MESA, ARIZONA: Mesa’s Fresh Foodie Trail is agritourism at its finest. Family farms, roadside stands, and eclectic eateries that have been around for decades abound. Heading south and east from Mesa and into the towns of the Southeast Valley, gourmands will find plenty of palate-pleasing adventures.
Family-run Jalapeño Buck’s Vista Drive began with Duane and Dianne Burden making burritos for friends. Now, their converted cargo container has lines out to the road and is a roadside sensation serving excellent burritos, ribs, brisket, and pork sandwiches. People venture all the way from California just to eat here, and barbecue enthusiasts will already be planning their return visit.
Joe’s Farm Grill and Barnone
Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert is set on 12 acres of farmland and has both indoor and outdoor seating. When they can, they use organic herbs, fruits, and vegetables from The Farm at Agritopia. Barbecue, seafood, hot dogs, burgers, chicken, and pizzas are options along with many sides from which to choose.
Barnone, a small local craftsmen community, is also part of the Farm Grill landscape. Such diverse entrepreneurs as Lettercraft, who make reclaimed, wood-burned decor; Prickly Pear Paper and their handcrafted paper goods; the salon Wander; beer and wine craftsmen at 12 West Brewing and Garage-East, respectively; and culinary fare from Fire & Brimstone and The Uprooted Kitchen are some of the 12 businesses operating out of a Quonset hut made from melted down World War II airplanes.
Ice Scream, You Scream
While in Gilbert, stop by Udder Delights whose website exclaims, where the ice cream is so amazing, it’s life changing! The owner, who also owns Superstition Farms, makes his cool creations the old-fashioned way with BHT-free, locally sourced milk, using only five ingredients for his base.
Their number one seller is Superstition Farm with chocolate, hazelnut, and Nutella, but there are myriad other flavors as well as dairy-free options and seasonal flavors like May’s Avocado and April’s Peeps flavors.
Olives, Fudge, Pork and Peaches
The agritainment hotspot in southern Arizona is the Queen Creek Olive Mill the state’s only working olive mill and farm. Situated on 100 acres with 7,000 olive trees, this family-owned operation offers tours, tastings, shopping, and even in-house coffee roasting by Superstition Coffee.
Additionally, there is also an Italian-themed restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here, you’ll find antipasti, bruschetta, salads, sandwiches, panini, pizza, as well as a kids’ menu. Their wide-ranging unique breakfast menu features their Vanilla Bean Olive Oil Waffle.
Also located nearby in Queen Creek is the third generation Pork Shop who offers seven types of smoked bacon, gourmet sausages, cheese sausages, brats, and other pork-inspired products.
Schnepf Farms has been operating for 75 years and is the largest peach grower in Arizona Open 10 months of the year, the farm has seasonal events besides the just about daily U-PICK from their organic gardens. Check their website’s event calendar for happenings like their October Pumpkin and Chili Party.
Mesa and its environs offer a virtual culinary patchwork spread across the desert valley. From mouthwatering barbeque to farm stands to tasty eateries, The Fresh Foodie Trail is your path to southwestern deliciousness.
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All of the transportation, meals, and attractions for this review were provided at no charge. All opinions herein are the authors.