Three years ago this March, we rented our small office on Convent Avenue in Barrio Viejo, and set up shop just three months before we went to press with Edible Baja Arizona’s inaugural issue. It was an auspicious location for me, since the Tucson Weekly’s first office (and my father’s former law office) was across the street. It felt like a homecoming. Another reason for that sense of home was our landlords, the Rollings family, who leased me four of the five Tucson Weekly offices downtown from 1984-2000 when I was its publisher. In addition to enabling us to have a wonderful space to create Edible, they allowed us to use a vacant building in the historic Pie Allen neighborhood as our distribution warehouse at no cost. We may be losing the warehouse space soon to a new tenant, so I wanted to give a heartfelt shout out to this special Tucson family, whose stewardship of many buildings in Barrio Viejo since 1971 has made such a wonderful contribution to our community. Thank you Kelley, Donald, Betsy, Brad, et al.!
Every eight weeks I marvel at the process that culminates in the final days of what we call production, as hundreds of nuances and finessed details come together under the relentless drumbeat of the deadline, a calm urgency dominating each day until suddenly we’ve made a magazine. And I marvel, too, at my inestimable colleagues, whose collective passion, expertise, dedicated professionalism, and sheer brilliance combine to create such a gift.
A few notes on those colleagues: Megan Kimble becomes Editor with this issue. We are fortunate, indeed, to have her stellar talents and unwavering commitment to our mission underlying our editorial efforts. Steve McMackin just began his third year as our Art Director, providing a level of design and overall competence that never ceases to amaze. And my old friend John Hankinson, who worked with me for years at Tucson Weekly, joins us as Advertising Sales Director. John has come home from a decade away in New Mexico and we’re thrilled to have his more than 20 years of advertising expertise to help us grow the magazine.
Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and visit ediblebajaarizona.com. Digital Content Manager Kate Selby and her crew continue the conversation with daily blog posts and other content that you’ll only find online.
Tucson’s recent designation as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy gives new poignancy to the mission of this magazine: How do we tell stories that illuminate the meanings of the word gastronomy in the context of this region’s vibrant and diverse food cultures? Of course, we’d like to think we’ve been doing that from the very beginning, but the designation provides a powerful opportunity to bring ever more people to the table as we tell the story of why this region’s food culture is so extraordinary. With that goal, we’ve changed our subtitle to read, Celebrating the gastronomy of Tucson and the borderlands. As Jonathan Mabry writes in his update: “Concepts of ‘heritage foods’ and ‘local foods’ are intertwined, and the community’s bottom-up efforts in food relocalization represent an initiative to reconnect with history and tradition as much as to reconnect local food producers and consumers.” There is much work to be done, and fortunately, that work is frequently delicious.
Growing up on the south side of Tucson, Esteban Camarena and his family were regulars at restaurants that reminded them of their home in Nogales, Sonora. He takes us on a tour of five of these childhood touchstones, with photos by Dominic AZ Bonuccelli, to discover the stories of the people that are still creating the food that makes him feel like coming home.
“Over 30 years, three locations, and thousands of menus, Suzana Davila has written the story about what it means to eat at Café Poca Cosa,” writes Megan Kimble in her profile of the Tucson culinary icon. Most importantly, when you eat at her restaurant, Davila wants you to know that you’re coming to her home.
When is the last time you said, “thank goodness for the work of the Arizona Land and Water Trust”? After reading Debbie Weingarten’s story, you may feel a sense of gratitude for their mission to steward and protect working landscapes in Baja Arizona, enabling farmers and ranchers to preserve wildlife, waterways, and a way of life.
As always, there’s much, much more to discover in this issue. Please enjoy and we’ll see you around the table. ¡Salud!