of Arizona. Rooted offers a wide range of modalities, including therapeutic, sports, Thai, prenatal, and Ayurvedic massage. 1600 North Tucson Blvd. Suite 120, 520.326.8300

520 882 0279

Charming historic home for short stays & vacations Walking distance to everything downtown

TUCSON CLEAN & BEAUTIFUL A non-profit organization with the intent to preserve and improve our environment, conserve natural resources, and enhance the quality of life in the City of Tucson and eastern Pima County. These goals are achieved through initiating educational and participatory programs implemented with broad-citizen, multicultural support. 520.791.3109 TUCSON MUSEUM OF ART Western, Latin, modern and contemporary, and Asian art fills our historic city block in downtown Tucson for an everlasting experience while traveling exhibits keep the paint and clay fresh for each visit. 140 North Main Avenue, 520.624.2333 YWCA TUCSON The Cafe at the YWCA: Setting the Table for Change. The Galleria Art and Gifts: Gifts with Purpose. Social Enterprises of the YWCA Tucson. Our Mission: Eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. 525 N. Bonita Ave. 520.884.7810 PLANTS, SEEDS & GARDEN SUPPLY

Residential and Commercial

Vegetable Gardening Service Reed Porter - (520) 419-2886 Not a licensed Contractor

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ARBICO ORGANICS Arbico Organics has been providing organic solutions for homeowners, gardeners, farmers and pet, horse and livestock owners since 1979. Products include beneficial insects and organisms, natural fertilizers, amendments, composting supplies, weed and disease controls, critter control and more. 800.827.2847 ARID ADAPTATIONS We are a local nursery specializing in cactus and succulents with more than 500 species. There is a strong focus on succulents for the landscape, but we also have a HUGE selection of Aloe, Agave, Hedgehog Cactus, Barrel Cactus, Pincushion Cactus, Torch Cactus, Euphorbia, Stapeliads, Caudiciforms, Adenium, and Seed Grown Ocotillos! 520.289.4083

BAMBOO RANCH Providing Desert Grown Bamboo since 1986. Specializing in non-invasive clumping bamboo suited to harsh conditions. Providing plants, poles and expert advice on species, growing and care, for privacy screening and shade. 520.743.9879 BambooRanch@juno. com, B&B CACTUS FARM A cactus and succulent grower in Tucson, Arizona, B&B has both seasoned landscape specimens and plants for the collector. 11550 E. Speedway 520.721.4687, ECOGROW A recognized resource for aquaponics, sustainable growing methods, unusual and rare plants, education, equipment and supplies so that plant and garden enthusiasts can acquire the tools and knowledge to achieve their goals of growing healthy food, minimizing environmental impacts, enjoying healthy plants and experiencing the pride of achievement. 657 W. St. Mary’s Road 520.777.8307 MESQUITE VALLEY GROWERS NURSERY A destination garden center with 24 acres of plants grown onsite, including desert natives, shade trees, fruit and nut trees, shrubs, roses, cacti and succulents. Also featuring fountains, statuary and garden accessories. Knowledgable staff on hand for planning, learning & diagnosis. 8005 East Speedway Boulevard 520.721.8600 NATIVE SEEDS/SEARCH Revered Tucson nonprofit and world-class seed bank saving and sharing the seeds of the desert Southwest since 1983. Classes, tours, seeds, native crafts and more! 3061 N. Campbell Avenue (store) and 3584 E. River Rd. (Center). 520.622.0830 RILLITO NURSERY & GARDEN CENTER An independent family-owned business that has provided our customers with a diverse inventory of quality plants and products since 1994. Our goal is to provide quality products and excellent service at a fair price. 6303 N. La Cholla Boulevard 520.575.0995 SILVERBELL NURSERY & COUNTRY STORE We sell bedding, garden and landscape plants, water harvesting supplies and now even pet food. “Our success is yours.” We believe that if we sell you a plant and tell you how to plant it, feed it, water it, harvest it and prune it, and you and the plant are successful, you will be back. 2730 N. Silverbell Road 520.622.3894 TANK’S GREEN STUFF Our mission is to create value added products from stuff that was once considered waste. To create jobs and great products that can be used to build a sustainable local economy. Our compost is a naturally made soil amendment, containing no fertilizers or chemical products. 520.290.9313 REAL ESTATE & PROPERTY MANAGEMENT BARRIO VIEJO RENTALS Become part of downtown’s historic district. Apartments rent from $650-$900 a month. Offices range from 400 to 6,000 square feet, and leases include off-street parking. Let us welcome you to the neighborhood. 520.623.4091 JILL RICH REALTOR I am dedicated to our Long Realty mission: To create an exceptional real estate services experience that builds long-lasting relationships. “It’s like having your grandma in the real estate business.” 520.349.0174 REAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT RINCON We are a full service Property Management Company, locally owned and part of a National Industry Leader. We offer comprehensive marketing for your property, online communication 24/7 and a full service team of professionals to lease, manage and maintain your property. 6380 E. Tanque Verde, 800.787.9565

