To Coffee Or Not To Coffee: Why you Should Postpone your cup of Joe in the Mornings

By Jacob Gerdes, a recent Arizona State Nutrition Communications Student

Each morning I used to wake up in a fog, stumbling around my room like a zombie, wishing to return to the security and warmth of my bed. But let’s face it, the busy day must begin. Those who know me will tell you I am not a morning person and I am a serious coffee drinker.


I used to look forward to the aroma of a hot cup of Java wafting through the air in the mornings. It’s somewhat poetic but if I am, to be honest, it was once more of a necessity to get moving.  It wasn’t until about a year ago that I curiously questioned my reliance on caffeine to kick-start my morning and soon discovered why I should hold off on drinking that first cup of coffee.


A Review of the Past

Think back to a time when you might not have needed coffee to get ready for the day. Hard to remember? I know it is for me but after looking into why I should hold off on that first cup until later I decided to make a switch and here are the reasons behind that.


Your body has a hormone for everything. These hormones control our body’s 24-hour internal clock that lets us know when to sleep and when to wake up. In the mornings, right when you wake up, your body must transition from a state of rest to a more functioning state allowing us to begin our days. The hormone commonly associated with stress, cortisol, is released preparing your body to wake up and is continues being released after getting out of bed. Cortisol wakes you up.


In a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers aimed to find a link between caffeine and it affects on cortisol levels in the body. What was discovered was that, while researchers had already known caffeine helps spike cortisol levels, just as your body becomes tolerant to caffeine, your body also becomes tolerant to cortisol induced by caffeine, making cortisol less effective and leaving you groggy in the mornings.


Basically, if you replace your body’s natural ability to wake up in the morning with caffeine, once you have a high tolerance for caffeine, your body’s natural ability to utilize the “wake-up” hormone is hindered.


Coffee has its merits. Should you stop drinking coffee? Definitely not. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, plain black coffee serves as a great source of antioxidants. What you should do is postpone that first cup until the late morning or early afternoon for that surge of energy.


You might think I am crazy to suggest waiting to drink your first cup but from personal experience, mornings are much easier if you allow your body to do what it needs to do. Pick a week and try it out. Let your body get back to normal while still being able to enjoy your favorite pick-me-up drink. Just enjoy it a little later in the day!





  1. Lovallo WR, et al. Caffeine Stimulation of Cortisol Secretion Across the Waking Hours in Relation to Caffeine Intake Levels. 2008.



  1. Marcason, W. Benefits of Java. 2014






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Ag in the Classroom is back in the Classroom

By Katie Aikins, Arizona Farm Bureau Assistant Director of Education

Arizona Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom is back in the classroom! Here are some upcoming and new programs for the 2016-2017 school year.



Fall Ag Literacy

AITC offered a free 30-minute classroom presentation for grades K-2 across the state. The presentation includes the story All About Pumpkins and includes a hands-on pumpkin life cycle activity. The first 500 teachers already signed up for the event and received a free book they can add to their classroom library! While this literacy event is full watch for two more events this school year!


Farm Friday Fun with Arizona Agriculture

Farm Friday Fun with Arizona Agriculture is a year-long program that allows classrooms to explore a different Arizona crop each month. Teachers are provided with information about the crop, a profile of one of Arizona’s Farmers and a lesson plan on that month’s crop. The program is FREE.


From Farm to Football

In cooperation with Hickman’s Family Farms, a proud sponsor of the Arizona Cardinals, AITC brings you From Farm to Football. This exciting program will allow students and classrooms to learn how agriculture is all around us, even on the football field!


Participating classrooms will receive a poster and video messages from David Johnson, running back for the Arizona Cardinals. Each month classrooms will learn about one of the agricultural commodities that plays a large role in our everyday lives on and off the field. Students will pen pal with Arizona farmers and learn how the farm makes its way to the football field. The program runs October 2016 – January 2017.


To sign-up your classroom for any of these programs, contact Katie Aikins at or 480-635-3608.


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Fall Festivals Your Family Needs to Visit

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Fall Pumpkin and Corn Maze Festivals

By Peggy Jo Goodfellow, Arizona Farm Bureau Marketing Manager

Have you guessed yet what Schnepf Farms’ corn maze art is this year? We’re not telling because we want you to discover it for yourself at their Pumpkin and Chili Party beginning October 1.

Want to go a bit further out? Well, Arizona Farm Bureau has put together the most comprehensive list for you right here.

For many of us, this is our favorite time of year. Pumpkins, corn mazes, and more old-fashioned family fun. See you on the farm!!!

Cochise County:

Apple Annie’s

Fall Pumpkin Celebration

Old fashioned family fun picking your own pumpkins, fall vegetables and apples.

U-pick pumpkins and produce for sale. Visit the farm or place an order online.

