Mina’s Farm and Orchard


MINA FARMMany people travel far before stopping at the Sedona Community Farmers Market but perhaps none farther than Joao Mina. Joao, or John, to those of us not comfortable with Portuguese, was born into a family of 10 brothers and sisters in a small town in Portugal. As a youngster he sought his fortune wandering and working his way through Spain, France and Belgium before finding a job, at age 17, as a dishwasher on a cargo vessel headed to ports in the Mediterranean and beyond. When the ship docked in Houston, Texas, Joao decided he had enough and in his own words “jumped ship” to make a better life in America.  A much varied career followed: herding sheep in Buckeye, construction in Phoenix and Flagstaff before settling down in Camp Verde in 1995.  Fresh vegetables can be found in abundance at the Market, but tree ripened fruits are rare unless you visit Mina’s booth. From late summer until early fall there’s a profusion of beautiful, luscious peaches, pears, persimmons, apples and pomegranates ready to sample or bring home to create your own cobbler, smoothie or salad. There are pecans as well, and according to Joao, all cracked and cleaned by hand. Seventy to eighty chickens and a herd of goats make their home with Joao, along with his wife Rosemary on one and a half irrigated acres on Salt Mine Road. He says it’s hard to give an exact count of his flock due to predators! Keeping track of all those chickens and managing the orchard is a full time job for any one person but not to Joao who also sells his fruit at the Prescott and Flagstaff markets and owns the Vaqueros Grill and Cantina, described as a “hidden gem” by one reviewer, just up the hill in the old mining town of Jerome. He may be retired but he’s still traveling.

written by Laura Cox