1702 A pizzeria and craft beer bar extravaganza. On tap, 46 craft beers from the all over the 50 states and world complement our fresh hand-tossed pizza made with the very best ingredients. 1702 E. Speedway Boulevard 520.325.1702 5 POINTS MARKET & RESTAURANT Bridging South Tucson and downtown Tucson, We serve breakfast and lunch. We are also a grocery store and deli. 756 S. Stone Avenue 520.623.3888 ACACIA Located in the Catalina Foothills, Acacia offers an exquisite panoramic view of the city and features award-winning cuisine by Chef Albert Hall. Enjoy fresh, natural and local ingredients lovingly prepared in the friendliest and most comfortable setting in Tucson. Join us for lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch and Happy Hour daily. 3001 E. Skyline Drive 520.232.0101 AUGUSTINE KITCHEN Three-time Iron Chef winner Ryan Clark’s Agustin Kitchen is a twist on new American and classic French cuisine with an emphasis on local ingredients. 100 S. Avenida del Convento 520.398.5382 AZUL RESTAURANT & LOUNGE Restaurant/Lounge at The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa. Experience vibrant cuisine and local ingredients at AZuL. Nestled on 250 acres of high Sonoran Desert foothills in the Santa Catalina Mountains, our guests experience picturesque mountain and golf course views from 3-story arched windows while savoring the culinary creations of Chef Russell Michel. 3800 E. Sunrise Drive 520.742.6000 BEYOND BREAD Locally-owned and operated since 1998, we offer a variety of hand-crafted breads, delicious sandwiches, house-made soups, fresh salads and decadent pastries all in a comfortable and friendly environment. We make just about everything from scratch, using only the finest ingredients. Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Three locations in Tucson, visit our webpage to find the one closest to you. BISBEE’S TABLE New American Cuisine in the heart of Old Bisbee. Fresh. Local. Original. Seasonally-updated menus. Featuring Arizona wines and a craft cocktail menu, including microbrewed beers. Special menu for gluten free diets. 2 Copper Queen Plaza, Bisbee. 520.432.6788 BOCA TACOS Tacos with attitude! Happy Hour daily 3pm to 6pm. Come explore with us on Exotic Taco Wednesday. Catering services available. 828 E. Speedway Boulevard. 520.777.8134 CAFÉ 54 We are an urban bistro serving lunch in the heart of downtown Tucson at 54 E. Pennington Street and featuring imaginative “ American Fusion” cuisine using only the finest and freshest ingredients. Café 54 also functions as a unique employment training program for adults recovering from mental illnesses. 54 E. Pennington Street 520.622.1907 CAFÉ BOTANICA Recipes from our imagination, fresh produce, committed chefs, and un-adulterated, handmade food have always been the hallmark at Gallery of Food Catering Company. And… well… Café Botánica is our experiment. We are diving in with commitment to sustainable, locally-grown and seriously pleasurable dining. Join us for lunch at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. 2150 N. Alvernon Way 520.326.9686 CAFÉ DESTA Offering authentic Ethiopian cuisine, great food and great coffee in a relaxing environment. 758 South Stone Avenue 520.370.7000

CAFÉ PASSÉ Dedicated to serving great coffee and coffee drinks, locally-sourced organic food whenever we possibly can, craft cocktails and an eclectic beer menu. It is also home to Tucson’s best patio and biergarten with a patio bar, live music four nights a week and local art. 415 N. 4th Avenue 520.624.4411



