5 Arizona Birthday Freebies


Happy birthday, Arizona! This beautiful state was founded on February 14, 1912 as one of the final three states to join the union. In the beginning, the 5 C’s (copper, cattle, cotton, citrus, and climate) were crucial to the development of our state’s economy. Today, Arizona’s economy has grown and developed into the home of the nation’s largest Local First coalition and vibrant communities have flourished.

This year, in honor of Arizona and those that live here, we propose a sixth C: celebration! Celebrate on your own birthday with these Arizona local businesses’ birthday clubs. Please note: These specials do not do not apply to February 14th (unless that is your birthday, too) but can be redeemed to celebrate you every year.

1. Free Popcorn at Harkins Theatres

Enjoy a free medium popcorn from Harkins on your birthday.

Enjoy a free medium popcorn from Harkins on your birthday.

Harkins Theatres gifts a free medium popcorn on your birthday with valid identification. This is available at all locations. Ask at the box office when you are purchasing tickets to receive your voucher.

2. Bookmans Kid’s Club

Sign your child up for the Bookmans Kid Club and they will receive a free $10.00 gift card on their birthday! Instilling a lifelong love of reading starts early, and to foster that, Bookmans created Kids Club, for kids up to 12 years old, to receive a 10% discount on anything in the store all year round. Bookmans has locations in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Mesa, and Tucson, so celebrate your birthday statewide! Sign up here.

3. Bashas Kid’s Club

The Bashas Kid Birthday Club will deliver a voucher for a completely free birthday cake every year for children ages 1 – 10. Just prior to your child’s birthday, he or she will receive a birthday card from ‘Basha the Bear’ with a coupon for a free birthday cake along with other money-saving coupons to help you plan the perfect party. Sign up here.

4. Local Restaurant Treats

The Eggtasic Breakfast from Chompie's is free on your birthday.

The Eggtasic Breakfast from Chompie’s is free on your birthday.

Tons of local restaurants want to celebrate with you and treat you to your birthday dinner. Visit Chompie’s on your birthday and receive a free “Eggciting Breakfast”, The Cutting Board and Fox Restaurants (North Italia, Flowerchild, and more) treat you to a dessert for your table (no singing required), and The Liberty Market deducts $10 from your total for dine in and to go plus you receive your choice of any one of their homemade desserts. Proof of your birthday is required with valid identification. Check out our Local Business Directory for a local restaurant for your birthday meal, be sure to call ahead for their birthday specials!

5. AZ on the Rocks Birthday Club

The AZR’s Climb and Yoga On US! Birthday Club is where everyone climbs and takes yoga for free on or near their birthday. All you need to do is sign up on their website and get to climbing. Sign up here.

If you’re seeking a unique local birthday gift idea that also doesn’t cost that much, consider a Localist membership, a Devour Phoenix gift card, or a Downtown Tucson gift card

Posted in Businesses, Greater Phoenix, Northern Arizona, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Undie-neath Recycling

Many are well versed when it comes to standard recycling practices; cans, bottles, paper etc. But what about the more complicated items? When it comes to aiming towards a ‘zero waste’ life, textiles cannot be left out the of the equation. While 95% of textiles (worn or torn) can be recycled, only a mere 15% are actually recycled. Elaine Birks-Mitchell focused in on one particular undergarment and founded The Bra Recyclers – not only to nip this recycling problem once and for all, but also to give back to families in need.

The organization collects, donates and/or recycles any bras that women no longer need. They have found that 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong-sized bra, meaning there are thousands upon thousands of bras that can be reused or recycled to help women and girls in transition. Those interested in supporting The Bra Recyclers’ mission can visit their website to fill out the Bra Recycling Form to mail in any bra donations, search for the closest donation drop-off location or learn more about how to become a Bra Recycling Ambassador. You can even shop their Undie Chest which features socially and environmentally conscious companies.


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

Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Welcomes New Graduates

–> En Español <–


The graduates of the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program

The Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program graduation was a huge success! We welcomed over 200 guests as we celebrated 12 new local business owners who graduated from the Business Accelerator Program of Fuerza Local. This program has helped Fuerza Local members reach new levels of success through education, public relations support, and funding awards. The 6-month program launched in 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona, and since then there have been 5 seasons. As of today, there are 60 graduated business owners and $60,000 in seed funds awarded. The program also intends to help small, under-served business owners to become more competitive, while helping them establish credit that will allow them to borrow capital at fair market rates to grow their businesses.

The Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program by the Numbers:

  • Total number of graduates from the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program: 60
  • Number of new jobs created from participating businesses after graduating program: 59
  • 5 participants have reported receiving an award or recognition by an organization of their industry
  • 25 participants opened a checking account for the first time while in the program
  • 17 participants reported appearing on radio or television following the program



Edgar Olivo (Director, Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program), Daniel Valenzuela (Phoenix City Councilman), and Timothy Castro (Fuerza Local Liaison) at the Graduation.

At the graduation, there was delicious food from La 15 y Salsa Restaurant, a Oaxacan Restaurant in North Phoenix, and Mundo de Sabores, LLC, a local catering company that serves an international cuisine. A big thanks to our sponsors, and honored guests from the City of Phoenix and Congressman Gallego’s Office, and keynote speaker, Elisa de La Vara from Arizona Community Foundation.

Congratulations to the graduates:

Juan Amaya,
J & J Amaya General Services, LLC
Merly de La Cruz & Mercedes Estrada,
Arie PM Beauty & Barber Salon, LLC
Claudia Barraza-Sutcliffe,
Trisquel Therapeutic Massage, LLC
Fidel Camacho & Braim Villela,
Los Clamatos de Tito, LLC
Ines Rivas,
Gelatin Nation, LLC
Adrian Castillo Jimenez,
Dreamlink’s Studio
Karla & Sergio Rodriguez,
Mi Valle Magico Childcare, LLC
Lupita & Alejandro Beltran,
Beltran Electric Co., Inc.
Ivan Dorame,
A Unique Sheet Metal Shop, LLC
Ivonne Jacinto-Sanchez,
Passion’s Hair Salon, LLC
Rosalba Burciaga,
Manualidades Rosalba, LLC
Christopher Angulo,
Tech Recon, LLC

Fuerza Local’s Business Accelerator Program is supported through funds from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Phoenix IDA, APS, Marisol Federal Credit Union, Arizona Community Foundation, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, and Arizona Community Action Association. “This program truly helps the members of Fuerza Local excel in their fields and it really helps Hispanic business owners shine within the local business community,” says newly contracted Program Director, Edgar R. Olivo. The program is facilitated by expert members of Local First Arizona in areas of business development, tax and financial planning, marketing, insurance as well as human resources.

Applications are currently being accepted for the 5b class that will begin this fall. Applications must be submitted online in the programs section of the Local First Foundation website which is http://localfirstazfoundation.org/programs/fuerza-local-accelerator/application. Applicants must be members of the Fuerza Local directory, have a checking account to participate in a money pool, be over the age of 18, and have an existing business and/or proven business concept. To become a member of Fuerza Local, business owners may register at www.fuerzalocal.org. For inquiries, contact the Business Accelerator Program Director via email fuerzalocal@localfirstaz.com.


La graduación de Fuerza Local fue un gran éxito! Dimos la bienvenida a más de 200 invitados al celebrar 12 nuevos propietarios de negocios locales que se graduaron del programa Acelerador de Negocios. Este programa ha ayudado miembros de Fuerza Local a alcanzar nuevos niveles de éxito a través de la educación, el apoyo de relaciones públicas, y premios de financiación. El programa de 6 meses se lanzo en el 2013 en Phoenix, Arizona, y desde entonces se han producido 5 grupos de graduados de el programa. Hasta hoy, hay 60 dueños de negocios graduados y $60,000 en fondos otorgados. El programa tiene la intención de ayudar a los dueños de negocios insuficientemente atendidos para ser más competitivos y establecer crédito que les permitirá obtener préstamos de capital a tasas justas para hacer crecer sus negocios.

