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The Largest Selection of Wholesale Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products in Tucson

When it comes to trying new, exciting cuisine, few foods hit the spot like a deliciously fresh Mediterranean meal. However, we know that it can be very difficult to find authentic Mediterranean grocery wholesalers in Tucson, AZ. Having lived in metro Atlanta for years, we realized that our customers needed an easy way to find quality wholesale Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in bulk. That is why we created Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market - to give everyone a chance to enjoy tasty, healthy food, desserts, and authentic Mediterranean gifts at wholesale prices.

Founded in 2009, Nazareth Grocery has become one of Tucson's leading international wholesale grocery stores. We are very proud to serve our customers and do everything in our power to give them the largest selection of high-quality wholesale goods available.

If you're looking for the freshest, most delicious Middle Eastern wholesale products and ingredients, you will find them here at the best prices in the state. We encourage you to swing by our store in Marietta to see our selection for yourself. We think that you will be impressed!

The Nazareth Difference

At Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market, our mission is simple: bring you and your family the largest selection of wholesale Mediterranean products in Tucson. When coupled with our helpful, friendly staff and authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere, it's easy to see why we are the top Middle Eastern grocery wholesaler in Tucson, AZ. We're proud to carry just about every kind of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern product that you can think of, from prepared meals and hookahs to fine seasonings and sweets. We're here for our customers and want each one of them to have a unique, one-of-a-kind experience when they shop with us.

Our loyal customers love our selection of the following wholesale foods and gifts:

  • Fresh Breads
  • OlivesOlives
  • HummusHummus
  • CheesesCheeses
  • SaucesSauces
  • Savory-FoodsSavory Foods
  • DessertsDesserts
  • DrinksDrinks
  • HookahsHookahs
  • TobaccoTobacco
  • SaucesGifts
  • Much More!Much More!

Our Service Areas

Most Popular Wholesale Mediterranean Foods

There is so much more to Mediterranean food than pizza and pasta. The perfect climate combined with delicious foods and amazing wine makes the Mediterranean incredibly irresistible. That's why our customers absolutely love to buy this kind of cuisine in bulk. Every country in this region has its own set of specialties and delicacies, each with its own flavors and styles of preparation.

Mediterranean countries include:

  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Spain
Mediterranean Grocery Tucson, AZ

So, when it comes to the most popular wholesale Mediterranean products in Tucson,
what are we talking about?

 Mediterranean Supermarkets Tucson, AZ

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a classic Mediterranean dairy product that is often enjoyed on its own, in Greek salads, on bread, or mixed with zucchini. Depending on where the feta is sourced and produced, the cheese can be made from cow, sheep, or goat milk, or even a combination of the three. Regardless of the animal it comes from, this delicious cheese is a crowd favorite.

 Mediterranean Grocery Store Tucson, AZ

Baba Ganoush

This Levantine dish is one of the most well-known Mediterranean dishes to eat in the United States. It typically comes in the form of a dip, served with pita or another kind of dipping bread. Commonly served before dinner as an appetizer of sorts, it usually features tahini, eggplant, garlic, spices, and sometimes yogurt. This tasty cuisine works great as a spread on a sandwich, or you can even eat it with a spoon, all on its own.

 Middle Eastern Grocery Tucson, AZ

Baklava

If you have never tried authentic baklava before, get ready to have your mind blown. This dessert is a traditional Mediterranean food that will have your taste buds craving more and more. Once you open a box of baklava from our Mediterranean grocery wholesaler in Tucson, AZ, you won't want to stop eating! Baklava is made with layers of thin filo dough, which is layered together, filled with chopped nuts (think pistachios), and sealed with honey or syrup. Baklava is so good that its origins are debated, leaving many wondering which country invented the dessert. Everyone from the Turks to the Greeks and even Middle Easterners hold unique takes on baklava. Try each one to discover your favorite!

Most Popular Wholesale Middle Eastern Foods

Fresh, healthy, aromatic, rich: it's no wonder that the popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine and products has skyrocketed in the United States. This genre of cuisine features a large variety of foods, from Halvah to Labneh. If there were one common theme throughout all Middle Eastern food, it would be the bright, vibrant herbs and spices that are used. These flavorings help create rich, complex flavors that foodies fawn over. Typically, Middle Eastern food is piled high for all to eat, with enough food for an entire republic to put down.