CAFÉ ROKA Celebrating 20 years of serving the Bisbee community and Baja Arizona. We create a wonderful dining experience for our guests, providing delicious food, beverages & warm hospitality. Reservations recommended. 35 Main St., Bisbee, 520.432.5153 CHEF’S KITCHEN & CATERING A family affair, owned, operated by husband and wife, Chris and Mary Cryderman and son Ivor. Chris and Ivor have a combined 50+ years experience as chefs involving a wide spectrum of upscale cuisines. They use this knowledge and love of making fresh, healthy food from scratch to provide excellent, flavorful mobile dining and catering like one could expect in a high quality restaurant. 520.903.7004 THE CORONET Brasserie-style restaurant, old world rustic cuisine, cute bar, quiet music, big patio, good shade, outstanding coffee. 402 East 9th Street 520.222.9889 COYOTE PAUSE CAFE Healthy innovative food with a Southwestern twist! Cheerful, unique atmosphere. Breakfast & lunch daily 730 a.m.-230 p.m., dinner Fridays 4 p.m-8 p.m. Omelets, salads, sandwiches, vegetarian choices, beer, wine. Located in west Tucson at Cat Mountain Station with shopping, art, antiques. 2740 S. Kinney Road 520.883.7297 CUP CAFE The signature Hotel Congress restaurant, attracts every walk of life for its eclectic American fare served seven days a week in downtown Tucson. “The Cup” is an award-winning destination for locals and visitors alike, complete with a full bar, dining room and plaza seating. 311 E. Congress Street 520.798.1618 CUSHING STREET BAR & RESTAURANT Uptown comfort food, garden patios, full bar and live jazz have made this 1860s historic landmark a local favorite for 40 years. Book an intimate party in a private dining room or a wedding for 100 guests. Family-owned since 1972. 198 W. Cushing St. 520.622.7984 DELECTABLES International selections in a casual atmosphere. Breakfast, lunch, dinner & late night. Dogfriendly patio dining, Live music every Friday & Saturday. Full bar, excellent wine list. Home-made desserts. Vegan & gluten-free menus. Catering. 533 N. 4th Ave., 520.884.9289 DIABLO BURGER Named Arizona’s Best Burger in USA Today, Diablo Burger is a local foods-based burger joint serving 100% grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free, open range-raised beef. “All about local” and totally committed to enhancing the connection of people to place through local foods. 312 E. Congress Street 520.882.2007

Tucson's Best Mobile Bistro We cater wedding, holiday party, picnics and office lunches

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DOWNTOWN KITCHEN + COCKTAILS Innovative farm to table cooking with global influences + killer cocktails from James Beard Award Winner Janos Wilder in an art-filled, urban setting with roomy outdoor patio. Dinner, Happy Hour, Bar Menu seven nights and Late Night Friday and Saturday. 135 S. 6th Avenue 520.623.7700 ELVIRA’S Established in 1927 in Nogales, Mexico, Elvira’s is now in Tubac, bringing you the best Mexican cuisine and award-winning dishes! 2221 E. Frontage Road A101, Tubac 520.398.9421 FALORA In the historic Joesler-built Broadway Village, Falora builds pizzas & salads anchored in tradition, with a sharply creative angle. Ingredients are simple, fresh; imported from Italy or brought over by local farms. Lunch/Dinner— charming patio or cozy interior. At Broadway Village: 3000 East Broadway 520.325.9988

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Barrio Viejo

FOOD FOR ASCENSION CAFÉ A new paradigm of sustaining community by providing pure food through fair systems that interact together and support a vibrant life, vibrant community, and a vibrant self with the ultimate intention of reconnecting our body mind and soul. Opening Fall 2013. 330 East 7th Street 520.882.4736, GOURMET GIRLS GLUTEN FREE BAKERY/BISTRO Everything is gluten free, from the seasonally-inspired menu to the outstanding selection of handcrafted baked goods. Enjoy house specialties all prepared in a dedicated kitchen with no cross-contamination. Breakfast, lunch, dinner by reservation. 5845 N Oracle Road 520.408.9000

