Trip to the Phoenix Public Market
Last Saturday we ventured into Downtown Phoenix to check out the Phoenix Public Market and their weekly Open Air Market.
It had always been on our to-do list, and we finally decided it was time before the Arizona sun unleashed its deadly heat upon the valley. The public market is a nonprofit organization whose mission is, “to grow strong Arizona communities through healthy food from healthy farms.” It was built in 2009 to support local farmers, give small Arizona businesses a place to get on their feet, and increase access to healthy food in an area of poverty. I love businesses and people who devote their lives to such a great cause and I couldn’t wait to dive into the community.
I knew we were in for an adventure when we were greeted by a red, metal 1950′s looking parking lot meter with tiny slots for slipping in money. Whether or not it was an actual meter, it still got a donation for the day. The weather was a blissful 82 degrees, perfect for shorts and flip flops and from the parking lot I could see the white peaks of the vendor’s tents. I couldn’t contain myself (and by the way, how crazy is it to be so excited about that!?) The Urban Grocery and Wine Bar building looked new and very urban, sporting its hybrid-looking logo of a shopping cart tractor and a rolling yellow and black wheel.
We started out at the Royal Coffee Bar
It was a small, purposely cluttered space with wooden benches nailed into the side of the walls and electrical outlet in plain sight; encouraging you to sit and enjoy the space with a warm cup of Joe and your laptop. The smell of fresh roasted coffee beans lingered in the air and clung to the brick walls. We watched as the barristas whipped up our order of a small Chai with soy and a double Americano from an awesome yellow, retro looking coffee machine with an old fashioned handle press. The vendor booths were nicely laid out and labeled with the signs of each business.
We were immediately enamored with pastries from Frog’s Organic Bakery from Tucson.
The gentleman was French and I could have asked him questions all day long just to hear his accent. We bought an almond croissant and a Pain au Chocolat, a pastry filled with rich European, organic chocolate. Then we moved on to a booth where a husband and wife were giving out samples that looked like a gooey orange slice covered in chocolate. I wasn’t a huge fan but the Vegan truffles listed on the menu were on my radar and they were deliciously worry free! Who says you can’t have sweets for breakfast?
Although there were many farms displaying their produce Maya’s Farm had the best display of beautiful spring garlic and onions, mulit-colored carrots, hearty beets, kale and greens packed delicately and intentionally into baskets and crates. Maya herself was checking out customers and we got a few minuets to ask her about her farm and her business.
The nice thing about a farmer’s market is that you always know there will be plenty of Vegetarian and Vegan food. Some of our other great finds from the evening were Dr. Hummus’ Vegan Spinach and Artichoke spread, bean and rice burritos grilled fresh and on the spot (always a staple of the vegan diet… what would we do without burritos?) and free Kind Bar samples. Other precious finds were a heirloom variety melon plant, samplings of local citrus and kumquats, locally made whole grain bread and flour processed and grown locally by Hayden Flour Mills.
We ended our trip with a glimpse around the actual market and a sampling of local Arizona wines from Gallifant Cellars.
Although we aren’t huge fans of white wine their sample of 2010 Chenin Blanc was very refreshing and made me think of making sangria on a hot summer day. We spent some time talking with gentleman about the new winery and how Arizona wines where starting to take over the wine scene and then we purchased a bottle and two cans of coconut water for the road.
When we finally arrived home I couldn’t wait to enjoy our spread of goodies and fun finds.
For more pictures of our visit to the Phoenix Public Market, visit our Facebook Page!