Filed under: challenge, farmers markets, local, welcome | Tags: challenge, farmers markets, local, Phoenix
“You’ve got to be kidding, right? I mean, does anything actually grow there?”
When I tell people that I’m going to be eating at least one all locally grown meal per week, on a grad student’s budget no less, I get a lot of different reactions, but mostly disbelief.
“How can anything grow in 115 degrees?”
“Are you going to eat only Mexican food?”
“Well, I hope you like citrus!”
The truth is, produce grows very well in Arizona. Tomatoes are planted in February and yield through July, we have peaches into the second week of June and the winter brings us enough lettuce to make a salad for the nation. And, yes, we do grow a lot of citrus. The seasons may be a little different in Arizona, but our mild winters and the range of temperatures means that Phoenix is home to a wide variety of produce. Not that all of it is edible of course, unless you like the taste and texture of cattle corn.
But don’t get confused, I’m not planning on growing anything myself (my 700 square foot studio apartment and plant destroying cat are enough of a deterrent to limit me to one very pathetic basil plant), instead I’ll be relying on the farmers markets scattered through the Valley of the Sun and a small bit on my parent’s pepper garden and their neighbor’s laying hens. With the increasing consumer demand for local produce it’s become easy to eat local and support those who are growing and raising food responsibly throughout the Valley. There are farmers markets in every part of the Valley – don’t believe me? – check it out here. And yes, they are affordable and no, you don’t have to be a hippy to shop at them.
In the coming weeks I’ll be documenting my culinary exploits, trips to the farmers markets and urban farms and thoughts on the importance of eating local and forming a food relationship with my city. I welcome comments, tips and suggestions and I hope you join me as I discover the seasons of local food in Phoenix.
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