Tonto Bar & Grill strives to bring guests the freshest, best-tasting ingredients in every dish it serves. To do that, we source our produce, meats and dairy from local purveyors whenever possible, we change our menu four times a year to take advantage of seasonal items, and we even harvest foods from our own property and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. This preserves the native traditions that are a part of the history of the land where Tonto Bar & Grill sits, and we are proud to honor the local cultures and people by sharing these desert harvests with our guests.
From May through October the desert provides us with an abundance of organic and natural foods. For thousands of years, American Indians have eaten these heritage products. We spend a fair amount of time in the desert harvesting the following ingredients.
In April and May, we harvest ocotillo flowers, cholla buds and cat’s claw flower. June is time for Mormon Tea. July and August see the ripening of saguaro fruit, prickly pear fruit and yucca baccata fruit, and we gather jojoba seeds and mesquite beans. September and October are particularly special, because we harvest the dates from our palm date trees and olives from our olive trees on property.
Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs and Nuts
Thanks to Arizona’s incredibly long growing season, we are blessed with a cornucopia of vegetables and fruits most of the year. We use as much local produce as possible, including lettuce, tomatoes, corn, squash, melons, onions and citrus, and fresh herbs, most of which are locally grown. Southern Arizona is a major provider of our pecans and pistachios.
Native Seeds Programs
We support, purchase and sponsor Arizona’s native seeds program Native Seeds/Search & TOCA by using these locally harvested ingredients from southern Arizona and from the Indian reservations. Some of the items we use include tepary beans, pozole, mesquite beans and powder, cholla buds, and array of other varietal beans. We use these products when our local harvest is out of season.
We use California rice bran oil from California Rice Oil Co. for all of our frying. It’s free of trans fats and does not present the health risks of other oils such as soybean and canola. Also, it’s high in Vitamin E, antioxidants, and micronutrients that can combat the effects of aging. Out of all oils, it has the best balance between saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as recommended by such organizations as the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization. It’s the oil of choice for improving serum cholesterol levels and preventing cardiovascular diseases. Also, it doesn’t contain any of the “big 8” allergens. We use sesame and olive oils in our salad dressings.
For all cooking, we use kosher salt, which is all-natural and free of iodine. All of our spices are custom blended for us by a local spice company. They provide the freshest ground spices from around the world.
All of the beef and pork we use can be traced back to the birth of the animal. All of the meat we buy, including poultry, lamb, pork and beef, is all-natural, which is free of steroids, antibiotics and growth hormones. We also serve local, organic beef from Cochise Cattle Company out of Southern Arizona. The cattle graze on 12 different types of natural grass, and it takes them three years to get up to weight before being processed at the University of Arizona.
All seafood we buy is sustainable. Our salmon is from a small boutique farm in eastern Canada just north of the U.S. border. It is completely dye-free, unlike 99 percent of farmed fish. The fish is allowed to eat its natural diet, and the farmer believes in quality over quantity. Because it is such a small boutique farm, the waste from the fish is able to be cleaned before it returned to the ocean, which ensures that the farm doesn’t pollute the water. Also, the salmon tastes clean because the fish don’t swim in their waste, the tanks are kept completely clean, and the food is organic and natural.
The tuna we buy is caught outside of Fiji by a small day boat operated by one man and his crew. He uses specialty nets so it will not let ocean birds or sea turtles in to the nets, thereby eliminating unnecessary catches. He only catches the tuna that our company, Kanaloa Seafood, orders for the day and lets any extras go, so no fish goes to waste.
Kanaloa seafood is an ISO 14001 company, meaning they have to comply with the strictest environmental standards and be checked regularly for consistency. They also have to continuously evaluate their management plan in such a way that reduces their environmental impacts.
We buy organic coffee from the Roastery of Cave Creek, a local roastery that custom blends our coffee. We also buy from them China Mist teas, a premium tea purveyor whose products are gluten-free and certified organic, fair trade, kosher and halal.