An Online Treasure Trove

Gift Local ScottsIf you haven’t heard of Scott’s Marketplace, then swing by this curated online marketplace featuring local, small businesses specializing in beauty products, clothing, home décor,  jewelry, specialty food, and more. At Scott’s Marketplace, you have access to unique, artisan and handmade products and the same personal service and sense of community that you’ve come to expect from small businesses. This online marketplace enables you to shop online and pay local businesses directly, so you can find unique gift items and support local makers from the comfort of your home. At your fingertips, you can scroll and uncover awesome gifts and treasures to share with friends and family this holiday season. P.S. for those of you who are local shop owners be sure to visit the website to learn how your custom-made products can get in front of the eyes of prospect shoppers and the Scott’s Marketplace growing community.

Be sure to visit LFA members’ Scott’s Marketplace shops including:

D’Elia Photographic

D'Elia Photographic

D’Elia Photographic

Clothes Minded

Gifts to Go


Brenda’s Teas & Gift Baskets

Fiesta Seasoning

Cookie Girl Shop

Fluff It Marshmallows

Sweet Simplicity Natural Baby Foods


Happy Tails Barkery

Happy Tails Barkery

Happy Tails Barkery

World Vitae

Mozaik Skin & Body

G.B. Proudfoot’s Natural Body Care

Bunky Boutique

Junkie Threads

Standard Wax

Striking Stone



Posted in Arizona, Buy Local Week, LFA Member Spotlight | Leave a comment

Everything but the Turkey: Seasonal Sides for Thanksgiving

In addition to your regular fare, try these seasonal sides by local foodies to treat your friends and family to a local Thanksgiving. Find a local source for some of these ingredients at

Roasted Roots with Crème Fresh Pesto by Maya Dailey, Maya’s Farm
Sweet Potato Puddin’ by Danielle Leoni, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar
Aloo Goobi by Raveen Arora, The Dhaba
Crispy Brussels Sprouts by Natalie Morris, Mesa Community College’s Sustainable Foods program
Turkey Enchiladas with Red Pumpkin Sauce by Rachel Morningstar, Local First Arizona

Continue reading

Posted in Good Food Finder, Local Food | Leave a comment

Localists enjoy a Real and Rare taste of Gilbert

Gilbert7Localists arrived at Joe’s Real BBQ Thursday, November 13, poised for a fun night of gallivanting through Gilbert and sampling some of the gems that the town has to offer. Upon arriving at Joe’s, they were lead to the charmingly lit patio to enjoy co-owner Tad Peelen’s hand selected buffet that included smoked lamb, bison, and turkey, as well as craveable smoked veggies, mac-n-cheese, and a soda bar. Once everyone had filled their plates, Tad led a mini history on downtown Gilbert and how it has become such a fun and spirited destination within the metro phoenix area. He also previewed for us some of what is on the horizon for Gilbert, as far as new restaurants and businesses.

Gilbert3From Joe’s, folks headed over to Joyride Taco House for a tasting of 4 top shelf tequilas. The pours were plentiful, and the hosts charming, and the atmosphere jovial. Localists were treated to tastings of tequilas with hints of smoke and saltiness that paired nicely with Joyride’s delicious salsas and guacamole. After enjoying the Joyride patio and the crisp autumn air, localists were ready to venture down the street to explore Art Intersection.

Gilbert5At Art Intersection, the group was lead through a tour of current exhibits, as well as the gallery’s on-going silent auction “Off the Wall.” The auction showed several beautiful photographs, some of which employed historic printing processes to create one of a kind pieces of art. Localists also got to explore the Art Intersection print lab, where folks can take classes in photography and dark room film development.

Gilbert6The evening closed out with a delightful dessert offering from chef LaDawn of Liberty Market, who shared with us her take on the classic holiday favorite, chocolate oranges. The desert consisted of layers of white chocolate panna cotta, clementine gelee, dark chocolate mousse, and a dark chocolate disk adorned with gold leaf. Placed into the glass was a pipette of Grand Marnier to tie all of the flavors together. The evening ended on the picturesque patio, with localists reflecting on their Gilbert experiences, past and present, as well as where they hope to visit in the future.

Overall, the event was a great opportunity to witness the revival of downtown Gilbert and the local restaurant scene that has developed there. Next time you’re looking for a fun new restaurant to try or a night out on the town, consider heading to Gilbert! 

Interested in attending awesome events like this?! Sign up to be a Localist for exclusive invitations to behind-the-scenes events. Declare your love for local!

Posted in Greater Phoenix, Localist, Restaurants & Dining | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


122934aWe had a fantastic time at our monthly local business mixer on Thursday, November 13th at Granite Mountain Brewing. There was no shortage of beer and fun at this three-barrel brewery, everyone enjoyed their specialty American-style ales and craft beers.  El Gato Azul, Prescott’s favorite creek side tapas restaurant, partnered to host this event and provided delicious treats to enjoy. Natural Healing Garden, Prescott’s premier massage and healing center, also partnered to host and ensured us all a bit of relaxation in the massage chairs.

