This article was created in collaboration with Visit Tucson.
Don’t let anyone tell you Southern Arizona is a food desert—far from it. Tucson has always had agrarian roots and those roots run deep. In fact, locals often plan their weeks around hitting several markets. Farmers markets are much more than a place to buy fresh, locally grown produce; they’re also great places to socialize with farmers, makers, and other customers, and to swap intel about what’s going on in town. So grab a reusable tote bag or two and let’s go shopping at some of the best-known and most popular markets around town.
The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona provides food security to thousands of Arizonans in need. They also host three farmers’ markets open to the public. Look for: Arizona fruits and vegetables, plants, flowers, eggs, honey, free-range meat, freshly milled nuts, grains, baked goods, bath and body products.
Santa Cruz River Farmers Market
100 S. Avendia del Convento at Mercado San Agustín
Thursday 4 – 7 p.m.; winter hours (October-April), 3 – 6 p.m.
Of special interest: You can hop the Sun Link streetcar from downtown or the University of Arizona to the Mercado.
Community Food Bank Farm Stand
3003 S. Country Club
Tuesday 8 a.m – 12 p.m., year-round
Of special interest: There’s a playground, nearby demonstration, and market gardens with hens and a permaculture site.
This trio of markets collectively attracts more than 1,500 shoppers every week. Look for: fresh produce, fresh cheese and pasta, handcrafted herbal products, and pressed juices at all three locations.
4502 N. 1st Ave.
Sunday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., year-round
The newest and largest of the markets, it’s right next to the paved Rillito Path Loop that hugs the Santa Cruz River, so you can bike or walk in.
Look for: An excellent selection of 60 stalls, food trucks, live music, and seasonal chef demonstrations.
Of special note: There’s more than 5,000 square feet of shaded shopping to keep you cool.
Trail Dust Town at Pinnacle Peak
6541 E. Tanque Verde Road
Friday, 8 a.m.-12 p.m., year-round
This eastside market is held in a family-friendly “Old West” setting.
Of special note: Stick around for a guided tour of the Museum of the Horse Soldier.
Oro Valley at Steam Pump Ranch
10901 N. Oracle Rd.
Saturday, 8 a.m – 12 p.m., year-round
Originally an Oro Valley Parks & Recreation Department initiative, this northside market attracts upwards of 30 vendors.
Of special note: Special events coincide with the market several times a year, featuring live music and lectures on such topics as archaeology and desert plants and wildlife. Plus, you’re close to great hiking at Catalina State Park.
With nine markets covering every day of the week including two held at local hospitals, Food in Root brings together wellness and agriculture.
Plaza Palamino Farmers Market
2960 N. Swan Road
Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; (winter hours) 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
This market takes place at a popular shopping center.
Look for: Barrio Bread (pre-order on Don Guerra’s website), jewelry, jams, and salsas.
Of special note: The historic San Pedro Chapel is just a few minutes down Old Fort Lowell Road amid mesquite and creosote.
St. Philip’s Farmers Market
Saturdays and Sunday, 8 a.m-12 p.m., year-round
Set in the charming, Italian-inspired courtyard of St. Philip’s Plaza, you can browse to live music under the sycamores and bring your well-behaved pooch to this market.
Look for: Lots of prepared foods like burritos and tamales, locally roasted coffee, handmade soaps and candles and crafts.
Of special note: This is a prime shopping and dining destination, so you can also grab a meal.
University of Arizona Farmers Market
Held on the UA Mall on some Wednesdays (check website for schedule), this market serves students, professors and staff, along with the general public.
Look for: Baked goods, coffee, herbs, honey, gifts, oils, pasta, produce, and soaps.
Of Special Interest: Stroll the leafy campus and check one of several museums including the Arizona State Museum, the Center for Creative Photography, and the Mineral Museum.
North of Tucson, Catalina and Marana both offer farmers markets. South of Tucson in Cochise and Santa Cruz counties, the towns of Bisbee, Douglas, Elfrida, Green Valley, Safford, St. David’s, Sierra Vista and Sonoita also operate their own farmers’ markets. Hours vary.