Farm to Table Experiences

'Fresh Foodie Trail' draws agri-tourists to east Valley

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Jalapeno Bucks in Mesa (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Jalapeno Bucks in Mesa (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Jalapeno Bucks in Mesa (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Jalapeno Bucks in Mesa (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Jalapeno Bucks in Mesa (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Jalapeno Bucks in Mesa (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Jalapeno Bucks in Mesa (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Jalapeno Bucks in Mesa (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Many people are becoming more conscientious about the food they eat. That's why the Fresh Foodie Trail is growing in popularity, mapping out popular food-driven experiences throughout the East Valley.

"We've got all these farms. These farms entertain. They offer food; but they also offer education. So why not combine this for visitors to come and experience all this fresh, incredible local grown food," said Michelle Streeter of Visit Mesa

From dairy and olive farms, to a winery, flour mill and urban garden, the Fresh Foodie Trail offers a range of delicious dining experiences and culinary education.

Some of the locations are well known, like Schnepf FarmsVertuccio Farms, Agritopia and the Queen Creek Olive Mill.  

Other locations are lesser known, like Jalapeno Bucks. Arizona's Family visited the restaurant, located in the middle of the B & B Farm on Val Vista Road just south of the Loop 202, in north Mesa.

[VIDEO: Fresh Foodie Trail: Jalepeno Buck's]

Duaine Burden and his wife Dianne own the restaurant, which sits on Duaine's family farm.

"This is the oldest orange grove in Arizona. The trees are 103 years old," Duaine said. "My father is a hardcore farmer. He's out here still, every day. He's 87 years old. He still drives all the tractors."

The Burdens say they are the home of "Arizona style" barbecue and they don't cut corners. Their brisket goes into the smoker at around 4 p.m. each afternoon and does not come out until around 11 a.m. the next morning, just in time for the lunch crowd.  

"Everything here is made fresh daily. Everything," said Dianne. "That's the way we want it and that's the way it's going to be." 

Their three barbecue sauces and five different types of salsa are all made fresh. Their brisket, pulled pork and burritos are their specialties. In fact, a big fan favorite is their peanut butter, jelly and brisket sandwich.

True Gardens was another lesser known stop along the Fresh Foodie Trail. Housed in an unassuming strip mall at University and Recker, the urban garden is home to a greenhouse where fresh vegetables grow all year in the desert.

[VIDEO: Fresh Foodie Trail: True Gardens]

Among the long standing traditional farms in the East Valley, True Garden presents a new way of farming.  

Seedlings grow to a certain point and are then placed on a vertical aeroponic tower. Rows of these towers take up little space and land, use no soil or pesticides and require a fraction of the water a traditional farm uses.

Troy Albright is a pharmacist who invested in this vertical gardening concept because he believes good health doesn't have to come from a pill bottle.

"You're in charge of your own health, and health starts with what you eat," said Albright.  "If you can put healthier foods in your body, ultimately you're going to have a healthier life and better quality of life, and that's what we encourage people to do."

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