I am not sure exactly how I came across this sweet little place -- perhaps it caught my eye on Instagram. This small farm stand displaying photos of vegetable plants, fresh produce and eggs kept popping up on my feed. I was intrigued when I researched where it was located, and discovered to my surprise it was right in my neighborhood.
I took a drive one evening to check it out – conveniently located right off Pomeroy on Applegate. When you get to the fork in the road on Applegate, go right and the cute little stand is just a bit up the road on the right. It looked so adorable and quaint. I was looking forward to returning soon. There is a little parking area inside the fence as well as a hitching post for those on horseback!
My husband and I were in the process of planting our vegetable garden in our raised beds and we were not finding the types of tomato plants we wanted to grow. I read on the Shady Oaks Farm Stand post that they had Brandywine, Candyland Red, San Marzano, Roma and Red Siberian. We were at our local nursery that weekend and they were sold out of those types of tomato plants. I told my husband, why don’t we go check out this little place? We are glad we did. We now have 21 tomato plants planted in our garden and cannot wait till it’s time to harvest. My mother wanted to check out the stand later that day so we returned to pick up some fresh lemons and avocados.
I reached out to them via Instagram to see if I could find out more about their farm. Their daughter in law Neiva sent back some information about the operation which is far more than just the stand – and it sounded magical! She and her husband Joseph Slagle, and her in laws Shella and Donald Caroni all have their special niches to help work and run the family farm together.
Donald Caroni grew up ranching dairy with his father in Guadalupe, Ca. at Caroni Dairy and later ranched beef up until he retired in 2005. He purchased these 13 acres back in 1989 and he and Shella married in 1990. They raised three children there while growing the farm.
Neiva says, “We all do a little bit of everything, but we also have our niches”. Don is teaching them all his expertise about the trees in the orchard. Their orchard consists of various avocado trees that include Gwen, Zutano, Forte, Hass and Bacon varietals. Their aromatic citrus trees include large navel oranges, improved Meyer lemons, Pink Lemonade Lemons and Mexican Limes. Shella and Don take care of the major operations such as tending to the land, setting up irrigation, as well as running the tractor and making lines. You will notice the cute wood-burned signed and a daily sale sign that were all made and tended to by Shella.
Neiva and Joseph tend to the animal husbandry where they raise lambs, chickens and turkeys. They raise them for meat and fresh eggs. Their hens are farms raised and allowed to be free range all day. Neiva says, “they in turn gift us with big beautiful eggs with rich yolks that we share with the community”. She and her husband also tend to the harvest of the fruit and help set up the stand. Neiva’s father built the stand and it was Joseph’s idea to put in the hitching post. There are a lot of walkers, cyclists and horseback riders that pass by and can stop in to purchase some fresh vegetables or fruit and take a complimentary ice-cold bottle of water with a purchase.
Shady Oaks Farm has a greenhouse where they grow their seedlings into plants for purchase. Tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and peppers are just a few of the plants they grow. There will be much more fruit available for sale in the coming months as they harvest.
Right as they were setting up to open business the COVID-19 crisis hit. However, their little business is set up as an honor stand and it has worked wonders for them. They have a little black mailbox on the stand where you deposit money for your purchases. Neiva says, “our goal in the end is to be able to provide a consistent output of fresh produce, cut flowers, and possibly baked goods in the future for our community on the Mesa and beyond.”
I am very happy to have found this little stand. It is nice knowing that family-owned and operated businesses like this one are here locally to provide what you may not find at the store – and in a safer environment! Neiva sent photos of Donald, Shella, Joseph and herself as well as some photos of the cute Shady Oaks Farm stand. I shot one of myself on my first visit as well. I can see why it’s called the Shady Oaks Farm stand as it is located on a beautiful piece of property with a large canopy of stunning oaks shading the area. I was smitten and was excited to hear more about the spot. Stop by when you are in the area and enjoy.
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