Made in Arizona: 10 Local Essentials to Grab at the Grocery Store

Allison Young
Our list of made-in-Arizona packaged foods includes a hot sauce that won’t quit, honey from a beekeeper who cares, impossibly delicious peanut better, flour made the old-fashioned way, and salsa as thick and flavorful as the restaurant kind. Meet your new supermarket obsessions.

Cutino Sauce Co.

Find at: AJ’s Find Foods, Whole Foods, La Grande Orange, Pane Bianco

Cutino Sauce Co’s Habanero hot sauce is nothing short of liquid gold. The combo of habaneros, sweet onion, carrot, mustard, and lemon juice deliver both kick and complexity for a sassy sauce that’s smooth and citrusy. In other words, it will tantalize your taste buds without scorching them to oblivion. Owner Jacob Cutino’s full lineup of small-batch artisanal sauces is bold but not overpowering; the jalapeño, chipotle, verde, and miso ignite everything from carnitas to cookies (check their website for recipes). Just remember: A little goes a long way.

click to enlarge King of the sting. - ALLISON YOUNG
King of the sting.
Allison Young

Sting ‘N’ Linger Salsa

Find at: Sprouts

Jarred salsa can be tricky. Often too runny or too blah, it almost never tastes as fab or fresh as the restaurant stuff. Sting ‘N’ Linger is the exception. More than a mere condiment, it’s simultaneously saucy, scoopable, chunky, and packed with fresh tomato flavor. The secret: Sting 'n' Linger preserves the fresh chilies, peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro with lemon and lime juice, or red wine vinegar, but never chemicals. Go raspberry chipotle for smoky sweetness, prickly pear for a tangy treat, and ghost pepper for the ultimate sting.

click to enlarge One bite and you’ll be a believer. - ALLISON YOUNG
One bite and you’ll be a believer.
Allison Young

Mediterra Bakehouse

Find at: AJ’s Fine Foods, La Grande Orange

If fresh-baked bread is a religious experience for you, get ready to exalt Mediterra Bakehouse. Baked in Coolidge, Arizona, by Nick Ambeliotis, these crusty creations are made to last. Loaves are baked with longer fermentation times, centuries-old techniques, and fewer ingredients — sometimes only flour, water, and salt. Bestsellers include the red fife batard (an oblong loaf made with locally grown organic heritage red fife grain), olive farm (a chewy farm bread stuffed with salty Kalamata olives), and pecan cranberry (a naturally leavened loaf packed to the crust with half a pound of tart, dried cranberries and toasted pecans). All breads are baked in a brick hearth oven hand-built in France.

click to enlarge Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia cookies. - ALLISON YOUNG
Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia cookies.
Allison Young

Audrey’s Chia Cookies

Find at: Fry’s, Whole Foods, AJ’s Fine Foods, Sprouts

Audrey Martinez first heard of chia seeds when she was 50 and training for her first marathon. She says the little seeds gave her super energy and endurance. Convinced of their superpowers, Martinez created Audrey’s Chia Cookies — a thin, crispy, shortbread-style cookie that packs in as many chia seeds as possible. The bite-sized morsels come in lemon, almond, peanut butter, and chocolate chip, and are made with wholesome ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, eggs), never chemical preservatives or corn syrup. No, they won’t guarantee you’ll run a marathon, but they’re an easy and addictive way to get more of those nutrient-dense seeds.

click to enlarge A flour by any other name wouldn't taste the same. - ALLISON YOUNG
A flour by any other name wouldn't taste the same.
Allison Young

Hayden Flour Mills

Find at: Sprouts, Whole Foods, Pane Bianco

Hayden Flour Mills is a labor of love. Operated by the Zimmerman family since 2011, it started as an homage to the way flour used to be made in Arizona. The Queen Creek-based mill uses only heritage and ancient grains, most grown in Arizona on small farms, and grinds them on an Austrian stonemill. No wonder local chefs like Chris Bianco, Proof Bread’s Jonathan Przybyl, and FnB’s Charleen Badman are fans, and use (or sell) Hayden products. Pro tip: Try the white Sonoran all-purpose flour for cookies and quick breads; use the artisan bread flour for rustic loaves.

