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Desert Farming

Where to experience desert farming
Desert Farming
Local Preservation Success Stories 
 

Where to experience desert farming

Santa Cruz Valley residents and visitors have many opportunities to experience and learn about the agricultural heritage of this region. There are a number of wineries in the Sonoita and Elgin areas, and many farmers’ markets, pick-your-own farms, and research and conservation farms open to the public. Grocery stores, delis, and specialty shops sell local foods, including wines, pecans, Mexican spices, cactus fruit products, desert wildflower honey, and other items. Annual "blessing of the vines" and harvest festivals are held at wineries in Elgin. 

Check out our Heritage Experiences map to see where else you can experience desert farming in the Santa Cruz Valley.     
Click here for family farm adventures!

Desert Farming
Irrigation from surface flows ceased in the late 1800s and early 1900s as water tables dropped and the river channel incised its floodplain in many places. However, irrigated farming has continued throughout the valley through groundwater pumping. 

Today, the main valley is still an important producer of cotton, wheat, pecans, and other crops. Native American crops are being cultivated again with Colorado River water from the Central Arizona Project canal. Vineyards and fruit orchards have been recently developed in areas of the watershed with the proper elevations and soils.

The development of desert farming in the U.S. is a unique theme among existing National Heritage Areas. With its 3,500-year history of agriculture that continues until today, and its many active crop conservation and reintroduction programs, this region is well-suited to interpret this theme through the framework of a National Heritage Area. Such a designation will create new opportunities for preservation of traditional crops and education of residents and visitors about the long agricultural history of this region.

Read about the Desert Farming theme in the feasibility study.

Local Preservation Success Stories
The Marana Farm is an example of a Desert Farming preservation success story. Read more!

 

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