Open 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. on the following days:

September 17-18 CORN MAZE OPENS (Corn Maze ONLY this weekend)

September 24-25 (Pumpkins, Hayrides and Corn Maze)

October 1-2 (Pumpkins, Hayrides and Corn Maze)
October 8-9 (Pumpkins, Hayrides and Corn Maze)
October 15-16 (Pumpkins, Hayrides and Corn Maze)
October 22-23 (Pumpkins, Hayrides and Corn Maze)
October 29-30 (Pumpkins, Hayrides and Corn Maze

Apple Annie’s Produce & Pumpkins

6405 West Williams Rd

Willcox, AZ 85643

For more information, call 520.384.4685 or visit



Photo via Apple Annie’s

 Willcox Wine Country Festival                  

October 15-16         11am – 5 pm

The Willcox Wine Country Festival is a two-day fun-filled event at historic Railroad Park in downtown Willcox. Admission to the festival is FREE – listen to music and browse vendor and wine booths without charge. Food, Music, Fine Art, Crafts, Local Produce & More. Choose from over 70 wines from 17 Arizona wineries. Vendors featuring locally grown and made products, live Music on Saturday & Sunday

Railroad Avenue Park

Willcox, AZ 85643


 65th Annual Rex Allen Days – Willcox                  

September 29 – October 2
Rex Allen Days celebrates Arizona’s most famous singing Cowboy in four days of fun.   This year is going to be fun! Softball tourneys, AYSO’s car show benefiting local youth players, Arizona Truck and Tractor Pulls’ events, “Box” turtle races at the park, Parade Reyna contests, Music, Dancing, come join us and enjoy Western Family Fun at its finest.

For more information visit:

Location: Willcox, AZ

Maricopa County


MacDonald Ranch

Annual Pumpkin Patch

Family fun includes: A Petting Zoo; Run through the Hay Maze; Learn to pan for gold;         Hayride and Train ride to the Pumpkin Patch; Play Western Games; “New” Pedal carts     for kids!

Open:  October 1 – October 31 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

MacDonald Ranch

26540 N Scottsdale Rd

Scottsdale, AZ 85255

 For more information,visit or call 480.585.0239


Photo via MacDonald Ranch


Mother Nature’s Farm    

Load up the family, bring your friends and neighbors to the Pumpkin Patch.

Enjoy a fall gourd show, U-pick pumpkins, squash, and produce for sale.

Annual Pumpkin Festival Begins October 1 ─ October 31, 2016 from

9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. 7 days a week. Admission and times vary.


Mother’s Nature’s Farm

1663 E Baseline Rd

Gilbert AZ 85233


For more information, call 480.892.5874 or visit


Rocker 7 Farm Patch

Enjoy a fun, family farm experience as you explore the pumpkin patch, corn maze, sunflower field and many farm-related activity areas for children. Rocker 7 Farm Patch is open to the public the last three weekends of October. Admission is $10 per person (children in diapers are free)


Friday October 7, October 14, October 21 and October 28      9 am to 6 pm

Saturday October 8, October 15, October 22 and October 29,   9 am to 6 pm

Sunday October 9, October 16, October 23 and October 30,   11 pm to 6 pm

Location:  19601 W Broadway Rd, Buckeye, AZ 85326


For more information, visit or call 623.208.8676


Schnepf Farms

Pumpkin & Chili Party starts October 1 – October 31 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Admission includes Rides!

Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m on Thursdays & Sunday

Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m on Friday & Saturday (closes at 4 pm Oct 3)

Admission is $17.00 plus tax per person or $14.00 at any FRY’S. (does not include pumpkins, food, train or pony rides)


Schnepf Farms

24810 S Rittenhouse Rd

Queen Creek, AZ 85142


For more information, call 480.987.3100 or visit


Tolmachoff Farms

Pumpkin Days & Fall Maze

Visit one of the last family farms in the city!

Open every day except Monday beginning October 1st – November 6th.

Family Maze, Hay Maze, Petting Zoo and Play Areas

U-pick pumpkins and produce for sale.

Admission is $10.00 each ages 2 and up

Train Ride $2.00 each (weekends only)


HAUNTED CORN MAZE: October:  Every Friday & Saturday & Halloween Night

7 pm to 11pm (Last ticket sold 1 hour before closing)

Admission: $17 all ages


Special price:  Haunted Maze ONLY: $11 all ages. Opening night Oct 1 and Halloween Night Oct 31!


Tolmachoff Farms

5726 N 75th Ave

Glendale, AZ 85303


For more information, call 602.999.3276 or visit


Photo via Tolmachoff Farms

 Vertuccio Farms       

October 1 –  November 6, 2015

Admission price includes 7-acre Corn Maze; Giant tube roll; Giant Jump Pad; Extreme air pillow; Mini zip line; Mini Hay Maze (for young children); Spider-web climb; Duck races; barrel train ride and petting zoo. Pumpkins priced according to size and variety.

Admission $9 per person. Ages 2 & younger free.  Group rates available for 30 or more.


Hours are Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.