We talked about some great upcoming local events including:

Buy Local Month is quickly approaching. ‘Tis the season to shop local! This holiday season, make an impact with your holiday shopping by supporting local businesses.  Help us kick off this event in Flagstaff November 28th through December 24th with out Shop Indie This Christmas Challenge. You’ll find unique gifts for your loved ones and keep money in the local economy to build vibrant communities we’re proud to call home.

FFFF FB Profile badgeThe Food and Farm Finance Forum is right around the corner. Being held in Clarkdale January 15th and 16th this event will be an exciting way to educate yourself about how to expand and enhance your local food business and connect with other key players in the local food movement. Hosting several speakers with high levels of experience as well as smaller break out sessions this event will be educational, interesting and fun.

Local First Arizona is so excited to welcome Kelsey Melvin to the northern Arizona office. Kelsey is an Americorps VISTA volunteer who joined Meg Williams Jamison in the new Cottonwood-based office in November. As our northern Arizona outreach specialist, she will complete a year of service with Americorps and will be with Local First Arizona until November 2015.


Check out who attended:

Granite Mountain Brewing

El Gato Azul

Natural Healing Garden

Prescott Councilmember Jean Willcox

Zucker Architecture

Health Source


Lincoln Hospitality Group

Suzanne Morse

Prescott Farmers Market

Man at Leisure

Ability Remodel

Whiskey Row Screen Printing

Prescott Brewing Company

Prescott Chamber of Commerce

Prescott Good Governance

Peter Pierson Freelance Communication

Yavapai College Performing Art Center

Yavapai College Music Department

Posted in Local First Movement | Leave a comment

Member Spotlight: El Gato Azul

This is a northern Arizona member spotlight for El Gato Azul in Prescott

558996_516998238362800_1774640660_nA locally owned bistro situated in Prescott, El Gato Azul offers an extensive menu of delicious dishes specializing in lunch, dinner and tapas. El Gato Azul uses only the freshest ingredients available and proudly prepares all desserts daily in house. Owner Barry Barbe’s homemade Chorizo and the favored Crème Brulee are just a few of many specialties that have designated this bistro as a favorite among locals and visitors alike. El Gato Azul’s casual, yet sophisticated ambiance has provided guests over the years with a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience.

Besides their notable dishes that have become favored among the community, El Gato Azul has more reasons to celebrate. The locally owned bistro is proud to be celebrating its 10-year anniversary on December 4th and 1620959_663008847095071_2073752483_ntheir long run of success comes at no surprise. El Gato Azul was recently selected to be featured on “Check, Please! Arizona,” a PBS Eight channel television show that reviews restaurants throughout Arizona. It was by viewers selecting their favorite restaurants in Prescott that El Gato Azul earned a spot on the show. The episode is scheduled to air sometime in February.

While making their presence in local entertainment television, El Gato Azul also manages to regularly provide entertainment for guests at the bistro. They proudly host the best Happy Hour in town Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., while their monthly entertainment calendars feature musical performances.

1920624_821112117951409_3651361757010718159_nWith owner Barry Barbe overseeing every dish that leaves the kitchen and ensuring that guests have a unique and personal dining experience, it is evident why El Gato Azul is so popular among locals and visitors. For your own remarkable experience at this local bistro, make sure to stop by to try some of their delicious dishes. They are located at 316 W. Goodwin St. in Prescott, serving lunch Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday at 12:00 p.m., Tapas daily 11:00 a.m. to close and dinner daily at 4:30 p.m. For more information, please contact them at (928) 445-1070 or visit their website at

Posted in Local First Movement | Leave a comment

Welcome to the team Kelsey!

Kelsey HeadshotLocal First Arizona is so excited to welcome Kelsey Melvin to the northern Arizona office. Kelsey is an Americorps VISTA volunteer who joined Meg Williams Jamison in the new Cottonwood-based office in November. As our northern Arizona outreach specialist, she will complete a year of service with Americorps and will be with Local First Arizona until November 2015.

Americorps was established in 1965 and the VISTA program includes a group of individuals dedicated to bringing communities and individuals out of poverty throughout the country. Like other VISTAs, Kelsey will focus her efforts building organizational, administrative and financial capacity for our organization. She will help Local First Arizona foster economic development in northern and rural Arizona and will be assisting with a variety of programs and projects coming up. Welcome Kelsey!

Kelsey is an Arizona native with a heart for service. She believes strongly that she has the need to give back in her life and looks forward to the opportunity to do so serving her home state. Please feel free to reach out to Kelsey anytime if you have questions at She looks forward to meeting all of you, as time goes on.