Estos son los números que ha producido el programa:

  • Número total de graduados: 60
  • Número de nuevos puestos de trabajo creado a partir de graduarse: 59
  • 5 participantes han informado que recibieron un premio o reconocimiento por parte de una organización de su industria
  • 25 participantes abrieron una cuenta de cheques por primera vez
  • 17 participantes informaron que aparecieron en la radio o la televisión después del programa


En la graduación, hubo deliciosa comida de La 15 y Salsa Restaurante, un restaurante con sabor Oaxaqueño en el norte de Phoenix, y Mundo de Sabores, LLC, una empresa de catering local que sirve platillos internacionales. Muchas gracias a nuestros patrocinadores, y los invitados de honor de la ciudad de Phoenix y la Oficina del Congresista Gallego, y la oradora principal, Elisa de la Vara de la Fundación Comunitaria de Arizona.

Felicidades a los graduados:

Juan Amaya,
J & J Amaya General Services, LLC
Merly de La Cruz & Mercedes Estrada,
Arie PM Beauty & Barber Salon, LLC
Claudia Barraza-Sutcliffe,
Trisquel Therapeutic Massage, LLC
Fidel Camacho & Braim Villela,
Los Clamatos de Tito, LLC
Ines Rivas,
Gelatin Nation, LLC
Adrian Castillo Jimenez,
Dreamlink’s Studio
Karla & Sergio Rodriguez,
Mi Valle Magico Childcare, LLC
Lupita & Alejandro Beltran,
Beltran Electric Co., Inc.
Ivan Dorame,
A Unique Sheet Metal Shop, LLC
Ivonne Jacinto-Sanchez,
Passion’s Hair Salon, LLC
Rosalba Burciaga,
Manualidades Rosalba, LLC
Christopher Angulo,
Tech Recon, LLC

El programa de Acelerador de Negocios de Fuerza Local es apoyado a través de fondos de Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Phoenix IDA, APS, MariSol Federal Credit Union, Arizona Community Foundation, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, y Arizona Community Action Association. El recién contratado Director del Programa, Edgar R. Olivo, dice, “Este programa realmente ayuda a los miembros de Fuerza Local crecer sus negocios y realmente ayuda a los dueños de negocios Hispanos que brillen dentro de la comunidad empresarial local.” El programa es facilitado por expertos miembros de Local First Arizona en las áreas de desarrollo de negocios, planificación financiera, mercadotecnia, seguros, y recursos humanos.

Las solicitudes están siendo aceptadas para la clase 7 que comenzará este otoño. Las solicitudes deben se sometidas en línea en la sección de programas de la página web de la Fundación de Local First Arizona que es http://localfirstazfoundation.org/programs/fuerza-local-accelerator/application. Los solicitantes deben ser miembros del directorio Fuerza Local, tener una cuenta de cheques para participar en un fondo de ahorro electrónico tener más de 18 años, y tener un negocio ya existente y / o concepto de un negocio probado. Para ser miembro de Fuerza local, dueños de negocios pueden registrarse en www.fuerzalocal.org. Para cualquier consulta, póngase en contacto con el director del programa de el Acelerador de Negocios a través de correo electrónico fuerzalocal@localfirstaz.com.

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Unearthing Phoenix’s Newest Plant Boutique, Dig It!

Dig it

Photo Credit: Dig It Urban Gardens + Nursery

Dig It Urban Gardens + Nursery in Phoenix isn’t your grandma’s plant shop. There are no doilies or doodads, just a plethora of domestic and exotic cacti and succulents managed and manicured by owners and plant enthusiasts, Tom Bishop and Ryan Jerrell.

Arizona natives Bishop and Jerrell have been working with plants most of their adult lives and began harvesting plans for an urban nursery late last year with two simple goals: 1. Be more than ‘just a plant shop’ and 2. Create a space where the community wants to be. So, naturally, the two turned to the crowdsourcing site, GoFundMe, in order to finance the construction – they ended up raising $150,000!

Dig It Landscape shot

Photo Credit: Dig It Urban Gardens + Nursery

So what’s on deck for Dig It? Bishop and Jerrell are hosting seminars and workshops for plant enthusiasts of all kinds to learn everything from container garden basics to bonsai plant care. Bishop adds, “We want to share our knowledge with others so they can achieve their garden goals at home and create a space where people want to shop, and hang out while supporting a variety of local businesses.”