Beautifully Restored Offices and Apartments in Downtown Tucson

HARVEST Family-owned & operated, Harvest offers a unique modern American farm to fork concept with locally-sourced food. The seasonal menu features a modern twist on creative dishes with its entirety made in house from scratch, including desserts & ice creams. Organic greens, gluten free options, grass fed beef, wild caught seafood. Patio seating overlooking the majestic Push Ridge mountains. 10355 N La Canada Drive 520.731.1100 HUB RESTAURANT & CREAMERY Enjoy American comfort food, downtown made ice cream and over 20 craft beers on draft. Voted Best Casual Dining, Best Ice Cream and Best Late Night-Eats 2013. 266 East Congress Street 520.207.8201,

Leasing Inquiries: 520.623.4091

JIMMY’S HOT DOGS Jimmy’s Hot Dogs carries on the tradition of the original Jimmy’s Chicago Style Hot Dog and Italian Beef stand from the NW side of Chicago. Our menu is limited, but every item is a masterpiece, using genuine Vienna Brand Beef, Hot Dogs, Sausages, as well as authentic Gonnella Italian Bread. 938 W. Highway 92, Bisbee, 520.432.5911 KINGFISHER An American bar and grill specializing in regional cuisine from across the U.S. serving several varieties of fin fish, shellfish, and oysters. Great intimate bar with happy hours and late night menu everyday. 2564 E. Grant Road 520.323.7739 LA COCINA RESTAURANT CANTINA & COFFEE BAR We care deeply for our community and strive to provide a gathering place for all. Tucson musicians take the stage most days of the week, our Cantina pours local beer, and we support our local farmers and ranchers. 201 N Court Avenue 520.365.3053 LA ROCA Enjoy authentic Sonoran cuisine with the freshest ingredients from Mexico. Take in the rich ambiance of the historic Casa Margot. Visit our unique shops below the restaurant to find local art, hand-crafted home goods and beautiful clothing. for more information & reservations.

The Tasteful Kitchen - Edible Baja - Nov

LE BUZZ CAFFE A one-of-a-kind hangout popular with cyclists, climbers and locals with great in-house roasted coffee, full espresso bar, sublime baked goods, hearty breakfasts, salads, panini andAM quiches. The Le 2013.pdf soups, 1 10/6/13 9:08 Buzz “house” cookie is worth the trip alone. 9121 E. Tanque Verde Road 520.749.3903


MARTIN’S COMIDA CHINGONA Nestled right on Fourth Avenue, Martin’s is fun, casual, and independent. Martin’s serves traditional Mexican food with awesome interpretations by chef/owner Martin Fontes. 557 N 4th Avenue 520.884.7909 MAYNARDS MARKET & KITCHEN We established the first downtown market, and paired it with a charismatic restaurant and bar. Both are fueled by a passion for celebrating the best of place, product and service. 400 N Toole Avenue 520.545.0577 MOTHER HUBBARD’S CAFE Serving contemporary Native American Comfort food. Breakfast & lunch only at the NW corner of Grant and Stone —just minutes from Downtown Tucson. Come taste the love! 7 a.m-2 p.m. daily. 14 W. Grant Road 520 623 7976

