Marana Earth Festival

There may be no such thing as a free lunch. But you will get free samples of some of Marana’s finest foods this Saturday during the Marana Earth Festival–Making Sustainability Fun!

The event, hosted by the Marana Chamber of Commerce’s Green Committee, will be held from noon to 5 p.m. in Lot B of the Tucson Premium Outlets. The mall is located at the intersection of Twin Peaks Road and Interstate 10. 

In addition to fun activities for the kids and an exhibition of energy-saving activities and other “green” products and services, we’ll be showcasing Marana’s history as a food-producing area.

The desert land along the Santa Cruz River below what we now know as Safford Peak, or more commonly Sombrero Peak, has been utilized as an agrarian area for more than 4,000 years, according to the Town of Marana. Ancient peoples grew grains, vegetables and other crops for consumption here and elsewhere.

Marana’s Tourism and Marketing Manager Laura Cortelyou will be on hand to share information about food-growing activities and to talk about her new Marana Gastronomy Tour that includes a visit to some of the early production sites.

A heritage grain, white Sonora wheat, is still grown locally, including by BKW Farms of Marana. The soft, low-protein grain, brought to the southwestern United States by Father Kino in the late 1600s, is a favorite in pastries, cakes and pie crust. 

It is also used today to brew beer, including some from Catalina Brewing Company here in Marana. Catalina will run our beer garden and will be assisted by the new brewer on the block, Button Brew House.

The executive chef of The Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain, David Serus, makes extensive use of locally grown produce. He will be on hand to talk about how he uses Marana products and to give out samples of his foods. He’ll even share a recipe with attendees.

Other restaurants and organizations in our Marana Foods tent include: Growler’s Taphouse, Mama’s Hawaiian BBQ, Twin Peaks Pizzeria, The Screamery, Bee Bustin & Life'Sweet Honey Farms, Hand Picked Produce, Sun Valley Growers Moringa, Bountiful Baskets, Dream Dinners, Chick-fil-A, Hydrohub-Alkaline Water Outlet and Culligan Water of Tucson. Most will be giving out samples.

Please check out our full line-up of activities and participating organizations at maranaearthfestival.com. Also find information on the Marana Chamber’s Green Committee Facebook page and follow us on Twitter at @EarthMarana. In addition to free food, you have a chance to win prizes in our raffle simply by visiting our exhibitors.

We hope you’ll come out and enjoy a taste of Marana! 

In other news, builders remained very active in recent months. Curt Woody, director of economic development, said 40 permits for single family homes were issued in September, bringing the number for the year to 593. The bulk of the activity continues to be in eastern Marana in the Dove Mountain, Tangerine Ridge and Willow Vista areas.

While the September total was down from previous months, he said the decline is seasonal due to fewer people buying lots for homes during hot summer months. Activity has again picked up as the weather has cooled and the Town is on course to issue close to 800 permits for the 12 months ending in December, he said.

Congratulations to these businesses who allowed us to celebrate their openings with ribbon-cuttings: Chick-fil-A; AKKA; Barro’s Pizza; Life Is Good Chiropractic; Clear Vision Express and Marana Resource Center. 

We recently welcomed these new businesses to the Chamber: Rojanna Harvey, PLLC; Button Brew House; McDonald’s - Cortaro; Growler’s Taphouse; Digital Imaging Systems, LLC; Institute for Better Education; Clear Vision Express; Marana Football Boosters; Automation Specialists Inc.;

Crosswind VolP; and Barro’s Pizza.

Ed Stolmaker is the president and CEO of the Marana Chamber of Commerce.

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