FARM RICH COUNTRY, Mesa's bountiful harvest is proudly shared with visitors. Here, fresh experiences and a treasured heritage of family farms and long-standing festivals make for lasting memories. Serving as a culinary gateway to Phoenix and Scottsdale, the neighboring farms in and around Mesa are providing a bounty of seasonal goods for visitors to enjoy year-round. Citrus in January, Peaches in May, Olives in October. Travelers can time their visits to experience chef-driven dinners in the most romantic of settings, meet Arizona winemakers that pour from their hearts.
Plan your visit at all these stops on the Fresh Foodie Trail:
Just east of Mesa in the charming town of Queen Creek, visitors can explore the one-of-a-kind Schnepf Farms – celebrating 75 years of operation. This fourth generation family farm and the largest organic peach grower in Arizona is not just a festival or event farm, they are truly a farm where you can come and experience Arizona agriculture at its finest. If planning a day trip, make sure to visit the website and see what’s happening that week on the farm. Guests may be able to experience everything from peach picking to watching a historical re-enactment, enjoying a classic car show, or an antique craft fair, fireworks, one of the unique seasonal farm festivals, ice skating, or just picking veggies in the u-pick garden. Designated an Arizona Treasure by the Governor, Schnepf Farms is open 10 months a year (closed July 5 through Labor Day). Seasonal events include: Pumpkin & Chili Party (October), Winter Wonderland (December), Peach Blossom Festival (February), Dinner Down the Orchard (Spring), Easter Egg-citement, and 4th of July Fireworks Celebration.
FRESH SQUEEZED, The Orange Patch is one of Mesa's original citrus growers and has stood the test of time as other orchards across the Metropolitan Phoenix area have closed and been forgotten. Located north of the city, the Orange Patch features 110 acres of citrus and 30 acres of sweet corn. Passersby can enjoy the fragrant orange blossoms each spring when temperatures begin to rise. The sweet neroli scent can be smelled for miles and National Geographic named Mesa a top food drive city in 2010 sighting the many thriving citrus growers and miles of city streets lined with citrus groves. Peak season for orange production is January and February. Guests visiting are welcome to watch the picking and production process with special tours offered for groups. Blossoms are blooming every March and April and you can see folks drive by with windows wide open to take in the fragrant fumes. The store also has fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh honey, ice cream and other gift items for sale.
A COMMUNITY LIKE NO OTHER, Agritopia is a community on the edge of the rural-urban interface. This modern-day urban village has deep roots having long-served as the Johnston family farm. Rather than a huge field of one crop, a patchwork of numerous specialty crops are grown here that change with the season. Agritopia is lined with intersecting pathways that allow curious visitors to easily view the crops and see firsthand how fertile Arizona's desert landscape truly is. The same-day harvest is sold at the nearby Farm Stand, as well as the being served at Joe's Farm Grill and The Coffee Shop - two free-standing restaurants on-site that were born out of the original Johnston family home and a remnant farm building. All of the produce on the farm is grown under the USDA organic protocol with residents and non-residents engaged in community gardening. The entire community is 160 acres large with 15 acres dedicated to farmland.