When you think of Arizona, lettuce is probably not top of mind. But the state produces almost all of the leafy greens Americans eat during the winter months, as well as a whole host of other crops, from citrus to garlic and everything in between. In the Greater Phoenix area, plenty of restaurants are building a reputation for maximizing local farmers’ bounty. Here are six spots in Phoenix and the East Valley to get a taste of what the area’s farm country has to offer.
True Food Kitchen
Serving “honest food that tastes really good” based on anti-inflammatory diet principles, True Food Kitchen currently has locations in 10 states. With a focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, but omnivores can also tuck into grass-fed beef and sustainable seafood.
In Phoenix: Biltmore Fashion Park, 2502 E Camelback Road, Suite 135
In Scottsdale: 15191 N. Scottsdale Road #101
At Flower Child, the motto “happy food for a healthy world” is reinforced by the owners’ commitment to buying ingredients from ranchers who treat their animals (and plants) right. That means naturally raised meat and organic produce that adheres to guidelines set by the Environmental Working Group. Wash it all down with kombucha on tap.
In Phoenix: 5013 N. 44th Street or 100 East Camelback Road
In Scottsdale: 10460 N. 90th Street
Joe’s Farm Grill at Agritopia
At Joe’s Farm Grill, the produce is literally grown next door. Part of the Agritopia master-planned agricultural community, this popular diner incorporates ingredients from the farm right on site. The menu’s not particularly focused on healthy eats – the motto “common food done uncommonly well” is highlighted in the burgers, ribs and pizza – but there’s an extensive salad list and a sign to advise which ingredients are currently in season and picked right on the farm.
In Gilbert: 3000 East Ray Road
Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
With ales crafted from heritage wheat grown at the local Sossaman Farms and milled at nearby Hayden Flour Mills, the first brewery in Gilbert, AZ, offers local drinking as well as local eating. Every Wednesday, there’s a local food special showcasing ingredients from the region’s farms to round out the farm-to-table experience.
In Gilbert: 721 N. Arizona Avenue #103
Eatery at Queen Creek Olive Mill
Arizona’s climate makes it perfect for growing olives, but this is the state’s only working olive farm. The site-pressed extra virgin olive oil features prominently on the menu, showing up as a prime ingredient in waffles and cupcakes as well as savoury items like sandwiches, salads and pizza.
In Queen Creek: 25062 S. Meridian Road
Dinner Down the Orchard at Schnepf Farms
On two dates each spring, the largest peach grower in Arizona sets a long table in the middle of the organic orchard with white linen tablecloths and plenty of mood lighting. A top local chef showcases ingredients from the farm and other local producers in each evening’s four-course meal.
In Queen Creek: 24610 South Rittenhouse Road
Multiple airlines offer direct flights from Vancouver to Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport, with service available daily. Allegiant offers non-stop service to the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport from Bellingham.
The writer travelled as a guest of Visit Mesa and Visit Phoenix. A version of this article originally appeared at FlightNetwork.com.