Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Mediterra Bakehouse seasonal breads available at farmers markets

Handmade breads made with grains grown on their farm in Coolidge are available in 4 seasonal varieties through December. Pumpkin Boule, Fig & Anise, Chocolate Cherry Levain & Christmas Stollen can be found 4 days a week around phoenix at local farmers markets.

Romeo’s Euro Cafe hosts 3rd Tuesday dinner

The popular downtown Gilbert restaurant offers a 3 course dinner with 3 wine pairings for its monthly dinner. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and is $39++ per person. Reservations can be made by calling 480-962-4224 or email

Grgich Hills wine dinner at Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen

The famed Napa Valley winery will have its wines featured with at 5-course dinner in downtown Scottsdale. The Thursday November 19th dinner will be have socially distanced tables of no more than 8 people. $90 ++ per person, to view the menu and make a reservation head to http://tommyvscottsdale.com/ .

Tropical Smoothie Cafe 1st to use edible straws

All 9 Phoenix area locations are serving their seasonal Cranberry Truffle and Cranberry Crisp smoothies with a strawberry flavored edible straw. Each SORBOS individually packed straw stays firm for 40 minutes and is biodegradable.

Winning burger & shake now available at Aioli Gourmet Burgers

The contest had lots of recipes entered but only one could win each category. The FRC burger from Francis Campos of BASIS Phoenix H.S. and The Boo Shake by Kaitlynn and Mackenzie from Adobe Mountain H.S. are now available at the burger shops in Litchfield Park and 2 in Phoenix. 10% of all burgers sold are being donated to Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers

Farmers markets heat up as the weather cools down

A sure sign of the change of seasons and cooler weather is the re-opening of farmers markets across the valley. Farmers markets feature locally grown produce and other food products and crafts and have become very popular in recent years. Several feature coffee, food trucks and have local restaurants preparing ready to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner. Others offer cooking demonstrations and seminars for the communities benefit. 2020/21 markets are following CDC guidelines with social distancing and wearing of masks to keep everybody safe and healthy. Many welcome dogs as long as they are on leashes. Markets if not running year round usually end before the summer heat kicks in in May.

The this Saturday October 3rd brings the re-opening of the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market. The popular market starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 1p.m. at 2nd St. and Brown.

The return of north Phoenix’s High Street Farmers Market is set for Sunday October 25th. Over a 100 vendors will be selling food, arts and more from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Some farmers markets haven’t waited for the weather to cool down such as Momma’s Organic Market in Surprise. The new market started up at The Sterling Grove Market on Sunday September 6th. Momma’s market at Park West in Peoria kicks off Wednesday October 7th at 4 p.m. Their Glendale market at Arrowhead Town Center is open on Saturday mornings.

Arizona Community Farmers Markets organizes 10 markets in the Phoenix area including the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market. For information and their locations visit their website.

Farm fresh produce available from Castle Hot Springs

The historic Castle Hot Springs is closed until September 3rd 2020 but has plenty of farm fresh produce grown on site. What do they do with it, they box it up and sell it with all proceeds going to St. Vincent de Paul. Resident Agronomist Ian Beger grows over 150 seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs on their one acre farm.

Subscription boxes start at $25/week for the “Just Greens” (1lb. of lettuce greens and one 8oz clamshell of Micro-Greens) package. For $75/week the “Farmers Pick” includes Just Greens + farmers pick of the best root vegetables, culinary herbs, tomatoes, fruit, specialty vegetables and edible flowers. The “Executive” option is $250/ week and consists of includes greens, vegetables, herbs, tomatoes, fruit, edible flowers, coffee beans, preserves, seeds for your garden, recipes for produce, and a bunch of farm-fresh flowers.

Christopher Brugman and Ian Beger

Subscribers will be contacted the week of for payment and can pick up their boxes every Friday at 6926 E. Main Street, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251 or at the resort.

For more information or to order your box head to their website.

2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum hopes to go off as scheduled

With current events planning a festival or other culinary events is hard not knowing how the coronavirus will affect future events. I’m hoping the 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum goes off as planned on April 28th & 29th 2020. The two day conference of farmers, local food advocates and food entrepreneurs will be held at the Corona Ranch & Rodeo Grounds in Laveen.

Organized by Local First Arizona the forum helps build and strengthen relationships aimed at collaborations between the Arizona food and farm industry. Arizona’s farming future will be discussed among the more than 200 food entrepreneurs and advocates.

“Phoenix is committed to achieving a healthy, sustainable, equitable, and thriving food system and has recently completed a 2025 Food Action Plan that includes various strategies and actions that address food insecurity, urban agriculture, land use, job creation, and the contribution of the entire food system to our local economy,” said city of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

She added, “We are excited to host the Arizona Food & Farm Forum in South Phoenix to showcase the rich agricultural history of the area, its assets, and value to the development of a resilient food system for future generations.”

Arizona Food & Farm Forum line-up

The 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum will have farm tours, workshops and networking opportunities for all to participate in. Keynote speakers include Nephi Craig, Founder of the Native American Culinary Association, Lilian Hill, Executive Director of the Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute and Sara Dolan, Owner of Blue Sky Organic Farms.

“From strategizing local opportunities for farmland conservation to exploring food as medicine, the 2020 agenda is focused on ensuring Arizona can thrive as a delicious and nutritious place to live,” said Kate Radosevic, Local First Arizona Food & Farm Initiatives Manager.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Heritage and Planning for the Future” with sub-themes….. Planning for the Future is centered around policy and systemic changes, including strategy sessions on Agriculture Workforce Development, Urban Farmland Conservation, and Funding Community Food Systems.

Indigenous Foodways will provide a space for tribal members and allies to explore Decolonization Through Food, learn from the American Indian Farmers’ Panel, and explore Food as Medicine.

Growing a Food Business will offer technical assistance in Building Your Brand; Protecting Yourself & Your Workers in a Hotter, Drier Climate; and Strategies for Diversifying Farm Revenue Streams.

Tickets for the 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum are $99 for 2 days & $59 for 1 day. Students, ranchers and young farmers are $40 for 2 days and $20 for 1 day. Local First Arizona members will save 10% when you use the promo code “LOCALFIRST”. For more information and to purchase tickets head to the website.