Join us this month as we team up with monthly meetup group, Get Your PHX, and Dig It to host a free community event! Dig It is bringing together local craft vendors and will also host a free basic potting class to all attendees. Get your hands dirty in their self-potting station and take home a unique creation!

When: Thursday, February 18th
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Where: Dig It Urban Gardens + Nursery
3015 N 16th St
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Details: Free to attend, open to all ages! Enjoy local craft vendors, light refreshments, plus a free raffle entry per attendee!

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6 Ways To Shop Locally in Ajo


The historical Spanish Central Plaza of Ajo.

The Ajo District Chamber of Commerce and Local First Arizona (LFA) are announcing a new campaign encouraging the Ajo community to Love Ajo, Shop Ajo. Shop Ajo is a reminder that shopping at locally owned businesses enriches the community as a whole. According to the Institute of Local Self Reliance, locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, link neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.

However, there is a myth out there that shopping local is more expensive than going to the big box store and this is not true. These examples from Ajo demonstrate how you can save money shopping at independently owned businesses compared to national chains and online stores.

1. Myth:Appliances are cheaper from a big box store.
Busted: When you buy an appliance from K-5, delivery, installation, and disposal of the old appliances are all included. If you ever need that appliance serviced, K-5 is just around the corner which greatly reduces the lifetime cost of the appliance. Try getting that kind of service from one of those stores ending in “mart” or “depot.”

2. Myth:I have to drive to Phoenix to get dry cleaning done.”
Busted: For years Ajo Transportation has been offering a drop off and pick up dry clean service. For just $5 Ajo Transportation will take your load to the cleaners. Think you could drive to Phoenix for $5 in gas?

Authentically Ajo Farmer's Market now accepts SNAP benefits.

Authentically Ajo Farmer’s Market now accepts SNAP benefits.

3. Myth:I have to shop at Sprouts or Whole foods to eat healthy.”
Busted: Olsen’s Marketplace has a wide range of organic and gluten free offerings and the Authentically Ajo Farmers Market has better than organic produce grown right here in Ajo. Beginning in February, customers can even use their SNAP benefits at Authentically Ajo Farmer’s Market to purchase produce that has been picked within 24 hours of when you buy it.

4. Myth:I can buy tires cheaper online than in Ajo.”
Busted: Once you include delivery, mounting and balancing, several local tire shops become cost competitive with online tire markets. Are you able to pay cash? A.T. Tire and Maintenance offers a cash discount.

5. Myth:I’m redoing my yard, so I’ll have to make a bunch of trips to Phoenix.”
Busted: Ajo Botanical Company offers full service landscaping and their prices on trees are tough to beat. You can buy brick for your walkway at True Value and Bush Sand & Gravel has you covered on decorative rock.

6. Myth:There’s a birthday coming up, so I need to get on Amazon to buy a gift.”
Busted: No need! Spoil your wife with a facial and private yoga session from bloom. Get some beautiful silk flowers from Ajo Flower Shop for Mom. Buy Dad that new socket set he’s been wanting from Kord’s NAPA. Help your husband look his best with some designer clothes from aVita Boutique. Need something totally unique for that person who has everything? How about an old-fashioned tin sign from Sue’s Flower and Gift Shop or some yard art from Vasquez North of the Border?

Other than the benefits of saving money and making less trips to Phoenix, shifting even 10% of your spending to local businesses positively impacts Ajo’s economy and community. Four times more money stays in Arizona when spent at local business compared to national chain stores. The money that stays in the local economy can then be distributed to public goods and services like schools, teachers’ salaries, libraries, public safety, and other essential programs.

Kimber Lanning talks about the power of a 10% shift in the way you shop. Photo courtesy of Rick D'Elia of D'Elia Photographic

Kimber Lanning talks about the power of a 10% shift in the way you shop. Photo courtesy of Rick D’Elia of D’Elia Photographic

Local First Arizona Director Kimber Lanning explains that Shop Ajo is meant to be a reminder for consumers to think “Local First” when choosing where to shop. “Every dollar that you spend has an impact on the local economy. Studies show shifting your spending from national to locally owned businesses creates new jobs and keeps up to four times more money in Arizona.” said Lanning. “If each shopper shifted just 10% of their spending from national chains to independent businesses, that would add up to a huge investment in creating a more prosperous and vibrant community in Ajo.”


