Farming family: 3 generations operate Triple Farms Produce
MOHAVE VALLEY — Named for the three generations of women who tend the crops, Triple Farms Produce harvests hundreds of pounds of produce weekly at its farm in Mohave Valley.
During an average week, Brittany Pennington, her mom, Suzanne Evans, and grandmother, Rosalie Kroeber, supply 100 bags of greens, 100 pounds of tomatoes, 30 bunches of root crops, 20 pounds of citrus, 200 pounds of squash, 100 melons and hundreds of pounds of other assorted fruits and vegetables to Tri-state residents looking for fresh crops.
“I started growing produce to sell to the public around 2009,” said Evans. “When I started I had a small field and we only grew five things: beets, collards, swiss chard, carrots and green onions.”
Pennington joined her mother the following year and they quickly moved into a larger store.
“I moved out here in 2010 and we committed to doing this as our business,” Pennington said. “Now we sell lots of different types of goods.”
When patrons go into the Triple Farms Produce store they see a chart of what the farm grows, such as beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, cucumbers, lemons, lettuce, melons, oranges, pears, grapefruit and more.
“The guideline gives people a starting off point,” said Pennington. “For example, melons are on there but I grow different types such as canary, cantaloupe and honeydew. We are lucky being close to the river that we are able to have an agriculture well that we get clean water from. But all of this stuff can be grown anywhere throughout the valley.”
Having a produce farm in a place that gets very hot and can get cold early in the morning takes some experimenting to get a good crop, they said.
“We have a greenhouse that we made and in the winter we wrap it with plastic to keep it warm and keep it at an even temperature,” said Pennington. “During the summer, we switch the plastic for shade cloth that we put on all the sides and on the roof of the greenhouse to keep it cool.”
Pennington and Evans enlist various types of farming, ensuring they see high-producing crops throughout the growing season.
“We have a hydroponic greenhouse where the main tank is full of water and nutrients which it pumps to the different locations throughout the hydroponic greenhouse,” Pennington said. “This is such a great way to grow since there’s no weeding and there’s hardly any pests in here. Our newest edition is a shaded greenhouse which we keep the shade cloth on year-round. I have plastic halfway up on the side of the wall which is used as a windbreaker. This basically extends the season later into the summer and it helps me start things earlier in the fall as well.”
Ensuring healthy crops takes knowledge and attention.
“We have a couple of big sections that we rotate so we don’t introduce different bacteria to different crops,” said Pennington. “In the sections, we have broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, green onions, cilantro and more depending on the season. Our greens are our biggest sellers and I think it’s because we pick them fresh and we sell them fresh to our customers.”
Besides the produce, Triple Farms has a variety of farm animals.
“We have about 75 laying hens and about 50 more chicks that will start laying eggs by next spring which is good because eggs are one of the products that we sell the most,” said Pennington. “We also have bantam chicks, they lay eggs as well but they’re mostly for the children to play with and admire. We have a zebu cow, snowy call ducks, a goose and Pygora goats. My mom uses their fiber to create all kinds of different things but they also have the best composting manure.”
The farm closes during the summer months when it gets too hot and Pennington uses that time to prepare the fields for the next season, she said.
“We tear all the old dead plants and we compost them while putting in new fertilizer,” Pennington said. “Instead of spraying the leaves, we let the goats and horses graze on them to keep everything down. We use plastic mulch where we flood irrigate and that helps keep the weeds down and keeps the soil ready. The plastic mulch also helps us protect the seeds because it prevents the birds from getting to them.”
Evans returns to the family’s property in Michigan during the hottest months.
“We have about 50 fruit trees that I harvest the fruit, freeze it and bring it back down here for us,” she said.
Patrons can purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs and other things at Triple Farms Produce, 9566 Evans Lane, on Wednesday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, contact Pennington at 609-548-3870 or Evans at 989-859-2965.
“I encourage people to follow us on our Facebook page called Triple Farms Produce,” said Pennington. “On Facebook, I put what we have for sale in our store so people can have an idea before they come and we don’t have what they were looking for.”