The richly watered Verde Valley of Central Arizona has served as a breadbasket for humans for over 2,000 years. The earliest farmers were the Hohokam people, the same culture that once thrived in Phoenix's Salt River Valley. The Hohokam developed extensive networks of irrigation canals that transformed the bottomlands of both valleys into rich agricultural areas. These canals serve as a powerful reminder of the Hohokam and their relationship to the land.
The Sinagua people entered the region around 800 AD. The Sinagua continued to use irrigation canals, but they also mastered the art of dry-farming beans, maize, squash, and other crops. The Sinagua people flourished along the Verde and its tributaries, and are responsible for the construction of Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle, landmarks that still grace the Verde Valley today. The collapse of the Sinagua culture around 1400 AD opened the region up for new settlers. The Yavapai and then the Apache peoples arrived. Hunter-gatherers for the most part, the two cultures nevertheless continued a tradition of using the river's vast floodplain to plant corn and other crops.
In February 1865, a group of white Americans from the mining camps near Prescott arrived at the confluence of West Clear Creek and the Verde River. These farmers followed in the tradition of the Verde Valley's earliest agriculturalists — they dug irrigation canals and began applying water to bottomland. By the turn of the 20th century, settlers maintained 68 irrigation canals tapping into the Verde River and its tributaries—Beaver Creek, West Clear Creek, Oak Creek and Sycamore Creek— that watered nearly 8,000 acres of pasture, fields, and orchards.
Today, that agricultural legacy remains, although much of the water that formerly irrigated farms now waters turf and trees in the lush neighborhoods that wind through Camp Verde's green belt. The 40 remaining irrigation ditches still water around 6,000 acres of greenspace, including production orchards, farms and gardens. The Valley's famous sweet corn and luscious tomatoes are known statewide and its farmers market and numerous roadside stands bring visitors to town all summer long.
Hauser’s Sweet Corn Stand Open or Close
652 Montezuma Castle Highway, Camp Verde, AZ 86322 | (928) 567-2142
For more than 35 years, the Hauser Family Farm has operated a corn stand on Montezuma Castle Highway. Open from around the Fourth of July to Labor Day weekend, their Verde Valley sweet corn draws people from throughout the region. Be sure and stop by to see why this attraction is such a favorite with locals and visitors alike.
Roadside Vegetable Stands Open or Close
Come early summer the roadways around Camp Verde abound with family-owned vegetable stands. Most of them are located along Montezuma Castle Highway, Salt Mine Road and Quarterhorse Lane. But keep your eyes peeled and follow those homemade signs: they often lead to sweet and delicious treasures.
Summer Place Pecan Farm Open or Close
213 East Quarterhorse Lane, Camp Verde, AZ 86322 | (928) 567-5202
Camp Verde, Arizona may not have been well known historically for pecans, but if Dr. Richard Tinlin has anything to say about it, the delicious nuts he raises will define Camp Verde as the Pecan Capital of the world!
Known as the Johnny Appleseed of Pecans, it was Dr. Tinlin who discovered that our little valley had the right growing conditions for pecans more than 30 years ago. This little valley produces Western, Mohawk, and Wichita pecan varieties that are golden, delicious, and fill out the shell with sweet goodness. Herbicide and pesticide free, Summer Place pecans are pure heaven for cooking or cracking fresh from the shell. Taste test these nuts against any other and you will see why people all across the country choose Summer Place Pecan Farm as their cyber-store for hometown goodness!
Verde Valley Farmers Market Open or Close
From June to October, Camp Verde hosts the Verde Valley Farmers Market, the Valley's oldest and largest "farmers only" market. The market is located under the ramada next to Fort Verde State Historical Park on Hollamon Street. This is an old-fashioned farmers market that focuses on homegrown produce and food products, and it attracts dozens of local vendors.
The Verde Valley Farmers Market is open every Saturday morning, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., from June to October.