Tucson Farmers’ Markets own generation of young farmers.
Recently the New York Times published an article entitled New Generation of Farmers Emerges, celebrating the young, enthusiastic collection of farmers across the United States. I am most happy to report that the Tucson Farmers’ Markets are home to some of this new generation. Our markets are filled with young entrepreneurs who are breaking ground, choosing farming as a career and bringing with them incredible enthusiasm and energy. Sleeping Frog Farms, River Road Gardens, Seasonal Natural fresh, Sunset Cove Farms, Double Check Ranch, and Walking J Farms are all operated by farmers in their twenties and thirties who have found passion in agriculture, polyculture and ranching.
We are extremely lucky to have one of the oldest farmers at our markets as well. Leo from big D Farms is our senior farmer at the spiry age of 85, and he shares his vast knowledge when and wherever he can. As we playfully say around the market, “Leo has forgotten more about farming than we all know!” Leo’s farm is located in Dragoon, so we are graced with his smiling face from late March until October when the ground grows cold.
As Leo or any of our growers and ranchers could tell you, it can be difficult to get started in the farming industry, and many beginners must take a leap of passion and of faith. As a means to help offset some of the initial expenses, many of our farmers have developed community supported agriculture programs (CSAs). At the beginning of the program or season a farm will sell shares or memberships of their harvest to customers, and as the season flourishes the consumer can come and pick up their share (a box) of fresh vegetables or meat at the market each week through out the season. This is both an excellent way for farmers to help offset the farm’s operating costs and generate cash flow and a great way for consumers to really connect with the farming process, bringing home the freshest possible foods every week. Of course, not all of our thirty-somethings are offering CSAs– many of them choose to bring to the market what they have grown in their small gardens, hoping to grow their customer base as their farm grows, one small plot at a time.
If you are interested in researching our farmers and ranchers with CSA options they are:
Sleeping Frog Farms @ www.sleepingfrogfarms.com,
Double Check Ranch @ www.doublecheckranch.com.,
Walking J Farm @ www.walkingjfarm.com.
*** Stay Tuned….We will be writing more about CSA’s in upcoming articles.