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NOBLE HOPS Noble Hops offers an ever-changing menu of craft beer plus fine fare, including an impressive selection of more than 175 beers from around the world —including 28 on tap—plus fine wine, keg wine and cocktails. Dining options include delicious, fresh homemade soups, salads, appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, hearty entrees and desserts. Patio dining and private dining facilities available. Open daily at 11 a.m. 1335 W. Lambert Lane, Oro Valley 520.797.HOPS OVERLAND TROUT Farm to table restaurant in Sonoita by celebrated chef Greg LaPrad. Dedicated to supporting local and producing quality meals. Lunch, Dinner, Cocktails. 3266 Highway 82, Sonoita 520.455.9316 PASCO KITCHEN & LOUNGE Urban farm fare is how we describe traditional comfort food and drink, approached with an eye toward modern techniques and an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. Our menu is infused with the soul & passion that Chef/Owner Ramiro Scavo brings into the kitchen and also into the lounge. Enjoy Chef “Miro’s” unique creations in our comfy neighborhood setting or grab & go from our curbside farm cart. 820 E University Boulevard 520.882.8013 PENCA Mexico City Cuisine and international Bar located in the heart of Downtown Tucson. In December 2013, Food & Wine magazine named Penca “one of America’s best bars.” 50 E Broadway, 520.203.7681 PREP & PASTRY We are a “Modern American Eatery,” serving breakfast, lunch, and brunch. All food and drinks are prepared with fresh ingredients and sourced locally. 3073 N. Campbell Avenue 520.326.7737 PROPER A casual, urban dining establishment serving contemporary, farm to table cuisine. Brunch daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Happy Hour M-F, 3-6 p.m. Late Night, seven days, 10 p.m. to midnight. 300 E. Congress Street 520.396.3357 REILLY CRAFT PIZZA & DRINK Offering reasonably priced modern Italian food in a casual urban setting. Our menu features artisan hand-made pizzas, as well as craft drinks. We also offer fresh baked sandwiches for lunch and fresh hand-made pastas for dinner. Check out our brand new beer garden! 101 E Pennington Street 520.882.5550 RENEE’S ORGANIC OVEN Renee’s Organic Oven serves up creative and traditional pizzas + so much more. We offer a casual space for you to enjoy a menu filled with local and organic ingredients. Everything we do is made possible by our connection to great people and we would love to add you to our mix! Happy Hour, dine-in, take out . Reservations encouraged, but walkins welcome! 7065 E. Tanque Verde Road 520.886.0484 REVOLUTIONARY GROUNDS Your local source for shade grown, organic, direct-trade coffee; vegetarian & vegan sandwiches, salads and homemade desserts, with a great selection of books on local agriculture and sustainable living. 606 N. 4th Avenue 520.620.1770 ROCCO’S LITTLE CHICAGO PIZZERIA Real Chicago Pizza, right around the corner! Since 1998 Rocco DiGrazia has been serving perennially award-winning pizzas, Buffalo wings, and chocolate chip cookies on Broadway’s Sunshine Mile. Check our gigantic beer selections, too. You’ll agree it’s a Helluva Pie! 2707 E. Broadway Boulevard 520.321.1860 SANTIAGO’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT Authentic, fresh creative Mexican cuisine in the heart of Old Bisbee. Fresh fruit margaritas! Designated as one of the top 25 restaurants in Arizona by Arizona Highways Magazine. 1 Howell Avenue at Brewery Gulch, Bisbee. 520.432.1910

