Fresh52 Farmers Market Owner Gives Up the Casino Life to Open Farms in Kingman, Arizona
Tuesday 15th December 2020
Adam Thomas left his job at a casino to become a farmer, raising almonds and produce from his two farms outside Kingman, Arizona. Last July, he decided to buy Fresh52 Farmers' & Artisan Market with locations at Tivoli Village and at Sansone Park Place in Henderson.
Thomas spent 20 years working at Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Pinnacle Entertainment before he decided to take up farming. "I didn't feel fulfilled. I didn't like the political side of things. The turnover is so high, and it was a high stress job. I knew I had a passion for agriculture," he says.
Thomas, who grew up in rural Ohio, spent summers at his grandparents' farm in Cozad, Nebraska, where he learned to love the farm life.
Thomas started farming in 2017 with 20 acres, initially planting 3,000 almond trees, which he discovered grew well in the soil and at the elevation of Kingman. He sent soil samples to labs in California to find the right crops to grow in the sandy soil. It can take five years to grow a good crop of almonds.
A year later, he planted a small garden and found that produce grew well, so he added five acres of vegetables and fruits to grow and sell at the market in Las Vegas.
Now he has two farms, Picked Today Produce and Kingman Organic Almonds.
"We can grow anything outside citrus," Thomas says. He used a Caterpillar D6 bulldozer to dig down six feet to ensure the plants had deep enough roots. "The key was the deep tilling. In Kingman, there's a calichi layer that's almost like concrete," he says.
He installed wind breaks to protect the plants, which make up 60 percent of his revenue. Four acres house outdoor crops including okra, cantaloupe, honeydew, tiger melons, zucchini, and squash. In greenhouses, trellised, high-density plantings bring tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, cucumbers, sweet peas, celery, carrots, cilantro, and Swiss chard. The produce grows using 100 percent solar power, which also fills two 10,000-gallon water tanks for drip irrigation, and Thomas hopes both farms will run on solar alone soon.
Thomas says that once he becomes more profitable, he plans to expand and hire more help. Right now he has two employees. In the past six months, he says he only took Thanksgiving day off. Thomas still lives in Las Vegas on weekends, staying on the farm five days a week.
In July, Thomas decided to buy Fresh52 after he started selling produce last year. He has a third market in Skye Canyon that remains closed.
Now the market at Tivoli Village features Bella's Sauces with 18 different gourmet dipping sauces; the Dapper Doughnut with hot mini doughnuts in more than 20 different flavors; Herbs By Diane with herbs and edible flowers grown in Boulder City; Luchkoff Patisserie with breads, pastries, macarons, desserts, sweet bites, and cakes; Mai Boho Life with boho-chic fashions and home accessories made with sterling silver and stones; Masazul with its hand-pressed artisanal corn tortillas; Max's Berries with strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries; Moonfarmz with vegan, dye-free, cruelty-free natural skincare products; Redstone Pasta and Provisions with handmade pasta and sauces; Sin City Candle Co. with soy wax candles; Tranquili-tea Organic, an organic loose leaf tea boutique; and Yaqui Zen Kitchen, selling vegan street food. Vendors alternate weekly.
The farmers' market in Henderson takes place every Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the location at Tivoli Village runs on Fridays from 3 to 8 p.m.