On February 12th, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. the Ajo Chamber and LFA invite you to the launch party of Love Ajo * Shop Ajo. Hear the scoop on the new Shop Ajo campaign and learn more about the impact your dollar has in your community with a presentation from the organizers. Enjoy free food, drink specials, and door prizes while learning about shifting your spending from nearby cities and online retailers to Ajo businesses. Business owners are also encouraged to come learn information and recieve print materials to educate their patrons on the benefits of shifting more of their spending to Ajo businesses. The launch party is free to attend and will be held at Oasis Cafe (28 Plaza, Ajo, AZ 85321). Click here to RSVP on Facebook, and we’ll see you there!

Posted in Economy & Jobs, Local First Movement, Rural Arizona, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finalists Announced for the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition

Bartending Comp 1

The nine finalists have been determined for Round 2 of the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition that will take place on Sunday, February 28, at 2:00 p.m. at the DeSoto Central Market. Finalists were selected in Round 1 with a two-week online voting process that concluded on Friday, January 29. The top nine vote recipients will compete in the final round for the title of Arizona Star Bartender.

The nine finalists include:

RELATEDTickets for the Devoured Culinary Classic Have Sold Out

Devour Bartending Competition Mixing

Round 2 of the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition will pit the finalists against one another in three heats, each mixing their best cocktail featuring local ingredients and spirits from Arizona Distilling Company and 3 Amigos Tequila. Once the results are in from the judges panel, the top three bartenders will compete in the Final Round, which will task the bartenders with creating a cocktail with local ingredients from a mystery basket as well as a selected spirit from Three Wells Distilling Company. The winning bartender will be featured in an exclusive mixology demo at the 2016 Devoured Culinary Classic, showcased on the website of Arizona’s own Bite Magazine, take home the Arizona Bartender’s Craft Kit valued at over $200, and be crowned with the coveted title of Arizona’s Star Bartender. Second and third place winners can also expect to receive Arizona’s Spirit prizes, including the newly-introduced Copper Cup and the Arizona Bartender’s Craft Kit.

RELATEDDevoured Culinary Classic Adds “The Seven Chef Singh Along” for March 2

The judges panel for this year’s Bartending Competition will include Brandon Casey, general manager of The Ostrich, President of the Phoenix chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild, and the 2015 Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition’s Arizona Star Bartender; Christina Barrueta of WriteOnRubee.com; Michelle Jacoby of Bite Magazine; Layla Linn of Arizona Cocktail Week and Alliance Beverage; and Aaron DeFeo of Casino del Sol and President of the Tucson chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild.


Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition attendees will also have the opportunity to sample and vote for their favorite cocktail, and the bartender with the most votes will win the People’s Choice Award. Attendees will be guided through the afternoon’s entertainment by emcee Ross Simon, the Principal Barman and Proprietor of Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlor, who will be calling the event in “Queen’s English.” Guests will also be treated to the musical creations of DJ Mr PHX.

The Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition is part of the Devoured Culinary Classic week of events. Tickets for the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition are $40 and are on sale now at devouredphoenix.com/tickets. Tickets include cocktail samples as well as craft spirit samples and the ability to vote for your favorite cocktail. Attendees can also purchase a combined tickets package to attend both the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition and Palette to Palate for $60.

The Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition is sponsored in part by Bar & Restaurant Insurance, Arizona Distilling Company, 3 Amigos Tequila, Three Wells Distilling Company, Bite Magazine, Accurate Companies, and Downtown Phoenix, Inc.

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

Seeking a Sweet Home for Tara, Our New Foster Cat for Adoption!

Local First AZ proudly participates in the Arizona Animal Welfare League’s Kitty in the City program, where we virtually foster a cat and help him or her find a “furever” home. Any business is welcome to sign up to virtually foster a kitty and help spread the word about adoptable cats! You can find out all about the Kitty in the City program here.

Our new foster cat is a playful sweetheart! Her lucky adopter not only gets a lifetime of Tara’s affection, but she comes with a Local First goodie bag with donations from Noble Beast and Cobblestone Vet care!

