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Feb 20, 2007 04:12 PM

Farmers Market - the night of Fat Tuesday

Since all the Pacskis are gone, my thoughts, OK my stomach, have changed to healthier foods. I'm new to the valley (Phoenix) and searching for a good farmers market. Can you let me know were the best is located and when. Thank-you

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  1. Wednesdays at 20th and Camelback Town and Country Mall...located behind the Arby's...McClendon's Select is the one to buy from 9:30 - 1 or 2 pm

    1. Phoenix does not have a single main farmer's market like the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia or the Eastern Market in Detroit. Instead, it has a collection of one-day-a-week markets in various neighborhoods. Most of them I find fairly disappointing because the vendors of prepared foods and artsy-crafty items usually outnumber vendors of fresh produce. Of course, it may not be realistic to expect a lot of vibrant farmer's markets in a desert region that is ill-suited to growing most types of fruits and vegetables. The "think globally; eat locally" slogan has somewhat limited applicability here.

      That being said, I agree with the endorsement of the Town & Country market above. McClendon is usually one of only a handful of true produce vendors there, but the produce they sell is always top-notch.

      Another thread on this board recently reminded me of the Guadalupe Farmer's Market, which is an actual store open each day at Guadalupe and Avenida del Yaqui. I visited for the first time in a long while last week and was impressed. It's a particularly good choice for those who live or work in Tempe and Ahwatukee.

      3 Replies
      1. re: silverbear

        i shop at the downtown farmers market, and i love it...i get just about everything : eggs, farmers cheese, produce, awesome citrus, olive oil, bread...just about my shopping for the week.. its on central, just south of mckinley, 8 to 1 i think. maya's farm and one windmill farm are my fav's for produce...

        you're doing yourself a huge injustice if you don't try belinda's pickle's or cotton country jams for excellent canned goods. i'm going to hell for saying this but her beets are better than my grandma's...

        the prepared stuff doesn't bother me - the bay area farmers markets all had that - indian food, tortillas, you name it....

        1. re: winedubar

          I went to the downtown Public Market regularly when it first opened. I really wanted to like it, but with each visit I came one step closer to my eventual conclusion that it isn't worth the 8-mile drive from my house when I could be doing something else on a Saturday morning. I can tolerate the prepared foods at the market, but what really frustrates me are the wind chimes, pet-sitting services, and other vendors that have nothing to do with food.

          I know that the organizers of the Public Market have ambitions of erecting a permanent structure and expanding hours so that the market can become a destination market like the ones mentioned in my first post. I wish them well in that goal, but until the vendor mix improves, I still see the Public Market as just another neighborhood market for those who live in or near downtown rather than as magnet for shoppers throughout the metro area.

          In any case, for the benefit of the orignal poster, here are some relevant Web sites:

          Downtown Phoenix Public Market:

          AZ Central listing of area farmer's markets:

          Arizona Community Farmers Markets:

          1. re: silverbear

            your frustration is understood, but those things are good if they make the farmer's market viable. And it can definitely be worse, even in big cities.

      2. We go to the Downtown market about once a month. When we do go we get eggs, we stock up from Maya and from Windhill Farm. I've bought the farmer's cheese and really liked it as well.

        But we're 25 miles away so it's hard to justify driving the car that far, almost seems to defeat the purpose of buying local. We've gone to the Ahwatukee farmer's market a couple times since Maya usually has a stand there and it's closer. Nothing else there is really notable - a couple bread vendors, some arts and crafts things, a canned fish vendor, someone sellign cheese that I think is just repackaged with their name on it?, and Molly's Tamales

        I work not far from the Guadalupe store that was mentioned so am going to check that out on a lunch hour. Being from the Seattle, I miss all the local farmstands(not so much the downtown Public Market for regular shopping but we had great neighborhood stands around where we were).

        Anyone know of any newer CSA's around? The established ones that service our area have such long wait lists.

        9 Replies
        1. re: ziggylu

          Good point about the long drive possibly negating the environmental advantages often claimed from eating locally grown food. Likewise, I think one has to look carefully at the appropriateness of growing certain thirsty crops in an area in which water is scarce. I think that the actual environmental costs and benefits of shipping food over long distances are much more nuanced than many think. While I enjoy good local produce when I can obtain it conveniently, I also buy Chilean blueberries and other long-distance produce without guilt. It's easy to advocate local foods when one lives near California's Central Valley or other rich agricultural regions, but in Phoenix, I think the equation may not be as simple.

