Edible Gardens

By Michael Russell, recent Arizona State University Nutrition Communications Student

I’ve written a previous blog post about backyard farming and staying within that theme I wanted to write about some tips on creating an edible garden.  I understand that some of us may not want to go all out and start raising livestock in our backyards but the idea of fresh produce from your backyard is intriguing.

 

As much as you want a garden that will supply delicious vegetables or earthy herbs, you will also want a garden that is attractive to look at, so I will point out certain herbs and plant life that will give you an attractive garden.  Let’s get started:

pexels-photo

The “Wow” Factor:

 

As I mentioned above, we want an attractive garden as much as we want a productive garden, so here a few herbs and plants that will give you both, great visuals and fresh produce:

 

  • Basil: It is an annual plant that comes in several types that can brighten up any garden. Outside of the traditional green basil plant, there are some that are purple, for instance, the Red-Rubin, which are extremely attractive and pair well with other edible garden plants.  It is also useful in many dishes to add flavor and bring in color.
  • Fennel: This perennial plant has wispy fronds that stand tall and add movement to your garden. The plant itself is a has a refreshing licorice flavor that is a great digestive after a heavy meal.
  • Artichoke: These beautiful and large plants sprouts visually stunning purple plants that make any garden burst alive with color. There softball size buds are wonderful to eat in several ways.  My personal favorite is to stuff the leaves with garlic, breadcrumbs and chunks of parmesan cheese and steam them for 2.5-3 hours.
  • Sage: This plant does extremely well in the desert so it is great for any edible garden in Arizona. Its low mounting profile makes it wonderful for the front row of your garden.  It’s velvety soft leaves give it a cozy and welcoming feel.  It pairs nicely with most poultry and can lift any egg dish to new heights.
  • Succulents: These plants are great for the gardens that people start in Arizona. Given the plant’s ability to survive in a desert environment, it will do well in the garden you create.  They span a wide range of color and size so fell free to pair them with the sage to give a contrast of both.
  • Thyme: Thyme is a bunch plant that will take up space but bring in a soft and warm feeling to your garden. Using purple basil, as mentioned above, to edge out the puffy thyme plant can be visually stunning.  Thyme is a great herb that can enhance the flavor of several dishes.
  • Peppers: Another plant that grows great in Arizona are peppers and given the variety at our fingertips the choice is yours. With several color options pepper plants bring life to the garden with their ability to dot color all throughout the garden.  As for its culinary use, you have just as many options as you do plant types.  You can make fresh salsa, create your own chutneys, pickle them, roast them, or just eat them raw.
  • Tomatoes: Just as versatile, in both variety and color, the tomato is another great plant for the desert environment. Growing tall, with support from a tomato cage, this plant adds color and height to your garden.  Used in just about any type of culinary dish, the tomato, will supply you with endless flavor and heartiness.
  • Mint: This low bunching plant is a great addition to your edible garden. It will take up space and provide you a bright and glossy leaf that is both beautiful and aromatic.  Great for desserts, mint, works well in hot and cold teas.  If you’re into a harder beverage fresh mint from your garden makes a mojito that much more enjoyable.
  • Leaf Lettuce: Leaf lettuce is a wonderful addition to and edible garden. Known for its ability to sprout into loose rosettes instead of a head this plant will give you fullness with color.  There are several different leaf lettuces that will add color and give you different flavor profiles.
  • Others to consider: There are several other edible plants that will make any garden look beautiful but also supply the grower with great produce, some to consider are:
    • Sweet Corn
    • Cucumber
    • Eggplant
    • Watermelon
    • Cilantro
    • Swiss Chard
    • Kale

 

Keys to success:

 

Now I understand that our desert environment may make it intimidating to start a garden so I would like to supply you with several tips to make a successful edible garden here in Arizona:

 

