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Former Golf Course Tees Off As Tempe Farmer's Market

(Photo by Mariana Dale -KJZZ)
Ken Singh has worked for the last two years to transform the land that was once a golf course. “I’m hanging in here because this is my last project in this lifetime,” he said.

Where others saw a golf course, or a flood plain on 63 acres of land north of the 202 Freeway, Valley farmer Ken Singh saw the opportunity.

So in 2014, when the golf course closed, Tempe leased the land to Singh and he set out to transform it into an urban green space.

“We need open areas where we can flex and just run,” Singh said.  “I said folks, I want this to be a place of nothing. What are you going to do when you go here? Nothing. Go sit by the lake, have a picnic, romp.  ”

Today, the water in the pond is clear and chemical free. Compost, not pesticides, nurtures green grass.

“I haven’t even started, this is the foundation,” Singh said. Part of his vision includes gardens, a dog park and walking paths.

"You'll never see somebody who is as visionary as Ken, yet also will have his hands literally in the dirt," said Tempe Councilwoman Lauren Kuby. She sees Singh Meadows as part of the city's ongoing effort to be more sustainable.

Phase one is a farmer’s market open to the public on weekends. It stocks produce from Singh’s Scottsdale farm and made-in-house pastries, soups, salads and more.

The golf course’s club house is now home to a kitchen.

Frank Belosic, the executive chef, of the Phoenician and the Phoenix Downtown Hotel, works to determine how each week’s produce will be used to make dishes to sell at each week’s farmers market.

“Anything we get is out of the ground for 24 hours maybe before you start eating, nobody else is doing that,” Belosic said.

As fellow chef Jay Bogsinske puts it:

“We’re not writing the menu, the farm is.” 

Singh Meadows is located at 1490 E. Weber Dr. and is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.