SEIS KITCHEN Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Mexico’s beloved street food at its finest—warm handmade tortillas, hot of the griddle quesadillas, fireroasted salsas or artisan tortas, Seis Style, inspired from six culinary regions of Mexico. 130 South Avenida del Convento 520.260.6581 SURLY WENCH Established 2004. Late night kitchen featuring fresh, never frozen beef and homegrown herbs. Delicious burgers, tacos and more. Full bar, Black Cherry Burlesque, live music, djs, billiards, air hockey, arcade, foosball, darts. Daily happy hour/ nightly drink specials. 424 N 4th Avenue 520.882.0009 TASTEFUL KITCHEN Modern vegetarian cuisine creatively prepared and farm-to-table fresh. We showcase regional heritage foods infused with Southwestern sauces and flavorings. Everything from scratch using whole foods, local organic when available, and few processed ingredients. Dine in, take out, weekly meals to-go, boutique catering, cooking classes, private function room. Dinner is served Tue-Sat 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Free parking. Reservations recommended. 722 N. Stone Avenue 520.250.9600 TAVOLINO RISTORANTE ITALIANO Specializing in simple, elegant food, Tavolino’s Northern Italian cuisine features: fresh salads, homemade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, succulent rotisserie meats and luscious desserts. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Dinner: 5:00-10 p.m. (11 p.m. Thu-Sat), Happy Hour Mon-Sat 3-6 p.m. and 9-11 p.m. 2890 E. Skyline Dr. 520.531.1913 THUY’S NOODLE SHOP Authentic, from-scratch Vietnamese food, specializing in pho, a noodle soup Beef or vegan. #9 Naco Rd., Bisbee, 520.366.4479 TUCSON TAMALE COMPANY More than 30 different kinds of incredible tamales. Mild to spicy, Meaty to Vegan to sweet, we have just about any kind of tamale you can think of and then some! Two locations to serve you. 520.305.4760 VERO AMORE Vero Amore’s two locations serve authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, plus a selection of fresh pastas, Italian specialties, panini, salads and delicious desserts. Vegetarian and gluten-free dishes are always available. Catering, full bar, patio dining and private dining facilities available. Open daily at 11 a.m. Plaza Palomino (Swan & Ft. Lowell), 2990 N. Swan Rd., Tucson 520.325.4122, Dove Mountain, 12130 N. Dove Mountain Blvd., Marana, 520.579.2292 WHYLD ASS COFFEE SHOP An organic, plant-based, culture experience. We feature “more than fair trade” coffee. Our restaurant offers healthy, tasty vegan alternatives that are made with only the finest organic ingredients, many locally sourced. Live music and poetry on weekends. 54 Brewery Avenue, Bisbee 520.353.4004 WILKO A modern gastropub featuring inventive classic American comfort food in the Main Gate district at Park and University. Everything on our menu is prepared on site and whenever possible we use local and organic ingredients. We have more than 30 wines by the glass, a craft cocktail bar, 11 quality brews on tap, and an extensive tasting menu featuring the best artisan cheeses and salume available from small local and regional producers. 520.792.6684 WISDOM’S CAFE Your neighborhood restaurant for more than 69 years. Let our family serve your family mouth-watering Mexican food that is lovingly prepared and steeped in tradition. Owned and operated by four generations of the Wisdom family. 1931 E. Frontage Rd., Tumacacori 520.398.2397

ZONA 78 Tucson’s premier destination for artisan pizza, Italian specialties, and an eclectic selection of wines, spirits, and beers. Zona 78 sources many ingredients locally and has an in-house charcuterie. Two locations: 78 W. River Rd., and 7301 E. Tanque Verde Rd.


RETAIL SHOPS & PLAZAS DESERT VINTAGE We’ve come to be known as a great source for excellent, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces of quality and flair. We buy men’s and women’s vintage clothing and accessories seven days a week. Come by and check us out! 636 N. 4th Avenue 520.620.1570 HOW SWEET IT WAS Locally-owned since 1974, we specialize in vintage fashion from the 1880s-1980s. We also buy vintage everyday. No appointment necessary. 419 N. 4th Avenue 520.623.9854 LA CABAÑA Offering an artful collection of furniture and decor including traditional talavera, blending Spanish colonial and classic styles from around the world, antique and contemporary. 120 S Avenida del Convento 520.404.9008

Desert Grown Bamboo Plants for Shade & Screen Non-Invasive Clumping & Cold Hardy Types Expert Advice

MAST TUCSON A local lifestyle boutique. Specializing in handmade jewelry, leather goods, accessories, home goods & select furnishings. The three co-owners create the lion’s share of the stock, artfully curating an enticing selection from fellow independent designers and artisans. At Mercado San Agustin, 100 South Avenida Del Convento 520.495.5920 MERCADO SAN AGUSTIN Tucson’s first and only Public Market plays host to several locally-owned shops, eateries and incredible experiences. Our courtyard is home to the award-winning Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market and many other special events. Open seven days a week with Farmers’ Market on Thursdays from 4-7 p.m. 100 S. Avenida del Convento 520.461.1110|520-743-9879