  • Be realistic: Gardening is hard work and you must be willing to see your crop grow and die. Not everything you plant will grow to full maturity and that is fine because you can take what you learned and apply it to the next set of crops you plant.  Understand that the most experienced gardeners deal with failure so you are not the reason plants might die.  Gardening is like gambling, you have to play the hand that you are dealt, sometimes it works out and other time you lose your shirt.
  • Hard work pays off: In the beginning, you will be putting in a lot of hours and some hard work but as your garden grows all that hard work will be worth it.  The hardest part is the first dig, but once your back and knees recover gardening becomes a rewarding endeavor.
  • Plan it out: A key to success with anything you do is to have a plan set in place and gardening is no different. Understanding what to grow, how long it will take to harvest, where to grow it and how much space you will need is paramount for success.
  • Full sun: When starting your garden, it is advised to start with an area that gets full sun. I know that seems crazy because, especially out here, things tend to die in the sun but plants want full sun.  Remember you can always shade your plants once they get rooted but if your plants do not have full sun in the beginning then they are more likely to die.
  • Keep your soil aerobic: Keep your soils full of oxygen-loving organisms. Great ways to promote the life of these organisms is to avoid under and over watering your plants and keep your soil fluffy.
  • Mulch it up: Out here, mulch is our friend.  Mulch is great for our gardens in Arizona because it keeps the sun off the soil which will cause it to dry out quicker and will also help to retain moisture.
  • Slow and deep irrigation: It is best to use an irrigating system for watering as we tend to under-water in the beginning and over watering thereafter. If the roots of the plant do not get sufficient water, at first, the roots become dry and brittle and will be less likely to take hold and form a strong base for plant growth.

 

If you liked this article:

– Gardening with your Family

– 10 Apps for Arizona Gardeners 

REFERENCES

 

  1. New edition of gardening bible for a gardener’s paradise. 2016. Available at:

http://www.berkeleyside.com/2012/03/29/gardening-book-booksource/. Accessed February 19, 2016.

  1. McKinely J. Keys for Successful Desert Gardening – Edible Baja Arizona Magazine. Edible Baja

Arizona Magazine. 2013 Available at: http://ediblebajaarizona.com/keys-for-successful-desert-gardening. Accessed February 19, 2016.

  1. 7 edible garden ideas. 2016. Available at: http://www.sunset.com/garden-basics/7-

edible-garden-ideas/basil-plus-thyme. Accessed February 19, 2016.

  1. 21 best crops for your edible garden. 2016. Available at:

http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/best-vegetables-fruit-herbs-to-plant/view-all. Accessed February 19, 2016.

Posted in Arizona, Food, Gardening, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, Just For Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Backyard Farms: Becoming Self Sufficient

By Michael Russell, recent Arizona State University Nutrition Communications Student

I have long dreamed of a chance to own a plot of land and yield from it foods that I can use to feed myself and my family.  The first problem that many of us living in urban areas run into is a lack of available land to do all the growing we want to do.  The backyard farm has been a growing trend for the past several years, and may be the solution for many of us.

I was immediately interested and wanted to learn more. Here are some basic points to consider.

salad-water-garden-plant

 

The Size of your land:

  • First, know what your city’s ordinances are. Know what you can grow and raise in your backyard, and what you can’t. If you live farther from a city, find out about your county’s requirements and/or restrictions.
  • In the event that you have less than a quarter acre of land, it is best to limit the amount of livestock in your backyard garden and focus more on fruits and vegetables. A herb garden works great in a small amount of space. So does a chicken coop. These can be an easy first start.
  • If you have more than a quarter acre but less than a half-acre you cannot only have fruits, vegetables, herbs, and a chicken coop but also introduce a goat pasture with pens for the goats. It would be wise to invest in a chicken tractor.  A chicken tractor is an A-framed floorless structure that allows free ranging capabilities for your chickens.
  • When you have a half acre or full acre you can have all of what I mentioned above but also add a composting pile, sheep pens, a rabbit tractor and a nut tree. For many, an acre can allow for some ambitious efforts on your part as the up-and-coming backyard farmer.
  • If you’re fortunate enough to have two to three acres of land, then the world is your oyster. You can introduce a pig pen, a barn, a greenhouse or steers, and cows.  What is also great about owning this much property and having your own backyard farm (and at this point, it might be a hobby farm, one step up from a backyard farm) is you can start a rotating pasture for your steers and cows, as well as introduce bees to collect honey.

Livestock:

  • When introducing livestock to your backyard farm it’s important to understand which animals get along with one another.
  • Chickens are very chummy with most other livestock and enjoy the luxury of open spaces.
  • It is best to keep pigs with their own kind and if you have the space to rotate your pastures then allow them to move from one area to the next on your farm.

