Originally Published: July 11, 2010 10 p.m.
PAULDEN - "I've wanted to have a big garden since the age of 16, but life got in the way," said Chuck Fleming, owner of Shady Acres Farm. "So when we moved here, I was finally able to have the space and soil to have one.
Fleming and Sheilah Keith work from morning to night tending, watering and weeding their two-acre garden where they grow an abundance of vegetables.
Fleming and Keith grow tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, okra, potatoes, carrots, beets, garlic, onions, cabbage and much more.
"We also grow Sunchoke, which most people haven't heard of. It is in the sunflower family and is very heart healthy, especially for people with diabetes," Fleming said.
"You eat the root of the Sunchoke, and it is real good sliced in a salad or you can slice it and fry it in olive oil like fried potatoes," Keith added.
Fleming and Keith practice sustainable agriculture (no pesticides). One of the things they use to fight off insects on their vegetables is plain soap and water.
Besides growing all these fresh vegetables, the couple also can many of them and sell the canned veggies and fresh ones at the Farmers' Markets not only in Chino Valley but also in Prescott and Prescott Valley.
Fleming and Keith work very hard farming, but like Keith says, "I like gardening because it gives me positive thinking and time to be with nature."
Harvesting the rewards from their labor, and seeing the appreciation from people to get to buy fresh produce is what Fleming likes about farming.
"I like growing things. The real payoff is seeing that from a tomato seed, you can get a whole bucket of beautiful tomatoes," Fleming said smiling. "It's always amazing to me to see the bounty you can get from a single seed."
Diane DeHamer works for the Chino Valley Review.