ÓPTIMO HATWORKS We have original designs, both in contemporary and period fashions, along with cleaning and re-blocking. The Hatworks is museumlike in its layout so the public can view hat-making in the Old World style. Óptimo—the best, the very finest. Known the world over. 47 Main St., Bisbee, 520.432.4544 PANTERRA GALLERY Featuring an eclectic collection of fine art photography, clothing, handcrafted jewelry, handbags, accessories and gift items. We also promote local artists and craftsmen in our historic Old Bisbee location. 22 Main St, Bisbee 520.432.3320 PICÁNTE A treasure trove of traditional handmade crafts from Mexico, Guatemala and Latin America. Artisan works include colorful ceramics, tin objects, carved wood santos, and fine silver jewelry. There is an incredible collection of textiles, huipils, fabric by the yard, hand-embroidered blouses and dresses, and oilcloth. 2932 E Broadway Boulevard 520.320.5699 POP-CYCLE A gift shop devoted to handmade items produced from recycled, reclaimed and sustainable materials. The products are fun and whimsical, with a little something for everyone. Many items are produced locally, some by the store owners. Treat yourself! 422 N. 4th Avenue 520.622.3297 RUSTIC CANDLE COMPANY Locally-owned and operated.Our candles are hand poured on site. All styles, sizes & fragrances. Enjoy a fabulous selection of home decor, gift, incense, soap & much more! 324 N. 4th Avenue 520.623.2880 SAN AGUSTÍN TRADING CO. In addition to handmade moccasins from artisan Jesse Aguiar, this shop showcases fascinating Native American crafts and jewelry. 520.628.1800 120 S. Avenida del Convento

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SCREAMING BANSHEE PIZZA AND WINE BAR A unique, eclectic restaurant housed in a renovated gas station. We take pride in our hand-crafted woodfired pizza, salads, small plates, calzones and sandwich specials. Featuring a full bar, signature cocktails, local beers, and unique wines. 200 Tombstone Canyon Road, Bisbee. 520.432.1300


TUMACACORI MESQUITE SAWMILL A leader in raw and finished mesquite materials. From lumber, slabs, posts, to exotic burls and burl slabs, The Sawmill has an ever changing selection. 2007 E. Frontage Road 520.398.9356 Tumacacori YIKES TOYS! A cornucopia for the curious! Enchanting books, wacky wonders and old-school novelties. Brainbuilding science, kooky kitsch and fantastic fun. We offer amazing toys and gifts for all ages. Specializing in Pop Culture & Quirky Fun. 2930 East Broadway Boulevard 520.320.5669 SCHOOLS GREEN FIELDS COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL Challenge. Inquiry. Balance. The foundations of a Green Fields education. From Kindergarten to Commencement, students are encouraged to develop their interests in Academics, Fine Arts, Sports, and more. Class sizes are small and students receive individual attention. 6000 N. Camino de la Tierra 520.297.2288 KINO SCHOOL Where students are given the responsibility and freedom that are the essence of a democratic society. Students of all abilities succeed where learning, creativity, respect for others, and community thrives. 6625 N. First Avenue 520.297.7278 ST. GREGORY COLLEGE PREPARATORY SCHOOL Inspired learning—Beyond strong academics. St. Gregory develops inspired students who are encouraged to pursue their individual passion and develop a love for learning. Our students are well prepared to excel in college and go on to create impactful and fulfilling lives. 3231 N. Craycroft Road, 520.327.6395 THE IDEA SCHOOL Explore. Build. Learn. We encourage students to let their passions and insights lead them in unique directions, and provide real-world tools for them to create, design, build, and explore. At IDEA, students are engaged in their learning and love every minute! Opening Fall 2014. K-3. Downtown.

Glow Skincare and Lashes Experience Organic Radiance ….Experience Glow!

TUCSON WALDORF SCHOOL Tucson Waldorf School is located in the scenic Binghampton Rural Historic Landscape and is home to the River Road Gardens CSA farm. Children from Parent-Child Classes through 8th Grade experience an engaging education which cultivates joy and excellence in learning. The arts are integrated throughout a classical curriculum and handson work. Weekly tours available.520.529.1032 Tucson SERVICES BRINK MEDIA A creative digital agency pushing boundaries in website development, branding, video, mobile, social media & indie film. DNA PERSONAL TRAINING/CROSSFIT Science-Based Fitness and Nutrition - CrossFit - Kettlebells. Wise training for wise people. 186 E Broadway Boulevard 520.327.0600

3101 N. Swan Rd Tucson, AZ 85712 (520) 261-4635

ORDINARY BIKE SHOP Servicing bikes of all sorts and selling new and used bikes and parts. “Life is like riding a bicycle—in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ~Albert Einstein. 311 E 7th Street 520.622.6488 SUN SPROUT DIAPER SERVICE Bringing clean cotton diapers to your door every week and cleaning the dirty ones for you. Choose the ecological alternative to disposable diapers. Check out our free monthly presentations on topics important to babies and moms. 520.351.2370 TRANSIT CYCLES Tucson’s premier shop for commuter, cargo and touring cyclists. Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sunday. 100 S Avenida Del Convento 520.352.9490