 Mediterranean Food Stores Tucson, AZ

Tabbouleh

This refreshing, healthy dish is chock-full of greens, herbs, tomatoes, and bulgur (or cracked wheat), creating a memorable, bold flavor. This dish may be eaten on its own or paired with a shawarma sandwich or helping of falafel. It's best to buy your ingredients in bulk to make this dish because it tastes best freshly made with family around to enjoy. Just be sure to bring a toothpick to the tabbouleh party - you're almost certain to have some leafy greens stuck in your teeth after eating.

 Middle Eastern Market Tucson, AZ

Shawarma

We mentioned shawarma above, and for good reason - this dish is enjoyed by men and women around the world, and of course, right here in the U.S. Except for falafel, this might be the most popular Middle Eastern food item in history. Shawarma is kind of like a Greek gyro, with slow-roasted meat stuffed in laffa with veggies and sauce. The blend of spices and the smoky meat mix together to create a tangy, meaty flavor that you will want to keep eating for hours. For western-style shawarma, try using beef or chicken. For a more traditional meal, try using lamb from our Middle Eastern grocery distributor in Tucson, AZ.

 Greek Grocery Store Tucson, AZ

Hummus

Traditionally used as a dip meant for fresh pita, hummus is a combo of chickpeas, garlic, and tahini, blended together until silky, smooth, and creamy. You can find hummus in just about any appetizer section of a Middle Eastern restaurant menu. That's because it's considered a staple of Middle Eastern food that can be enjoyed by itself, as a spread, or with fresh-baked pita bread. Hummus is also very healthy, making it a no-brainer purchase from our grocery store.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

If there's one diet that is most well-known for its health benefits, it has got to be the Mediterranean diet. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report listed the Mediterranean diet as No. 1 on its best over diet list. This incredible diet has been cited to help with weight loss, brain health, heart health, diabetes prevention, and cancer prevention.

Whether you already love Mediterranean food or you're looking to make some positive changes in your life, this "diet" is for you. Eating cuisine like Greek food, Persian food, Turkish food, and Italian food is healthy and tastes great. Even better than that? At Nazareth Wholesale Grocery, we have many staples of the Mediterranean diet for sale in bulk so that you can stock up on your favorites at the best prices around.

So, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet?

It is a way of eating that incorporates traditional Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean cultures' foods. These foods are often plant-based and make up the foundation of the diet, along with olive oil. Fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are also included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only eaten in moderation, not in abundance. Mediterranean food includes many forms of nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, seeds, and more. Of course, you can find at them all at our wholesale Mediterranean grocery store!

Here are just a few of the many benefits of eating a healthy Mediterranean diet:

Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Reduced Risk
of Heart Disease

Many studies have been conducted on this diet, many of which report that Mediterranean food is excellent for your heart. Some of the most promising evidence comes from a randomized clinical trial published in 2013. For about five years, researchers followed 7,000 men and women around the country of Spain. These people had type 2 diabetes or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants in the study who ate an unrestricted Mediterranean diet with nuts and extra-virgin olive oil were shown to have a 30% lower risk of heart events.

Reduced Risk of Stroke for Women

Reduced Risk
of Stroke for Women

In addition to the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet, studies have shown that eating healthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods can reduce the chances of stroke in women. The study was conducted in the U.K., which included women between the ages of 40 and 77. Women who stuck to the Mediterranean diet showed a lower risk of having a stroke - especially women who were at high risk of having one.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

First and foremost, purchase your Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wholesale foods from Nazareth Grocery - we're always updating our inventory! Getting started on this healthy, delicious diet is easy.

Try these tips:

Try these tips

1.

Instead of unhealthy sweets like candy and ice cream, try eating fresh fruit instead. It's refreshing, tasty, and often packed with great vitamins and nutrients.

2.

Try eating fish twice a week, in lieu of red meat. Fish is much healthier and doesn't have the unfortunate side effects of red meat, like inflammation.

3.

Try planning out your meals using beans, whole grains, and veggies. Don't start with meats and sweets.

4.

They're tasty, but try to avoid processed foods completely.

5.

Instead of using butter to flavor your food, use extra virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil contains healthy fats and tastes great too.

6.

Try to get more exercise and get out of the house. The Mediterranean lifestyle is an active one, best enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine when possible.

Why Buy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products Wholesale?

Buying wholesale and retail are quite different. When you buy products from a wholesaler, you're essentially buying from the middleman between a retail establishment and the manufacturer. Wholesale purchases are almost always made in bulk. Because of that, buyers pay a discounted price. That's great for normal buyers and great for business owners, who can sell those products to profit. This higher price is called the retail price, and it is what traditional customers pay when they enter a retail store.