KelseyFaireGet to know Kelsey… here are some fun facts about our new northern Arizona outreach specialist!

1) She graduated from ASU with BAE in Secondary Education in Biological Studies

2) She was born and raised in the Phoenix suburbs

3) She is fluent in ASL ( American Sign Language) and Japanese

4) She fenced on her college team

5) She volunteer every year out at the Arizona Renaissance Festival

6) She looooves reading

7) She enjoys camping, cooking, and volunteering



Posted in Local First Movement | Leave a comment

6 Ways to Go Local for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving1-300x218Thanksgiving is all about history, family, and community. As we give thanks for the things that matter to us, we should also remember that local businesses offer a lot to our lives and communities:

The best way to give thanks for local businesses is to visit them for your Thanksgiving needs! Here are 6 ways to go local and give thanks for Thanksgiving:

1. Get the best local ingredients for the big feast.


To get the best tasting Thanksgiving dinner, use the best local ingredients! Contact your local butcher shop or ranch for a delicious turkey or other main dish. It’s prime farmers market season in central and southern Arizona, find one that’s close to you! You can also visit your neighborhood grocery store for last minute items.

2. Find local help for all that cooking! 

Thanksgiving Dinner

No one is going to blame you if you’d rather visit with family than be stuck in the kitchen! Whether you’ll be eating in or going out, we have a great list of local restaurants and caterers who will provide decadent dishes or entire meals at a reasonable cost.

3. Put visitors up in local hotels.

The Hotel Congress in Tucson

Have friends and relatives visiting from out of town? Give them a true Arizona experience with one of our many locally-owned hotels or B&Bs!

4. Keep visiting relatives occupied with local entertainment.

Phoenix Zoo Lights is a big hit for both kids and adults

Need to get out of the house for a bit? There are tons of great things to do around the state to entertain your family.

5. Get out of town with a day trip or weekend getaway.


Whether it’s just a few of you or the entire family, plan to get out of town for an Arizona adventure! Check out our Weekendzona videos for some trip ideas to Jerome, Prescott, Bisbee, and more.

6. Go Local for Black Friday and holiday shopping.


Skip the big boxes and hit main street for some truly unique holiday shopping! Buy Local Month kicks off on Friday, November 28. Check out the events and activities going on across the state. You can also use our local business directory to find over 2,500 local businesses across the state. Tag #IBuyLocalAZ on social media while you do your holiday shopping!

Posted in Buy Local Week, Exploring Arizona, Go Local Guides, Greater Phoenix, Local First Movement, Northern Arizona, Rural Arizona, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wear and Share Your Love of Arizona

For most youngsters, free time equals play time. But between juggling family life, recreational activities and school, 8-year-old Julian Baldrick devotes his spare time to developing AZ STRONG, a father-son start up that promotes a stronger, prouder, and more united Arizona. Through its website Julian and father, Thomas Baldrick, sell Arizona-themed retail products, such as tshirts and watches, to help support schools and charities across the Grand Canyon State. The idea for developing the AZ STRONG brand az-strong-launchcame to Thomas in the shower one morning. “I was thinking of the Boston Strong movement; and it inspired me to change Arizona from being divided by issues such as immigration, ethnicity, geography, and politics. I knew it could be great to unite One Arizona with people feeling proud and AZ STRONG. Choosing to take on this project with my favorite little native Arizonan and empower him with strong real-life experience is exciting beyond words.” The AZ STRONG website is not just an e-commerce website but also a website that features unique local content including an Arizona blog, online polls, and an AZ STRONG Person of the Month. Get involved – and help support this labor of love that is Arizona-made by visiting their website and perhaps purchasing a few items, which would make wonderful gifts this holiday season.

Posted in Greater Phoenix, LFA Member Spotlight | Leave a comment

Shop Local at Tucson Shoppy Hour


Tucson Shoppy Hour is the creative and fun idea of 5 unique local female artists – Jacqueline Scordato, Gabriela Fleming, Julie Rustad, Loren Stringer and Ruby Sanders. It is the perfect event of the holiday season for ladies to socialize and shop for local, handmade holiday gifts! Shoppy Hour will be held on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 from 5:30 -8:30 and will be hosted at the J. Scordato Salon located at 3854 E. Fort Lowell Rd. in Tucson.

