In Farm's Way

Think there's nothing new to do when it comes to finding food under the Arizona sun? You would be wrong. Pack up the kids and ship them far away. Then load up the car and head to the outskirts for a taste of the wilder side of the state's bounty. We were bored the other weekend, we did it, and we're so much the better for it.

An Ostrich and Varied Life: Willcox is a wilderness destination that's home to the Arizona Ostrich Fillet and Willcox Critter Farm. Here's an opportunity to get down and dirty in a real-life working farm, with unique treats like holding an ostrich egg while the chick is hatching (can you say mommy?). Moses the Camel is ripe for the kissing, and you can ark about with some 20 other varieties of furry souls if they're in the mood.

AOF sells exotic meat year-round, too, including kangaroo, buffalo, and, of course, ostrich. (Info: 1-520-384-0509)

Monastery, My Dear Watson: The recipe calls for pecans cultivated by Holy Trinity monks from the order of St. Benedict. No problem. The nuts (pecans, not monks) are available year-round at the Holy Trinity Monastery farm in St. David near Benson. Other spiritual sustenance includes Benedictine bread, spreads, eggs and mint. (Info: 1-520-720-4642)

This Cider House Rules: Willcox is the will-call for fresh homemade apple cider crafted from apples plucked right from the trees at Stout's Cider Mill. Other apple items include old-fashioned and sugar-free apple butters, apple nut cakes, apple pies, jams, jellies and salsas. (Info: 1-520-384-3696)

Como Se Llama: Okay, the Fossil Creek Llama Ranch isn't actually a food farm, but it has friendly, fuzzy alpacas, and that's good enough to warrant a stop. And technically, we can schedule a hike that includes continental breakfast, lunch, or even an overnight in a tepee. (Info: 1-520-476-5178)

Fish Wish: Blue River Recreational Fish Hatchery is the only reason we knew Greenlee existed in Arizona -- it's 22 miles south of Alpine, wherever that it is. No matter, it's worth the wandering to be able to catch our flippingly fresh trout. (Info: 1-520-339-4404)

Worm Whole: If sticking closer to home is a necessity, grow your own ground grub. And feed your fledgling flora with fertilizer ministered by Cooper Nursery's class-act composting worms. The Pima-based farm sells squigglers by the pound (1,000-plus worms per!) for just $15, including shipping. Sorry, we're told, no pictures are currently available on the Web site. (Info:1-520-485-2877)


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