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 Middle Eastern Store Tucson, AZ

Latest News in Tucson, AZ

5 hidden Sonoran hot dog spots around Tucson

Among the almost-only-in-Tucson culinary delights, Sonoran hot dogs get the most attention.It's fair; there are some 200 restaurants and food trucks serving the bacon-wrapped hot dogs, dressed with pinto beans, pico, mustard and mayo in a soft, semi-sweet steamed bolillo-style roll. The market leader, El Güero Canelo, even snagged a prestigious ...

Among the almost-only-in-Tucson culinary delights, Sonoran hot dogs get the most attention.

It's fair; there are some 200 restaurants and food trucks serving the bacon-wrapped hot dogs, dressed with pinto beans, pico, mustard and mayo in a soft, semi-sweet steamed bolillo-style roll. The market leader, El Güero Canelo, even snagged a prestigious James Beard Award — think Academy Award in the foodiverse.

But some of the most popular Sonoran hot dogs aren't made in high-profile restaurants or busy-intersection food trucks.

They're coming from food trucks set up in non-descript parking lots illuminated at night with a string of lights draped over picnic table canopies or buried on the menus of small hole-in-the-wall taco stands that neighbors want to keep a secret for fear that once word gets out the lines will get too long.

These hot dog gems often go unnoticed until a friend of a friend or random coworker recommends you give them a try.

We found five Tucson restaurants whose Sonoran hot dogs are worth checking out.

45 W. Valencia Road, 520-741-6393; ramirosfoodtucson.com

Alfonso Bizarraga and Luis Camaraga opened Ramiro's four years ago in a small building that had housed a few Mexican restaurants before them. In no time, they became popular with their Midvale Park community for their menu of tacos, breakfast burritos, bowls, Hot Cheetos fries and quesabirrias.

Before long, their take on Sonoran hot dogs started to catch on, as well.

Bizarraga, who clocked in a dozen years with the fast-casual Arizona Mexican food chain Filibertos before opening Ramiro's, lightly toasts the soft bolillo-style roll on the flat-top while the bacon-wrapped dogs get their final sizzle. The buns are still steamy-soft, but the grill adds a nice mouth-feel tug when you bite into the juicy dog dressed with mustard and mayo, tender pinto beans, chopped tomatoes and sauteéd onions.

Bizarraga said the two hotdog combo meal served with fries and a drink is one of the restaurant's best sellers.

Ramiro's is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

4415 N. Flowing Wells Road (520-312-1666) and 65 W. Valencia Road (520-889-5338); aquiconelnene.com

They do it old-school at the open-air restaurant on the corner of West Wetmore and North Flowing Wells roads where Salvador Gastelum started selling hot dogs from a cart 18 years ago.

Remnants of his lone-cart past linger in the layout of his much-larger trailer-and-tent space a few yards away. In the outdoor covered patio dining room — there also is an enclosed air-conditioned dining room connected to the trailer — you can dress your steamy bacon-wrapped dog with a handful of salsas and condiments, including mushrooms, fresh cucumber and radish slices, and crispy pickled carrots flecked with diced onions.

Aqui con el Nene crisps the bacon on its dogs before tucking them in a steamy roll and judiciously topping them with tender pinto beans, diced onions and tomatoes, mustard and mayo. You also can order them "chipilon"-style, with a toasted bun and melted cheese, or sub out the hot dog for carne asada, chicken or marinated pork.

Server Isabela Figueroa said the Sonoran dogs run a close second behind the carne asada as far as customer favorites. The salsa bar also is a big draw.

Aqui con el Nene is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; it's closed on Sundays.

1435 W. St. Mary's Road, 520-979-1832; yelp.com/biz/yamis-hotdogs-tucson

Talk about your irresistible twists on the classic: The folks at this unassuming food truck parked next to a self-serve car wash on the west side includes a cheese-filled, bacon-wrapped-and-grilled yellow chile with their Sonoran hot dogs.

"You will love them," promises owner Diana Payan, who launched Yami's Taqueria as a Sonoran hot dog cart six years ago.

Payan established the cart at its Menlo Park location five years ago and graduated to a food truck with an expanded Mexican food menu two years in.

