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Tastes of the Santa Cruz Valley

Tastes of the Santa Cruz Valley Workshop: Building a Heritage Foods Network and Brand
 May 3, 2008

Thank you to everyone who participated in our May 3, 2008 Tastes of the Santa Cruz Valley heritage foods workshop. The event was a huge success and we are already planning another meeting to develop a Santa Cruz Valley regional food brand.    

The Tastes of the Santa Cruz Valley Workshop brings together local food producers, restaurants, restaurant organizations, food co-ops, groceries, farmers markets, seed banks, conservation farms, food banks, related non-profits and the general public to plan the development of a local farm-to-chef network and a regional food brand, as well as educate the community about the rich history of heritage foods in the Santa Cruz Valley.   

Program Agenda:
9:00 am – Welcome, Introductions, Definition of heritage foods for this workshop: “Locally produced foods tied to the region’s history and cultural identity.” Includes locally grown, traditionally grown, wild harvested. 

9:30 am – Heritage Foods and Food Histories: Native Seeds/SEARCH, San Xavier Farmer’s Coop, Jesus Garcia with the Kino Fruit Tree Project.
11:00 am – Break with local snacks
11:30 am – Finding and Using Local Heritage Foods: Janos Wilder, Barbara Rose and Jill Lorenzini on wild harvested foods, Roxanne McElmell on farmer’s markets.
1:00 pm – Lunch by Agave Restaurant and presentation by Jim Griffith, Ph.D.
2:00 pm – Regional branding presentation: Gary Nabhan, UA Southwest Center.
2:30 pm – Workgroup and discussion: Regional brand benefits and concept development; Network and Directory; Geographic area; Missing key participants
3:00pm – 5:00pm Exhibits and food sampling – Informational exhibits by participants; Book vendors (local cookbooks, food histories, etc.); Food sampling (restaurants featuring local foods, independent vendors, etc.)

Vendors/exhibitors confirmed:
Agua Linda Farm - spring produce and CSA information
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum - educational information
Avalon Organic Gardens, Farm and Ranch - CSA information
Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture - desert food samples and educational information
Barbara Rose - herbalist
Flor de Mayo - herbal body care
Forever Yong Farm - vegetables
Green Valley Pecans - pecans
Mano y Metate - mole powders
Native Seeds/SEARCH - books and packaged food products
Sabores Sin Fronteras - educational information
Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance - educational information
Southwest Center - books by Gary Nabhan

Local farm-to-chef network
An important outcome of this workshop will be a new directory listing food producers in the Santa Cruz Valley and elsewhere in southeastern Arizona, and restaurants, groceries, and buying co-ops in the same region who are interested in buying locally-grown foods. If you are a local producer or a local restaurant using locally grown or heritage foods, please email to be included in the regional directory.

Regional food brand
The workshop will also be an opportunity to gauge interest and obtain input on the development of a regional food brand to mark food packages, grocery displays, and menu items, which will increase consumer awareness of locally grown foods and their heritage in the region.
The concept of the regional brand will be developed at the workshop, with follow-up steps identified to determine how to implement the regional brand. A working group may be created to continue to meet to implement the regional brand.