Al Fresco, Letter from the Publisher

By | May 15, 2009
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I attended a seminar where we were asked to visualize a place that would make us happy. My fellow attendees conjured up gleaming sandy beaches, breathtaking mountain vistas and serene forests.

I pictured a long table nestled between a sunny vineyard and a lush garden, with a gleaming white tablecloth, vibrant platters of seasonal dishes and lots of family and friends. The guests are drinking wine, laughing and eating with gusto while small children dart around their chairs. Some of the older gentlemen are leaning back, hands crossed contentedly over their stomachs, while their younger counterparts flirt with the pretty girls at the end of the table. The air is redolent of green grass and wine and grilled meat.

There’s something about dining outdoors—whether in the elaborate setting I just described, or on a simple blanket with a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and cheese—that holds an innate appeal for all of us. Food tastes better in the fresh air. The atmosphere is more relaxed. Our companions are more attractive.

Getting back to nature lowers our collective blood pressure. It takes us back to an earlier time when the whole tribe or village got together to celebrate a meal around the campfire or to give thanks for the harvest on the village green.

Dining at the Dairy ( Photo by Red Ridge Photography.

And while today we’re more likely to gather our extended family at a public park, the primal picnic urge is still there. It’s why we find the Valley’s outdoor communal dining experiences such as the Schnepf Farms dinners in the orchard or the Locavore AZ dinner at Superstition Farms so appealing. We can go back to the farm, to the land, to our roots and enjoy nature’s bounty steps from the spot where it was harvested with a convivial group of like-minded diners.

Regrettably, our picnic season is winding down in the Valley as the heat of summer descends upon us. But the cooler climes of Arizona are perfect destinations for summer al fresco dining. Join the Locavore AZ team as they travel Arizona and visit vineyards, orchards and the state’s natural wonders. Or put a picnic basket in the trunk, bundle the family into the car and set out to explore Arizona’s back roads and find the place that makes you happy.

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