Agritopia is one of the stops along Arizona's "Fresh Foodie Trail" — Photo courtesy of Visit Mesa
Visit Mesa launched The Fresh Foodie Trail, a self-guided route, in 2015 to connect the agricultural heritage and culinary splendor within the Arizona city of Mesa and surrounding communities of Gilbert and Queen Creek. This agritourism itinerary is aligned with farms and food and beverage businesses that grow and produce goods that are too delicious to pass up.
Here are 10 of the best stops on the trail.
Queen Creek Olive Mill - Scottsdale and Queen Creek
Queen Creek Olive Mill produces extra virgin olive oils — Photo courtesy of Visit Mesa
With locations in Scottsdale and Queen Creek, this extra virgin olive oil producer runs Arizona’s only working olive oil farm and mill. The Rea's family-owned operation grows and harvests nine varieties of olives, which then get pressed.
At their Queen Creek branch, an “Olive Oil 101” class explains how the mill’s extra virgin olive oil is made and what sorts of benefits can be enjoyed from this type of product. There's also an on-site eatery. Both locations’ marketplaces sell their original and flavor-infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars, along with products by Olivespa, a natural skincare line founded by Brenda Rea.
Schnepf Farms - Queen Creek
Schnepf Farms' peach season is a popular time with visitors — Photo courtesy of Visit Mesa
Run by four generations, this 300-acre family farm is known for many things. For example, eight types of peaches from their orchards become very popular during their May harvest season. Visitors can get hands-on at Schnepf Farms’ U-Pick Organic Garden or shop at their bakery and country store.
Weddings and events are held there as well, and an amusement park has also been introduced. Your farm experience can even include a glamping stay at The Cozy Peach, a campground full of refurbished Airstreams and travel trailers.
Cider Corps - Mesa
At Cider Corps' taproom, try hard ciders, such as their Mango Foxtrot — Photo courtesy of Cider Corps
Brothers Jason (a retired Marine sergeant) and Josh Duren co-founded this hard cidery that grew out of their cider-making hobby. It was also therapeutic for Jason who was recovering from traumatic brain injuries suffered while serving in Afghanistan.
Located in downtown Mesa, Cider Corps’ building holds their taproom, an on-site production facility and two business tenants, Myke’s Pizza and Pair Cupworks. Try their POG (passionfruit, orange and guava) or Mango Foxtrot.
True Garden - Mesa
Troy Albright started True Garden with his wife, Lisa Albright — Photo courtesy of Visit Mesa
In Mesa, the roots of True Garden were established by owners Troy and Lisa Albright as a holistic compounding pharmacy. It has morphed into having a focus on the importance of nutrition in health, with the couple also installing what’s known as the first aeroponic tower farm in the Southwest. At their 5,000-square-foot vertical urban farm, True Garden holds classes on this method of gardening, which doesn’t require soil. They also sell seedlings and offer Community Supported Agriculture (also known as a CSA).
Jalapeño Bucks and B&B Citrus Farms - Mesa
Jalapeño Bucks gets high marks for their mango salsa — Photo courtesy of Visit Mesa
Make a stop at these neighboring businesses in Mesa. B&B Citrus Farms dates back to 1915 as a major citrus fruit provider, where you can purchase oranges, grapefruits, lemons and tangerines. Their next-door neighbor, Jalapeño Bucks, is a roadside eatery with a menu that combines barbecue and Mexican flavors. Begin with their popular mango salsa and chips, then select one of their burrito combinations.
Agritopia - Gilbert
Agritopia is a community village that grew from a homestead — Photo courtesy of Visit Mesa
This urban community in Gilbert was once a homestead belonging to its second owners, the Johnston family. In the late '90s, amid much suburban development, the Johnstons decided to preserve their property by turning it into a village with a commercial presence.
At Agritopia, Garage-East is a winery and wine bar showcasing Arizona-grown wine. Joe’s Farm Grill is located in the original Johnston family home, and Barnone represents a community of craftspeople from various trades. Yet its agricultural heritage continues on through Agritopia Farm.
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Proof Bread - Mesa
Jonathan Przybyl and Amanda Abou-Eid co-own Proof Bread — Photo courtesy of Visit Mesa
It’s easy to stare through the storefront windows of this Old World artisan bakery in Mesa, run by Jonathan Przybyl and his wife, Amanda Abou-Eid. You can look on as workers prepare and bake bread and pastries amid its in-house production facility. Proof Bread also holds classes on sourdough bread-making; this particular bread is their specialty.
Vertuccio Farms - Mesa
Vertuccio Farms also attracts many people during their peach harvesting season — Photo courtesy of Vertuccio Farms
This Mesa farm, owned by the Vertuccio family, is known for putting on seasonal "agritainment." They have peach-picking in May, a fall festival and a walk-through Christmas light show. The autumn event features a lengthy corn maze full of twists and turns to follow, and there’s also a Pumpkin Barn.
The Windmill Winery - Florence
The Windmill Winery is known for its wine tasting room and as a wedding venue — Photo courtesy of Visit Mesa
In Florence, Arizona, this rural farm and wine tasting room is a major event space. The Windmill Winery offers a rustic charm, with a tasting room housed in a circa 1920s dairy barn. Couples can book their nuptials at the barn or the winery’s lake house. The wine tasting room serves their signature wines produced with Arizona-grown grapes. Additionally, a menagerie of burros and other animals call this winery home.
Steadfast Farm - Mesa
Steadfast Farm applies organic farming practices toward growing produce — Photo courtesy of Visit Mesa
This two-acre biointensive market farm in Mesa applies organic farming practices toward growing vegetables, flowers and fruits, as well as raising pastured poultry for eggs. These can be purchased via their on-site farm store or CSA. Along with selling what they harvest, Steadfast Farm offers consulting services on profitable small-scale farming. Their farm store also doubles as a coffee shop in the morning; it get high marks for its breakfast tacos.