Arizona Finds: Fresh Foodie Trail

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ARIZONA FINDS: FRESH FOODIE TRAIL
By Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”


Who would have thought that the Sonoran Desert is made up of fertile land? Yup, there are lots of interesting cacti to see, but I think you’ll be delighted and inspired to know that there is a glorious food trail to follow in the East Valley section which is about 60 minutes from Phoenix.

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Focusing on Arizona’s Fresh Foodie Trail, this episode features Zoey Shircel of Visit Mesa and travel writer Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Travel Diva.” Watch here in the YouTube player or listen to the podcast on Spreaker, PodBean, or SoundCloud.

What this means for both tourists and locals in Arizona is a juicy road trip through the Mesa area to discover a destination offering an abundance of fresh locally produced food. The Fresh Foodie Trail is a culinary-themed road trip that takes visitors along its freeways and back streets to experience the town’s countryside charms. Who knew?

The Fresh Foodie Trail is made up of the towns of Gilbert, Mesa, Florence, and Queen Creek. It is promoted by Visit Mesa, as an “agritourism” attraction where visitors can find everything from peaches to olives to lettuce to citrus of all kinds, ice cream, and even BBQ during their visit.

The Fresh Foodie Trail is an Arizona touch-feel-smell culinary education featuring innumerable mouthwatering treats in a 10-stop tour. Below are my top six picks for you to visit.

You can find the entire trial on www.VisitMesa.com along with nearby restaurants.

Agritopia in Gilbert
Agritopia® is a community located in Gilbert, AZ designed to promote village life and preserve urban agriculture. There is a working Farm at the heart of this neighborhood. The Farm at Agritopia runs a self-serve farm store open from 7 am-7 pm daily, as well as a Wednesday farmers market from 5 pm-8 pm during the season. There are several restaurants and a brewery open to the public.

This planned community offers a modern village life surrounding 11 acres of urban farmland, where a tree-lined sidewalk leads you to chef-driven restaurants, where creative spaces encourage craftsmanship, and where charming homes nestle close. Here, people live, work, eat, shop, create, and come together.

Within the four walls of the Johnston family’s original home is Joe’s Farm Grill. With its 60’s era vibe, diners can dig into comfort food whose ingredients are plucked from nature elevating the menu of classic backyard barbecue staples. Its fresh-ground chuck signature hamburger encased in fontina cheese and layered with veggies sourced from The Farm at Agritopia is a taste not to be missed. The salads are special featuring a mixture of crisp carrots, ripe tomatoes, and just-picked lettuce from the soil. Superb lunch stop.

Jalapeno Bucks featuring B&B Citrus Farms
in Mesa
B&B Citrus Farms is one of Mesa’s original groves that dates back to 1915. Generations of Mesa visitors have made a stop here as part of their travels to load up on local citrus and to ship cases of fruit back to friends and family in colder climates. Great local citrus and produce live at this small farm market.

Hungry diners can walk a few feet to enjoy adjacent Jalapeño Buck’s outdoor BBQ and Mexican food plates. This is a very popular place with lines out to the street. Local’s insider tip: Place your order online, then eat on the provided picnic tables. If not, expect a 30+ minute wait just to order.

Queen Creek Olive Mill in Queen Creek
This is a full-sensory experience. The scent and shade of the olive trees, the fun olive tour, and the amazing indoor culinary-focused market set a high benchmark. Be sure to plan your visit around breakfast lunch or dinner as the food is really good. Perfect place to go for date night, take out-of-state guests, or plan a family outing. Dog and child friendly.

For foodies, the mill’s gourmet market showcases a collection of signature olive oils, vibrant vinegars, luxe spa items, and take-home gifts. Enjoy complimentary tastings of the oils while waiting to take the Olive 101 Tour. Offered on the half-hour, tours go behind the scenes showing off the cold pressing operation while experts answer questions regarding this beloved oil. Be sure to check out their monthly events.

Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek
Experience one of Arizona’s top agri-tourist locations and hear about this fourth-generation family farm while enjoying a hayride through the organic orchards and gardens, riding on a train, or visiting the Farmhouse Museum and Country Store & Bakery. Schnepf Farms is designated as an Arizona Treasure. It is a great outing for families, seniors, and bus tours.

This fourth-generation family farm is the largest peach grower in the Southwest. It hosts events, peach picking, has a delightful UPICK garden, country store, bakery, glamping opportunities, and epicurean showcases Arizona Cuisine as part of its Dinners Down the Orchard event series each spring. For visitors on the foodie trail, a stop at the Farm Fresh Bakery, open Thursday to Sunday, means you can buy their signature peach cinnamon rolls, brownies, or the memorable caramel-topped apple pie.

This is a great place to breathe in fragrant peach blossom on the orchard trail. Bring your camera. Visitors can even hop on a train to take it through the farm and orchard.

  •  Fresh Cannoli Queen Creek Olive Mill
    Fresh Cannoli Queen Creek Olive Mill

True Garden Urban Farm in Mesa
See the future of “green” gardening at True Garden. This first-of-its-kind facility, operated by solar power, was designed in partnership with Future Growing LLC with a vision to drastically reduce the region’s agricultural water consumption while making local, living produce available year-round in the hot desert regions of Phoenix and the Southwest US.

The 5,000-square-foot vertical urban garden destination can be a bit hard to find. Located in a small strip mall, the outside does not reflect the grandeur of the inside. There is a weekly farmers market as well as educational courses for visitors about the production of healthy and nutritious food using no soil. Featuring innovative hydroponic gardening techniques, visitors can learn about organic growing practices and sustainable farming.

Call ahead or check out their website for limited public hours and monthly events, and check out their Farmer’s market every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 am-12 pm.

The Windmill Winery in Florence
The Windmill Winery offers two distinct, but compatible venues. The first is a lovely historic site for a wedding or event staged either in the big red barn or the lake rea. The second is a venue for wine tasting. Both venues overlook the Superstition Mountains.

The wine-tasting spot offers signature wines that are locally produced featuring grapes that thrive in the Arizona desert terrain. Enjoy classic varietals like Zinfandel, Cabernet, and Pinot Grigio as well as newcomers such as Pinotage, Alicante Bouschet, and Barbera. Tasting flights and a charcuterie board is the way to go. Inside or patio seating.

Indulge your senses in the carefully tended landscaping, live animals, a lake, and stone pathways surrounding the property. Take a walk, and breathe in the fun, quirky, but polished atmosphere.

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit www.AllInGoodTaste.info

 

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About the Author:

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits.

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