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Federal Regulations have a Negative Impact on Farmers and Our Food Supply

July 15, 2011

Congress must help alleviate the burden of an ever-increasing array of federal environmental regulations on agriculture, according to

Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers, who testified today before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. Representing the American Farm Bureau Federation, Rogers told the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy that the breadth and extent of the regulatory challenges facing U.S. agriculture are tremendous.

According to Rogers, the regulations cover a broad range of issues, including: Clean Air Act requirements, Clean Water Act permitting and other requirements, restrictions…
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Arizona Cotton Harvest as Experienced by Jan D’Atri

December 7, 2010

By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau

Jan D’Atri, local media celebrity, had fallen in love with Arizona agriculture. She’s weaving it into just about everything she’s doing, including special sponsorship videos she’s doing for Sanderson Ford (Ford is one of Arizona Farm Bureau’s benefit providers too. Farm Bureau members get a $500 rebate when they purchase a Ford.).

I’ve been introducing Jan to our Arizona farmers and ranchers and having a ball watching her really appreciate and value our modern-day agriculture practices. She’s…
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Fill Your Plate Blog Has Moved

November 29, 2010

Greetings everybody!  We hope you have been enjoying the posts on this blog.  Just wanted to give you an update that we have moved the FillYourPlate Blog to its new home.  If you are a current subscriber, you will need to subscribe to the new site.

Thank you for your support!

7 Arizona grown foods to eat every day

November 24, 2010

We all know that variety is the spice of life when it comes to what we should be eating.  Nutritionists recommend that we eat a rainbow of colors every day to help ensure we get the proper balance of vitamins and minerals in our diet.

Fortunately in Arizona, we grow a rainbow of foods all year ‘round that are delicious and nutritious and that can help us stick to a healthy diet.

Here are our top seven picks for Arizona grown foods to eat every day.

  1. Milk – We all know the health benefits of milk and that drinking it, whether “white” or chocolate is good for your bones and teeth and the calcium and Vitamin D benefits can’t be denied. Milk is provided by the farmers of United Dairymen of Arizona, who sell it to local grocers like Bashas’.  You can also purchase milk straight from the farm at Superstition Farms and Shamrock Farms.
  2. Eggs – They are an excellent source of protein for building up healthy bones and teeth. Egg yolks are the best dietary source of choline, for example, a nutrient that’s necessary for healthy cell membranes. Choline is also essential for our brain development and function, and plays a critical role in our metabolism of fats.   The yolk of the egg is also a good source of Vitamin B12 (with one yolk providing about 10 percent of the daily value), as well as lutein and xeaxanthin, two antioxidants that may reduce the risk of age‑related macular degeneration. Hickman’s Family Farms has been providing Arizona with eggs from its family farm since 1944.   Find some delicious egg recipes on our website at
  3. Melons are not only delicious, but they are an excellent source of potassium and Vitamin C. They are also free of fat and cholesterol and are low in calories. Melons are available year round at local supermarkets such as Bashas’ and are produced by farms like Rousseau Family Farming Company.  You can even purchase fresh watermelons straight from their farm in the summer time!
  4. Broccoli is packed full of fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, folic acid and potassium. Use it in your holiday relish trays, throw it in a soup or a stew, or just eat it raw.  Broccoli is good for you.  Many Arizona farmers grow broccoli.  Check out our list of Arizona Farmer’s Market to buy broccoli fresh from the farmer.
  5. Carrots.  Do you remember your mother telling you to eat your carrots because it will give you better eyesight? Carrots offer protein, calcium, iron, Vitamins B1, B12 and B6 as well as Vitamins C and K and fiber. This is one well-rounded vegetable that is great for dipping and snacking and in recipes.   Did you know that baby carrots don’t grow they way they are packaged?  Here’s an interesting video that shows how baby carrots are “born.”
  6. Leafy greens such as spinach and lettuce, are also a necessary part of a balanced, healthful diet. While eating spinach might not make you as muscle-popping strong as Popeye, it is rich in vitamin C, fiber and carotenoids. Add its lutein and bioflavanoids and spinach is a nutritional powerhouse. Lettuce, a popular choice for sandwiches and salads it is a good source of chlorophyll and vitamin K.  Iceberg lettuce provides a good source of choline.  Romaine lettuce is the most nutrient-dense of all the lettuce varieties and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B1, B2, and C, folic acid, manganese and chromium. Lettuce is low in calories and water dense it is a good way to fill up if you’re on a diet. Most of our leafy greens come from Yuma, Arizona. They supply most of the country with our salad needs during the winter!
  7. Apples: Everybody knows that, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and it doesn’t hurt that apples are a delicious, low calorie treat. Apples also contain magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, potassium and are rich in vitamins A, B6 and C. If you’re craving an apple you can find them and take a farm tour at Apple Annies.

You can find innovative, healthy and delicious ways to use all of these veggies, and more, at the Fill Your Plate website where you can search for recipes by ingredient.

Celebrate the Holidays with Apples

November 23, 2010

You’ve heard that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away and while that may or may not be true, apples are definitely an American favorite.  So much so that we celebrate the apple throughout the year. .”  In Arizona we have access to delicious apples all year round.

Here are some little known apple holidays.  December 1st is designated as National Pie Day and Eat a Red Apple Day, December 2nd is National Fritter (we are thinking Apple Fritter) Day, and December 3rd is National Apple Pie Day.

Apples are in season in Arizona from July to September but farmers are able to keep us supplied with these delicious treats long after the season has ended.   The holidays bring our favorite apple cider, apple pie, chocolated covered apples, and many other apple desserts.   We also like to decorate our holiday trees and tables in luscious Red Delicious apples.

Here are some fun apple facts.  Did you know that?

  • The average person eats 65 apples a year?
  • The largest apple ever picked weighed more than three pounds
  • Apples float because 25% of their volume is air
  • One medium apple contains only 80 calories
  • China produces more apples than any other country
  • There are more than 7,500 varieties of apples in the world with about 2,500 of those varieties being grown in the U.S.
  • Red Delicious apples are the most popular with Golden Delicious coming in a close second
  • The only apple native to North America is the crab apple
  • More than half of the apple crop in the United States is turned into applesauce and apple juice
  • The more apples a person eats, the lower his or her risk of developing lung cancer
  • Apple juice was one of the earliest prescribed antidepressants
  • Johnny Appleseed was actually John Chapman, an American pioneer born in 1774 who planted apple seeds in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio
  • Apple cider vinegar While long used as a folk remedy, became well known in the U.S. in the late 1950s, when it was promoted in the best-selling book Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health by D. C. Jarvis.
  • Fresh apple cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment.  It is typically sold during the fall and during holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
  • Hard apple cider was the most common fruit beverage in the U.S. up to the mid 19th century. Without refrigeration, fresh juice was very perishable, so apple juice was allowed to ferment to a low alcohol content, usually around 5 percent alcohol. Next to water, this cider was the cheapest and most widely available beverage year-round.

Here’s a delicious Apple-Raspberry pie recipe you could cook up to celebrate National Apple Pie Day in style.   Go to FillYourPlate to discover Arizona Apple Farmers and to look up more delicious apple recipes.

Apple-Raspberry Pie

  • Pastry for 2-crust pie
  • 4 lg. apples (Gala, Golden Delicious or Granny smith)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out half of the pastry and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Spread raspberry jam over bottom of the pie crust. Thaw and drain raspberries. Pour juice into a small saucepan, stir in cornstarch and  a ¼ cup sugar. Bring mixture to a boil over low heat; stir in the drained raspberries; cool. Combine flour and 1/3 cup sugar.

