Utah farmers say a strong winter has led to an amazing crop season


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BRIGHAM CITY — For many people driving through, Highway 89 in Box Elder County is just another road. But for those who stop at the fruit stands in Willard, Perry, or Brigham City, though, they are in for a special treat.

"This is a great year. Our trees are full," said Cari Tagge. "I think this is going to be a banner year and I think it is going to be the best."

Cari Tagge helps run the Tagge Fruit and Veggies Farm stand along the famous Fruit Way. It is one of many fruit and vegetable stands along the main highway just starting to open for the season.

With the great winter and snowpack in the mountains this past season, crop farmers in the area feel it will be even better than last year's record water year.

"The ground is wet and saturated, where last year, the trees were, you know, they had been in drought for a long time, so they needed a lot more water than we could even give them last year, so they are plump and ready now," Cari Tagge said.

Although not everything is available just yet, farmers know it is coming.

"Yeah. It is looking good," said Chad Tagge while looking at a peach tree on the family farm. "Pretty soon, we will have peaches, cherries, apricots, pears, nectarines. We are loaded."

Chad Tagge is the second generation to run the family farm. He recently quit his job as a biomedical engineer to work on the farm and eventually take it over.

"It has been my dream to do this and we decided this was the year," Chad Tagge said. "This is my office now and these are my babies I want to take care of."

Tagge’s Famous Fruit & Veggie Farm stand sits on Highway 89 along Fruit Way in Box Elder County.
Tagge’s Famous Fruit & Veggie Farm stand sits on Highway 89 along Fruit Way in Box Elder County. (Photo: Winston Armani, KSL-TV)

Chad Tagge is coming in at a time when conditions are great. He knows good water years are not always guaranteed in Utah, which is why the Tagge family installed a drip line irrigation system.

"My dad did this, and it was such a great idea," he said. "It saves so much water and it also makes sure we water in location."

Farmers never know what the upcoming water season will be like, which is why preparing for drought years is so important.

"This way, we are able to water directly underneath the plant. It keeps the moisture in the soil," he said while looking at a row of tomato plants growing from the ground coverage in black plastic.

Chad Tagge looking at a peach tree at the family farm in Box Elder County on Friday.
Chad Tagge looking at a peach tree at the family farm in Box Elder County on Friday. (Photo: Winston Armani, KSL-TV)

Part of what makes crop farmers in this part of the state successful is the prime location of Willard Bay, the mountains, the gentle slope, and nearby water.

"We have the lake and we are up on a hill. So, we do not freeze out," said Cari Tagge. "It is just the perfect place to grow fruits and vegetables."

It is also a great place for people interested in fresh produce to visit.

"If you have never been up here before, this may be the year to come," said Cari Tagge with a laugh. "The Fruit Highway is a legacy. Everybody is happy and we are ready to start selling."

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Alex Cabrero
Alex Cabrero is an Emmy award-winning journalist and reporter for KSL-TV since 2004. He covers various topics and events but particularly enjoys sharing stories that show what's good in the world.

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