Menu

Marana: Town of Gastronomy

Learn about our long history of agriculture and gastronomy.

Marana’s four thousand years of agriculture and eight thousand years of civilization aren’t what make it a town of gastronomy. It’s the commitment to continuing ancient and heritage food ways that is distinct among Marana farmers, food providers, restaurants, and gourmet desert food foragers.

Fed by the Santa Cruz River, this scenic town is a haven for small farmers and producers, and a newly prospering scene for local chefs and brewers to turn those farmers’ crops into culinary dishes and libations as delicious as they are innovative. Once the historic bread basket, cattle ranching, and orchard area for Tucson, Marana is now a center for farm-to-table, farm-to-bottle, and gourmet desert-foraged food sources. 

Marana is home of Forbes Five Star resort The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain and its Executive Chef David Serus, who is one of only seventy-seven Maîtres Cuisiniers de France (Masters of French Cuisine) in the United States. You may learn more about Chef David Serus and the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France recognition here.

Unesco World City of Gastronomy Designation

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), designated Tucson the first U.S. city to be a UNESCO City of Gastronomy (as part of the Creative Cities Network) in 2015, because of its local food markets and restaurants that utilize ancient and heritage foods, made possible by visionary heritage seed saving practices. 

As Tucson’s largest provider of farm-to-table produce, heritage grain, wild desert foods, and honey, Marana is, by its four thousand years of tradition and practice, the Town of Gastronomy.

Local Cuisine

Marana's cuisine is hyper-local and incorporates wild desert foods and Marana farm-grown grains and produce. You can find Sonoran haute cuisine perfected by classically French-trained chefs at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Catalina Brewing Company's craft beer with ingredients used in the Sonora for thousands of years such as mesquite, prickly pear cactus fruit, and agave and also uses heritage White Sonora Wheat grown in Marana by BKW Farms that was revived by Native Seeds/SEARCH.  Desert food educators, including Bean Tree Farm, Desert Harvesters, and John Slattery, teach how to responsibly forage desert foods and how to prepare and enjoy wild desert-foraged foods.

Local Farmers, Growers, and Purveyors

You can find the following Marana growers and suppliers and their foods at Heirloom Farmers Markets at Rillito and Oro Valley locations, Santa Cruz River Valley Farmers Market, Food Conspiracy Food Co-Op (Tucson), Barrio Bread (Tucson), and on the tables of fine restaurants such as CORE Kitchen (The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain), Cayton’s (The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain), Ignite (The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain), Agustin Kitchen (Tucson), Café Botanica (Tucson Botanical Gardens), The Coronet (Tucson), Pasco Kitchen (Tucson), Maynards Market & Kitchen (Tucson), Tasteful Kitchen (Tucson), and many more. 

Where to find Marana-grown and harvested food in Marana:

Catalina Brewing Co. 

  • Craft beer made with Marana-sourced mesquite flour, prickly pear fruit, BKW Farms'-grown White Sonora Wheat, and pecans, as well as agave and seasonal fruits, chiles, and more. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain restaurants and bars (Cayton's, CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar, Ignite

  • Fresh herbs and citrus grown on site
  • Maggie's Farm produce
  • Whiskey Del Bac whiskey made with BKW Farms'-grown barley
  • Local craft beer made with White Sonora Wheat grown by BKW Farms
  • CORE Kitchen and Wine Bar is one of only five restaurants in Arizona to achieve a Forbes Star rating

Dove Mountain Brewing Company

  • Catalina Brewing Company craft beer made with Marana-sourced wild desert ingredients and White Sonora Wheat, grown in Marana.

Li'l Abner's Steakhouse 

  • Outdoor mesquite-grilled steak, an ancient method probably dating back as far as the 13,000 year-old Clovis point found in Marana

The Screamery 

  • Hand-crafted ice cream from grass-fed milk and cream
  • Sweetened with Marana honey from Bee Bustin & Life'Sweet Honey Farms 

Triple L Feed & Supply

  • True Love Honey

True Love Honey 

  • Honey and bee products

Where to find Marana-grown and harvested food in Tucson:

Fine Restaurants, Bars, and Tasting Rooms

Agustin Kitchen

  • Agustin Kitchen serves Barrio Bread, made with BKW Farms' White Sonora Wheat and other heritage grains.

Barrio Bread  

  • All of Barrio Bread is made with BKW Farms' White Sonora Wheat and other BKW-grown heritage grains.

Café Botanica (Tucson Botanical Gardens) 

  • Cafe Botanica sources from Larry's Veggies

Feast

  • Feast sources from High Energy Agriculture

The Coronet

  • The Coronet serves Barrio Bread, made with BKW Farms' White Sonora Wheat and other heritage grains.

Pasco Kitchen

  • Pasco Kitchen sources from High Energy Agriculture

PY Steakhouse

  • PY Steakhouse sources from High Energy Agriculture
  • Executive Chef Ryan Clark is Tucson's only Iron Chef to retain the title for three years in a row

The Tasteful Kitchen

  • The Tasteful Kitchen sources from Larry's Veggies

Whiskey del Bac

  • Whiskey del Bac is ranked the #7 whiskey in the U.S. by Esquire magazine.
  • There is a tasting room open 11 months of the year. The whiskey is found at bars and restaurants and grocery and liquor stores.
  • Whiskey is made with barley grown at BKW Farms in Marana.

Markets and Purveyors

Aqua Vita Natural Food Market

  • Happy Bear honey

5 Points Market & Restaurant

  • Happy Bear honey

Food Conspiracy Food Co-op 

  • ReZonation Farm honey

Food In Root Farmers' Markets

  • Life'Sweet honey, Happy Bear honey
  • Marana-grown produce

Heirloom Farmer's Markets (Multiple locations)

  • Arid Adaptations (native plant nursery)
  • Country Harvest Pantry (milled BKW Farms’ White Sonoran Wheat flour)
  • High Energy Agriculture (produce)
  • Larry’s Veggies (produce, jams, and jellies, also offering produce from Maggie’s Farm)
  • Tucson Tortilla (tortillas made with heirloom corn and BKW Farms’  White Sonoran Wheat)

Johnny Gibson's Downtown Market

  • Happy Bear honey

Maynards Market & Kitchen

  • ReZonation Farm honey

Native Seeds/SEARCH

  • Heirloom seeds
  • Wild and cultivated desert foods

Santa Cruz River Farmers' Market

  • Bean Tree Farm desert food education programs 

Whole Foods (Casas Adobes)

  • Whiskey Del Bac (made with BKW Farms-grown barley) 


Related Video

Gastronomy Tours Coming Fall '17

Take a journey through ancient gastronomy to contemporary Sonoran haute cuisine in beautiful Marana, AZ. Visit ancient archaeological food production sites and taste foods and libations made with wild Sonora Desert ingredients. Discover why these ancient flavors still inspire chefs, brewmasters, artisanal creameries, artisanal bakers, and distillers. Learn about the culture that produced the oldest agricultural irrigation canal system found in North America, located in Marana.

The Town of Gastronomy logo image is inspired by the Hohokam stirrup vessel (ca. A.D. 1025-1080) in the collection of the Arizona State Museum in Tucson. The vessel was found at an archaeological site in Marana. It represents one of many sophisticated cultures that occupied the area. Special thanks to Darlene Lizarraga, Marketing Director, and Arthur Vokes, Senior Curatorial Museum Specialist at the Arizona State Museum, and all of the curators who made it  possible to photograph the vessel for this project.

The Marana Gastronomy Tours are the first tours approved by UNESCO's Creative Cities Network member, Tucson City of Gastronomy, the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the U.S.
 


In Photos

Related Events