9 Places to Pick Your Own Produce in Arizona

Categories: Locally Grown

Andrew Pielage
Peach season is just around the corner.
The spring growing season is well underway, but as much as we love our artichokes and onions, what we're really excited about is peach season. Very soon we'll be able to pick fresh peaches and soon after that apricots, melons, and more at farms all over the city and state. Here are nine places where you can get out and get your own produce right now and throughout the summer.

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5 Metro Phoenix Growers and Farmers to Follow on Instagram

From Hayden Flour Mills instagram
Follow these farmers and growers.

We're picky about a lot of things -- for example, our homegrown food and who we follow on Instagram. Here are five Instagram-ers in metro Phoenix we can get behind following. They provide a special look into what's it like to grow food in Metro Phoenix. From fancy full-scale farms to smaller growers. Follow these folks to be inspired daily and remember "no farms, no food."

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Rise of the Grains Documentary Features Metro Phoenix Food Leaders

Rise of the Grains
Two Generations of farmers: Erich Shultz of The Farm at Agritopia and Steve Sossaman of Sossaman Farms in the Sonoran White Wheat field at Agritopia

By now, pretty much everyone knows about the anti-wheat/anti-gluten "movement," but not too many people know about a new "local food movement" that values the craft processes, ingredients, artisanal practices, and people involved with heirloom grains. Rise of the Grains is a documentary inspired by the Native Seeds SEARCH/Hayden Flour Mills/Sossaman Farms/Chris Bianco collaboration and the producers filmed in Arizona, the United States, and even Europe. This film is being called the most star-studded food documentary in history, and it all started here in Arizona. If you're curious about grains and bread, you'll want to keep an eye on this documentary, set for release next spring.

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The Pichuberry: A New, Old Fruit to Taste Here in Phoenix

Categories: Locally Grown

Mouth Public Relations
A new member of the 'superfood' family has hit the Arizona marketplace and its promotors hope to take our tastebuds by storm. The Pichuberry is a fruit that at first looks like a ground cherry or what some may call a gooseberry, but do not be mistaken, for this berry is being billed as a superfood and its boosters claim it's drastically different from its other physalis cousins (like the tomatillo, too). Phoenix-based Pichuberry Company is teaming with Mojo Tree Farms to grow and popularize this little golden fruit and teach North Americans what the Andean people have known for so long.

See also:
Is Camel's Milk the Next Superfood?
Is Organic Food Better For You Than Non-Organic Food?

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Mealmatch: Local Organization Helping Fight World Hunger with Social Media App

Categories: Locally Grown

meal match.jpg
Photo courtesy of Mealmatch
Mealmatch can make your next beer at Spokes on Southern count for more than just calories.
Though no one can know the exact number of people who go hungry every day, one statistic estimates that 925 million people were hungry throughout the world in 2010, according to the the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

See also:
- Kickstarter Campaign Asks for Money to Start "Freegan" Cafe -- Serving Food from Dumpsters
- Good Food Finder: Good Food Allies Create a Database of Local Producers

Local entrepreneurs Dustin Tessendorf and Joseph Tuson wanted to do something to help and came up with the idea of Mealmatch, a social media-based organization that helps world hunger by donating a meal to someone in need every time a diner uses their app at a local restaurant.

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Emily Brown, Arizona's "Queen Bee," Talks Honey

Bee Keeping Emily Brown.jpg
From AZQueenBee.com and Emily Brown
Meet Emily Brown, Arizona's Queen Bee!

Come over here, honey, and let's get to know each other.

Whether you like the sticky stuff in your tea, yogurt, or on a peanut butter sandwich, you should appreciate where it comes from. For some insight, we turned to Emily Brown, a.k.a. "AZ Queen Bee."

She makes honey and honey products, and she also provides bee-removal services. Brown has kept bees for more than 20 years in various parts of the county -- and she really knows her stuff.