Location:  4011 S. Power Rd., Mesa


For more information, call 480.882.1482 or visit


Pima County


Buckelew Farm Pumpkin Festival & Corn Maze

Enjoy a day at the farm with horse drawn wagon rides out to the pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkin off of the vine. We also have a 3 corn mazes, Scavenger Hunt Maze, haunted cornfield, arts and crafts, petting zoo, pedal carts, food booths, duck races and more.

Buckelew Farm

17000 W Ajo Hwy

Tucson, AZ 85735

Open weekends beginning October 8 – October 30  10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission is $10.00 each. Kids in diapers are free.


Buckelew Farm is just 30 minutes from downtown Tucson.


For more information, call 520.822.2277 or visit .


Marana Pumpkin Patch

Visit their 50 acre pumpkin patch with tons of surprises in store!  We have wagon ride to the pumpkin patch; free access to corn mazes; straw mountain and the kids zone; petting zoo; pig races; duck races; jumping pillow; and much more!

Open October 1 through October 30, 2015.

$10 per person Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. or

$12 per person Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Please show up at least 1 ½ hours before closing so you’ll be able to enjoy ALL the fun!


Marana Pumpkin Patch & Farm Bestival

14901 N Wentz Road, Marana

520.305.5481 or email



Sahuarita Pecan Festival                                    

November 12


From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

This unique festival, centered in the Santa Cruz River Valley, is family focused and community oriented. Held on the grounds of the Green Valley Pecan Company for one day.

Enjoy the Pecan Store, food vendors, shopping with local artisans, Arabian horse demonstrations, horse drawn hay wagon rides, entertainment all day, tractor pulling competitions and much more.


For more information, visit


Horizontal photo of slightly roasted pecan nuts with focus of standing pecan in front of pile on natural wood


 Pinal County


 Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch

Family owned and operated. Stop by and feed the ostrich, deer, miniature donkeys, goats, ducks, and Rainbow Lorikeets.

Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 1 – November 15 – 9 am to 5 pm

Open Daily, Winter season  (November thru April 30th ) – 9 am to 5 pm

$7.00 per person, age 5 & under free

Monster Truck Tours on Sat., Sun, and Holidays. Fun for all Ages! –

$15 ages 6 and over

Located between Tucson and Phoenix near Interstate-10 at the Picacho Peak exit #219

17599 E Peak Ln, Picacho, AZ 85141


For more information, call 520.466.3658 or visit



Yavapai County


 Mortimer Family Farms

Bring back the rich farming history of Dewey-Humboldt and identifying the traditions of the past in this landmark farming community.

Family Fun Day and Pumpkin Harvest- Begins Sunday October 1 – October 31th

15- acre Pumpkin Patch, 25- acre Corn Maze, games, food vendors, BBQ, pies, apple cider, corn maze, barrel train, farm slide, Barn Dance, Farm Animal Kingdom, Hay rides and much more.

Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s in October

Admission: $15 per person (children 2 and under are free)  Group pricing available for 20 or more.

For more information, call 928.830.1116 or visit


Remember…you can always go to for a complete direct-market list of farmers and ranchers.

 For more Fall Farm information, go to!

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Ode to the Pumpkin

Pumpkin is in the squash family and can easily be baked to prepare the pulp for use in pumpkin recipes.  Choose a sweet pie pumpkin or other cooking pumpkin for best results.  That jack-o-lantern pumpkin, if still fresh, can also be used.


Making Pumpkin Puree                                                   

If the pumpkin is small enough to fit into your oven “whole” ( you might have to put one rack in the lowest track) do the following:


  • Wash pumpkin thoroughly.
  • Make 5-6 deep slits in the outer skin with a large knife.
  • Place the pumpkin in a baking dish or on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350 degress for 1 hour or until a fork easily pokes through the skin.
  • Let cool slightly.  Then cut in half.
  • Scoop out the stringy pulp and seeds.  Save the seeds to dry and roast.
  • Scoop out the remaining pulp, a small amount at a time, and puree in a food processor or mash through a colander.
  • Your puree is now ready for your favorite pumpkin recipes.



Pumpkin puree will freeze well.  Store in amounts called for in your recipes.

If your puree is too watery after processing, put in a bowl and put it in the refrigerator.

After a day or two the water will rise to the top and can be poured off. Then freeze.


*If your pumpkin is too large for your oven “whole” cut it in half (either direction) after washing.  Clean out the stringy pulp and seeds now, if you wish.  Place on a baking sheet, skin side up.  You do not need to slit the skin.  Cool and process as explained above.

                                                   Provided by Linda Merrell, Duncan, AZ



Harvest Pumpkin Bars                               


2 C flour                              

2 tsp. Baking soda

½  tsp. Salt

4 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. Cinnamon

2 C shredded  or canned pumpkin

2 C sugar

1 C vegetable oil

1 C chopped nuts



½  C margarine

2 C powdered sugar

1  8-oz. cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla


 Mix all ingredients together and bake in 9 x13 pan for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool slightly. For icing, beat cream cheese and margarine, add vanilla, mix in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over pumpkin bars. Slice into squares and enjoy!

Provided by: Paula Jensen, Gilbert, AZ

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