Peel, core and slice apples into thin slices. Toss apples in flour/sugar mixture; pour into pie crust. Spoon raspberry mixture over apples. Roll out remaining pastry and place over the filling; trim and crimp edges. Cut slits in top crust for venting. Beat egg white and water with a fork until frothy; brush over top crust. Sprinkle sugar evenly over top of pie.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30-40 minutes until crust is golden and juices bubble. Let pie set at least 1 hour before serving.

Provided by: Apple Annie’s Orchard

Thanksgiving Dinner-Arizona Style

November 19, 2010

The Thanksgiving dinner is a great time for friends and family to gather to celebrate the year while feasting on a Thanksgiving meal, lovingly prepared. Chances are, by now, you’ve already begun pulling together the menu and started shopping for the ingredients. You know that your Arizona farmers and farmers’ markets have almost everything you need to feed the family and all the guests who will be arriving.

Whether you’ll be serving the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce or shaking things up with Arizona beef and different fixings, check with the local farmers for their offerings for your holiday table. When you sit down to your dinner, you will be carrying on a tradition that started with the Pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621. Did you know, though that Thanksgiving wasn’t recognized as an official American holiday until 1941?

One Thanksgiving holiday favorite is beef and there is nothing like Arizona Legacy Beef; they are the growers of Criollo Beef – this beef is aged for 18-21 days, is naturally lean and is antibiotic and hormone free. Can you imagine a juicy cut of prime rib as an addition to your succulent turkey?

For an appetizer, why not try 5 Minute Stuffed Medjool Date Appetizers made with fresh Arizona dates?  Green salads are always a hit at Thanksgiving; why not try our Grilled Romaine with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette on your table?  Did you know that Yuma, Arizona, is the winter lettuce capital of the world? Arizona  ranks second in the U.S. in head lettuce, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, cauliflower and broccoli production, ingredients that are mainstays on our nation’s Thanksgiving table.  Look for Arizona farmers like McClendon Farms at an Arizona farmers market for these and all the fresh produce you need for your Thanksgiving dinner.

If you’re baking pies, look for Arizona’s own Hickman’s Eggs for the eggs to add to your recipes. As a matter of fact you can check out this delicious pumpkin pie recipe from Grandma Gertie – it’s sure to be a crowd pleasing dessert. You can also make homemade whipped cream to top off your pies or pour a tall, cool class of milk from Superstition Farms or Shamrock Farms to enjoy with your desserts.

Have some lime trees in your back yard? Why not make some limeade or use lime juice — squeezed from them after you’ve picked them fresh from the tree – to drizzle over your roasted or grilled veggies to add a unique flavor?

And if you’re thinking of wine, Arizona has award winning wines.  So for a local winery on our website.

Because November in Arizona is still warm, you might not want to heat up your kitchen with the turkey so we’ve provided you a recipe for a grilled turkey from our Fill Your Plate site.

Citrus Marinated Grilled Turkey

  • 4 Oranges or Tangerines
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Garlic Head, Halved
  • 4 Sprigs Rosemary
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Whole Black Peppercorns
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1-12 lb Turkey
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper


Put all the marinade ingredients into a bowl and pour over a generous amount of olive oil. Squeeze everything together with your hands to blend flavors. Have the butcher cut the turkey into 4 pieces and remove the bones from the breast. Save the neck and backbone for the gravy. To marinate, put the turkey on a large platter and pour on the marinade. Turn the turkey over in the marinade to make sure it is well coated on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before you are ready to grill it. Heat the grill to medium and wipe the grate with some oil. Wipe the marinade from the turkey and season it well with salt and pepper. Put the turkey on the grill, skin side down, and cook for 30 minutes. Turn the bird over and continue grilling, basting with more olive oil until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the thigh is 180 degrees, about 1 hour total. Set aside, cover with foil, and let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Arizona Farm Bureau Gives Website Dedicated to Arizona Food and Farms A Facelift

November 17, 2010

Updated Sites Provides Comprehensive Resources for All Things Related to Arizona Food

Arizona Farm Bureau recently relaunched its Fill Your Plate website as part of their ongoing commitment to preserving and promoting the Arizona agriculture industry.

