What do 33 years of marriage and 37 varieties of jams and jellies make? If you’re Doug and Christie Fasteen: a happy partnership and a budding business. Together, Doug and Christie run Fasteen Farms. They harvest produce from their own and other local gardens and farms to make jam, jelly, salsa, apple butter, bloody Mary mix, vegetable juice, candied pecans, blackberry syrup, baked treats, spices, dilly green beans, pickles, and pickled garlic, pepper, relish, and okra.

Choose your favorites—along with their fresh produce—and sample their salsa at the Fall Verde Valley Farmers’ Market, Saturday mornings at the Town Ramada (75 East Hollamon Street) through November 17, 9am-noon. Some of their canned products are also available at Wingfield Bread Company on Main Street.

The Fasteens left their desk jobs in frigid Minneapolis after admiring views of Hauser and other charming Camp Verde farms while on vacation in Arizona. They’d always dreamed of a farmers’ market life and are now an integral part, even co-hosting in 2018 to relieve the Market Manager, who was accepting an award.

Everything about the Fasteen Farms operation screams local. The produce is grown in Camp Verde and the canning and selling takes place along Main Street in town. Christie and Doug do all their canning at the town kitchen, which they rent periodically for long, productive days. They follow strict health and safety procedures, including a process for sanitizing the jars, and are inspected twice per year while canning at the town kitchen. With so many ingredients for so many different recipes, I was relieved to be behind the camera instead of the stove.

Q & A with Fasteen Farms

Q: Do your customers have a favorite product? Do you?

A: Over the past 2.5 years we’ve gained special customers. Some of those customers’ favorites include: spicy bloody Mary mix, spicy tomato vegetable juice, lemon marmalade, pickled garlic, and our peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. A lot of customers also request our Arizona Gold One Flame Salsa. Low sugar apple butter and pickled peppers during our growing season are other special requests.

We have many favorites as well, including the bloody Mary mix, the Arizona Gold Salsa, and the tomato vegetable juice. We enjoy all our products.  

Q: What varieties of salsa do you sell?

A: We have salsa made with red tomatoes and salsa made with gold tomatoes, including one, two, three, and—the hottest—five flames. The Red and Arizona Gold One Flame Salsas are our best sellers.

Q: What fresh produce do you sell at the Farmers’ Market?

A: We try to bring an assortment of fresh veggies that reflect the variety in our garden. We have cabbage (red, green, and Chinese), green beans, peas, cantaloupe, swiss chard, kale, several types of cucumbers (including Armenian), watermelon, green peppers, seven varieties of hot peppers, sweet peppers, okra, sweet potatoes, bunching onions, carrots, beets, leeks, grapes, tomatoes including cherry tomatoes, daikon radish, and a variety of common herbs.

Q: How would you describe your bloody Mary mixes?

A: The best—ever. You only need to add your choice of alcohol. Many people drink it as juice in the morning. We also use it for a meat marinade. It gives the meat excellent flavor and tenderizes it.

Q: Are your products organic?

A: We do not use pesticides on our garden and pull weeds by hand. We have not had our garden an ample amount of years to have it tested organic.

Q: You’ve volunteered to help the Tree Advisory Committee plant 100 trees in Camp Verde public spaces to keep our town a Tree City USA for four years running. What motivates you to be so involved?

We feel so blessed to be part of this community. We have received such a ton of support since we moved here. We love volunteering and setting up the Fort Verde Day Parade for three years and look forward to being part of Camp Verde special events coming up this spring and summer.

Q: What’s your favorite aspect of farming in Camp Verde?

One real bonus is the longer growing season, which is more than over the top awesome for us. We can start seeds in February and plant by the end of April. That is huge. We are also able to plant two to three crops to allow us to have veggies through the end of the growing season. We recently planted greens, radishes, and onions to hopefully have for the fall farmers market. We absolutely love all the sunny days.

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