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Arizona Stops on the Way

Foodie Stop in Yuma, Arizona

In the land where 90 percent of the nation's vegetables are grown in winter, Yuma provides a surprising number of unique culinary experiences.

Dining in a Yuma field
Dining in a Yuma fieldVisit Yuma

When you make your way from San Diego toward the Grand Canyon, stop in Yuma, Ariz., where this city overlooking the Colorado River caters to foodies by hosting unique dining opportunities.

“Yuma is known for sunshine, outdoor activities and agriculture, but it is also home to some outstanding, fresh, authentic local cuisine,” says Steven Hennig, marketing director of Visit Yuma.

Take, for instance, Date Night Dinners where the word “date” is a double entendre. With live music in the background, you’ll eat like a sultan in the heart of a date palm grove. Named by Fodor’s Travel as one of the world’s 20 most unique dining experiences, your dinner will be orchestrated by Chef Alex Trujillo, featuring dates, also known as the “fruit of kings,” from your appetizer to dessert. Unknown to many, Yuma is actually the world’s largest producer of Medjool dates, many of which are exported to the Middle East.

If you’re interested in dining with a local farmer, make reservations for a Farmer’s Wife Dinner, a series that features local female farmers who share their stories and recipes. Wine and beer are included with your meal. There’s also the Savor Yuma Dining Tour, in which you embark on a progressive dinner with stops at three local restaurants. Drinks and transportation are included.  

Yuma Farm to Feast Tours

Yuma farmers pose in the Field to Feast U-Pick Garden.
Yuma farmers pose in the Field to Feast U-Pick Garden.Courtesy Visit Yuma

If it weren’t for Yuma, you might not be able to buy fresh vegetables during winter. Ninety percent of the nation’s vegetables are grown in this fertile agricultural hamlet not far from the Mexico border.

Head out into the fields and pick the vegetables that end up in your grocery store during Yuma’s half-day Field to Feast farm tour. It gives you an incredible behind-the-scenes opportunity to find out what goes into growing, picking and delivering food to market. You’ll also learn how to create a healthy lunch that will wow your friends.

Once you don a hairnet and latex gloves, you’ll be sent into the fields with an ingredient list. As you crouch down in the farm’s neat rows, you’ll find it mind-boggling that crops harvested in the morning can be in Phoenix by afternoon and on the East Coast in three-to-four days.

“Field to Feast remains one of our most popular agri-culinary offerings,” says Dustin Moore Mylius, former marketing manager for Visit Yuma. “Spending time in the field with a farmer is truly a unique experience, culminating in the freshest meal you’ll ever have.”

Indeed the payoff is big when you ride the bus to Arizona Western College where culinary students prepare a gourmet lunch based on what you picked.

“When the tour concludes, attendees return with a new appreciation for what it takes to feed an entire nation during the winter months,” he says.

Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park

Kids play at the Yuma Territorial Prison.
Kids play at the Yuma Territorial Prison.Visit Yuma

Discover the stories behind a jailed Mexican revolutionary and a prisoner referred to as “The Bandit Queen” at the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historical Park. 

Opened in July 1, 1876, this prison-turned-park holds a number of Wild-West stories locked inside its stone walls. Take your mug shot in the museum and explore what was known as the “Dark Cell,” if you dare. 

Outside you can climb an old guard tower to get views of the restored Colorado River that runs through town. Cool down by renting a tube and catching a van ride up river to float down. 

For more information:

Visit Yuma
(800) 293-0071
Visitor Center in Yuma Quartermaster Depot, 201 N. 4th Ave.

Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
(928) 783-4771