          1. re: silverbear

            well, i think the key to the equation is understanding what things are produced here readily, and easily. like cholla buds - fantastic if you can get them, they are simply amazing. and tepary beans - super high in protein, native to az, any number of cactus fruit or nopales, and of course - great citrus. mesquite flour - sweet, nutty, high protein. navajo churro sheep as well.

            part of eating local is enjoying the food native to your locale. if you're looking for salmon and truffles? well, you migh be disappointed. but there's a rich culinary history here. it just looks different. its pretty good too, if you give it a try :)

            if you go to west of western, be sure and check out the tohono o'odham booth - lots of info about native food....

            1. re: winedubar

              Bob McClendon sells tepary beansat the Wednesday market that are" native to the canyons and arroyos of southern Arizona. Indians have cultivated this crop for hundreds of years."

              1. re: Molto E

                awesome - i think they're great. they cook faster than most beans, if you try them :)

                have you had them??

                1. re: winedubar

                  i had a great soup made with them by the the new Italian chef (Claudio Urcivoli) at Taggia ( opens March 1) at the Caleo resort. I bought a bag of them at the market and made Claudio give up his recipe so I will give it a whirl at home soon

                  1. re: Molto E

                    that sounds great - the recipe and the new restaurant!!! and of course the beans ;)

                    1. re: Molto E

                      I have a bag I bought at the market as well...been trying to decide what to do with them. I love bean soups...any chance you can share the recipe?

                      1. re: ziggylu

                        The following instructions came from Bob McClendon and then at the end I will give you Claudio's recipe...

                        This can be used as a guide to cooking tepary beans. Actual times and procedures will vary...

                        Clean and sort beans: remove any rocks and dirt clods as well as off color beans (very important if you do not want to ruin a tooth on a rock). Rinse with clean water

                        These beans can be cooked immediately but I prefer to soak the beans for at least a couple of hours if I have the time.

                        These beans can be soaked for up to 24 hours. It would be best to change the water a couple of times when soaking the beans. At the very least, rinse before cooking.

                        *** If you do not soak, you need to use at least three times as much water as beans for cooking- example 1 cup beans to three cups water. And always keep an eye on the water level when cooking. The beans should always be covered with water when cooking.***

                        Crock Pot
                        place the soaked beans in a crock pot along with 1/2 lb. of bacon and a large onion that has been peeled and cut into quarters. Add enough water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Cook on high for about eight hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. The crock pot method works very well. I soak the beans overnight and change the water in the morning. The bacon, onion, beans and water are added to the crock pot first thing in the morning. Plug in the crock pot set on high by 7:00 or 8:00 AM. By the time I get home at 4 or 5 PM the beans are all done.

                        Stove Top
                        Place soaked beans in a heavy bottom pot. Add 1/2 lb. bacon and a large onion that has been peeled and cut into quarters. Add enough water to cover beans by about 1 inch. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to high simmer or low boil. Stir often to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot. Add water to keep beans just barely covered. Cook until beans are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Condiments such as: salsa, shredded cheese, chopped onions, cilantro, vinegar can be added to the beans as a garnish on the plate. for added texture and flavor. The cooked beans can be refried or mashed and used in burritos, tostadas, and other Mexican food dishes. A great bean dip can be made by adding salsa and shredded cheese th the mashed / refried tepary beans.

                        Claudio's recipe to follow...he says that his recipe is rustic and likes to taste the beans so that is why he does not add that much to it. He stresses putting the beans on a sheet pan to separate the rocks and irregular beans out...use only the nice beans or you will get a pebble..
                        for 1 kilo of beans take half a head of garlic skin on and cover with water by one inch...bring to a boil then drop heat to a simmer and cook until beans are tender while keeping beans covered with water ( he does not soak the beans) this point the garlic will be floating all over and you can take some of the garlic skin out if you want but he feels that there are nutrients and flavor in the skin that he likes it so take out some but not all...use a hand mixer or whatever to puree half the beans but keep half the beans whole...take some bitter greens ( chicory, escarole etc.) clean and then wilt in extra virgin olive oil with garlic, pimenton, black pepper or red pepper and add wilted greens to beans...drizzle with fantastic extra virgin olive oil before addition could be grilling some nice bread then a quick rub with can place the grilled garlic bread at the bottom of the bowl and ladle the soup on top.

                        Good Eating,

                        Molto E

                        1. re: Molto E

                          Thanks for posting this. My husband made a big pot of soup from the beans while I was at work yesterday...he started from your postings and then departed a bit, throwing some italian sausage in with the beans and chard we had on hand. It was quite tasty! I'm sold on the teperary beans and will have to pick some more up!