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Tucson's Secret Citrus Grove

As Tucsonans, how many times have we driven on *ORANGE GROVE ROAD* without giving the name a second thought? It is the in-your-face treasure map to Tucson's Secret Citrus Grove! 450 acres of citrus one grew here. With saplings planted in the 1920s. Fast forward to today: foodies will gawk at the varieties of mandarins, navel oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and dates. Next season, figs and pomegranates will be the stars of the show . I'm a citrus-a-holic and yet I left most fascinated by the dates. How they grow, and the intensely sweet flavor that stems entirely from nature. (Cómo es posible?) My family and I have not been able to stop chowing down on them since returning home. And we have vetted a lot of treats.

-$25 will snag you a bag of the most scrumptious mix of citrus plus a box of dates. Picked the day you pick up, your palate will have never experienced fresher fruit! Part of the proceeds will also return to local 5 Points Farmers Market. (Where Sabrina was invited to teach and feed Tucson foodies.) Arrange your pickup with owner Sabrina via Instagram: @the.urban.grove then bring cash.

The sweetest part of the grove must be its owners. SECOND-GENERATION GROWERS and globe-trotters. Sabrina Rigas grew up in Tucson with apricot, jujube, and olive trees. Moons ago, her father purchased citrus from a store located on this exact property. Sabrina's husband Yousef comes from a family of date producers; dating back centuries in the Middle East. While I visited, he scaled a gigantic ladder to propagate the stately date palm (trees.) These are foodie-athletes folks! A trip to pickup tasty fruit turned into a happy education on dates, their varieties, and how to freeze them to last forever. SUPERFOODS THAT TASTE LIKE CANDY and never spoil? I AM IN!

Share this EXCEPTIONAL food source with your Tucson familia. (I spent ten years of my youth in Tucson and never knew this zesty heaven existed!) The enchanting property doubles as an event space. The backdrop for a bride beneath perfumed orange blossoms and greenery seems like a fairytale. As does the lovingly restored 1970s Spanish Colonial estate on the grounds, available for charmed plated-dinners. Unique cooking classes also take place in the grove, in collaboration with local chefs. Goat-yoga too! The Urban Grove will host events we can all look forward to attending, as the world reopens.

Website: The Urban Grove 550 W. Orange Grove Rd.

Instagram: @the.urban.grove

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