Made In The Shade….

large shade tree

I love the shade.  There is nothing quite so refreshing as a large shade tree in order to be able to escape the sun on a warm day.  Well, guess what?  Vegetables enjoy some shade as well when temperatures start to rise in May in the desert.

I was fortunate to spend Saturday at a wonderful organic vegetable farm that is covered in a canopy of large shade trees.  My brother-in-law (Farmer Dad from Double S Farms) told me about it two weeks ago and I knew that was where I wanted to go for Mother’s Day.

large shade tree

Now, this farm is located right by a freeway that I have driven on countless times.  It is actually located on the edge of an Indian reservation.  You would never know that it existed – their existence is spread solely by word of mouth.  They do not advertise and don’t even have a website.  They provide produce to farmer’s markets as well as local restaurants. 

large shade tree

And so our day began.  I was anxious to explore this farm with my husband and kids.  To be honest, I can’t think of a nicer way to spend Mother’s Day then going somewhere new with my family.

large shade tree

One of my first glimpses into the farm revealed numerous vegetables growing underneath large Mesquite and Palo Verde trees.  I could hardly wait to get started, but first, my kids had to explore the outside of the store.

my son

This is my son, Kai who loves to explore and is always running ahead to see what is yet to be discovered.

Such as a swing….

large shade tree

My three youngest children, Ruthie, Gracie & Kai.  We are particularly enjoying time spent outdoors where Kai can be active since he will be having another surgery later this month which will leave him wheelchair bound for a couple of months.

large shade tree

The trail beckoned us onwards. 

Now, like most boys, Kai loves to run ahead of us wherever we go.  It is sometimes a chore to keep him close by.  But here, he was free to explore on up ahead of us.  As we caught up to him, we found him exiting an Indian tepee.  

large shade tree

Even though the temperatures were quite warm, it was very comfortable throughout the farm because most of it was covered in shade.

large shade tree

Tomato plants were flourishing underneath this Mesquite tree.

Then we came upon a group of perennials growing.  I didn’t tell my daughter, Ruthie what it was but told her to rub the leaves between her fingers and then to smell them. 

large shade tree

She was quite surprised to find out that mint comes from a plant.  You know, I just love how much kids can learn from visiting a farm.

Now, I have no idea what these plants are…..can someone enlighten me?

vegetables and herbs

Although we saw many types of vegetables and herbs being grown, there were some unusual things that we came across.

For example, three Mariachi singers were performing in the middle of the garden….

large shade tree

 This scarecrow would have scared my daughter, Gracie, but luckily she did not see it.

large shade tree

An open area by the store boasted an adobe oven.

large shade tree

There was even a place for Gracie to have a talk with her dad under the shade of the trees.

large shade tree

As we neared the end of our visit, we noticed something lurking 

outside of the chicken coop…

beautiful peacock

It was a beautiful peacock, furtively sneaking about.  As we got closer, we saw the reason why….

beautiful peacock

This pretty female peacock was inside of the chicken coop and he was stuck outside 😉

On our way back to the entrance, we walked by some huge cabbage.

large shade tree

And beautiful Artichokes…

Made In The Shade....

At the end, we finished off our visit at the little store.  I was surprised when I walked inside to discover that the floor was dirt.

available for sale

Vegetables and herbs of all sorts were available for sale.

available for sale
available for sale
available for sale

But I think the favorite part was the free bread and butter samples that my kids enjoyed.

available for sale

In addition to the little store, there were also some plants available for sale along with fish fertilizer.

available for sale

One of the most popular things about this farm, is their compost.  You can come and get compost in a burlap bag for $16 or a load in the back of your truck for $40.  I will definitely be getting my compost from them in the future.


I had an absolutely wonderful Mother’s Day on Saturday at the farm.

wonderful Mother's Day

 Me and my kids.   Rachele, me, my son-in-law Jeff, Brittney Gracie, Kai and Ruthie.

I hope you all had a great Mother’s Day.

**For those of you who would like to visit Singh Farms.  They are located on the northeast corner of Thomas Rd. and the 101 Freeway in Scottsdale.  They are open only on Saturday mornings from 8:00 to 1:00.

