"Forager" looks for locally-made goodies

2013-09-01T00:00:00Z "Forager" looks for locally-made goodiesBy Kristen Cook Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 01, 2013 12:00 am  • 

How’s this for a job title: forager.

It even says so on Darcy Lee Landis’ Whole Foods business card.

Makes you think of picking berries in a forest, right? That’s not what Landis does. She scours Nevada and Arizona for locally made items to line Whole Foods’ shelves, meeting with growers and small manufacturers and, of course, hitting the farmers’ markets.

Locally made and produced is all the rage these days, but Landis — who started as a bagger with the company — was far ahead of the trend, working full time as a forager for the past six years, and unofficially for a year before that.

“Anything you can get local, we try and get local — tomatoes, popcorn, coffee,” says Landis, 33.

Home base is Tempe for Landis and her family, but she often brings her three young children on scouting trips.

“It’s amazing. It’s such a good family job,” she says. “It’s more of your lifestyle than anything else. Does being at the farmers’ market sound like going to work?”

Frequent trips to Tucson are a definite perk in Landis’ book. She loves Mount Lemmon and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and can tick off a long list of favorite Tucson things.

We asked her to name names:

Sia Botanics

They’re available at Whole Foods. “They make some really great facial-care items.”

Native Seeds/SEARCH

“I’m an avid gardener — I care about preserving food, so obviously I am interested in Native Seeds/SEARCH. They work with native people, farmers in Arizona. They’re the real deal. ... Our customers can buy Native Seeds/SEARCH seeds. You can stop in and buy them — now you can have heirloom Sonoran wheat in your front yard.”

BK Carne Asada & Hot Dogs

5118 S. 12th Ave. and 2680 N. First Ave. “I love to get tacos from BK. I love that you can put anything you want on them; they have this crazy salsa bar.”

Tucson Tamale Co.

2545 E. Broadway. “We sell Tucson Tamales at the store. I love to go directly to Tucson Tamales, so I can eat whatever they have on special.”

Hub Restaurant and Creamery

266 E. Congress St. “I love the Hub. I had the corn ice cream the last time I was there.”

47 Scott

47 N. Scott Ave. “They have a really great hamburger and use local ranch meat. I’ll eat it rare. I’ll take that for a treat.”

Borderlands Brewing Co.

119 E. Toole Ave. “I love to go to Borderlands. They use really amazing ingredients in the beer.” Her brew of choice: Prickly Pear Wheat ale.

St. Philip’s Plaza Farmers Market

4280 N. Campbell Ave. “I love all the farmers’ markets. I particularly like the St. Philip’s market. So many vendors go to it. They have live music; the plaza’s beautiful. If I want to stay the night, there’s a hotel there.”

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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