If you’ve ever visited a local farmers’ market, bought produce or meat with the word LOCAL stamped on the package, or eaten at a restaurant that sources their food locally, you’ve played a part in supporting small local farms in Baja Arizona. One of the most rewarding aspects of a buying locally grown produce and meat is the opportunity to meet your farmers themselves. You can shake their hands at weekly farmers’ markets, volunteer alongside them on the farm for a weekend, or maybe even spot them at your favorite local brewery. That’s the beauty of buying local: the opportunity to connect with, and support, members of your own community.
Despite the long lines for his salad greens every Sunday morning, Joe Marlow always maintains a cheery disposition. An economist by trade, Marlow puts thought into each and every component of SouthWinds Farm and “holds high standards for himself in terms of sustainability.” His produce–from poblano peppers to butterscotch melons–are revered by many local chefs. Find his produce at the Rillito Park Farmers Market on Sundays, and at local restaurants around Tucson.
20 years ago, John and Yongson Rueb left their corporate Chicago jobs behind in search of a simpler life for themselves and their two young children. After buying a 100-year-old farm in Amado and naming it Forever Yong Farm, the farming couple tried to grow “just about everything” as they travelled up a steep learning curve. Today, the Ruebs successfully grow over 20 varieties of garlic and strive to “make it so everyone can afford local quality produce.” Find their produce at the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market and at local grocery markets around Tucson.
After years of planning for their own dream farm, Dana Helfer and Paul Buseck bought four and a half acres along the Pantano Wash and called it “Rattlebox Farm.” As their dreams of owning an operating their own farm come to fruition, Dana Helfer and Paul Buseck continue to be inspired by the love and support from their community. As long-time desert dwellers, they hope to continue using sustainable farming practices to grow food in ways that replicate and support natural systems. Find their produce at the Santa Cruz River Farmers Market, and at local grocery markets in Tucson.
Using hydroponics, aquaponics, and traditional field cultivation, Brian Sternberg and Stacy Tollefsen are producing “sustainable food that relies less on traditional field agriculture and more on soilless plant farming.” Different farming methods result in different crops–Maggie’s Farm offers edible flowers, meaty oyster mushrooms, and year-round fresh basil. Brian Sternberg and Stacy Tollefsen have an expansive vision for the future of Maggie’s Farm, and we can’t wait to taste what they accomplish. Find their produce at the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market.
If you’ve ever stopped by the Larry’s Veggies booth at any of the Heirloom Farmers Markets, you know that Larry and Eunice Park feel like family–no matter how well they know you. “Commercial farms have provided enough food to keep hunger down,” Larry said, “but we’ve lost the flavor and the nutritional value.” The cheerful couple are providing nutrients and smiles for the Baja Arizona community. Find their produce at Heirloom Farmers Markets.