GILBERT, AZ (ARIZONA HIGHWAYS TV) - When you think Gilbert, you think: trendy, artsy, culinary hotspot. If you don’t, you probably should. What was once a bedroom community surrounded by fields of hay, alfalfa and cows (cue the moo) is now known for unforgettable farm-to-fork experiences, wine bars and one of the top artisan destinations in the country.

Gilbert has undergone a pretty cool metamorphosis. It started out as just a train station. Original homesteader William “Bobby” Gilbert allowed the Arizona Eastern Railway to establish a rail line on his property in 1902, to link Phoenix with Florence. That fast tracked the town to becoming a prime farming community, fueled by construction of the Roosevelt Dam and the Eastern Consolidated Canals.

Gilbert even joined the war effort, supplying the U.S. Army with hay for their horses during World War I.

Like most towns in their infancy, Gilbert had no paved roads, no electricity and no indoor running water. But Gilbert has grown up. From train station to farming community to urban center; the town’s roots may run deep – but that doesn’t mean it’s afraid of change or taking on challenges. So it totally makes sense that a once old family barn has been re-purposed from housing farming equipment, to a home for skilled craftsmen. Barnone is a community of artisans who have each honed their talent and passion to create unique, tangible, even handcrafted deliciousness.

With a farm as their back yard, it makes sense the restaurants, wine and beer makers here would experiment with these homegrown ingredients. I never thought beer with beet juice would be a thing, but I gotta say, Twelve West Brewing’s twist is delish. Garage East Wine Bar serves up a breakfast of champions – what they call Breakfast Wine. Like Twelve West, they take ingredients from the farm like grapefruit, oranges and peaches, and infuse them with white wines. It’s on tap – or they can it so you can take it to go. But get there early, it goes fast.

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Fire and Brimstone Restaurant in Gilbert, AZ (Source: Arizona Highways TV)

Because you don’t want to eat on an empty stomach, Uprooted Kitchen and Fire and Brimstone have you covered. Uprooted is pretty much what it sounds like. A fresh, seasonal plant-based eatery that seriously will make you forget you like or even crave meat.

Fire and Brimstone is a little more caveman. Everything from the pizzas to the deserts are cooked over a wood fire. Sure, you can get pepperoni, but their specialty is really worth coming back for. The key ingredients on this one include lamb sausage, jalapeno with a fried egg in the middle. They call it simple cooking. Personally, I wouldn’t try this at home. I will gladly leave the cooking to these daring pizza artisans.

From woodworkers to winemakers; bespoke firearms to letterpress art; on site farm grown ingredients translate the plates of vegan cuisine to artisan pizzas. These makers have found their unique niche and the ideal place to showcase their passion – in the heart of Gilbert.

Arizona's Highways TV with Robin Sewell airs Saturdays on 3TV at 8:30 pm and Sundays on CBS 5 at 4:30 pm.

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