TARA Kitty

Name: Tara Animal ID: 24972670
Age: 5 years Size: Large
Sex: Female Spayed/Neutered: Yes

Tara is a sweet, mellow kitty who’s full of love and gets along great with other cats! She is guaranteed to make you smile and is looking for someone to give her the love she deserves! Potential adopters are invited to experience Tara’s cute self by visiting her at AAWL’s main shelter located at 25 N. 40th Street in Phoenix. Find Tara at: https://aawl.org/content/adoptable-cats.

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Artist and Chef Lineup Announced for Palette to Palate


The complete artist and chef lineup has been announced for Palette to Palate, presented by Devour Phoenix and Local First Arizona as part of the Devoured Culinary Classic week of events. Hosted by the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel on Thursday, March 3, at 6:00 p.m., Palette to Palate is an event that blends the visual arts and culinary arts by pairing chefs and painters to interpret each other’s work for a show that is at once unique and insightful into the worlds of the two artists. The evening will feature Arizona wines and award winning chefs paired with regional artists who will prepare new works for the event.

RELATEDTickets for the Devoured Culinary Classic Have Sold Out

Artist and chef pairings include Leonardo Bianco paired with his son Chef Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco; Casebeer paired Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Cafe and Barrio UrbanoJames Angel paired with Chef Justin Beckett of Beckett’s Table and Southern Rail; Jesse Perry paired with Chef Josh Murray of ICON Lounge at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel; and Jonathan Buford paired with Chef Stacey Carson of Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company.

Tickets are $40 each and available at http://devouredphoenix.com/tickets/. Attendees can also purchase a combined tickets package to attend both the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition and Palette to Palate for $60.

More on the chefs and artists:

Chef Chris Bianco and Leonardo Bianco

Bianco_2016When Chris Bianco started Pizzeria Bianco inside the back corner of a neighborhood grocery store in 1988, little did he know that he would be such a driving force in the slow food movement and specifically the artisanal pizza front. Chris, who won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2003, helped spawn a generation of independent and artisanal pizzeria’s, lending his advice, wisdom and food philosophies to dozens of fellow chefs and restaurateurs.  

Leo BiancoLeonardo Bianco, father of Chris and Marco of Pizzeria Bianco/Pane Bianco, is a still-life painter. His elegant aesthetic has given him the opportunity to paint the likes of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. His work has been featured in New York where he also worked for years as a professional wine label maker, to Arizona, where many of his pieces proudly grace the walls at all Pizzeria Bianco locations.

Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza and Casebeer

Silvana Salcido EsparzaSilvana Salcido Esparza is a baker’s daughter, an activist and a chef. She comes from a long line of cooks and bakers and was trained by her grandmother and parents, in business and in the kitchen. Now she’s busy training the next generation. Chef Silvana creates award-winning food and restaurants in Phoenix, where she is celebrated for her contributions to the city’s vibrant profile. Her food has been featured in Esquire Magazine, and on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Chef Silvana has been a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award numerous times and has been inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame. While Chef Silvana’s culinary expertise has earned her plenty of accolades, she is also a successful businesswoman and an promoter of the arts.  Chef Silvana advises and mentors young chefs-in-training and has been an outspoken civil rights advocate. As a citizen of both the United States and Mexico, she feels a personal responsibility to elevate popular perceptions of Mexican American culture.

Casebeer_2016Casebeer is an artist and writer whose work explores meaningful coincidence. Her mixed-media paintings are composed of book scraps, color, brush strokes and drips, which are then built upon through layers of paint, found collage pieces and overheard sentences until they eventually reveal an order and a narrative, and a curious, synchronic relationship to one another. Casebeer is represented by Tilt Gallery in Scottsdale. She has exhibited her work in Scottsdale at Tilt and 5&6 Galleries, in Mesa at the i.d.e.a. museum, and in Downtown Phoenix at Modified Arts, Monorchid, The Ice House, Legend City Studios and the ASU Downtown Museum, and at the Phoenix International Airport Museum. Her piece, “Wait. Do You?” was part of The Phoenix 7th Ave Streetscape Public Art Project in 2012.