But Sonoran dogs are still a big draw. She tucks her grilled bacon-wrapped hot dogs into a toasty bo;illo-style bun, then tops it will the usual pinto beans, grilled and fresh onions and tomatoes, mayo, mustard and a jalapeño sauce.

Yami's is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

4860 S. 12th Ave., 520-272-5490; facebook.com/percheronmexicangrill

Diego Valencia's food truck went viral in 2017 when he introduced a behemoth bacon-wrapped burrito.

The restaurant was called WhataBurro back then; Valencia changed the name after getting a call from the Texas-based burger chain Whataburger.

Even when Valencia changed the name — inspired by the giant French Percheron horse breed (think Clydesdales) — fans of the bacon-wrapped burritos flocked to the food truck that he opened almost 10 years ago behind the small strip plaza on the corner of South 12th Avenue and West Irvington Road.

That burrito showcases Valencia's culinary daring, which takes his Sonora dog (he drops the "n" for good measure) to a place we had not seen before.

His bacon-wrapped dogs are cooked on a flattop until the bacon crisps. The bun is drizzled with butter and toasted on the grill, where Valencia flips it every few seconds to make sure it doesn't get too toasty. He grills the onions then assembles the dog with just the right balance of pinto beans, diced tomatoes and a drizzle of mayo.

The pièce de résistance: freshly sliced avocado.

On a hot dog.

Sounds crazy, but the avocado adds a layer of creaminess to the smoky bacon and freshness of the tomatoes.

Valencia said he hopes to open his brick-and-mortar restaurant with a drive-thru at 444 W. Ajo Way, near South 12th Avenue, by late September to mark his restaurant's 10th anniversary on Sept. 25. He said he plans to continue with the food truck location, as well.

Percheron is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; closed on Sundays.

9190 N. Coachline Blvd., 520-809-095; facebook.com/angelasmexicanfood

Tradition has it that you steam the slightly sweet bolillo-style bun, but Yareli Delgado and her mother and aunt before her have always toasted the buns with a little butter to add texture.

"I love our Sonoran hot dogs," said Delgado, who with her husband, Francisco Leyva, recently took over the restaurant from her Aunt Maria Negrete. "I know I'm biased, but we probably have one of the best Sonoran hot dogs in Tucson."

The juicy bacon-wrapped hot dog is topped with diced tomatoes and onions and tender beans and dressed in mayo and mustard before "we load it up with cheese on top and put on our (house-special) jalapeño sauce," Delgado said.

Delgado's Aunt Maria and her uncle, Alejandro, started Angela's about 20 years ago as a food truck parked on East Prince Road and North Stone Avenue. They opened the brick-and-mortar location in a small strip plaza in Marana's Continental Ranch community 11 years ago and still have the food truck on Prince and Stone.

Angela's is best known for its red chile — "Everyone raves about our red chile; they love it," Delgado said — but Delgado said the Sonoran hot dogs are a close second.

"We get so much support from the community," she said. "People come from the neighborhood and from Red Rock and all over Marana."

Angela's is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, except Sundays when it closes at 4 p.m.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at [email protected]. On Twitter @Starburch

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Tucson woman creates water harvesting oasis, others eligible for rebate

TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - With monsoon in full swing, some folks in Southern Arizona are taking advantage of the rain and collecting the water for future use.One woman in Tucson collects rainwater in a traditional cistern, but she took it one step further.Martha Retallick has been living in Tucson for 20 years. Originally from Pennsylvania, she wanted her home to have that lush green feel. But it took quite some time to get to where she is today.“When I first saw this property, there was no landscaping here. There ...

TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - With monsoon in full swing, some folks in Southern Arizona are taking advantage of the rain and collecting the water for future use.

One woman in Tucson collects rainwater in a traditional cistern, but she took it one step further.

Martha Retallick has been living in Tucson for 20 years. Originally from Pennsylvania, she wanted her home to have that lush green feel. But it took quite some time to get to where she is today.

“When I first saw this property, there was no landscaping here. There was crushed rock in the front yard and Bermuda grass in the backyard,” said Retallick.

“And shortly before I moved in a friend and I came over here, and she looked at the front yard and said, this is your palate, and I was inspired.”

Adjusting to the new climate was a rough start. After a failed attempt at planting agave, Retallick slowly learned new knowledge and built up her skills.

Today, most of Retallick’s water for her garden is collected on her 500 square-foot roof, where just one inch of rain provides 250 gallons of water in her storage tank. Her laundry also helps out too. Wastewater from the washing machine is pumped out to the backyard to water her bushes.

