Farmers markets surrounding Tombstone are connecting seasonal local produce with community tables.
The land surrounding the town “too tough to die” isn’t a desert wasteland, but is thriving with local produce. Community farmers markets are linking the health, social and economic values of seasonal produce and making them accessible to Tombstone.
“People are feeling the need to spend their money locally,” said Diane Jones, a director of the Sierra Vista Farmers Market. “I don’t think anyone in Southern Arizona is immune to that. Farmers markets are such a good source of food and a lot of people don’t realize that all of these things grow in Arizona.”
Purchasing in-season produce from local vendors and shopping at farmer’s markets has increased exponentially in the past 10 years, Jones said.
“The area used to be for agriculture and people either sold off or went to other resources. They have increased food production,” said Laura Smith, manager of Bisbee Farmers Market. “Farmers markets entice more growing and to get people to do more growing.”
Local seasonal produce in Southern Arizona has a variety of benefits, including supporting local economies, trustworthy food sources and access to healthy choices.
“Your money stays in your own community. For example, the honey guy is going to go get gas in his car and buy his kid’s clothes,” said Jones.
Smith said that markets inspire community and allow towns in Southern Arizona to work together. Tombstone vendors, including worm farmers and those growing herbs and plants, participate in the Bisbee Farmers Market. Alongside the economic and social benefits, the overall nutrient value of the food is correlated with what is in season.
“People who go to farmers markets learn (the growing) seasons,” said Jones. “Right now, we have so many greens and people learn why they’re so important in their diets.”
Kales, lettuces, spinach, chard and beet greens are the most populous seasonal crops found at Southern Arizona farmers markets.
“People are used to the grocery store where things come from all over the world,” said Jones. “When you get seasonal stuff, you get the fresh stuff.”
• Sierra Vista Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays at Veterans’ Memorial Park, 3105 E. Fry Blvd., Sierra Vista.
• Bisbee Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Vista Park in Warren.
• Sunsites Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, the lawn in front of Shadow Mountain Golf Clubhouse, 1105 Irene St., Pearce/Sunsites.