Have you ever driven down Old Spanish Trail on a Saturday morning and noticed the festivities happening at the barn? Every week, the Rincon Valley Farmer’s and Artisan’s market goes in full swing to bring Vail residents local foods, crafts, and goods. It’s delicious. It’s lively. And it’s put on by Vail native, Laura Brumbelow.
Here’s her story in her words.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Laura Brumbelow. I was born and raised in Vail, but moved to Tucson to attend the U of A and moved back because I am a country girl at heart. I went to school in Vail when there was only one school- Old Vail Middle School. I attended Acacia Elementary the first year it was built. When I started high school there wasn’t a single high school in Vail so I attended Desert Christian in Tucson.
I am the proud mother of 3 children, my daughter, Ruby Sue, 7, my son, Cien, 5, and my baby girl, Katara who is 17 months. My husband, Aaron and I have a small hobby farm, with chickens, goats and cows. We are expanding my garden this year to include a small permaculture field and green house. My focus is native plants, including Hopi Red Dye Amaranth, Hopi Blue Corn, and sunflowers. We call our eggs Ruby Specials because they are green, brown and white from our Americana chickens. Last year I started hatching our eggs for our birthdays. My husband is a jack of all trades, but loves teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu, which he has practiced for over a decade.
2. How long have you managed the Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market on Old Spanish Trail?
Seven years since September 2007.
3. What’s your favorite memory from one of the Saturdays at the barn?
I am so blessed to be able to bring my children with me to work and every Saturday we create new memories. This last Saturday my daughter Ruby and her friend Sarai found a new favorite vegetable from South Winds Farm in Benson, the haru kei turnip, a white Japanese turnip. They liked them and the fresh carrots so much they wanted to have a “vegetable race” to see who could eat them the fastest.
4. What’s the best part about the Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market?
I love the fact that I get to advocate for shopping local and supporting our local farmers and artisans! Our market is like a big family. I love seeing my daughter learn to love vegetables. Last month they were excited to get Clay, the farmer at South Winds Farms autograph on his picture in the Vail Voice. That is the kind of world I want, where my children’s heroes are the ones who grow them fresh, good food, not super heroes who beat up on people.
5. When people come to visit you in Vail, where is your favorite place to take them?
The Rincon Valley Farmers & Artisans Market of course. It is a beautiful drive and we have some many amazing artisans. Also, we always have something yummy to eat from burritos to pizza.
6. What are your top 3 favorite things about living/working in Vail?
1. The open space and beautiful scenery. I get to enjoy our beautiful scenery on the way to work and the way home. That is one of the reasons I love working for the non-profit, Rincon Institute, they advocate for open space. The Rincon Valley Farmers & Artisans Market is a project of the Rincon Institute, a non-profit organization that works to integrate community and conservation throughout the Rincon, Vail, and Tanque Verde valleys.
The Rincon Institute’s mission is to protect the natural resources of the Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park, the Rincon Valley and the Cienega Corridor.
The Market helps preserve the rural cultural heritage of our area by giving southern Arizona farmers a market for their goods, which helps preserve open space by keeping small farms in business, and offering an important community gathering place. The market prides itself on providing local products, supporting local artisans and farmers, and partnering with the community. Supporting locally grown foods and locally produced crafts reduces the amount of non-renewable resources used in transporting non-local goods. Reducing the amount of energy we require supports environmental sustainability and overall protection of sensitive resources. The RVFM helps maintain the rural character of the Rincon Valley while supporting local artisans and farmers which makes it a natural fit for a conservation organization like the Rincon Institute.
2. I don’t have to drive to Tucson every day I am able to work from home except for going to our business office downtown once a week and the Market on Saturdays.
3. People are more friendly working in Vail than in town. The Market is like a big family.
7. Promo time! What events do you have in the works that Vail residents won’t want to miss?
We have our Community Information Day this Saturday January 10th from 8am to 1pm to give local businesses and groups an opportunity to attend the Market and reach out to the local community. We will have live music by the Old Timers. We have the Community Information Days about 4 times a year.
We have a Pet Day the third Saturday of every month where the vet is out to give vaccinations from 9am to noon. Also we have the Community SALE or large yard sale behind the Barn the third and last Saturday of the month. It is a great opportunity for those of us that prefer not to have one at home due to a lack of foot traffic.
Our big event of the year is our Roasted Chile Festival the third Saturday in September from 9am to 3pm. If there is only one day you attend the Market that should be it. We have fresh roasted chiles, live music, fun, food, and a ton of artisans and other vendors.
The Rincon Valley Farmers & Artisans Market is open every Saturday year-round from 8am to 1pm. Stop by and say hi this Saturday. If you have a garden that is producing extra organic or pesticide- free produce call Laura about bringing it to the Market at 591-BARN (2276).