The Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival safely returning next weekend

Festivals and gatherings are returning to social calendars after many had to cancel their 2020 events due to Covid-19. One of those festivals first to return is The Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival next weekend April 17th & 18th. The Town of Camp Verde and the Verde Valley Wine Consortium co-host the 20th annual event in downtown Camp Verde from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturday and til 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Each day 8-12 wineries will be sampling their wines and pairing them with a variety of pecans. There will also be food trucks, a beer garden, live music, local artists and a competitive pie eating contest. All activities will follow CDC guidelines of social distancing, all areas cleaned and sanitized frequently and recommended mask wearing. Page Springs, Salt Mine Wine, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Winery 101 are a few of the wineries pouring wines at the event.

“We were saddened to have to cancel last year but it was with everyone’s safety and best interests in mind, as this is normally one of the town’s biggest events,” said Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Manager. “This annual tradition is a wonderful celebration of two local products of the region and we look forward to its return, with a number of additional safety precautions in mind”.

Entry to the festival is free and for all ages. Those 21 and older can pay $20 for six tasting tickets and a commemorative glass. Additional tickets can be purchased. For more information visit these websites http://www.cvaz.com and http://verdevalleywine.org

Photo credit: Jenelle Bonifeld & Arizona Wine Guide

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.

Vietnamese style coffee available at Pair Cup Works

Good news for coffee lovers, Pair Coffee & Tea inside Cider Corps is offering Vietnamese style coffee through April. The dark and concentrated coffee is typically served hot, Pair’s version can be served iced and vegan. The drink is based on a Vietnamese coffee but uses Pair’s own espresso, condensed coconut milk and oat milk instead of the traditional blend of robusta and chickory. $5.50 gets you a cup that can be made with dairy or vegan milks.

Sphinx Date Co. partners with Rhiba Farms for produce

Old Town Scottsdale’s Sphinx Date Co. is your pick-up spot for fresh non-GMO and pesticide free produce from the San Tan Valley farm. Customers can order a box of produce by the close of business every Monday for pick-up Wednesday – Saturday, no weekly commitment or subscription necessary. Each box feeds about 4 people and is $36 each. To order head to the farm’s website and more info can be found at Sphinx’s website.

DT Mesa Farmer’s Market moves to a new location.

The popular Saturday morning market has moved to the Mesa Arts Center at 1 E. Main St. It goes from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and a list of vendors can be found here.

Jax Vineyards featured at Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse

The Carefree restaurant will be hosting a five -course wine dinner on Wednesday March 24th. Chef Anthony Apolinar will pair his specially created dishes with wine from Napa & Sonoma Valley. Jax Vineyards CEO and President Dan Parrott will be on hand to speak about the wines, winery and more. Seating is limited and is $95++ per person and reservations can be made by calling 602-374-4784.

Good news as Crumbl Cookies opens newest location in Mesa today

Gourmet cookies are now available starting today at 1911 E. Brown in the Mesa Groves neighborhood. Today only get each customer get 1 free cookie at the new location.

 

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.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria launches new Spring menu

The new menu at the 7 Arizona locations celebrates the Garden of Flavors thru June 7th. Seasonal ingredients include artichokes, asparagus, sweet peaches and more. Dishes like the Panzanella Salad, Bacon & Asparagus Pizza go well with new cocktails such as the Kentucky Peach Mule & Peach Bellini. A new cauliflower crust pizza has been added as has desserts Banana Cream Cheese Cake and Caramel Coconut Cheesecake.

Found:RE Hotel celebrates Women in Wine

The downtown Phoenix hotel and signature restaurant Match Market & Bar feature wines made by women all month long in honor of International Women’s Day Monday March 8th. 18 wines from around the world are featured with a portion of sales donated to Hope Women’s Center. Many of the wines feature also donate to women’s causes around the world.

Local First Arizona film series highlights local food economy & community

March 9th is the first of a monthly series of its Good Food Film Series featuring 12 independent short films. Each film discusses the challenges the farm and food community faces over the next year. The first film titled “The State of Arizona Farmland” about the owners of Blue Sky Farms. April 13th will be “Are Edible Landscapes and Trees the answer to Arizona’s Rising Climate Crisis?” and May 11th brings “The Business of Farm to Food Banks“.

A Su Salud virtual kitchen offers healthy Mexican food.

Pita Jungle has jumped into the virtual kitchen game with A Su Salud at its Tempe location. Meaning “to your health” A Su Salud offers Mexican wood fired specialties available for pick-up or delivery from DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grub Hub and Postmates. Bowls, burritos, salads, tacos and fajitas are on the menu along with healthy kid options and Pita Jungle desserts.

All-you-can-eat tacos at Jalapeno Inferno

Every Taco Tuesday customers visiting the Pinnacle Peak, DC Ranch and Park West restaurants can get as many tacos as you can eat for $10.99. The special price is for dine-in only.

 

 

Visit Mesa launches Fresh Foodie Trail Geotour for socially distanced fun

Visit Mesa launched an exciting socially distant way for foodies and families to learn about the East Valley’s agrotourism community. The popular activity, Geocaching is part scavenger hunt part education and the new Fresh Foodie Trail Geotour will take you to 8 local farms, orchards and businesses. At each location geocachers will collect limited edition stickers and find all 10 geocaches for Fresh Foodie Trail Geotour recipes, a Visit Mesa branded wooden spoon and a digital souvenir from www.geocaching.com

Geo Tour stops include Jalapeno Bucks BBQ, Agritopia, Schnepf Farms, Queen Creek Olive Mill and other area farms.

Want to take a few days to enjoy your geotour, consider the Escape to Mesa vacation package before it ends. The promotion is open to Arizona residents who book a 2 night stay at a Mesa hotel. The package includes $150 in incentives and runs through the end of December. Visit http://www.escapetomesa.com/ for more information.

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.