Tucson: Farmer's Markets/CSAs?
Visiting the area, & thinking of moving--how are farmer's markets in the area? Is there organic produce/meats available, especially for CSAs? Do you have to go to Whole Foods to get organic food? Also, I'm not from the southwest...is it impossible to have a vegetable garden in the Tucson climate?
Any opinions are great! Thanks!
The CSA noshing mentions might be Crooked Sky Farms. They drive down from the valley once a week, and I know the setup includes cheeses and meats as well. He has not certified as organic, but rather is stricter than the standards and avoids both pesticides and fertilizers. Heirloom stuff, and one of the few CSA farms that actually can produce year round because of locations in the valley, Duncan and Willcox. Check out www.crookedskyfarms.com for the Tucson info
I've done a fair amount of business with Doublecheck Ranch, who run a beef CSA in Tucson. They've provided me with more delicious steaks than I can count. The meat is a bit leaner than you may be used to, but it has a terrific flavor. Also, the Schwennesens are terrific folks. If you like to get to know your providers, they're the tops!
Check them out at http://www.doublecheckranch.com
Double Check Ranch
4965 N Camino Rio, Winkelman, AZ 85292
There are farmers markets around town. They don't have the produce like they do in Calif but there's more and more. There's the Old Spanish Trail farmers market on the eastside (Sat.) and the Santa Cruz River farmers market on the westside (Thursday) and St. Phillip's farmers market on Sunday and Oro Valley on Saturday. There's probably more especially from October thru April.
Tucson has their own CSA and you can pick up produce and sometimes cheese/meat there on Tuesday/Thursday/Friday. The produce is not organic but is grown without pesticides and you are always invited to meet the farmer. Trader Joes has a lot of organic produce and products.
There are many classes to learn about growing a garden or having a community garden. Here's an article about being a desert locavore in Tucson.
"NE Corner of Riverview and Speedway between Arizona School for Deaf and Blind and El Rio Neighborhood Center Thursdays 3:00 - 6:00 pm beginning March 13, 2008 through third week of November and 4:00-7:00 pm May - September."
I don't know much about the CSA or farmers market scenes in Tucson, but I do know that it is possible to grow vegetables and fruits there.
Though a bit dated, "Desert Gardening" by George Brookbank is a good resource for beginners. The calendar of gardening tasks (planting, harvesting, etc.) in the book is actually geared to the climate of the Tucson area, where Brookbank worked for many years.
For more home gardening resources, you can check the U of Arizona Cooperative Extension website:
As a transplanted midwestern Master Gardener, I thought I knew almost all there is to know about vegetable gardening. Wrong! There is a whole body of knowledge about desert gardening much different than the midwest. But you can grow vegetables here. Just consult with the Pima County Master Gardeners for lots of helpful information and tips. Be willing to learn a new way of growing things in the heat of the summer.
Also, most homes have at least one citrus tree in the yard, and they produce more than you can reasonably use when they ripen. Make a lot of friends or give to the food shelf. Call or visit the Pima County extension office as indicated by hohokam for more detailed info and suggestions.
There are a few Farmer's Markets in the area, but I haven't visited so can't comment on the availability of produce. They often are listed in the local newspapers for dates and times.