In Retallick’s front yard, trees receive rainwater using her homemade basins, which she fills with mulch to slow evaporation.

Retallick’s garden isn’t the only green she’s seeing. Her water harvesting brings a rebate from Tucson Water.

To qualify, you must take a workshop and then submit your plans to Tucson Water. You may earn up to $2,000.

“It’s good practice because it will teach you some additional principles, and the maintenance of it. In addition to that, even if you are already harvesting water, there is still an available rebate for you if you come to the class,” said Pedro Sanchez.

Sanchez is a community outreach professional with Smartscape at the Pima County and University of Arizona’s Cooperative Extension. There, classes are held for people to learn the basics of water harvesting and how they can prepare for the rebate.

Sanchez also reminds folks to have a plan for active and passive harvesting.

Another tip Martha gave is while water harvesting can get expensive, you can always start small.

If interested in learning more about the Smartscape’s free sustainability and water harvesting classes, click here. And if interested in learning more about how to earn a rebate from Tucson Water, click here.

Be sure to subscribe to the 13 News YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/@13newskold

Copyright 2023 13 News. All rights reserved.

Michael Lev: Arizona had to leave Pac-12; it’s still sad to see once-mighty league crumble

We knew this day was coming.The feelings that have come along with it?Bittersweet, to say the least.After 45 years in the Pac-12 Conference — half a lifetime — the University of Arizona is headed to the Big 12. The official announcement came Friday night from the Big 12. The UA quickly followed up with its own...

We knew this day was coming.

The feelings that have come along with it?

Bittersweet, to say the least.

After 45 years in the Pac-12 Conference — half a lifetime — the University of Arizona is headed to the Big 12. The official announcement came Friday night from the Big 12. The UA quickly followed up with its own official comment.

The ineptitude of the Pac-12 forced UA leadership, spearheaded by President Robert C. Robbins, to make a decision it didn’t necessarily want to make. A decision that’s about remaining viable. A decision that’s about survival. A decision that’s about money.

The Big 12’s media-rights deal offers more of the latter than what Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff presented to university presidents earlier this week. It offers more certainty and stability.

Most of us, were we in Robbins’ loafers, would take the money and run. It’s the smart play. It’s the safer play.

The Pac-12 streaming deal with Apple offers more potential upside — especially with so many cutting the cord, dropping ESPN’s household penetration by about 30 million over the past decade — but projections don’t pay the bills. And as I understand it, the UA, like so many of its brethren, is deeply in the red.

Actions have consequences, though. With Colorado having already made its move for the Big 12’s superior security and exposure — and Arizona about to follow that same path — the Pac-12 became further imperiled. The 108-year-old conference, which has won more NCAA national championships across all sports than any other, went on life support when Oregon and Washington left for the Big Ten on Friday. ASU and Utah formally applied for membership in the Big 12 later in the day, as expected.

And that’s pretty much that for the Pac-12. It either becomes a glorified version of the Mountain West or just vanishes into the ether. The once-proud “Conference of Champions” — which has a legit chance to place at least one team in the College Football Playoff this year — becoming a mere historical footnote is borderline depressing.

What makes college sports, and especially college football, special are its rivalries and regional distinctiveness. The Pac-12’s impending extinction could put an end to the Apple Cup and the game formerly known as the Civil War. Washington State and Oregon State have nowhere to go besides the Mountain West. Could those rivalry games be repositioned as non-conference affairs? It’s possible. But it wouldn’t be the same.

With all due respect to the Mountain West — a proud and competitive league that annually provides one of the participants in Tucson’s Arizona Bowl — #MountainWestAfterDark doesn’t have the same cachet as #Pac12AfterDark. Who didn’t love a game between the Cougars and Beavers that ended at 2:02 a.m. EST with a score of 56-53?

As college football continues to conglomerate — at the behest of TV networks and executives — it becomes increasingly homogenous. It becomes more like the NFL. If you view college football as the Triple-A version of the NFL, maybe you’re fine with that. Most college football fans I know fell in love with the sport because it was different, kinda quirky and bursting with vigor that often morphed into vitriol.

At least some of that was lost Friday, as these long-rumored maneuvers became official or close to it. Maybe a lot of it.

Arizona will be fine. Its rivalries with ASU, Colorado and Utah will remain intact. BYU is part of the Big 12 now too, and that’s a rivalry waiting to happen. The Cougars and Wildcats have faced each other 25 times in football, with each winning 12 games and tying once. Unlike most of the other moves in conference realignment, the geography makes sense as well.

