This post was written by LFA's Local Food Systems Intern, Elizabeth Deuel The BALLE Conference is right around the corner! Yes, there will be awesome music, activities, and inspiring speakers but what I’m looking forward to most is all the AWESOME local food we’ll be serving.
The Catering Menu
Our Head Chef for the conference is Mr. Judson Branch with the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Chef Branch won 2nd place as a past Food Network’s Chopped contestant and also won the silver medal in 2014 at the Devour Phoenix Food and Wine Classic. We will wake up Thursday morning (June 11th) with a delicious local breakfast featuring an assortment of fresh summer fruits, home baked goods, oatmeal, potato hash, eggs and more.
After the morning activities a fantastic lunch, of course, will follow. Graced by Merit Foods, Peralta Foods, and many more we will celebrate an Arizona inspired lunch. Featuring Quinoa and Black Bean salad, an Arizona-inspired taco bar and Mexican rice, lunch will catapult attendees into an authentic Arizona culinary experience that will finish off with delicious deserts like Tres Leches Cake and a traditional Flan.
Friday morning (June 12th) get ready, because you haven’t lived until you’ve tried Chef Branch’s prickly pear yogurt. But wait there’s more! Local Schreiner’s sausage, tri-colored potato hash with fresh herbs, muesli bars, and house made baked goods are just a few of the delicious items on the breakfast menu.
As tempting as it is, don’t eat too much because another great local lunch is right around the corner. We’ll start with a light grilled peach salad with candied pecans, Pecorino Cheese toped with a roasted shallot vinaigrette and fresh bruschetta. Queen Creek Olive Mill will grace the top of many of these dishes with fine Arizona olive oils and delicious balsamic vinegars. Pan seared bass with an delicious pasta featuring many Arizona grown vegetables such as broccoli rabbe, roasted garlic and wild mushrooms.
If there’s one thing BALLE is known for (besides, of course, inspiring a national dialogue and movement to re-localize America’s economies and build prosperity for all)--it is the parties. BALLE attendees can count on a fun dynamic experience at great Phoenix venues each night of the conference.
Our alcohol sponsors for all three BALLE parties include: Dos Cabezas Wine Works, Four Peaks Brewery, and Arizona Distilling Co., who will provide our thirsty conference-goers with a delicious spattering of local Arizona-made wine, beer and cocktails!
The first night of the conference, Wednesday June 9th, attendees will love the TED-style Phoenix Sparks showcase where ten of Arizona's most diverse and passionate local thought leaders will have five minutes and twenty slides each to speak on what inspires them to enrich and cultivate their communities. Highlights include Maynard Keenan, Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, Miguel Jardine and Joe Larios. Post-event LFA will host live music from the Raul Yanez trio, a local food truck roundup and beverage garden of all Arizona wine and beer. Watch out for Short Leash Hot Dogs, Roasted Shallot Food Truck, and Paletas Betty.
On Thursday, we’ll be taking over Civic Space Park for a delicious catered dinner by Fair Trade Community Kitchen, and the Friday night BALLE party will be hosted and catered by Crescent Ballroom! Both nights should be beautiful summer evenings featuring the best of Arizona, including great wares from a variety of local retail vendors.
The Snack Pack
During the day, BALLE will conference-goers enjoy a smorgasbord of snacks to keep their energy up. The LFA team has put a huge effort into sourcing our snacks locally, so that attendees can enjoy a variety of local food from local sources such as Green Valley Pecans, Sphinx Date Ranch, The Farm at Agritopia, Tracy Dempsey Originals, and Postino.
Pre- and Post- Conference Tours
The conference start and ends with four local living economy tours on Wednesday, June 10th and Saturday June 13th. On Wednesday, the Desert Urban Agriculture tour will visit three collaborative urban farming sites around the Phoenix area and will be accompanied with delicious boxed lunches provided by Wild Flower Bread Co. All aboard the Adaptive Reuse Tour (also on Wednesday) will visit historic preservation sites and showcase Phoenix’s most significant and preserved architecture. This tour concludes at Southern Rail for an incredible locally sourced meal prepared by Chef Justin Beckett. The third tour (on Saturday), a trip to Acrosanti, will showcase this local model for sustainable living and will conclude with a local lunch at the Acrosanti Café. One final tour will visit Old Town Cottonwood and include lunch at Crema Café.
After this awe-inspiring week with Chef Branch and our many other local vendors, our attendees’ Arizona taste buds will be on point! Many thanks to all of the local food producers and restaurants who’ve contributed to this awesome locally-sourced culinary experience for BALLE attendees:
The Farm at Agritopia Arcosanti Café Arizona Distilling Co. AZ Hodod Crema Café Crescent Ballroom Crows Dairy Dos Cabezas Wine Works Epicurean Fair Trade Community Kitchen Four Peaks Brewery Green Valley Pecans Jonathan Robbins Bakery McClendons Select Mediterra Bakery Merit Foods Mount Hope Paletas Betty Peralta Foods Postino Winecafé Queen Creek Olive Mill Roasted Shallot Food Truck Schreiner’s Fine Sausages Segals Kosher Shamrock Foods Short Leash Hot Dogs Southern Rail Sphinx Date Ranch Sterling Meats Stern Produce Tracy Dempsey Originals Wildflower Bread Co. Willie Itule Produce