Growing Vegetables:

  • If you are restricted to a small plot of land a great way to grow your vegetables is with containers. Container gardens are a great option because you can even grow them indoors. Just be careful they do not dry out too quickly.
  • Raised garden beds are also a great way to get your vegetables growing in a small space. There are several advantages to raised garden beds, they include:
    • Better soil conditions
    • Better use of space
    • Less weeding
    • Extended growing season due to the warmth of a raised bed
    • Drain water more effectively
    • Easier to water, mulch, fertilize and compost

Environmentally Friendly:

  • By creating a composting pile, you can really work on building your own organic matter for your soil.
  • If you are able to have fruit trees on your backyard farm and they grow to full maturity, then you can allow your goats and sheep to “trim” the trees for you. The goats and sheep will eat the low hanging leaves and fallen fruit underneath your trees which help to avoid rotting fruit.

Helpful Tips:

  • Plant what you like to eat. It is a better decision to plant the things that you and your family enjoy eating.  Unless you choose to supply your harvest to a local food bank or farmers market, growing something you will not eat is a waste of space and time. If you do decide to take your produce to a farmers market, you should consider employing the Arizona Department of Agriculture’s volunteer Food Safety handling practices known as Good Handling Practices and Good Agricultural Practices (GHP/GAP). Food safety should be a priority and of one’s utmost commitment, especially if you decide to sell your produce to others.
  • Be creative with your design. Plan it out.  Draw it up several different ways to maximize your space and growing potential.  Look at other people’s ideas on how they created their own farms for inspiration.  If you have the chance, try to visit a local backyard farm to see how it works.
  • Be diverse. Having a large number of several different crops is better than having a small number of a few crops.  This is a best practice for not just yourself but for your wildlife as well.  Plus, having several different pollinating crops helps reduce pests within your backyard farm.
  • Timing is everything. Do your research and find out what to plant during specific seasons so that you can enjoy the literal fruits of your labor at a given time. For example, you would want to plant spinach in March so that by June you can eat it.
  • Be overly protective. This is most important in the winter months due to the wind and frost.  Using burlap to cover plants before nightfall adds a layer of insulation need to allow the plants to survive the night.
  • Learn to adapt. Knowing what is working best for your backyard farm is key but it is also important to know what is not working.  If you notice that one crop is not doing well it may not be your lack of skill but the conditions the crop is in.  Move on.

Backyard farming is a great way to learn to be self-reliant and sufficient from what you own.  It will give you a sense of pride knowing that you were able to quite literally provide that food that is on the dinner table.  As I mentioned before if you have enough space and are able to grow quite a bit of crop then it is always best to donate to a local food bank or farmers market.

Remember, there is a financial investment to starting a backyard farm. This should be planned and penciled out just as diligently as planning the layout of your backyard farm.

REFERENCES

  1. Gardner A. How To Turn Your Backyard into a Four-Season Farm – Modern Farmer. Modern

Farmer. 2013. Available at http://moderfarmer.com/2013/04/how-to-turn-your-backyard-into-a-four-season-farm/. Accessed January 30, 2016.

  1. Pesaturo J. How to Start a Backyard Farm -. Ouroneacrefarmcom. 2014. Available at

http://ouroneacrefarm.com/start-backyard-farm/. Accessed January 30, 2016.

  1. Tayse R. 6 Tips for Backyard Permaculture – Urban Farm. Urbanfarmonlinecom. 2016. Available

at http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/urban-gardening/6-tips-for-backyard-permaculture.aspx. Accessed January 30, 2016.

  1. com. thebackyardfarm.com – Raised Bed Gardening. 2016. Available at:

http://thebackyardfarm.com/raised_bed_garden.php. Accessed January 30, 2016.

  1. Wolford D. 4 Backyard Farm Designs for Self Sufficiency. Weed’em & Reap. 2015. Available at:

http://www.weedemandreap.com/backyard-farm-designs/. Accessed January

Posted in Arizona, Food, Food Production, Gardening, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, Just For Fun, Produce | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So you’ve got two days to Explore Arizona…

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

Part 1: Half-a-Day in Arizona

Part 2: One Day in Arizona 

 

There are almost too many places to visit in Arizona if you’ve got adventure in your heart and a couple days of free time. With national and state parks, historic cities, and fine dining all across the state, there is something for everyone. Weekend trips can be fun, so grab a travel companion and set off to explore all the wonders Arizona has to offer.

Heading Up North

7290025068_c0e6699969_b

The Grand Canyon:

How long does it take to get there? From Phoenix, the drive to the Grand Canyon is a four-and-a-half to five hour drive.