Brown's a member of the American Beekeeping Federation and the resident bee keeper at the Boulders Resort, and she often makes presentations about beekeeping to school groups.

So, is there going to be a sudden surge in beekeeping, akin to the backyard chicken craze? That's a definite maybe.

See also:
- Downtown Phoenix's GROWop Boutique and Phoenix Style Collective Host Honey Harvest
- Bees Eat M&Ms, Make Multi-Colored Honey

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The Edible Exchange Market in Scottsdale: Local Artisan Foods (and Food Trucks)

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All photos courtesy of Lindsay Hansen
The Edible Exchange Market in Scottsdale
We're big fans of the farmers market scene, really. But sometimes, Saturday mornings just have to be spent sleeping in, and it's not like we can go two weeks without getting our local food fix.

Enter, Edible Exchange Market.

See also:
- The Edible Exchange Lets Small Businesses Barter for Their Dinner
- Good Food Finder: Good Food Allies Create a Database of Local Producers

The local and artisan food market in Scottsdale offers a variety of goods that normally would be available only at weekly farmers markets. They accept cash, but small-business owners can sign up to get in on their community-driven barter system.

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Good Food Finder: Good Food Allies Create a Database of Local Producers

Categories: Locally Grown

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All photos courtesy of Natalie Morris
Heirloom tomatoes at Native Seeds/SEARCH farm
Even the most encyclopedic members of the local-food movement are likely to have some holes in their knowledge of all things food and Arizona.

Enter, the Good Food Finder.

Created by Natalie Morris and Jennifer Woods, the co-founders of Good Food Allies, the online directory identifies and locates local food producers around the state.

Morris says she created the website "almost in an effort to prove that we have a lot more [locally produced food] than people think we do."

See also:
- Welcome to Minervaland
- Chow Bella's Market archives

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Maya's Farm in Phoenix Now Hosting Classes Taught by Local Farmers

Categories: Locally Grown

Mayas farm CSA flipped.jpg
New Times archives
Mayas Farm CSA
Growing your own vegetables and housing a coop of chickens in the backyard might qualify you as a bonafied urban farmer, but there's some knowledge you can only get from the ladies and lads that till soil for a living. It's their trade secrets, those down and dirty techniques that make all the difference between growing food for fun and being able to do it for a living.

And while you may not want to hang up that coat and tie in favor of a straw hat and overalls, chances are we could all learn a lot from some well-known local farmers -- think Dave "the Egg Man" Jordan and Phoenix's tomato and premium veggie guru, Carl Seacat. Well, good news: that opportunity has come.

See also:
- Gilbert Farmer's Market: What We Bought, What We Skipped and What We're Still Lusting Over
- Coffee Academy in Tempe Offers Courses for the Aspiring Barista
- Phoenix Cold Snap Is Over, But What Are the Repercussions for Local Farmers and the Restaurants Who Buy From Them?

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"Gardenside" Chat with Stephen Eldridge of Gertrude's

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Courtesy of Chef Eldridge
This chef makes harvesting carrots in the desert look easy!

Gertrude's is the new restaurant (opened in January) at the Desert Botanical Garden and in addition to offering an expansive array of carefully chosen local ingredients, killer ambiance and a distinctive wine and spirits list, the restaurant also keeps it's own garden to complete the farm-to-table experience. It's safe to say a trip to the Desert Botanical Garden will get your inner gardening mind churning with both indigenous plant varieties and now vegetable garden envy as well.

The restaurant's namesake, Mrs. Gertrude Divine Webster, founded the Desert Botanical Garden in 1939. Since she is no longer with us to share gardening tips, Chow Bella spoke with Chef Stephen Eldridge on what it's been like growing a garden (gardens in his case) at a restaurant and tips for your garden this spring.

See also:
- Desert Botanical Garden to Open AZ-inspired Gertrude's Restaurant in January
- Boho Farm and Home's Caroline Van Slyke Offers Tips on Gardening in Phoenix

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