Exploring Local Farms

13 Jul

Recently, I’ve had a strong desire to help support farms in my area.  I know that farming anywhere is hard, but in the dry climate of Arizona, I’m sure it’s even harder.  I already have bought from a very local farm and from our Farmer’s Market, but knew that there were more farms in our county that I wanted to see what they had to offer.  Today, a friend and I set out into the “country”.

Our first stop was Sunizona Family Farms.  They grow a variety of vegetables, some fruits, and micro-greens that are certified organic, and what they call veganically grown.  They use no animal products for growing, only plant-based materials.  They provide their produce mostly to the state of Arizona, available in Whole Foods and AJ’s Fine Foods, some farmer’s markets, and also through their FarmBox program.  The FarmBox program is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, a way to get their product out to people.  This is what I signed up for and drove out to the farm for today.  They have pick up locations in Phoenix or Tucson, plus pick up at their farm.  I opted to pick up at the farm so I could see that farm and to see what it would take to get a delivery to my city.

We were greeted by Janice, who got my box for me, and then also took us on a tour of the farm.  It was great to see where and how the food I’m eating is grown.  This time, I got the small standard box for $22, plus extra carrots for $2.50 and a loaf of Spouted Khorasan bread for $5.50.  I also got to sample some thumbprint cookies.  They also have a large box for $30 or an option to make a custom box of items available in their web store, with a $22 minimum total.  They also have a variety of bakery items as well, breads, cookies, pies, hamburger buns, dinner rolls, and pizza crust.  Here is a picture of all that I got:

I got beets, a red pepper, tomatoes (1 is missing because my husband had to try one as soon as I got home), chives, white onions, lettuce, cabbage, basil, and collard greens (which apparently didn’t make it into the picture).  You can also see the thumbprint cookies, the bread, and the carrots.  It all looks amazing, and I can’t wait to cook with and eat all of it.  I will definitely be going back, but probably every other week because it is a bit of a drive.  I also think that I will do a custom FarmBox instead, and pick what I want from the store, which I think is a great option to have.  I like that the program is flexible like that, I can pick up different locations, put a hold on my subscription, change my subscription, or add-on extra things each time I get a box.

We stopped for lunch, then headed to Apple Annie’s Produce and Pumpkins.  I have been to Apple Annie’s about once a year during their harvest season for the last few years.  They have the produce and pumpkins part that we visited today, plus an orchard nearby.  Both locations have produce they pick or you can go out and pick your own produce.  Today, I did a mix of their picked produce and you pick produce.  Here is what I got:

Green beans, eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, zucchini, and okra.  All of this cost $6.89!  I was pretty impressed with that price.

I also got 5 dozen ears of sweet corn for $26.99 to share with my friend.

They also had cantaloupe, watermelon, black eye peas, yellow squash, green chiles, and cucumbers available.  We had thought about stopping at the orchard as they have peaches available right now, but we’d been lucky in missing most of the rain storms in the area today and didn’t want to push our luck anymore.  I have a couple other farms I want to check out, and hopefully will get to soon.

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