Chef Justin Beckett and James Angel

Justin BeckettAn award-winning chef and renowned restaurateur, Chef Justin Beckett partnered with his wife Michelle and their longtime friends and sommeliers, Scott & Katie Stephens, to open Beckett’s Table in the popular Arcadia area in 2010. Since then, Beckett’s Table has garnered national attention for its excellent service, memorable wine list and innovative menu, earning Wine Spectator’s 2012 and 2013 Award of Excellence and a nomination for Food & Wine magazine’s People’s Best New Chef. Following the success of Beckett’s Table, Justin and the ownership team set out to open a second concept in uptown Phoenix. Warm and centered around community, the highly-anticipated Southern Rail opened its doors on May 30, 2014. The vibrant restaurant offers Chef Beckett’s inspired interpretations of classic American dishes with a Southern twist.

Jamesangel_2016James Angel is recognized as a major contributor to an “emerging” downtown art scene. As one of the founders of the artist collective 3CARPILEUP and the inaugural few Chaos Theory annual events, which now in it’s sixteenth year has become the most viable approach to engaging local contemporary artists and artwork currently produced in Arizona. A recent Contemporary Forum of Phoenix Art Museum emerging artist award recipient. www.jamesangelportfolio.com

Chef Joshua Murray and Jesse Perry

Josh MurrayPassion and focus would aptly describe the journey that has taken Joshua Murray to his place as Executive Chef at Phoenix Renaissance Downtown in Phoenix, Arizona. Joshua’s interest in food stems from his boyhood in rural Spotsylvania, VA, and he fondly recalls a home life filled with entertaining family and friends regularly and abundantly – the perfect opportunity to develop his keen interest in cooking as well as his kitchen skills. After graduating Johnson & Wales University, he forged a path that included chef’s positions at multiple private upscale restaurants, the Westfield’s Marriott in Virginia, Harbor Beach Marriott in Ft. Lauderdale, JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert, The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance and on to Phoenix Renaissance Downtown in his current role. Accolades and honors accompanied him along the way: gold, bronze and silver medals in American Culinary Federation competitions, restaurant awards, television appearances, as well as being featured in numerous Signature Chef Events and in multiple publications.

Jesse PerryJesse Perry, age 30, is a lifelong artist with aspirations for greatness on a worldwide scale.  He has worked with several art programs throughout Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Mesa and is now teaming up with a variety of organizations to bring some creative wisdom to the heart of one of America’s fastest growing metropolitan cities. Emerging as an artist at a young age, Perry was encouraged to nurture his creative side at every turn.  He experimented with a variety of media and techniques in his formative years before releasing the, “How To: Series” in his 20’s which began as a line and space study that quickly evolved into an ambiguous blueprint behind a host of ideas and concepts. After completing his first public project in 2013, Perry has focused his efforts on larger scale murals, both public and private.  He has had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of businesses and organizations ranging from the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel to Mother Bunch Brewery to the Downtown Mesa Association and is looking forward to some amazing projects coming up this 2016.

Chef Stacey Carson and Jonathan Buford

Stacey CarsonStacey Carson is Wilderness Brewing Company’s first executive chef. She was brought on recently to take a fresh look at their menu of gourmet burgers and to tighten up the kitchen workflow. Stacey was the chef-owner of the recently closed Nosh Arizona in Chandler, which was known for its neighborly atmosphere and upscale gastropub offerings.

Jonathan-BufordJonathan Buford is a professional photographer and the creator of Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. With his photography, he seeks to find the unique and stunning images in the desolate areas of the desert, finding waterfalls that flow after the snow and capturing conservation through the lens of southwest sunsets. His point of view is often manifested in his unique craft brews at Arizona Wilderness, which has been named number one of the ten best in the world.

Posted in Arts and Culture, Devour Phoenix, Greater Phoenix, Restaurants & Dining | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Local Sweetness

Purple Gurls

Images via Purple Gurls

Who can resist handcrafted, locally made sweet treats that are sure to make your sweet tooth go wild? A local favorite on the farmer’s scene, Purple Gurl’s Popcorn & More offers sweet treats and yummy goodies, such as popcorn, cookies, sweet breads and macaroons. Purple Gurl’s popcorn is made fresh in small batches using only the finest ingredients. Hot-air popped white kernels ensuring a tender, fluffy, crispy crunch, which are then handcrafted in small batches and are gently coated, making a delicious, addictive treat. Flavors include: Gourmet Caramel, “Kittle,” “Triple Threat,” Peanut Brittle, Bananas Popster, Cheesy Cheddar, SloBurn, White Cheddar & more.