Where can I stay overnight? The Grand Canyon has many hotels and lodges within the park including: The Yavapai Lodge, Maswik South Lodge, El Tovar Hotel, Bright Angel Lodge, Kachina Lodge, and Thunderbird Lodge. If you want to stay outside the park, surrounding towns also offer overnight amenities. About 10 minutes south of the park entrance you can stay at the Best Western Grand Canyon, the Red Feather Lodge, the Holiday Inn Grand Canyon, the Grand Hotel, or the Canyon Plaza Resort. Some of these hotels can book up well in advance, so try to make your reservation as soon as possible. Other options include staying in Williams or Flagstaff.

What can I do at the Grand Canyon?

  • Take a South Rim mule trip
  • Visit the Grand Canyon Village
  • Walk along the Trail of Time
  • Attend a ranger program
  • Walk the Rim Trail
  • Visit the scenic Hermit Road or Desert View Drive
  • Visit the watch tower at Desert View Point
  • Travel to the canyon on the Grand Canyon Railway
  • Take a rafting trip down the Colorado River

On the way to the Grand Canyon, make sure to visit the Grand Canyon Deer Farm or Bearizona, both located in Williams.

humphreys_peak_az

Flagstaff:

How long does it take to get there? Flagstaff is a two to two-and-a-half hour drive from Phoenix.

Where can I stay overnight? Flagstaff is a destination town for visitors of Arizona, so it has tons of options for an overnight stay. Stay at: The Springhill Suites, the Hampton Inn Flagstaff, Embassy Suites Flagstaff, Hotel Monte Vista, the Holiday Inn Flagstaff, or the Drury Inn and Suites Flagstaff, among many others.

What can I do in Flagstaff?

1024px-cathedral_rock_at_red_rock_crossing

Sedona:

How long does it take to get there? Sedona is a two hour drive from Phoenix.

Where can I stay overnight? Sedona, like Flagstaff, is a destination town full of hotels and inns! Lodge at the Las Posadas of Sedona, the Inn Above Oak Creek, Enchantment Resort, the Courtyard Sedona, Sky Ranch Lodge, or the Baby Quail Inn. These are just a few of the many overnight options in Sedona.

What can I do in Sedona?

view_from_jerome_az

The view from Jerome, AZ

The Verde Valley

How long does it take to get there? The Verde Valley is about a two hour drive from Phoenix.

Where can I stay overnight? Because the Verde Valley encompasses a few different towns, there are many places to choose from for an overnight stay. Sedona is considered part of the Verde Valley, so staying there is always an option. Also, you can stay in the town of Cottonwood, Camp Verde, Clarkdale, or Jerome.

What can I do in the Verde Valley?

Heading down South

tucson_shab1

Tucson:

How long does it take to get there? The drive from Phoenix to Tucson is one-and-a-half to two hours.

Where can I stay overnight? Stay at: the Residence Inn Tucson Williams Centre, Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, Best Western Plus Tucson, Omni Tucson National Resort, Country Inn and Suites, or The Lodge at Ventana Canyon, among many other hotels and resorts.

What can I do in Tucson?

tombstone_rose_festival_az

Tombstone:

How long does it take to get there? The drive from Phoenix to Tombstone is almost three hours.

Where can I stay overnight? Stay at: The Tombstone Grand Hotel, the Allen Street Inn, Wyatt’s Hotel and Coffeehouse, T. Miller’s Mercantile and Hotel, or Stampede Bed and Breakfast.

What can I do in Tombstone?

  • Visit the historic Tombstone Courthouse to learn about the history of the town
  • Take a self-guided tour of the Birdcage Theater and see actual artifacts from the Old West days of Tombstone
  • Take a walk through the Boothill Graveyard and see where Tombstone’s most notorious historical figures are buried
  • Visit the K. Corral and see the site where the infamous gunfight took place
  • Walk down Allen Street and visit the shops and dining establishments along the way
  • Take a tour down into the Good Enough Mine, if you’re brave enough
  • Go on a ghost hunt and tour of Tombstone’s 10 most haunted places

1280px-bisbee_arizona

Bisbee

How long does it take to get there? Bisbee is a little over three hours away from Phoenix.

Where can I stay overnight? Stay at the historic Copper Queen Hotel, the Jonquil Motel, the Inn at Castle Rock, the Copper City Inn, the Bisbee Grand Hotel, or Hotel San Ramon.

What can I do in Bisbee?

