Picnic Anyone

Writer Fadi Sitto

Photography Courtesy of Singh Farms and Singh Meadows

You eat healthy, you feel good.”

Such is the wisdom of Ken Singh, farmer and owner of Singh Farms and Singh Meadows.

Pristine vegetables, unspoiled fruit and blooming flowers surround you as the colors of nature and local smiles are everywhere at Singh Meadows, a 70-acre organic farm that includes a farmers’ market, restaurant and an outdoor gathering space. 

Scottsdale’s Singh Farms, located near Thomas and the 101 freeway, was a very popular farmers’ market and local hangout for Valley residents for years, but Ken Singh had even greater aspirations, so Singh Meadows was born. 

Located next to Big Surf Waterpark in Tempe, the Singh Meadows project is now a little utopia. This innovative farm and grassland is located on a property that was formally known as the Rio Salado Golf Course.

It all started when the City of Tempe, which owned the golf course, reached out to Mr. Singh, asking him to take over the property and turn it into a farm. Ken proceeded to get his hands dirty, as farmers often do, and went to work right away to remediate the soil. 

He worked hard to create what was needed to grow nutrient-dense heirloom vegetables, which took over two years. One hundred percent of the chemicals were flushed out and organics were added. 

Take a stroll around the serene lake that’s located just outside the market and small restaurant, which used to be the old golf course clubhouse. There you’ll find a full-service fresh juicing bar the rivals any juice bar at any high-end gym or store in the city. 

The quaint restaurant serves delicious, healthy farm-to-table fare. If you look through the glass partition, you’ll see Ken’s wife, co-owner Lee Singh, making homemade bread and all the pastries from scratch.

As you pleasantly get lost in nature and sip on the best fresh juice you’ll ever have, you’ll soon realize that this isn’t just a vast random green space. 

Walking and touring the charming, calming Singh Meadows with Mr. Singh, it was clear that he is a beloved and revered man. He knows everyone, and everyone knows him.

People are drawn to him and his kind nature; he’s a rock-star farmer who is giving the locals what they want when it comes to fresh, completely organic foods. The crowds of thankful people from all over the Valley and many out-of-towners aren’t shy about coming up to him with a warm smile and a hello. There is no such thing as a stranger here, only friends.

“My dad from India used to say, ‘Son, did you hear the land talking?’ I’d say, ‘Dad, I heard the plane, I heard the tractor. Now, I hear the soil,’” Mr. Singh tells me.

Ken Singh is nothing short of Earth’s caretaker. He is, first and foremost, a farmer. He still weeds by hand and takes his time understanding each entity of grained dirt. He even makes compost on the premises. 

For Valley residents, he has unofficially become the leading example of true farming. You will be hard-pressed to meet anyone who knows more about the farming industry and its impact.

However, a closer look at this extraordinary man reveals that he is also Earth’s artist. Ken paints the soil with brush strokes of appreciation and respect.

“Look at our farming pioneers. They never put chemicals on their grounds because they knew people were going to eat what they produced, and they cherished you,” Ken says.

For five years, Ken had a sustainable green program with the City of Tempe. He took all their greens and showed them how to do compost the right way, more efficiently.

He has also worked with Arizona State University for more than a decade. All of their greens come from his farm. From the Biltmore to the Phoenix Country Club, many entities use his products and methods of composting and farm management.

Ken is appreciative by nature, and takes seriously the opportunity of helping cities, organizations and individual people by educating them about farming. 

Much of the green space at Singh Meadows is still in the planning stages, but Mr. Singh has added numerous walking paths, plant life and gardens. 

He flushed out of the floodplain and fitted a 400-foot well that is now converted into a chloride- and fluoride-free lake. The small well-water lake here is the purest water available in the entire Valley. Ken also continues to grow the area by adding new pumps and new sprinklers in the landmass that what was the old golf course.

Ken Singh’s mission is to bring the land back into balance. He wants to get back to the basics and to a time of complete non-contamination.

Singh Meadows is flourishing because it’s a safe environment for everyone. A place to picnic and play on existent toxin-free grass, and enjoy amazing food that is grown and cooked within just a few feet of the restaurant.

“We love it here. It’s such a special place,” says a customer named Francesca. “We are winter visitors from Seattle, and one of the first things we do when we get back to Arizona is come here. This is like our pilgrimage: the kids, the meadow, and the bread. Check!”

The Meadows is a local experience that will remind you of how nice and simple it is to walk around in nature. Grab a fresh glass of orange juice and spend some time with your thoughts, or friends and family.

From the newcomers to the regulars, guests are grateful that Ken Singh and his family decided to plant their roots here. There is nothing like this in the Phoenix area and people know it.

When was the last time you had a picnic? In a growing concrete world, there are few places to reconnect with Mother Nature in the middle of a large metro area like we have here in Phoenix; Singh Meadows is one of those places.



Singh Meadows 

Friday through Sunday, 8 a.m.–2 p.m. | 1490 E. Weber Dr., Tempe | 480-225-7199 | singhmeadowstempe.com

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