The new local products and vendors at UA Mall Farmers Market
Students, faculty and staff can find local food, produce and products on the University of Arizona Mall.
The farmers market takes place every Wednesday on the UA Mall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and every Friday at Banner - University Medical Center Tucson from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
It also be found at St. Philip’s Plaza every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
New artist on the block
One of the latest additions to the market is Hot Mess Mama Art.
According to Jennifer Johansen, the founder of Hot Mess Mama Art, she started her business less than a year ago.
“I do acrylic fluid art, like acrylic pouring, and I make jewelry out of it,” Johansen said.
Her jewelry includes rings, necklaces and bracelets and they all have acrylic paint underneath their glass.
Johansen does acrylic art in making personalized signs, picture frames and custom color orders. This fall, she has signs with decorum and pumpkins poured over with acrylic paint.
“I’ve been in food and beverage since I was 16, so over 20 years, and my arm just started getting really bad,” Johansen said. “I was just trying to get out, just physical toll of being in banquets and carrying heavy things.”
She then decided to give the experience of selling art at the farmers market a try and hopes it will work out.
Quench your thirst
For those trying to find a refreshment, BlackJack Citrus Infusion specializes in freshly squeezed lemonade infused with homemade syrups and natural fruits.
Their infusion flavors include mint, peach, strawberry, ginger, blueberry, mango, raspberry, lavender, basil and their signature drink prickly pear and jalapeño. They also offer a special drink for UA students called the “Wildcat,” which is a blueberry and strawberry lemonade.
According to Mary Wood, co-owner BlackJack Citrus Infusion, she makes a simple syrup and then adds the unique infusion flavors to the lemonade.
“With the flavors, I boil the jalapeños while everything is melding together in the pot, so it pulls those flavors out, the essence of it,” she said. “Same with the lavender; I use fresh lavender petals.”
According to Wood, the idea for the business started years ago, but they finally kicked it off last May. They have since been setting up at special events, rodeos, fairs, private events, weddings, food truck roundups and the farmers markets.
“People love it,” said Mike Tobin, co-owner of BlackJack. “We get people that come back and especially request it and they bring their friends to have it. We really enjoy the fact that people are starting to notice that, because we are doing it for them.”
BlackJack also offers a sugar free variety. Wood said they make everything separate, from their sugars to the fruit and the lemon juice, which is how they are able to customize everybody’s drink in terms of sweetness and taste.
“It’s kind of a show that we put on for people,” Tobin said. “She makes the syrups and then I get the fruit, we squeeze the lemons, and then we mix and serve.”
According to them, people love to watch the process of them making the drinks.
Wood describes BlackJack as a “new twist on lemonade.”
We all scream for ice cream
Ice Craft Tucson specializes in old-fashioned artisan ice cream flavors. They offer a variety of egg-free ice cream options with flavors ranging from their mother vanilla, strawberry basil and fire roasted coffee to horchata, kettle corn and mazapán. They also offer vegan flavors including vegan pistachio and piña colada.
Ice Craft Tucson was started by Horacio Quirrin, who is a professional chef that has been cooking since he was 14 years old. According to him, working at various restaurants across Tucson sparked the start of his business.
“It was at these restaurants that I was making ice cream because I could never find a purveyor that could give me custom ice creams. So, I started making my own ice cream,” Quirrin said. “We were selling out, we were selling like crazy. That’s when I thought I could make this into a living and I took the plunge. I quit and we are actually doing pretty well.”
Quirrin is always coming up with new and unconventional flavors, though the kettle corn ice cream is one he is most proud of.
According to Quirrin, he decided to make this ice cream after a student was upset because she couldn’t find kettle corn at the market. He offered to make the ice cream. He was able to make it and it sold out.
His newest addition is a “neon lemon” sorbet that glows in the dark. Currently, the sorbet is only offered in neon green, but he is currently working to include a red or blue color.
Quirrin mentioned that he is hoping to implement rare Mexican ice cream flavors to his menu and is open to custom flavors, too.
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