 

 

 

 

Posted in Arizona, AZ History, Events, Fun and Games, Holidays, Just For Fun | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

So you’ve got one day to Explore Arizona…

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

Part 1: Half-a-Day in Arizona

Since you’re here for American Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting in January and you’ve booked an extra day in Arizona, we’ve got some travel ideas for you!

Some of these day trips also appear on our list of things to do if you have two days to visit Arizona. The only difference is that on the two-day-trip list we recommended enough things to do in each city to fill up two days. Here, the elements are broken up into trips that you can do in one day, and be back in Phoenix by nighttime.

west_fork_of_oak_creek_reflections

Photo of Oak Creek Canyon

Up North

  • Montezuma’s Castle and Well. The castle and the well are two different sites, both located in Camp Verde. They are an hour and a half drive from Phoenix, and easily seen in a day. Montezuma’s Castle is an Ancient Native American cliff dwelling situated in a mountain cliff face. Up the street is Montezuma’s Well, a natural, self-filling well surrounded by Ancient Native American dwellings.
  • Hike Oak Creek Canyon. Oak Creek Canyon is located between Sedona and Flagstaff. There are tons of trails near Oak Creek, so if you are a hiker, this is the place for you!
  • Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course. If you’ve got an adventurous spirit, visit the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course. There’s an adult course as well as a kids course, so it can be fun for the whole family!
  • Arizona Snowbowl. Ski, ride the ski lift, or take a ski lesson if you’re a newbie. There are lessons for adults and lessons for kids! If skiing isn’t your thing, you can still ride the lift, or just enjoy the snowy weather.
  • Pink Jeep Tours. Let someone else do the driving with a Pink Jeep Tour through Sedona. This is another activity for adventurous people, as it is all off-road. Pink Jeep Tours offers a few different excursions through different parts of Sedona, so go online, pick your adventure, and enjoy!
  • Verde Valley Wine Trail. If you’re a foodie, take a trip down the Verde Valley Wine trail. Try Arizona grown wines while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Northern Arizona.
  • Tour Red Rock State Park. You can hike around and explore the park on your own or take a guided tour. There are hikes offered to explore the flora of the park, hikes to check out the geology, and even hikes to see the remnants of Ancient American civilizations.
  • Out of Africa Wildlife Park. Visit this park, located in Camp Verde, for an experience you can’t get anywhere else. You can take a safari or see one of the many shows put on throughout the day among other things! (If it’s your birthday, you can get in free your entire birthday month with an ID)

canyon_lake-arizona-and_land_features-4

Photo of Canyon Lake

Central Arizona

  • Visit a Lake. There are many lakes within two hours of Phoenix. Each one has its own set of things to do, although they do have some activities in common. Visit Lake Pleasant, Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, Bartlett Lake, Roosevelt Lake, or Saguaro Lake for fishing, boating, or to spend time relaxing on their shores. Lake Pleasant is only 35 miles from Downtown Phoenix, and is the best lake in the area for power boaters. At Apache Lake drive down Apache Trail for one of the most scenic drives in the state. This lake also boasts some beautiful hiking trails. Canyon Lake is surrounded by beautiful cliff faces that are home to big horned sheep. Take a trip across the lake on the famous Dolly Steamboat and see how many animals you can spot! The views around Bartlett Lake are unlike any others. This lake is a destination spot for boaters, water-skiers, and jet skiers. Roosevelt Lake is famous for the Roosevelt Dam, which at the time of its building was the world’s largest dam. Roosevelt Lake used to hold the title for world’s biggest manmade lake, as well. Saguaro Lake has beautiful views of, you guessed it, Saguaro cacti! Visit this lake for all your boating needs including sailing and kayaking.
  • The Desert Botanical Garden. You could easily spend an entire day in the Desert Botanical Garden. The Garden has seasonal exhibits that are not to be missed, as well as five different trails that explore the flora of Arizona.
  • The Phoenix Zoo. You don’t have to be a kid to love the Phoenix Zoo. Explore all the different exhibits, visit the Red Barn to interact with the goats, walk through Monkey Village to get up close and personal with squirrel monkeys, feed the giraffes at Giraffe Encounter, and feed the stingrays in Stingray Bay.
  • Butterfly Wonderland and OdySea Aquarium. First, visit the Butterfly Emergence Gallery and watch as butterflies emerge from their chrysalis. Then, visit the Conservatory, a giant greenhouse that houses over 3,000 butterflies. When you’re done, head next door to OdySea Aquarium and see sea life from all over the globe.

