The growth of seasonal and weekly farmers markets across the valley is a great indicator of Arizona’s capabilities in producers and it is our duty as a local business to exercise farm-to-table dining. Despite many differing opinions on how this looks on your plate, it is difficult to make the wrong choice when supporting local. Merkin Vineyards is deeply rooted in your local soil and is on a mission to come as close as we can to delivering a 100% Arizona experience to their extended family and community. It is a mission few would choose to take on, but essential when regional, sustainable, and a sense of place are the main goals.

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A dish prepared with backyard vegetables is going to bring a wave a freshness to your tastebuds. There is a small window of bursting flavor that is present when your fruits and vegetables are recently harvested, and this is a challenge to maintain if your produce must be trucked in from across the country or even outside our borders. Choosing local creates the opportunity for community connection – knowing the grower, the soil they grew it in, and the care they gave it can have a huge significance on your meal. The modern grocery store mentality has left us blind to the simple fact that not everything is always in season. The Merkin Vineyards menu remains flexible, and changes weekly based on what is in-season. This ultra-seasonality based on the constant ebb and flow from our Arizona growers creates our true sense of place in this muddled food landscape.

The lesser-known secret of Merkin Vineyards and the sister label Caduceus Cellars’ is that it is also home to ducks, quail, orchards, greenhouses, herb beds, and rows of delicious vegetables that become the ever-changing seasonal focus of their restaurant’s culinary teams. Arizona’s bounty comes from all around the state, teaming up to provide you quality. The freshest chicken you will ever taste is from Two Wash Ranch in New River, Arizona. Rovey Family Farms also provides locally raised Wagyu beef, plump dates from Yuma delight, cheeses from Hassayampa Farms and Crow’s Dairy, as well as cured meats from German Sausage Company to complete our charcuterie board checklist.

Maintaining sustainability creates a lifelong commitment to our community and future. Our friends at Local First AZ said it best, “By sourcing more products and services locally, we are investing our dollars to create self-reliant local communities that offer opportunity and prosperity for all.” The next time you need a quick bite or groceries for your home, think local. Arizona’s hard-working farmers, growers, artisans, and producers will applaud your efforts by delivering a unique and delicious experience.

• Join Merkin Vineyards for wine tasting, lunch, or dinner:

• Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale (7133 E. Stetson Dr., Suite #105 Scottsdale, AZ 85251)

• Merkin Vineyards Osteria (1001 North Main Street Cottonwood, AZ 86326)


Author: Jim Cunningham is General Manager at Merkin Vineyards in Old Town Scottsdale.