Darcie Maranich

Darcie Maranich


Confession: I’m a foodie if ever there was one. In my opinion, one of the very best perks of Sonoran desert living is the abundance of locally-owned restaurants that offer inspired menus rather than just the same old stuff served nationwide at a chain. It goes further than that, though. Beyond restaurants, we Tucsonans have access to fine artisan food and drink handcrafted right in our {greater} backyard. I keep my pantry stocked with local foodie finds not only to treat my family, but also so that when guests visit I can showcase a fraction of what the desert has to offer. There’s just something especially charming about taking an expected meal and infusing a little local flavor to make it extraordinary. Take your average, ordinary margarita, for example. Mixing in a bit of prickly pear syrup transforms that everyday cocktail into a regional delicacy. The seven sources for local, artisan foods I’m sharing today offer products you simply must try, at least once.

Apple Annie’s - More than an orchard, Apple Annie’s is a source for locally grown produce, quality baked goods, and artisan honeys, dressings, jams and jellies. My personal favorite, though, is their apple cider, sold by the quart.

Callaghan Vineyards – Widely regarded as the premier Arizona winery, Callaghan Vineyards not only offers wine tasting in their Elgin tasting room, but also wine tasting events throughout the year. The Mourvedre is my personal favorite. And, truly, if you’ve yet to go wine tasting in Sonoita, you’re missing a little slice of heaven.

Grandma Santi’s Biscottini – Grandma Santi’s Biscottini is baked in small batches. They offer a variety of flavors throughout the year, including a desert specialty: prickly pear mesquite. If you can’t find them in the specialty store or farmer’s market, just place an order online.

Holly’s Little Farm – Widely available in regional stores as well as from roadside stands, Holly’s Little Farm offers several varieties of sweet raw honey, royal jelly, honeycomb, bee wax and bee pollen. Not only is the product sweet and satisfying, but the display of multi-colored honey jars will leave you wanting to try one of each.

La Mesa Tortillas – I stop in at the eastside La Mesa storefront weekly for a package (or three) of tortillas. Most often, they’re still steamy hot—freshly cooked. I’m partial to the whole wheat variety, but they have plenty of options (including hot food, made to order) to choose from.

Maya tea – Even coffee lovers must admit that there is always room in the world for a great cup of tea. Enter: Maya tea. This local gem offers loose leaf teas as well as chai tea concentrate. Once you try it, you’ll have a hard time going bag to store-bought teabags.

Prayerfully Popped – The gourmet popcorn available at Prayerfully Popped puts Cracker Jack to shame. We recently tried the Tuxedo Biscotti variety and, well, it was love at first bite.

Zona 78 – This local Italian kitchen offers more than a great happy hour. Their house-made mozzarella is available for purchase every day of the week. Just call ahead to confirm availability. Serve it at your next dinner party and I guarantee that your guests will rave about it for weeks.

This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather a few of my personal favorite sources for local artisan food and beverages. Do you have a local favorite that I missed? Mention it in the comments and I’ll be sure to try it soon!

(1) comment


As a new resident of this great area I appreciate the article but would be REALLY helpful is an address or website for each of these places so I can find them.

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