Farms Across America travels to Tucson, Arizona to explore how local restaurants and farmers are growing a sustainable food scene in the desert.
In Tucson, all roads lead to 5 Points, especially around lunchtime, when you’re lucky if you can step foot in the door, let alone land a coveted corner table. We catch up with owners Jasper Ludwig and Brian Haskins whose dream to start a neighborhood restaurant with good food, coffee, and groceries has grown into a full-fledged community with its own sustainable supply chain serving southern Arizona.
Just before the Friday lunch rush, we sit down with Brian and Jasper to sample some of 5 Points Market & Restaurant’s finest fare, including their world-renowned huevos rancheros, their iconic smoked beet sandwich, and an unsung hero – their breakfast toast.
The 5 Points menu is bolstered by an ingenious local food hub, the brainchild of prior 5 Points chef, Erik Stanford. Stanford stops by with fresh delivery and gives us the lowdown on how he built Pivot Produce to solve the mind-numbing problem of ordering small quantities of 30+ local producers every week. And how he “pivoted” when COVID shut down 95% of his business, overnight. Today, there’s a waiting list for Pivot Direct’s weekly CSA deliveries, and farms that were close to shutting down are planting more seeds.
When we think of American agriculture, the desert isn’t the first place that comes to mind, but with a year-round growing season and 4,000 years of agricultural heritage, Arizona farmers are proving that locally grown, chemical-free food can be both profitable and sustainable. And that type of growth is good for all of us.