On a Wednesday in October Prescott Farmers Market staff member Rebecca Serratos gets up early, gathers all her ratchet straps, puts on a coat and heads out to Paulden, AZ to pickup freshly harvested produce from several family farms. The drive out is peaceful and easy, but she knows the traffic flowing into Prescott Valley and Prescott, AZ will soon pickup and she hurries in order to meet her deadline.
Prescott Farmers Market has been partnering with Pinnacle Prevention and Manzanita Outreach to create a coordinated effort to move local food across our communities. This community food web includes farmers, ranchers, food banks, nonprofit personnel, drivers, volunteers, and lots of dedication.
In a newly acquired refrigerated van (thanks to Pinnacle Prevention), Rebecca drives up to Aguiar Farm where Fernando is waiting and ready to load his 1,000 pounds of peppers, squash, and onions onto the truck. It is not lost on Rebecca the amount of time and effort it took to harvest, wash, and pack this much food in time for her to pickup. Rebecca continues on down the road and gathers an additional 750 pounds of tomatoes, potatoes, onion, and arugula from Reyes Farm and Hernandez Farm. Maria Hernandez offers her a cafecito on this cool morning but Rebecca politely declines, shes on a tight schedule! Rebecca is off to Dewey, AZ to meet up with Jimmy, a driver of an even bigger refrigerated truck from Cottonwood, AZ and owned by Manzanita Outreach.
The traffic is heavy now, with commuters to school and work, as the sun peaks up over Mingus Mountain. Rebecca pulls into Mortimer Farms’ parking lot, on the corner of highway 69 and Cherry Road and sees Jimmy is already there, waiting for her arrival. They get to work moving produce from the van to the truck and shed some layers in the process, its getting warm outside! Other vendors from Prescott Farmers Market, SuperNatural Sprouts and Bloomin’ Food, meet the truck as well and drop off their respective orders. Jimmy loads everything onto a pallet, wraps the load for the next leg of the trip, and everyone gives their goodbyes and hugs.
The local food collected is bound for food pantries and food box distribution sites across Yavapai County. Rebecca, feeling thankful that the pickups and drop off went smoothly, finally stops for that coffee at a local coffee shop in Prescott Valley, AZ before she heads into the office to answer emails and distribute checks to farmers.
We at Prescott Farmers Market often get asked what we do all week outside of our Saturday market—well, this is just a snapshot of the community work we are involved in that works to make healthy, local food accessible to all. If you are interested in supporting this work, or the work of our other programs, please consider donating today! PFM is a 501(c)(3) organization and a Qualifying Charitable Organization registered with the AZ State Tax Credit Program.