click to enlarge Homer Simpson would approve this vegan cookie "doh." - ALLISON YOUNG
Homer Simpson would approve this vegan cookie "doh."
Allison Young

namiDOH Take N’ Bake Vegan Cookie Dough

Find at: Whole Foods

It may be vegan, but even Homer Simpson would approve of this Doh! The mighty namiDOH Take N’ Bake Vegan Cookie Dough is the ultimate nostalgic treat in a cute box. Vegan chocolate chip comes in an orange box, the gluten- and soy-free vegan chocolate chip is packaged in purple, and cosmic — an out-of-this-world combo of chocolate, white chocolate, potato chips, and coffee — comes in green. Bake ’em up for a heavenly cookie smell throughout the kitchen or just go straight in for the raw dough (no eggs!).

click to enlarge Some imaginative and local peanut butter. - ALLISON YOUNG
Some imaginative and local peanut butter.
Allison Young

Peanut Butter Americano

Find at: Sprouts, AJ’s Find Foods, Fry’s

Peanut Butter Americano is like peanut butter with jazz hands. Sure, one flavor is just classic peanut butter — a two-ingredient combo of peanuts and sea salt — but the brand also has flashy and decadent pairings. Choco blanco marries peanut butter and white chocolate, the cinnamon honey combines cinnamon and Arizona wildflower honey, and the dark chocolate adds chocolate and vanilla to the mix. The flavors may be showy, but nuts are roasted the old-fashioned way, raked over a large griddle. Plus, each jar is hand-scooped and labeled right here in Phoenix.

click to enlarge Pump up the Arizona jam. - ALLISON YOUNG
Pump up the Arizona jam.
Allison Young

Cactus Candy Company Jelly

Find at: AJ's Fine Foods

You’ve probably driven by Cactus Candy Company’s 24th Street factory, the white building with “Cactus Candy” written on it. And you’ve probably seen the prickly pear candy, the yellow box with the pink, sugar-coated squares inside, an Arizona icon dating back to 1942. But have you tried the jellies and marmalades? Available in a wealth of Southwestern flavors, the prickly pear cactus jelly is simultaneously sweet and tart, the jalapeño jelly has a hint of heat, and the desert orange marmalade gives you a sucker punch of citrus. Sandwich it between Mediterra bread and Peanut Butter Americano for a totally local PB&J.

click to enlarge We want a hero! - ALLISON YOUNG
We want a hero!
Allison Young

Kettle Heroes

Find at: Sprouts, Fry’s, AJ’s Find Foods, Whole Foods

Once reserved for movies and your microwave, bagged popcorn has exploded — and leading the revolution is Kettle Heroes, a family-owned company out of Tempe run by brothers Aaron and Rudi Sinykin. Flavors include hatch green chili cheddar, cinnamon sugar churros, prickly pear, and sea salted caramel. These kernels are popped to perfection and dusted in seasonings made with real roasted green chiles, natural-aged white cheddar cheese, actual cinnamon, and pure sea salt to give the puffed corn some real flavor.

click to enlarge Support local bees by supporting local beekeepers. - ALLISON YOUNG
Support local bees by supporting local beekeepers.
Allison Young

AZ Queen Bee Honey

Find at: Sprouts

AZ Queen Bee Honey is raw and unfiltered: It contains the beneficial pollens mass-produced honey often filters out. And because local bees pollinate local plants, when you buy AZ Queen Bee Honey, you’re benefiting your area’s eco-system. Bottled by beekeeper and honey enthusiast Audra Waddle, you can thank the nectar of mesquite flowers and Arizona wildflowers for its light and nuanced floral flavor. Her cinnamon honey desert bloom adds in a hint of cinnamon — meaning it's an ideal addition to your morning coffee, French toast, charcuterie board, or ice cream.