One of the best things about Saturday morning is getting up to a bright, sunny day and making your way down to the local Farmer's Market, where you find colorful displays of fresh veggies and fruits, locally grown and offered with love.
Alas, the coming of October signals the end of the Farmer's Market for another season. All that yummy freshness is out of reach until late next spring.
Or is it?
Nope, and have we got a newsflash for you! The thrill of fresh produce is now here year round. Introducing the newest store in town: Farm Fresh Local Market, on East Gurley. It's pretty easy to recognize - there are two cows on the roof, at least temporarily.
It's the latest inspiration from Charlie Arnold, also known to wear another hat as Prescott City Councilman Arnold.
"It is a smaller general store, that carries Arizona-grown and locally produced produce, as much as possible," Arnold explained. "Today we have somewhere around 80% of our produce is either grown in the local area or the state of Arizona. In time we're going to be adding milk, eggs, cheese and meat."
So, isn't it tough to get locally produced goods this time of year? "It can be, but it comes down to knowing the right buyers and the right suppliers. As an example, watermelons right now could be considered out of season for Arizona, however we buy ours from Ria Rico, which is down south of Tucson. Their climate there allows them to continue to grow these, so we've got really nice, very fresh melons."
Arnold says that some of the food is organic, some is certified pesticide-free, some of it is conventional. "If they have any questions, we are more than happy to answer it, because we're the ones who either grow it, buy it, or we're the ones who have the information about where it came from."
Arnold explains, "We started a farm at the beginning of 2012, 20,000 square feet of green houses in Chino Valley, we were spending most of the time on the road at Farmers' Markets, and we realized that there was nowhere in Prescott that you could buy locally produced produce year 'round. That's what spawned the idea of opening the Farm Fresh Market here."
One of the things that most people don't know is that when you go to a grocery store and you see a sign that says 'Local produce now available,' they consider local produce anything that can be driven in a day on a truck, which is 700 miles away for a single driver, and twelve to thirteen hundred miles away for team drivers. So, when you hear local produce, many times it's actually produce that comes from other states and sometimes other countries as long as they can get here in one day."
"Our standard is that we look in Yavapai County first, then we look within the state, then we look within the region, which is the southwest region, and then we go beyond if we have to. As an example... The melons are from Southern Arizona, but the avocados right now are only being produced in Mexico. That's the only place you can buy them. So, our sign indicates that. We have no problem telling people where it comes from, who grows it and how it's grown."
"With our other products," Arnold continued. "As they become available, they are normally from suppliers we have long term relationships with. As an example, our grass-fed beef. We went to fourteen different farms and picked the beef that we're going to be carrying."
Arnold anticipates that the Farm Fresh Market will be able to offer beef, milk and eggs in 30-60 days.
The Grand Opening is Saturday (Dec. 22) from 9-5.
Who, What, Where:
Name: Farm Fresh Market
Specially featured are Hot House Naturals Farm from Chino Valley and Blue Sky Farms from Litchfield Park.
Location: 1120 E. Gurley, Prescott, AZ 86301
Tuesday & Wednesday: Closed
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