Arizona vegetable company grows in desert

07/03/2013 11:03:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

A grower is transforming northern Arizona desert into a vegetable production area.

Kingman FarmsCourtesy Kingman FarmsThis bell pepper field is part of a new northern Arizona growing operation. A developer that owns Kingman Farms LLC in Golden Valley, Ariz., is growing produce on desert land. The farm also grow corn, melons and cabbage. Kingman Farms LLC, Golden Valley, Ariz., plans to supply vegetables and melons in the early fall window before the Nogales, Ariz., deal starts.

This summer and fall, it plans to harvest bell peppers, hot peppers, sweet corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower from 600 acres. Plans are to increased that to 2,000 acres next season, said Dick Mills, general manger of farm operations.

Within five years, Kingman Farms plans to be growing vegetables on 15,000 acres, but other acreage includes alfalfa, hay and grain corn, he said.

The operation plans to field pack and ship from a 12,000 square foot refrigeration facility it’s constructing.

By 2015, it expects to add a packing operation, Mills said.

Las Vegas developer Jim Rhodes wanted to find a use for the land he was paying taxes on that he originally planned to build houses on before the housing bust, Mills said.

Mills said the virgin desert farmland close to Las Vegas and Phoenix should be ideal for retailers wanting to promote local produce.

Still, Kingman plans to ship throughout the U.S., Mills said.

“The opportunity’s here,” he said. “We are here to try capitalize on the season and being able to grow it locally. I can’t express the enthusiasm of him (Rhodes) taking on this operation. To get into farming these days is a tough business, but he was game and wants it done. He’s bringing in the right people to make it happen.”

Kingman plans to harvest bell and specialty peppers in August, corn, watermelon and cantaloupe in early September, and its cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in late October.

It’s testing eggplant and pumpkins and Mills said it plans to grow vine ripe tomatoes next season.

With 45 years of farming experience, Mills worked in his family’s Bonita Springs, Fla., produce growing operation and was in warehouse management for 10 years with Thomas Produce Co. in Boca Raton, Fla., before joining J&J Produce Inc. in Loxahatchee, Fla., where he was executive vice president of warehouse and operations.



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kitty finnigan    
Olympia,wa  |  July, 03, 2013 at 11:53 AM

This is a good story other than you forgot to mention if he is growing organically or using monsanto's seeds and methods. There are a lot of people who will want to know this sooner or later. Thanks, Kitty

John    
Las Vegas  |  July, 03, 2013 at 01:44 PM

This is a good story, BUT, lets ALSO not forget that he (Rhodes) has a very shady past. He has had problems with creditors and filing bankruptcy for protection in 2009.

peter    
ga  |  July, 03, 2013 at 03:03 PM

Yea, I heard the samething about Rhodes, but every developer across this country went through the same thing he did in the housing market crashed some just quit and you have people like Rhodes that is still trying to create jobs for the area, nice job! Be believers not haters!

Robert Murphy    
Golden Valley AZ  |  July, 04, 2013 at 07:21 AM

I live 5 miles from the farm-- What a nice set up it is-I have friends working on the construction side of the operation-- From what I understand they are going to restart the master planned community Pravada this month-- Land in the area is starting to sell at over $ 20,000 per acre-- The land boom is back--With the coming housing project and this farm setup --Golden Valley is back on the Economical Growth Map-- Nice to have you back Jim Rhodes

Mark    
AZ  |  July, 05, 2013 at 12:51 PM

I have seen pictures of that New Farm Operation, there Crops are beautiful, Dick the GM is a real stand up man, and has put together a program that most were questioning if the desert land would do what he said it would, to Dick & his team what a Job !!!!!

Ray    
AZ  |  July, 05, 2013 at 01:15 PM

I have never seen Squash growing on a scale of this size, its crazy what Dick's team is doing, his farm manger Mike Thomas is doing a great job! Way to go guys can't wait till you all start harvesting!

Sandy    
Ga  |  July, 08, 2013 at 05:32 PM

What a great Job nice looking veggies Keep up the good work. Not to many people would take this challange an do something with it.Keep up the good work Dick Mills Dick sure knows what he is doing.I congrat you on a HARD job well done!!! Thanks for all you do for this industry!

Jeff    
Indiana  |  July, 09, 2013 at 11:04 AM

This is a very good story.I was very intrigued to hear that Dick Mills is in Arizona.Mr.Rhodes is very lucky to have a man like Mills on his team.This guy works very well under presure and the outcome is always in the best interest of the farming industry.I have worked with Mills in the farming industry in the past and if their was a guy to have in the new farm industry in Arizona Mills would be my pick.(GOOD JOB FARM LOOKS GREAT)

guy    
golden valley  |  July, 12, 2013 at 04:31 PM

as long as monsanto isnt involved.and you arent pumping tons of chemicals on the crops more power to you.no GMO"s please

Patricia    
Golden Valley  |  August, 23, 2013 at 11:48 AM

The GMO issue is important but not too many big profiteers are interested in our health. We can encourage NON GMO by buying as much of the good stuff as we can. I am happy for the job market and the use of the desert.

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