Image via Purple Gurls

Image via Purple Gurls

Additionally, Purple Gurl’s homemade baked goodies are sure to remind you of your grandma’s secret recipe. Superbly moist and scrumptious baked breads, soft-batch cookies, coconut macaroons, and granola bars are a treat beyond words. Purple Gurl’s takes pride in providing the absolute best taste experience for you and concocting sweet treats that pair great with movie night, sporting events, birthdays, weddings, church festivals, or anytime you crave something sweet. Purple Gurl’s guarantees each product is made fresh and addictively delicious with every bite. Sample their treats at Valley farmer’s markets or order online.

Written by Somlynn Rorie

Posted in Arizona, Businesses, Greater Phoenix, LFA Member Spotlight, Local Food | Leave a comment

Yellow Brick Coffee: From Farm to Cup

Anna and David in their shop, Yellow Brick Coffee.

Anna and David in their shop, Yellow Brick Coffee, in Tucson.

Like a fine wine or a great beer, a lot of craftsmanship, skill, planning, and practice goes into making a great cup of coffee. Yellow Brick Coffee in Tucson specializes in roasting high quality single origin coffee, and the craftsmanship and passion behind the brew is evident when talking with Anna and David Perreira. Anna and David are brother and sister, and together they’ve been brewing their coffee in the Warehouse District since May of 2014.

Anna started her journey and education of coffee roasting years ago at a well known coffee shop in New York City where she learned the different profiles, flavors, and aromas that come from a well crafted coffee roast. Her mentor in NYC encouraged her to develop a business plan and take her education to the next level, eventually moving her to San Francisco to be formally trained as a roaster.

Anna and David on one of their trips to meet coffee growers.

Anna and David on one of their trips to meet coffee growers.

Eventually, Anna made her first trip to Honduras to meet coffee plant growers. She made her first connection with the women run farm of Mi Tizita, and became one of the first to export their coffee beans to the US. Over the years, Anna and David have traveled through El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Ethiopia, and other countries to meet the farmers and families who grow the coffee that they roast and brew at Yellow Brick.

Anna, like many coffee roasters and connoisseurs, realized the problems with lack of proper payment and treatment of the families and farmers who grow coffee for the rest of the world. To help address these problems, Yellow Brick Coffee’s business model is designed to highlight the producers associated with the quality of the roast and product. This means that they buy traceable coffee, so that they know exactly which farms their beans are coming from. This single origin process of procurement also means that by buying from the farms, they are avoiding third party companies that don’t provide the farmers with the income they deserve. Ensuring that farmers get fair value and payment for their product.

We are excited to have Yellow Brick at SAVOR this year to educate atendees about their roasts and all of the people involved in making a cup of coffee. SAVOR Food and Wine Festival is one of Tucson’s premier food events of the year, bringing together some of the best food and beverages that Souther Arizona has to offer, all within the beautiful settings of the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Yellow Brick will be preparing a coffee tasting of sorts, similar to a wine tasting. They will be highlighting some of their unique roasts, prepared in three different ways; highlighting different flavor notes and aromas.

From left to right: aeropress brew, cold brew with nitro, and the chemex brewer.

From left to right: aeropress brew, cold brew with nitro, and the chemex brewer.

They’ll have their popular cold brew on tap with nitro, their Kenyan roast prepared through an aeropress, and their Costa Rican roast prepared with a chemex brewer. The areopress will help to highlight the brightness and tomato orange notes of the roast; while the chemex will bring out the clean balanced, acitic and fruity notes.

If you’re going to SAVOR on February 6th, be sure to stop by the Yellow Brick booth to try their crafted coffee flight and meet Anna and David. There is still time to buy tickets for SAVOR but don’t wait or they’ll be gone! You can get your tickets here. If you can’t make it to the event, be sure to stop by Yellow Brick’s shop to experience their unique roasts!


Posted in LFA Member Spotlight, Local First Movement, Local Food, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment