Having spent 47 summers in the Sonoran Desert, it’s become an annual obsession to divine subtle but unmistakable portents of fall in the waning days of August: a distinct crispness in an early morning breeze, the shifting light on the Santa Catalinas, the sudden appearance of flowers on the trail following late summer rains. As always in these matters, the calendar is our friend, regardless of wishful imaginings. There’s the sense of new possibilities and new beginnings as autumn releases us from the constraints of the desert heat once again.
A year ago, local foods enthusiast extraordinaire Shelby Thompson took the reins as our online editor. It’s been our distinct pleasure to work with a team member who exudes an almost preternatural positivity, leavened by an informed passion about sharing the joys of real food. Shelby has done a phenomenal job with all things related to our digital realm. She wrangles contributors to our blog (did you know there is fresh content on our website virtually every day?), deftly manages our social media platforms, oversees University of Arizona interns, and writes and photographs the Gleanings and The Plate sections in the magazine, among other creative tasks. Thanks, Shelby, for all you do to expand the reach of the magazine far and wide across the Internets!
We’re excited to welcome Jeff Isaac as our new director of sales who, with his wife, Heather, and daughter, Grace, picked up stakes in the Pacific Northwest to come to Tucson in the heart of summer. Jeff spent seven years working with local businesses at South Sound and 425 magazines in Tacoma and Seattle. Although he’s new to Baja Arizona, his expertise, sincerity, and passion for helping local businesses will enable him to provide outstanding service to our existing advertising partners and businesses that have yet to join us. Welcome, Jeff—we’re so pleased you are here!
Journalist Margaret Regan is a Tucson treasure. A contributor to the Tucson Weekly since 1990, for the last 17 years she has done extraordinary reporting on immigration. Her acclaimed books Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant
Families Under Fire and The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories From the Arizona Borderlands (both from Beacon Press) delve deeply into the epic tragedy of human migration across the borderlands. Both are recommended reading.
In November 2016, she writes, U.S. District Judge David C. Bury took emergency action in response to a lawsuit against the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector. A class-action lawsuit charged that immigrant detainees in the agency’s eight holding tanks across Arizona from Willcox to Ajo were being held in “inhumane and punitive conditions,” ranging from “filthy holding cells” to “brutally cold temperatures” to “denial of adequate food, water, medicine, and medical care.” Margaret takes us into the world of the detention centers in Eloy and Florence, where detainees consistently report abysmal food quality, among other outrages. Thanks to Danny Martin for the poignant illustrations.
“Desert gardening,” writes Dennis Newman in his feature story on small local growers and seed producers, “has as many advantages as it does challenges.” He introduces us to sources for plant starts and locally adapted seeds that offer alternatives to gardeners seeking ways to become that much more attuned to the vagaries of growing vegetables and edible trees in the microclimates of Baja Arizona. Julie DeMarre’s photographs are a lovely complement to the story.
We’ll see you around the table. ¡Buen provecho!
—Douglas Biggers, editor and publisher