“Arizona is a leading food producer in the nation!” says Julie Murphree, spokesperson for the Arizona Farm Bureau.  “The site will help us share with Arizonans and the nation what a treasure trove of Arizona agriculture we have and learn exactly where and how they can experience it!”

The website features an Arizona Farmers Market listing, Arizona Produce in Season, and recipes contributed by Arizona Farmers and inspired by Arizona Food.  The site’s core feature is its “Find a Farm Product” where consumers can select from a drop-down menu a product they are looking for and be directed to an Arizona farm or ranch that grows and sells it.   The website will also feature videos highlighting Arizona farms and ranches, Arizona meat and produce production and more.

The website can be found at

About Arizona Farm Bureau Federation:

Arizona Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving and improving the Agriculture industry through member involvement in education, political activities, programs and services.

For more information contact Julie Murphree at (480) 635-3607 or go to, the organization’s main website. Or, go to to begin sourcing for Arizona agriculture products!

Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Increases 9% in 2010

November 16, 2010

This year’s Thanksgiving Dinner still $8.64 cheaper than two years ago

As Arizonans sit down at the Thanksgiving table to dig into the traditional feast this year, the turkey dinner with all the trimmings will cost $44.17 for an Arizona family of 10, or around $4.42 per person. This is an increase of $3.70 or about 9 percent over the 2009 Arizona Thanksgiving meal ($40.47) and 70 cents over this year’s American Farm Bureau survey of $43.47.

Without factoring in store coupons or specials, the cost of a 16-pound turkey purchased in Arizona this year was $16.80, or $1.05 cents per pound, which reflects a 7 percent increase in the cost of a turkey over last year. This year’s meal is actually $8.64 cheaper than what shoppers paid two years ago, when the total was $52.81.

The 2010 Arizona Thanksgiving meal cost estimate is the result of the Arizona Farm Bureau’s annual informal Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey of the prices of basic food items found on the Thanksgiving dinner table.

The Arizona Farm Bureau survey shopping list includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray including carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream plus coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. To make a proper comparison, these items are the same food items used in the national Farm Bureau survey for the past two decades.

“Throughout the year we’re fortunate to enjoy a bounty of foods produced in Arizona and across the nation, said Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers, a cotton and alfalfa farmer from Maricopa County. “It’s especially appropriate as we gather at the Thanksgiving table to savor not only food and fellowship, but to take a moment to recognize that this blessing begins with our hard-working farm and ranch families. Arizona agriculture is a $10.3 billion industry and is a major component of the state’s economy.”

Arizona farmers and ranchers produce most of the ingredients in the traditional Thanksgiving meal including dressing (bread, onions and celery), peas, pumpkin and pecans for pies, and several others. Even roses, sometimes used for holiday centerpieces, are grown in Arizona.

“Based on this year’s average meal cost, Arizona residents can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal for around $4.42 per person. That’s worthy of many thanks,” Rogers concluded.

Arizona Farm Bureau encourages expert shoppers and in-store grocery personnel to beat its market basket price. “If a shopper comes in below the $44.17 Farm Bureau price, let us know on Arizona Farm Bureau’s List your success on our “Farmer Forum,” says Julie Murphree, director of public relations for Arizona Farm Bureau.

The average price of the remainder of the menu includes: three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.60; a 16-ounce package of frozen green peas, $1.99; one gallon of whole milk, $2.39; a half-pint carton of whipping cream, $1.49; a package of two nine-inch pie shells, $2.85; a 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries, $2.50; a 14-ounce package of cubed stuffing, $3.05; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.27; miscellaneous items like eggs, sugar, flour and coffee, $3.22; one-half pound each of carrots and celery for a relish tray, $1.02; and a 12-ounce package of brown-and-serve rolls, $1.99.