The bigger, bolder Big 12 will be an absolutely hellacious — and fun — men’s basketball league. The final AP Top 25 of 2022-23 featured six members of the new Big 12: Houston (No. 2), Kansas (4), Arizona (8), Baylor (11), Kansas State (15) and TCU (22). Texas Tech finished in the Top 25 in four of the previous five seasons.

Even with its additions, the Big 12 represents a slight downgrade from the current Pac-12 in women’s basketball. But the league boasts Baylor, which has won three national championships over the past 20 years. And Arizona will have a chance to compete for the league title right away.

The Big 12 is losing the NCAA’s best softball program, Oklahoma, to the SEC. But Oklahoma State has made 15 appearances in the Women’s College World Series, tied for fifth most all time. Two of the teams ahead of the Cowgirls: Arizona (29) and ASU (19).

Big 12 baseball also will be a battle royale. Three Big 12 schools — yeah, that sounds weird — have made at least 18 appearances in the College World Series: ASU (22), OSU (20) and Arizona (18).

Additionally, many more games in those non-revenue sports will air on ESPN, FOX or ESPN+ — a win for fans, especially those who couldn’t access the Pac-12 Networks, and a boon for recruiting.

The UA, led by Robbins, did what it had to do. It was left little choice. Some will fault Arizona for plunging the knife that much deeper into what remained of the Pac-12, but it’s misguided to lay blame at Robbins’ feet. If Larry Scott and his enablers hadn’t made numerous missteps; if his successor, Kliavkoff, hadn’t overplayed his hand; and if USC and UCLA hadn’t left for the Big Ten, none of this would have happened.

So now we’re left with a college sports landscape devoid of the Pac-12, an inconceivable concept five years ago but an inevitable outcome 13 months ago. I predicted as much. I wish I’d been wrong.

“Everyone feels the same way,” one person familiar with the various negotiations told me Friday morning as it was all going down. “Is there any way to save this? The answer is no, there isn’t.”

The Pac-12 began sinking when USC and UCLA announced they were abandoning ship. Arizona had to jump into a lifeboat before the conference struck the iceberg. It was the right thing to do.

But if that’s true, then why, in so many ways, does it also feel wrong?

Arizona football notebook: In-state recruiting 'major focal point' for Cats' 2024 class

Each one of Arizona’s first three recruiting classes under head coach Jedd Fisch has a theme.The Wildcats reshaped their offense with talented true freshmen and transfers, then followed a similar path on defense.“We’ve had tremendous success on the recruiting trail both in the last two years and currently,” Fisch said during Arizona’s media day on Tuesday.The 2024 recruiting class? It’s a mixed bag of players this time, but with a surplus of in-state talent. In Arizona’s 19-playe...

Each one of Arizona’s first three recruiting classes under head coach Jedd Fisch has a theme.

The Wildcats reshaped their offense with talented true freshmen and transfers, then followed a similar path on defense.

“We’ve had tremendous success on the recruiting trail both in the last two years and currently,” Fisch said during Arizona’s media day on Tuesday.

The 2024 recruiting class? It’s a mixed bag of players this time, but with a surplus of in-state talent. In Arizona’s 19-player 2024 recruiting class, seven of its commits are in-state prospects. That’s the most the Wildcats have brought in for one class since 2015.

“Our goal is to keep kids in Arizona at home,” Fisch said. “Our goal is to keep kids from Tucson at home. We’re working very hard to achieve that goal.”

Check and check.

The headliners for Arizona’s ‘24 recruiting class are Tucson product and five-star edge rusher Elijah Rushing and four-star Phoenix-area quarterback Demond Williams, who pledged to the UA on Monday. The 5-11, 180-pound Chandler Basha quarterback was previously committed to Ole Miss, then decommitted from the Rebels in July, before announcing Monday his desire to play for the Wildcats.

Arizona has also commitments from edge rusher Keona Wilhite (Salpointe Catholic), wide receiver Brandon Phelps (Gilbert American Leadership Academy), offensive tackle Matthew Lado (Glendale Apollo), running back Adam Mohamed (Apollo) and guard Michael Watkins (Apollo).

“They’re starting to understand there’s a culture being built here, and there’s something moving in the right direction,” said Arizona wide receiver Jacob Cowing, who is a Maricopa native. “Guys want to stay here and play in front of their family and friends, play for them and the school they love.”

