By Christa Esquibel

When buying produce in Arizona, a common misconception is that our groceries were grown on farms in California. However, Arizona has roughly 20,000 farms that produce some of the state’s most demanded products, including cattle, dairy products, lettuce, hay, lemons, wheat, cantaloupes, spinach, and cauliflower.

Residents can support local farmers by shopping at farmers markets located around the Valley. Get Local AZ Farmers Markets, formerly known as Momma’s Organic Market, organizes two weekly markets showcasing the best of the community’s agricultural offerings. The newest market is every Sunday in North Peoria, located at 9621 W. Speckled Gecko Dr. and Saturday in Arrowhead at 7780 W. Arrowhead Town Center.

Get Local AZ’s open-air markets include a popular farmer from Waddell, microgreen growers from Phoenix, ranchers from Araviapa and Alpine, a dairy farmer from Elfrida and more coming and going through the year, depending on the season.

These farmers provide a variety of produce at each market. The largest farmer, Fresh & Local TJ Farms, roasts fresh green chilies and peppers every Saturday and Sunday. In addition, other farmers provide raw milk, fresh sourdough bread, farm fresh eggs, local beef, pork, chicken, raw/local honey, freshly made desserts, local butter, cheese, Keifer yogurt, and more.

Buying these products directly helps these farmers because farming is not the profession or industry it used to be. Commercial, subsidized farms have seemingly taken over. Supporting small businesses in your community ensures your dollars stay local and keeps these businesses alive.

The more a community invests in locally grown produce, dairy, meat, bread, eggs, honey, etc., the larger impact it makes for farmers right in your own backyard. Each farmer has their own unique story and is working hard every day because they want to provide quality products for their community.

For decades, weekend farmer’s markets have played a pivotal role in communities across the country. Many, such as ours, include high-quality products and activities to keep family members of all ages engaged. Get Local AZ Farmers Market welcomes everyone and wants you to enjoy shopping and leave feeling good knowing that you are eating the freshest of produce and supporting other local families.