Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Destinations: Singh Farms in Scottsdale

Destinations: Singh Farms in Scottsdale by Style Jaunt

Recently, a certain men's media site published an "article" in which the writer listed all of the reasons why he thought Greater Phoenix was "the worst place ever." I use the word "article" loosely because this was an extremely one-sided, sensational piece that was obviously meant to incite scandal more than it was to tell any kind of worthwhile story.

Honestly, I don't know what annoyed me more - the fact that this guy (a Phoenician) wrote such a mutinous piece, the fact that said media site published such poorly written, whiny garbage, or the fact that several local news organizations only added fuel to his egotistical fire by naming him and the site, and linking to his post. It was all very obnoxious.

But I digress! Point is...

There are a lot of really great people doing really great things in Arizona.

Sadly, you don't always hear their stories because scandal draws more eyes and ears than goodwill does.

But we can work to change that, can't we?

Destinations: Singh Farms in Scottsdale by Style Jaunt

One of my favorite, most inspirational people that I met on my last trip to Scottsdale is Ken Singh of Singh Farms. A hungry businessman turned farmer, Ken's story, when he tells it, is laced mostly with anecdotes about the people that he loves: his father, his uncle, his wife, his kids - all of whom were, in some way, motivation in creating the sustainable utopia that is Singh.

In my pre-trip post about Scottsdale, I categorized Singh Farms as a "farmer's market," but as my friend Laura aptly pointed out, "It's so much more." On Saturdays, there is a market where you can buy fresh, local produce. (Go early - locals love this place and it sells out quickly!) What I failed to mention is that this fresh, local produce is picked literally moments before the market opens. Nothing you buy from Singh has been out of the ground for more than a few hours. And, yes, it all comes from the desert! Ken grows artichokes, corn, squash, tomatoes, peaches...the list goes on.

Think of Singh Farms as an agricultural amusement park. There's the farm shop, plus food stands where local vendors make pizzas, tamales, fresh-pressed juice and other treats from Ken's goods. There's live music, flowers for sale, tables for picnicking, even a teepee for kids to explore - all under the natural, green canopy that Ken created.

Destinations: Singh Farms in Scottsdale by Style Jaunt

Destinations: Singh Farms in Scottsdale by Style Jaunt

Destinations: Singh Farms in Scottsdale by Style Jaunt

All of this - the market, the food stands, the sense of community - was an unplanned but vital byproduct of Ken's ultimate goal: to change the way we eat. When he first bought this plot of land off the side of Scottsdale's 101 freeway, it was nothing but unforgiving caliche dirt. He worked the soil...and he worked it and he worked it, all with the intention of creating a parcel of nutrient-rich, balanced earth that would someday grow nutrient-rich, balanced food.

Today, Ken supplies many of Phoenix and Scottsdale's top restaurants with fruits and veggies for their menus. He also, and this is my favorite part, hosts and leads school field trips at the farm where he explains to kids that No, carrots don't come from the grocery store, they come from the ground. He lifts up rocks to show them the rolly pollies that live underneath. He takes them to the chicken coop so they can see what eggs really look like.

They chase butterflies. They play in the dirt. They sit quietly and listen to the sounds of nature.

For many of the kids, it's their first time seeing lettuce that's not stuffed into a plastic bag.

Destinations: Singh Farms in Scottsdale by Style Jaunt

Destinations: Singh Farms in Scottsdale by Style Jaunt

Destinations: Singh Farms in Scottsdale by Style Jaunt

Destinations: Singh Farms in Scottsdale by Style Jaunt

Destinations: Singh Farms in Scottsdale by Style Jaunt

There are no chemicals or pesticides in use at Singh Farms. It's all about a natural cycle because, as Ken smartly poses, how can we use pesticides to kill off bugs and expect it to not kill our soil and our bodies?

A visit to Singh Farms is very eye-opening, if you want it to be.

Otherwise, it's also just a relaxing place to start off your weekend. Bite into a juicy peach, play hide-and-seek with your kids, experience what real corn and cheese tastes like when it's spread on top of homemade pizza dough.

Enjoy life.

It's what Ken wants you to do.

PHOTOS BY: Me!
MORE INFO: Singh Farms

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