Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tonopah Rob

In our continuing efforts to eat better and eat organic, I have searched high and low for a local farmer's market. The few I attended were heavy on the crafts, light on the veggies. What's a girl to do? Well, if you live in the West Valley of Arizona, you go to Tonopah Rob's!

Rob has about five acres out in the desert west of Phoenix. My family and I toured his farm today and brought home a bag full of yumminess. Fennel, turnips, pink and orange cauliflower, swiss chard, turnips....all grown locally, all grown naturally. Rob calls himself a "natural" farmer. He uses no soaps, sprays, pesticides or insecticides, even even if the USDA allows them for use on commercial organic crops.  He uses bugs, birds, lizards and snakes to protect his crops. Nothing has been dipped, bleached, power sprayed or waxed. They pull it out of the ground, rinse it and sell it off. It's a beautiful thing.

In addition to fruits and veggies, Rob also sells fresh organic eggs. He has quite the poultry flock from which my kids learned two very important lessons.
  • Lesson One: Giant turkey (pictured below) may sound cool but if you gobble back in his face he WILL chase you. 
  • Lesson Two: Chickens are cute but sticking your fingers through the chicken wire will result in pecked fingers. 

After bandaging the wounds my children acquired while learning said lessons, my husband and I picked Rob's brain as best we could for garden knowledge. He's a busy guy but between garden tours and shooting the breeze with his regulars, he was kind enough to indulge some of our questions. It turns out we're watering everything way too much, our tomatoes probably need more calcium, and if we plant crops from the nightshade family around our citrus trees we can kiss our aphid problem goodbye. I admire Rob and what's he's done. Not only is he providing us with nutritious natural food, but he is building a community and teaching those who listen about a simpler and more sustainable way to live. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning!


  1. Michelle GrigsbyApril 3, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    Sounds like you had a great time! I will have to check it out.

  2. Wow Steph, aside from educating you are def an entertaining writer! Love it!

  3. danielle diaz-gonzalezApril 11, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    After reading this I am excited to check this place out! I am taking the fam. there this up coming weekend!