It is a wonderful place to visit.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
22 replies
  1. Turling
    Turling says:

    What a lovely looking place. Not what you would expect to see in the middle of the desert. You have a beautiful family, as well.

  2. Catherine@AGardenerinProgress
    Catherine@AGardenerinProgress says:

    This post makes me wonder how many places like this are around that are only known by word of mouth.
    It's interesting to see tomatoes growing under a tree, when here I struggle to find a place with full sun.
    It sure looks like a beautiful place and how fun that all of your kids went with you.

  3. Rosie@leavesnbloom
    Rosie@leavesnbloom says:

    Thats a lovely way to spend Mother's Day – I'm surprised that they are only open on Saturday mornings too!

    I think those mystery plants are either onions or else ornamental alliums – probably onions since it is a vegetable farm.

    I wonder how they irigate everything considering those big tree roots must suck up alot of the moisture in the ground.

  4. The Violet Fern
    The Violet Fern says:

    What a lovely family! What a great place to visit – a beautiful farm. You can just feel the peace and harmony and those happy veggies! I want to say that mystery plant is elephant garlic but have never really seen it before.

  5. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    What a wonderful place to spend some time roaming around. I wish I had some of that compost too. I have heard that fish emulsion is wonderful fertilizer but looking at it it may be a little steep for my pocketbook.

  6. Martha Z
    Martha Z says:

    I agree, a perfect way to spend Mother's Day. How nice that Kai was able to run and explore, he seems to be getting in as much as he can before his surgery.

  7. Ami
    Ami says:

    What a beautiful place to spend the Mother's day with all of your kids! Your kids seem very into the plants and gardening, mine are not. Although they were also nice enough to take their mom to visit a garden this Mother's Day, which I just made a post about 🙂

    Best wishes to Kai's surgery! Sounds like you gave him a Chinese name?

  8. Curbstone Valley Farm
    Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    What a charming farm! I really love the swing, too adorable. Your mystery plants look like something in the Allium genus to me. I might guess they're leeks going to seed? We have some here that overwintered that are looking remarkably similar at the moment. Wishing Kai the very best on his upcoming surgery!

  9. Liza
    Liza says:

    I can't get enough of posts like this. It's like being transported to an earlier, simpler era. Nicely done again, Noelle.

  10. Gloria
    Gloria says:

    What a great visit, post and story. I could picture it! You have a lovely family. We still are waiting for our weather to warm up and plant. It is to be 34 degrees tonight. Still brrrr. I have changed my blog to – Thanks for visits and comments. Gloria

  11. Finley and Oliver
    Finley and Oliver says:

    Noelle, I'm so glad you got to visit Singh Farms. Like you, I would have never realized the farm was there even though I've driven by on the freeway more times than I can count. Looks like you all had a lovely time.

  12. Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ
    Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ says:

    Hi Noelle,
    I having been hearing such wonderful things about Singh Farms and, after seeing your photos and story I just have to go there. The compost looks so rich and the great looking plants are proof of it. Thanks so much for another of your terrific tours and pictures of your wonderful family.

  13. Grace Peterson
    Grace Peterson says:

    It looks like it was an enjoyable day for all.

    I also like shade. I've noticed my Japanese Maple is gotten to the point where it supplies a lot of shade. I'm so glad for every bit I can get.

    What a beautiful family you have.

  14. Shady Gardener
    Shady Gardener says:

    Hi Noelle, You had a wonderful Mother's day!! 🙂 And a wonderful, memory-making time.

    Yep! I like the shade, too. I love some sunshine (must have a balance), but the shade is soooo relaxing and wonderful!

  15. James Missier
    James Missier says:

    What a beautiful mysterious garden. Really creative to put all the funny figurines here & there.
    Must be a lovely Mother's Day event.
    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Pam/Digging
    Pam/Digging says:

    What a cool place. I love the inside of that store, with the dirt floor and yummy looking veggies for sale. I think the mystery plant may be garlic.

  17. Kathleen Scott
    Kathleen Scott says:

    Noelle, thank you for sharing this! It was as much fun to see your family's joy as seeing the farm–which is awesome.

    Planting beneath the mesquites makes summer sense too here in the Texas Hill Country. High airy shade is probably enough to keep fruit from blistering.

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