Nearly three decades ago, Patagonia Orchards co-founders, Philip Ostrom and Sherry Luna, started a small truck farm in the Verde Valley of Northern Arizona. As they worked to bring their products to Arizona stores and farmers markets, they soon realized transportation would be difficult, and in 1988 they purchased their first refrigerated truck. Working long, hard hours growing, packing and distributing their produce, Philip and Sherry traversed vast areas, from the mountains of Flagstaff to the desert cities of Phoenix and Tucson and lots of small towns in between. Word spread of “the couple with the truck” and before they knew it, other farmers were asking the couple to distribute their produce as well, and the first statewide distribution company for Arizona-grown organic produce was born.
Helping other Arizona farmers distribute produce to larger markets soon became Philip and Sherry’s overriding passion and they sold their farm equipment and bought newer, bigger refrigerated trucks. They relocated to Patagonia and became the first produce operation in Arizona to be exclusively certified as organic. Patagonia Orchards continued to expand its grower base with organic citrus and vegetable farmers from Phoenix, organic squash and potato farmers from the Navajo Nation, date farmers from Yuma, and tomato and apple growers from Willcox. When farmers from Mexico began to ask Patagonia Orchards to sell organic Mexican produce as well, the company began working internationally. Today Patagonia Orchards grows, packs, ships and distributes over 12 million pounds of produce from its hub in Rio Rico to Arizona stores, national chains and distributors throughout the United States and Canada.