Recruiting in-state prospects has “been a major focal point” for Arizona under the Fisch regime, according to quarterbacks coach Jimmie Dougherty.

“It’s exciting, because you know you’re starting to turn a corner in terms of the perception of the program, and where it was when we got here compared to what it is now,” Dougherty said. “The talent in-state has always been great, and it’s getting better and better and better each year.

“Our focus is always on recruiting guys that our culture and the type of people and players we want to bring in. Anyone we’re recruiting right now fits that,” he added. “It’s nice that the perception is starting to change and it’s starting to become the cool thing to do, come to Arizona and play down in Tucson. That’s something we have to continue. Recruiting is an everyday thing. You can never relax, but we’re definitely excited about it.”

UA safety Gunner Maldonado transferred from Northwestern and became one of the first transfer portal additions to ultimately play for Arizona during Fisch’s first season.

NU’s student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, reported in July that multiple athletic programs at the university, a list that notably includes the football team, had a culture of hazing along with sexually and racially abusive behavior. Northwestern fired longtime football coach Pat Fitzgerald, a former NU player, after 17 seasons.

On Tuesday, former Northwestern offensive lineman Ramon Diaz told the Associated Press that when he was 17 years old, upperclassmen shaved “Cinco de Mayo” in his head while other members of the football team watched. Diaz is the 10th person to file a lawsuit against Northwestern since the story was released.

“The holiday itself has a significant meaning to me and my family and then the Latino community at large,” Diaz told AP. “I was mocked and ridiculed. ... I just remember the laughter. No one stopped it. And the players felt enabled because of the atmosphere created by the coaches.”

When Maldonado, who played at Northwestern in 2020 before coming to Tucson, was asked about the current state of Northwestern’s football program earlier this week, he said, “It’s sad to see, because it’s a great program, great coach.

“I know a lot of guys over there, so it’s sad to see that happen,” he said.

Maldonado said, “When I was there, everything felt fine.”

Two more Wildcats have made preseason watch lists for national college football awards heading into the season: Junior kicker Tyler Loop and senior punter Kyle Ostendorp.

Loop was named to the Lou Groza Award watch list on Wednesday; Ostendorp cracked the Ray Guy Award watch list. Ostendorp averaged 45.5 yards per punt last season and had three touchbacks and 10 punts pin opponents inside the 20-yard line.

Loop is 30-for-33 (91%) kicking field goals as a Wildcat, and is a perfect 50-for-50 at PATs.

Winners of both awards will be announced at the College Football Awards Show in December.

Contact Star football reporter Justin Spears at [email protected]. On Twitter: @JustinESports

Open Practices/Scrimmages

Fan Fest: Friday (10 a.m.), Sunday (10 a.m.), Tuesday (10 a.m.)

Scrimmages: Saturday, Aug. 12 (10 a.m.), Saturday, Aug. 19 (6:30 p.m.)

• Fan Fest dates include poster/magnet giveaway, autograph session with players; Open practices on Fan Fest dates are at the Dick Tomey Practice Fields

• Scrimmages take place at Arizona Stadium

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Back to school for Tucson Unified School District

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TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — More students are headed back to the classroom Thursday morning. Altar Valley, Amphi, Flowing Wells, Tanque Verde and Tucson Unified School Districts start the 2023-2024 school year.

Doolen Middle School in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) will welcome nearly 600 students on the first day. Wilma, Wilbur, and the University of Arizona Athletics Team is set to give a big welcome back to students and families on campus.

This school year, all students at Doolen Middle School will be required to take classes from the AVID program, a tool to prepare these middle schoolers for higher education and the work force.

“We are a uniform school. We want students to treat school as a professional setting, and we want our staff to also see it as a professional setting. That's the key— it's never too soon to be preparing our students for college and career readiness," said Nathaly Santin, Principal at Doolen Middle School in TUSD.

Doolen Middle School is also an open registration school. That means if your student still needs a middle school to attend, Doolen will welcome any students on the first day and year round to register and be a part of their campus community.

“It’s more than just academic growth. It's also social and emotional growth too," said Santin. "We're looking for our kids to take personal accountability and have personal acceptance this year through strong tactic programs. We want our students to be excited to come to school every day.”

Doolen Middle School was also selected to be the next “Be Kind” school through Ben’s Bells, meaning a new mural will soon be painted at the school.

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