Arizona Farm Bureau comparison over last year

2010                            2009

Turkey, 16 lbs                                   $16.80 ▲                   $15.68

Cube Stuffing, 14 oz.                       $3.05   ▲                   $2.36

Pumpkin Pie Mix, 30 oz.              $3.27   ▲                   $2.75

Pie Shells (2)                                      $2.85   ▲                   $2.48

Sweet Potatoes, 3 lbs                     $3.60   ▼                   $3.63

Brown & Serve Rolls, 12               $1.99   ▲                   $1.93

Frozen Green Peas, 1 lb                $1.99   ▲                   $1.36

Carrots and celery relish tray, l lb       $1.02   ▼                   $1.05

Whole Milk, 1 gallon                       $2.39   ▲                   $1.96

Fresh Cranberriers, 12 oz.           $2.50   ▼                   $2.65

Whipping Cream, ½ pint              $1.49   ▼                   $1.59

*Misc. ingredients                           $3.22   ▲                   $3.03

*Coffee, onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter

Prices of past surveys include: 1986 – $28.74; 1987 – $24.51; 1988 – $26.61; 1989 – $24.70; 1990 – $28.85; 1991 – $25.95; 1992 – $26.39; 1993 – $27.49; 1994 – $28.40; 1995 – $29.64; 1996 – $31.66; 1997 – $31.75; 1998 – $33.09; 1999 – $33.83; 2000 – $32.37; 2001 – $35.04; 2002 – $34.56; 2003 – $36.28; 2004 – $36.04; 2005 – $37.69; 2006 – $39.22; 2007 – $51.14; 2008 – $52.81; and 2009 – 40.47.

The Farm Bureau Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey is unscientific, but serves as a gauge of actual price trends across the state.  This survey is based on shelf price and does not reflect special prices and promotional gimmicks.

Shoppers involved in this year’s survey were asked to identify the best in-store price, excluding promotional coupons and special deals. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

New Insect Birth Control Strategy Zaps Cotton Pests

November 16, 2010

Interesting article in the UofA News.  University of Arizona Researchers have found a new insect birth control strategy by combining pest-resistant cotton with the controlled release of sterile pink bollworm moths.  This UA-led initiative has virtually rid Arizona of one the world’s most damaging cotton pests.  This is particularly interesting and timely since Arizona is right in the midst of cotton production.  Read the rest of the article here:  New Insect Birth Control Strategy Zaps Cotton Pests

ASU Speaker Series: Arizona’s Food Production, the Facts and Faces of our Farmers

November 15, 2010

On December 2, 2010,  ASU West Campus is hosting a panel of agriculturalists for their “Think” Thursdays in Kiva series. Beginning at 6:00 pm, this presentation is an introduction to some of our Arizona farmers and ranchers involved in food production, food sustainability and food advances in our state.

The panel will share their first-hand experiences and illustrate the strength of sustainable Arizona agriculture through their generational farming and ranching traditions.

Panel to include:
• James Boyle of Boyle Dairies = Representing Dairy
• Glenn Hickman of Hickman Family Farms = Representing Egg Production
• Bas Aja of the Arizona Beef Council = Representing Beef
Don Davidson, DVM = Representing Pork

This presentation offers an introduction to some of Arizona’s farmers and ranchers involved in food production, food sustainability and food advances. A panel will share their first-hand experiences and illustrate the strength of sustainable agriculture through their generational farming and ranching traditions. By 2050, almost seventy-five percent of the world’s population will be urban. And most of us, including Arizonans, are 3 to 4 generations removed from the farm and ranch. As a result we have no contact with the source of our food other than eating it. Arizona farmers and ranchers realize the significant importance of knowing where our food comes from including the excitement of growing and raising our food for an ever-growing population.

The event runs on Thursday, December 2nd, 2010, from 6:00-7:00 PM at the ASU West Campus, Kiva, located at 4701 West Thunderbird Road, Phoenix.

For more information, check out the event page on Facebook called Much Ado About Food