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The Farm At South Mountain

Relive The Good Ol’ Days With A Family Picnic And A Walk Through The Grove

The Farm at South Mountain is considered the original farm-to-table experience in Arizona. It’s part of the Phoenix farm district developed in the 1920s by Dwight Heard, a rancher and benefactor of the Heard Museum. He sold five-acre parcels, complete with a cow and 50 chickens, to encourage an agrarian lifestyle.

In the 1980s, Wayne Smith, a renowned land architect in the Valley, fell in love with a pecan grove he frequently passed while bike riding. When he purchased it, the modern-day farm sprouted.

Today, The Farm is owned by Pat Christofolo. She began catering events at The Farm in the 1990s, and helped develop the restaurants that are on-site. The 10-acre property is a working farm and still has its beautiful pecan grove, which boasts more than 60 trees. The Old Orchard flourishes with orange, grapefruit and lemon trees. And Soil & Seed Garden provides many of the ingredients used in the restaurants.

“I think ultimately what we want The Farm to be is a kind of memory for every life event that you have. Playing as a kid in the grove. Later picnicking with a boyfriend or girlfriend, then the engagement, wedding or baby shower,” says Ashley Oakes Scott, director of marketing at The Farm. “It’s that special place that people always want to go to because it brings back all those great memories.”

There are three restaurants at the location.

Morning Glory Café serves breakfast overlooking Soil & Seed Garden, and The Farm Kitchen offers a picnic lunch in a basket to take to the pecan grove or the patio, where daytime activities are family- and dog-friendly.

Menus are designed around what’s in season, and one lunch favorite is the Farm Avocado Toast with smashed avocado, feta, pickled red onion, tomato, arugula all on top of Noble bread. Local wine and beer are also served.

Guests are encouraged to walk the property, visit The Peeps at the Farm (a.k.a. the chicken coop) and stroll around the garden.

“People can hang out in the grove and play games. We have yard games like the oversized Jenga. People bring frisbees. They can have a meal and a leisurely afternoon,” explains Scott.

Quiessence, the dinner restaurant, is at the original farmhouse. The executive chef and co-owner is Chef Dustin Christofolo, Pat’s son.

“Quiessence is a quiet place. When you’re sitting on the patio, usually the sunset is right behind it. There’s the green garden and a cotton candy sky. It’s super romantic and quaint,” says Scott.

All the eggs, micro greens, herbs, fruits, greens and vegetables come from Soil & Seed Garden. Heirloom and cherry tomatoes are planted in February. Squash grows during the summer. They plant a variety of edible flowers. They also grow apples, peaches, blackberries, limes, plums and apricots.

“Every season the garden has a Community Supported Agriculture program that the community can buy into,” says Scott.

The Farm also hosts a variety of weekly classes, taught by local teachers such as an intuitive cooking experience, which wraps up in the courtyard with a family-style meal. They offer candle dipping, painting, jewelry making and a succulent class. Sign up is through their gift shop, Botanica.

“People walk into The Farm, and down the lane in the grove, and they’re astounded at all the trees and how green it is. You feel the air change in a way,” says Scott. “We are close enough to downtown Phoenix, you are still in the city in a sense, but once you walk onto The Farm, you aren’t. I love it.”

  • Photo by John Samora Photography
  • Photo by Aribella Photography
  • Photo by Aribella Photography
  • Photo by Aribella Photography