kitt_peak_national_observatory_1_-_flickr_-_joe_parks

Photo of Kitt Peak National Observatory

Down South

  • Kitt Peak National Observatory. Head down to Tucson to visit Kitt Peak Observatory. There are both daytime and nighttime activities at the observatory, tours, and workshops.
  • Tombstone, Arizona. Take a step back in time to the Old West in Tombstone. Take a self-guided tour of the Birdcage Theater, visit the O.K. Corral, walk through the Boothill Graveyard, and take a mine tour.
  • Visit a Vineyard. Southern Arizona is home to quite a few vineyards. Visit one or all of them to see where the magic happens and to taste delicious Arizona grown wine. Since you’re down south, the Willcox Wine Region nearly 10 different wineries (check out the map).
  • Bisbee, Arizona. Like Tombstone, Bisbee is a town you can see in a days’ time. Take tours of the town and surrounding hills, or tour Bisbee’s most haunted locations. Visit one of the many museums focused on mining or the town’s history. There are lots of historic sites in Bisbee including the Heritage Stairs, Warren Ballpark, and the Copper Miner sculpture. When you’re done visiting all the neat attractions, have a bite to eat at any of Bisbee’s tasty restaurants.
Posted in Arizona, Events, Fun and Games, Just For Fun | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

So you’ve got a Half Day to Explore Arizona…

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

If you’ve only got half-a-day to visit Arizona, you’re going to have to really pick and choose what you want to do. First, determine what kind of person you are: A foodie, and adventurer, a kid at heart, or a shopper. What you like will play a huge part in how you spend your time in the Phoenix area. To help you, I’ve made a list of some of the most popular and fun things to do in Phoenix that won’t take up your whole day!

1280px-downtown_phoenix_aerial_looking_northeast

If you’re a foodie:

lake-powell-50681_960_720

If you’re an adventurer:

  • Take a hike! There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced hiking trails all around Phoenix. Here is a list of the top 10 hiking spots in the Phoenix area.
  • Walk the Desert Botanical Garden to see and learn about the flora and fauna of Arizona.
  • Goldfield Ghost town is 45 minutes East of Phoenix. Tour the ghost town, have lunch, and take a horseback trail ride, all in just a few hours’ time.
  • Take a hot air balloon ride over major cities in the Phoenix area.
  • Take a trail ride through the Sonoran Desert.
  • Fly high above some of Arizona’s lakes in a helicopter.
  • Learn how to rock climb or repel during one of these half-day trips.
  • Take an ATV/UTV tour through the Sonoran Desert.

phoenixzooentrance

If you’re a kid at heart:

chandler_mall2

If you’re a shopper:

  • Shop alongside ASU students at Tempe Marketplace.
  • Enjoy the weather as you walk store to store at the Shops at Norterra in Phoenix.
  • Shop both levels of the Chandler Fashion Center, a mall complete with a full food court and plenty of restaurants across the street in case you get hungry.
  • Head out to Desert Ridge Marketplace to shop in a beautiful outdoor setting.
  • If you’re looking for high-end discounted retail, visit the Phoenix Premium Outlets located in Chandler.
  • If you’re looking to stay in the Phoenix area, don’t forget about the shopping and dining available at the Biltmore Fashion Park.
  • If you want an outdoor shopping experience with everything from jewelry and clothing to bikes and bath products, shop at SanTan Village in Gilbert (especially after visiting Queen Creek Olive Mill and Schnepf Farms since Queen Creek is adjacent to Gilbert).
  • CityScape, in Downtown Phoenix, offers awesome dining, easy shopping, and lots of entertainment.
  • Scottsdale Fashion Square has all the stores you are looking for plus more. Visit this mall for stores you know, as well as premium shops.
  • Kierland Commons is located in Scottsdale, and offers many upscale shops, as well as fine dining.
  • Arizona Mills Mall has been a staple in Tempe for some time, so don’t miss out on a visit.

If you’re still undecided, then you’re going to have to pick and choose carefully from each category what you’d like to do. Some activities take a full half day, while other activities can be mixed and matched to create a custom, fun half day. With all these options you are sure to have an amazing day! Personally, I’d mix and match.

Posted in Arizona, Events, Fun and Games, Holidays, Just For Fun | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment