Error

Close

search
OPN Connect Newsletter 289 · October 6, 2022

Duncan Family Farms Expanding Organic Herb Production


Duncan Family Farms, which grows 8,000 acres of certified organic baby lettuces and greens, kale, specialty vegetables, and herbs, is continuing to expand its organic herb line as the company’s herb production has seen increased acreage to support its customers in Arizona and the Southwest region.

The biggest opportunity the company sees in the years ahead relates to its geographic diversity in New York, Arizona, and Oregon. “Our geographic diversity offers us an opportunity to focus on items that grow well in these areas and to bring seasonal, high-flavor products to the market,” said Patty Emmert, community relations and marketing manager for the Goodyear, AZ-based company. “The industry is seeing continued demand for more local product, and we believe we can showcase each one of our locations with seasonal items that are locally and regionally distributed.”

OPS 2023 Retailer Registration

Patty Emmert, Community Relations and Marketing Manager, Duncan Family Farms

For example, Duncan Family Farms saw a demand for shishito peppers that were both locally grown and organic and have experienced a great response to this item in the Arizona market. 

“We have begun distributing them into the surrounding states looking for additional growth and expanding into more of a regional footprint,” Emmert said. “This allows us to reduce food miles and harvest products at peak freshness with high flavor for our customers.”

Vitalis February 2023

“The industry is seeing continued demand for more local product, and we believe we can showcase each one of our locations with seasonal items that are locally and regionally distributed.” - Patty Emmert

The company is busy trialing new items in each of its locations in order to bring a diversity of products to the market.  

Duncan Family Farms’ roots run deep in the farming industry. Arnott Duncan is a fourth-generation Arizona farmer who left his family’s farm in 1985 and began growing a few hundred acres of conventionally grown row crops.

In 1992, Arnott and his wife Kathleen, decided they wanted to reach out to the community to bridge the gap between urban and rural life, so they began offering educational tours for school groups and establishing a small, seasonal produce stand at their farm site.

Arnott Duncan, Founder, Duncan Family Farms

During the first year alone, 18,000 students visited the farm, and in the second year, the number of student visitors nearly doubled.

The company is busy trialing new items in each of its locations in order to bring a diversity of products to the market.  

“By its 11-year run, Duncan Family Farms had become a recreational and educational destination that was one of the fastest growing agricultural-tourism sites in the country for many years,” Emmert said. “Though the tourism program came to close, Duncan Family Farms has remained committed to being a neighbor and an integral part of the community through its farming practices, products it offers, and continual educational growth opportunities.”

Duncan Family Farms basil hoop house

Due to Duncan’s geographic diversity and progressive farming methods, the company is able to grow a diverse range of products, ranging from seasonal to year-round offerings, with local, regional, and national distribution from its growing regions.

“Duncan’s continuous curiosity drives them to always find new and better ways to care for the land and for people,” Emmert said. "There is a passion inherent in their culture to always strive to find new ways to approach farming in areas such as soil management, water conservation, or technology to grow and distribute healthy, life-giving food.”

Duncan Family Farms sage

The company’s curiosity and passion for farming is embedded in its culture, which fosters the ability to be both reflective and forward-thinking in its ideas and farming practices. 

“Though the tourism program came to close, Duncan Family Farms has remained committed to being a neighbor and an integral part of the community through its farming practices, products it offers, and continual educational growth opportunities.” - Patty Emmert

“It’s not just about remaining relevant that motivates the Duncan team, but the pursuit of excellence in tending the ground they farm and caring for their communities is what Duncan strives for each and every day,” Emmert said.

The challenges Duncan Family Farms faces today are not unique—labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, rising costs of inputs, water shortages, and extreme fluctuations in the climate are affecting everyone in the ag industry. 

“On the positive side, we are seeing innovative solutions via technology that are helping to address many of these challenges, and farmers everywhere are seeking out new ways to implement processes to offset these ongoing challenges,” Emmert said.

Want Fresh News Delivered Regularly?

Sign up for OPN Connect 

Stay current on all the most important news
and features with our weekly newsletter.

Sign Up Todaykeyboard_arrow_right