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SOLAR ENERGY SERVICES & PRODUCTS TECHNICIANS FOR SUSTAINABILITY A Tucson based, locally-owned, mission-driven company specializing in renewable energy and sustainable technologies for residential and commercial settings, including solar electric (PV) and solar hot water. 520.740.0736 TRAVEL & TOURISM SILVER CITY Be here for lunch—a three hour drive from Tucson. Nationally recognized cuisine, historic downtown district, arts, Gila National Forest, WNMU University, fresh air, clear skies, mild climate, great festivals, a top-ten destination, quaint and quirky! 575.538.5555 VENUES, THEATRES & ENTERTAINMENT LOFT CINEMA A local nonprofit cinema dedicated to creating community through film, honoring the vision of filmmakers, promoting the appreciation and understanding of the art of film. Check out the Loft Cinema Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8 a.m.12 noon on the patio. 3233 East Speedway Boulevard 520.795.7777

SOURCE GUIDE edible  Baja Arizona 



Little Green Tamales By Luis Alberto Urrea


came to B aja A r izona to stay one summer in the ’90s. Or I thought I would stay. I was in such a state of career and personal collapse that I believed I would never be able to scrounge enough gas money to drive on down the highway, like so many questionable dudes I met at my friend’s favorite bar. His name was The Bear. He bought. The Bear was one of those guys who lurk around the far edges of Tucson—banned for stealing cue balls from several watering holes. I never did find out what he did with them. I was in a tiny white adobe up by the UA. I was down to my last box of Minute Rice. I ate one bowl a day. I did have a bottle of Tabasco, though. So I was set. Fortunately, I had indigenous cousins on the south side. Down where you could see the black mesa of the O’odham people. My cuz was a medicine woman of the Mayo tribe; she could see dead people walk the ridge. They carried torches. Her husband was Yaqui, and he didn’t see things like that. They all let her do her mystical thing in that house. He would kiss me when I went down there. The medicine woman could not believe I had let my karma go so rotten that I was eating faux rice and fearing for my soul. Man, I was ruined. The Tucson Weekly occasionally gave me a gig—so I scraped together rent money. It was food that was the extravagance. Local writers took good care of me. Brian Laird often invited me to coffee at the Cup Café. And he would manufacture a powerful hunger for a meat loaf sandwich. “Let’s have a Gila Monster!” he’d suddenly suggest, and order them and pay for them. Saint Brian of the Holy Bank Account. Grace came in that form. Food. The medicine woman would call

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me. “M’ijo, I made tacos.” Or, “Have you ever had green tamales?” Now, I’m from the West Coast, and Mexicans don’t eat green tamales there. “Is that an Arizona thing?” I asked. “That’s a goddamned Indian thing,” she replied. I was in the car in a minute. She wasn’t going to coddle me. She found my despair and ruin a fine bit of vision-questing. I was appalled that she liked it when I suffered. But her heart cracked about once a week. “M’ijo, I made a big cosido.” I had not eaten that, either—soup with corncobs and meat and potatoes and other happy-looking things in colorful swimsuits drifting in crystalline caldo. I had a dead rattlesnake in my fridge, coiled on some tortillas. She wouldn’t eat that. “What are you?” she said. “A savage?” I did not understand until I was hungry that blessings come in corn masa. That deserts teem with sustenance—and you can even eat if you know what to harvest. P.S.—I lived. ✜ Luis Alberto Urrea is the best-selling author of 13 books, including The Devil’s Highway, which won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. Born in Tijuana, Mexico, to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea is a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame and has published extensively in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. He lives with his family in Naperville, Illinois, where he is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

edible  Baja Arizona 


Happiness is in your hands.

williams centre


la encantada

dove mountain

oro valley

edible Baja Arizona - March-April 2014  

Hot Sauce • Feeding the Line • Micheladas

edible Baja Arizona - March-April 2014  

Hot Sauce • Feeding the Line • Micheladas