  • J. Scordato Salon is a Paul Mitchell focus salon locally owned by Jacqueline Scordato that loves helping make Tucson even more beautiful and unique. At this after-work you will be able to find many unique local gifts for all members of your family and you will also get a chance to meet the local artists that created them!
  • Inside_Flashcards_RustadJulie Rustad is known for blending painting with her design expertise to create the Addy Award Winning Desert Dwellers Flash Cards. They contain facts and amusing stories about Southwest desert animals and feature Julie’s original art. Julie Originals whimsical products also include prints, greeting cards, and desktop calendars. Julie’s art gifts will make the perfect holiday gift or stocking stuffer!
  • IMG_7397Sugar Skull Design specializes in making art and accessories for those who want something handmade and unique. One-of-a-kind Clutch purses, earrings, art prints, hair accessories, and holiday decorations are just some of the items you will find. Everything is handmade in Tucson, Arizona by Gabriela Fleming.
  • Loren Stringer is the proud owner of Lole’ Crafts & Design. Much of her design concepts have a very Native Bohemian feel to them, which is perfect for the desert life! Loren loves anything that is considered EDGY especially if it can be worn with multiple styles and outfits!
  • FullSizeRender-2South African born designer Ruby Sanders is passionate about creating wearable fashion in flattering styles and beautiful fabrics. Shop for her fall/winter styles & fabulous jewelry creations. All Ruby Jane label garments are made in Green Valley & Tucson.

Event Details:
November 19, 2014 from 5:30 – 8:30
J. Scordato Salon
3854 E. Fort Lowell Rd. Tucson, AZ 85712

It’s free to attend Shoppy Hour, but please RSVP at

While you’re shopping, post on social media and tag #IBuyLocalAZ! 

Posted in Buy Local Week, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

LFA kicks off Buy Local Month in Tucson with Holiday Artisans Market

Tucson Museum of Art brings together local artisans for unique holiday shopping experience

ArtisansMarket3As the holiday season looms closer, Local First Arizona and The Tucson Museum of Art are providing a holiday shopping opportunity with the Holidays Artisans Market on Friday, November 21 through Sunday, November 23. Featuring over 140 local and southwestern artists and artisans, the Market offers painting, jewelry, clothing, ceramics, pottery, sculpture, and a wide variety of distinctive arts and crafts. The event and admission to the Museum is free and held on the historic grounds of the Tucson Museum of Art at 140 N Main.

BuyLocalMonthAZThis year, the Holiday Artisans Market will kick off Local First Arizona’s Buy Local Month festivities in Tucson and southern Arizona. “The partnership with the Tucson Museum of Art and the Artisans Market for Buy Local Month came naturally,” said Erika Mitnik-White, Southern Arizona Director for Local First Arizona. “Buy Local Month is our annual campaign to remind holiday shoppers to visit local businesses and artisans for their holiday shopping to keep their dollars in the local community. The Holiday Artisans Market provides a perfect opportunity to check items off your list while supporting local artisans.

“We’re very excited about kicking off Buy Local Month with Local First Arizona. Buying local is such a big part of our community economy and our Artisans are local and regional,“ says Michael Fenlason, Director of Marketing and Public Relations.

ArtisansMarket2“It is important for holiday shoppers to understand how big of an impact they have with their spending,” said Mitnik-White. “When consumers shift their spending to local businesses, studies show that up to four times more money stays in the local community. This translates in to local job creation, support for local schools and safety, and more vibrant communities overall. American consumers are expected to spend over $600 billion this holiday season, so even a small shift in spending to local businesses here at home would add up to a huge investment for Arizona communities.”

Holiday Artisans Market is a fundraiser for the Museum, which offers free arts education to over 20,000 students a year across southern Arizona and provides the region with world class exhibitions, including this fall’s The Figure Examined: Masterworks from the Kasser Mochary Art Foundation. This exhibition features work by Rodin, Renoir, Picasso, Cassatt, Rivera, and Warhol. During Holiday Artisans Market, admission to this exhibition and others exhibition at the Museum will be free as well.

As part of the Holiday Artisans Market tradition the Kitchen Musicians from the Arizona Folk Festival will provide music on Saturday and Sunday. The Market also features food trucks as well as the wonderful gifts available at the Museum Store.

ArtisansMarket4Holidays Artisans Market also includes the seasonal opening of El Nacimiento, a Tucson tradition for more than three decades. El Nacimiento is the city’s most admired nativity, lovingly assembled by Maria Luisa Tena in honor of her mother. This jewel contains 800 figurines depicting biblical stories in palaces, gardens, temples, and of course, a manger. El Nacimiento will unveil on Saturday, November 22 at 10:00 PM with a mariachi celebration.

The Holiday Artisans Market will literally be a once-in-a-lifetime shopping experience in Tucson,” said Fenlason. “Between Picasso and Warhol at the Museum and the extraordinary local artisans in the courtyard, this Tucson Museum of Art event is not to be missed!”

Festivities for Buy Local Month will kick of on Saturday, November 22, at 10:00 a.m. with remarks from Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Local First Arizona Director Kimber Lanning. Buy Local Month runs through December 24, and will feature a variety of local holiday events and shopping specials listed at

Posted in Local First Movement | Leave a comment