Verde Valley is for Foodies

It’s easy to be a locavore in Sedona. Surrounded by the Verde Valley, known as the breadbasket of Arizona, the area is blessed with an abundance of agricultural bounty for Sedona Arizona food.

The Verde Valley is one of the richest agricultural regions in the Southwest. It stretches for 714 square miles across central Arizona, from Mingus Mountain to the Mogollon Rim, with elevations varying between 3000 and 5000 feet. This swath of high desert includes mountains, cedar and juniper forests, creeks and rivers, and rich volcanic soil.

Running through the center of it is the Verde River, Arizonas’ only “Wild and Scenic River,” a federal designation that preserves America’s natural, free-flowing rivers for future generations.   The Verde River, one of Arizona’s last free-flowing rivers, provides crucial habitat for fish and wildlife, and fresh water for local agricultural production. Tall cottonwoods, willows and white-bark sycamores grow along its river banks amidst riparian vegetation.

This fertile valley has a 2,000-year agricultural heritage of ranching and farming. Family-run farms, orchards, ranches, dairies and specialty crop producers supply a bounty of fruits, vegetables, pecans, natural beef, cheese and more for farm-to-table Sedona dining. Farmers have planted fields of barley to supply the burgeoning local microbrewery industry, and foragers find morel mushrooms and fiddlehead ferns in the wilds of the valley’s forests. 


When you see “Verde Grown” on a product, you’ll know where your food comes from. The brand represents and celebrates the Verde Valley farmers, ranchers, and food producers like chocolatiers, coffee roasters and honey gatherers, telling the story of the locally grown products and the people who are stewards of the land and river.

More recently, vineyards and winemaking have taken root in a section of the Verde Valley which has been given its own AVA (American Viticultural Area) designation for its unique geography and climate. This is Arizona’s third AVA, joining Sonoita and Wilcox AVAs in the southern part of the state as premium grape-growing regions.

A wine label with the words “AVA Verde Valley” denotes that 85% of the grapes used to make the wine were grown in this designated area of 219 square miles. The topography and climate of the AVA Verde Valley affects the viticulture. Gentle slopes, cooler air from higher elevation, and a significant difference in temperature between daytime highs and nighttime lows during the growing season mean the wine grapes mature at a slower pace, the growing season is longer, and the resulting flavor is more complex. Unlike France, a U.S. AVA is not limited to a specific grape variety. There are more than 40 grape varieties planted in the Verde Valley for use in wine production.

The Verde Valley Wine Trail includes 19 commercial vineyards farming more than 136 acres of wine grapes, and 25 tasting rooms. Due to its proximity to Sedona, winemaking and wine tasting are quite popular, as are tours that eliminate the need to drive so that you can fully enjoy the wine. 

Verde Valley

You can taste the Verde Valley farm-to-table flavor at Forty1 Sedona, the signature restaurant at Ambiente, A Landscape Hotel. Executive Chef David Duncan showcases locally-grown ingredients and indigenous cooking styles on his ever-changing seasonal menu. A curated list of wines and Arizona-inspired cocktails make Forty1 a destination where you can relax and indulge in the finest farm-to-table Sedona fare while drinking in Sedona’s iconic views.

A local himself, Chef Duncan was born and raised in the Verde Valley and has spent more than 15 years watching the culinary scene evolve while cooking with the local bounty. His palate is attuned to the flavors of the Southwest, and he works with local producers to pick what’s best and most flavorful for his recipes. The plate presentations are artful as well as flavorful. Don’t miss the Copper State Ranch filet. It’s high-quality, ranch-raised beef from a fifth-generation Arizona rancher. Elk Back Strap is also excellent and a nod to the chef’s love for local wild game. Look for other Verde Valley flavor sensations on the summer menu like micro cilantro, watermelon and peach salad, local cheeses on the artisan board, and Arizona corn succotash.

At Forty1 Sedona, you’ll taste the Verde Valley in every delicious bite.


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