Meet Arizona Agriculture’s Teeple Family
Mike and Christine Teeple’s Arizona lavender farm has captured national attention and been featured in a variety of publications. So, they probably don’t need any outsized publicity efforts on our part. But, they are newly minted Arizona Farm Bureau members (as of last fall) and they’re excited to be part of an organization that focuses on farming and ranching.
The beauty of the Teeple’s Red Rock Ranch & Farms can take your breath away. They’d purchased the property a few decades ago to retire on and get away from the hustle and bustle of a busy life in Southern California as owners of a specialty construction business.
Teeple’s lavender has been identified by the plant experts as having some of the highest quality lavender in the world, in part, because of how well it grows in the high altitudes, known as high-elevation super lavender. But his expertise in growing lavender hasn’t stopped at his own farm's edge. He now goes all over the world helping to design and develop unique lavender farms for others. When you’ve got it, you’ve got it, right?
And now, since 2014 the Teeple’s have added to their crop mix: wine grapes. Plus, they added a wine tasting room allowing for wine tastings throughout the summer and fall.
An Interview with the Teeples, owners of Red Rock Ranch and Farms, LLC in Concho, Arizona
An ongoing series of our farm and ranch businesses.
Mike and Christine Teeple on their Red Rock Ranch and Farm
Tell us about Red Rock Ranch and Farms, LLC: Red Rock Ranch and Farms LLC started when 120 acres of undeveloped land was purchased in Concho, at an elevation of 6,000 feet, for an organic vegetable farm and orchard. However, the lavender purchased for landscaping became an unexpected boon with its beauty and commercial value. Starting in 1998 with the first field of lavender, the farm now has 35,000 lavender plants. Red Rock Ranch and Farms was the first commercial lavender grower in Arizona. Early on, a greenhouse for commercial lavender production was built. Visiting the farm during the annual lavender festival has sparked the interest of many people to start their own lavender farms in Arizona.
We have provided our clients with field design and lavender plants to start their own micro-farms. Although we cannot now claim to be the only lavender farm in Arizona, we are pleased to see that we played a part in lavender farming becoming a recognized industry in Arizona.
In 2014 a vineyard was planted at the farm. The vineyard shares the ground with the lavender fields. The high altitude, pristine climate, and ecosystem are ideal for growing both grapes and lavender following in the steps of Southern France. Planting a vineyard was a complimentary pairing with the lavender fields.
The business has grown to include an annual lavender festival, farm store, wine tasting room, Internet sales, direct sales, lavender plant sales for landscaping and commercial use, consulting services, and speaking engagements.
A lavender festival is held each year when the lavender is in bloom. The dates for the 2019 lavender festival are Thursday, June 20 through Sunday, June 23 and Thursday, June 27 through Sunday, June 30.
Lavender festival activities include lavender growing discussion, cooking demonstration and tastings, U-Cut Lavender - $8.00 per Bundle, 3 for $20.00 ($4.00 Savings), 5 for $25.00 ($15.00 Savings), Wine Tasting Room Open - Tastings and Wine Sales, Lavender Shop Open - Products for Sale, Lavender Plant Sales, Plant Selection and Growing Advice.
9:00 AM TO 3:00 PM, $5.00 per person
Children 3 years and younger are free.
No reservations required.
Meals available to purchase on-site.
The lavender serves as a beautiful contrast to the red rock backdrop.
Any farming practices that highlight water conservation, soil health or and other special practices you instituted to save money and/or improve the farm? When the farm was purchased it was undeveloped land used for grazing. It took a number of years to bring back the natural vegetation. Our mission is to be a good steward of the land.
Two ponds were put in which also improved the growth of native trees, shrubs, and grasses and brought back animals, birds, and fish.
The lavender and vineyards are on a drip system to conserve water. The lavender is grown without pesticides and insecticides and is Certified Naturally Grown.
Tell us about you. What is your educational background (i.e. Degree(s), certifications, honors), anything of interest
To capitalize on their strengths, the responsibilities of the business are divided up with Mike Teeple handling the vineyard, lavender farming, design services, and plant sales and Christine Teeple handling the product development, sales and marketing, and event coordination.
What are your community activities? We support the community by hiring local workers and tradesmen.
What do you love the most about farming, ranching, or the agriculture industry in general? The ability to create a beautiful environment for people to visit and enjoy,
What do you enjoy doing, and what is one fact/achievement that nobody? We enjoy growing things and also planning and implementing the annual lavender festival. We developed the farm in a rather remote location and when we put on our first lavender festival and saw all the cars winding their way on the rural road to the farm, we both remarked that it looked like the scene in the movie, Field of Dreams.
Why are you a Farm Bureau member? We became a member to be part of a group of people with similar interests and the ability to tap into resources.
What is the best business advice that you’ve received and/or have given? Always expect the unexpected. Learn as much as you can before diving into a project, business, etc.
What business-oriented advice would you give young farmers/beginning farmers? Start small and evaluate regularly your costs and return on sales. Keep up with the trends and new ways of farming. Avoid borrowing money. Keep your day job while you are developing your farm.
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