Hours: Shop at the Santa Cruz River Farmers Market
The market operates year-round. You will find us there during our season, from mid-September through May.
WHEN: Thursdays, between 3 - 6pm (summer hours 4 - 7pm)
WHERE: Mercado San Augustin
100 S. Avenida del Convento, Tucson
Rattlebox Farm is a small 4.5 acre farm on the southeast edge of Tucson, AZ. We grow 45 varieties of vegetables and have a CSA and sell at farmers' market.
Rattlebox Farm is co-owned and farmed by Dana Helfer and Paul Buseck. We started our farming business in Tucson in 2009 with a multi-plot urban farm (called Menlo Farms) in three west side neighborhoods of Tucson. In 2013 we found our permanent home on the south east edge of town near the Pantano Wash. Here we grow vegetables and raise our two children. While we now farm one field of an acre, we plan to expand over time.
We sell our produce through a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA), a weekly farmers’ market stand, wholesale and though our local farmers’ cooperative. We farm with love and care using organic methods that build and maintain healthy soil. Our farm is Certified Naturally Grown and we are always trying to learn better ways of farming.
Some of our practices include:
* Using drip irrigation, dense planting, row cover, and earthworks to reduce water use.
* Using compost, earthworms and minimal tillage to build and maintain healthy soil.
* We do not use any herbicides or synthetic pesticides
* Addressing insect issues first through preventative measures such as covering our plants with row cover, pruning individual plants, trapping and hand control.
*Restoring pollinator habitat and a buffer around our field with native desert plants.
OUR MISSION is to improve the health, well being, and beauty of our community by:
* growing real food,
* demonstrating methods of farming that respect our desert home,
* nurturing our local food system and new farmers, and,
* keeping our farm small yet still be economically viable for two full-time farmers.
What is a "Rattlebox"?
"Rattlebox" is a common name for a native yellow wildflower called Desert Senna (Senna covesii). The senna is a leguminous plant (like peas, beans and lentils) and - like other plants in its family - it has a seed pod that “rattles” when the seeds are dry. Legumes play an important role on our farm as we plant legumes (mostly cow peas) as cover crops which provide a majority of organic matter and nutrients for our soil and plants.
Our logo artwork features the Desert Senna and is a paper cut made by the talented Kimi Eisele.
About the Farmers
We are Dana Helfer and Paul Buseck, and we each have more than 20 years experience in the fields of farming, food systems and community development. We feel lucky to have called Tucson home for over 12 years. We are passionate about the beauty of the Sonora Desert and building the community and political infrastructure to support small-scale agriculture. Dana was raised in Denver, Colorado, Paul in Tempe, Arizona. Prior to starting our family farm, Dana worked at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and was responsible for building a home gardening program and a 10-acre production and education farm.
Paul's interest in agriculture started as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon, Africa. Prior to farming, Paul worked at Tohono O’odham Community College and was responsible for developing academic programs in agriculture and natural resources as well as agriculture extension programs. Dana has an M.S. in Community and Regional Development and Paul has a M.S. in International Agricultural Development, both from the University of California at Davis.