Duncan Family Farms

October 2017

Arnott Duncan

Duncan Family Farms’ roots run deep in the farming industry. Arnott Duncan is a 4th generation Arizona farmer who left his family’s farm in 1985 and began growing a few hundred acres of conventionally-grown row crops.

By 1994, their farm had expanded into organic production, growing organic baby leaf items including several different varieties of lettuce and greens (red and green oaks, red and green romaine, red and green leaf, lolla rosa, tango, mizuna, red chard, green chard, tatsoi, baby kale, arugula and spinach). These greens are delivered to some of the largest processors in North America, Canada and the United Kingdom who provide bagged salads to the retail and food service industries.

Today their multi-regional operations are located in Central Arizona, Imperial Valley and California’s Central Coast and inland valleys. The geographic diversity of these organically-certified growing locations positions Duncan Family Farms as one of the leading organic growers in the United States.

As the farming business has evolved, Duncan Family Farms have tried to blend the best of traditional farming with the latest in agricultural technology, innovation and traceability.

Mission Statement: We believe that our primary responsibility is to produce healthy, life-giving food. We are also committed to
making a strong contribution to an improved environment and giving back to our community.

Jeremy Vanderzyl, Technical Services Manager, has been with Duncan Family Farms seven years. He oversees food safety, organic integrity and compost production at Duncan Family Farms.

“We’re always searching out new technologies to potentially bring less hands to the field. We do that by investing in new harvest equipment that delivers precision,” Jeremy said.

From their detailed tillage, planting, irrigation and harvest practices, Duncan Family Farms is diligent and exacting in their efforts to attain the best agronomic outcome.

“All leafy greens are very difficult to grow. It takes a meticulous focus to detail,” Jeremy explained. “We have to evaluate all soil types, supply what’s needed, and the planting has to be perfect to get the quality and yield. When you look at our fields, all the greens are the same size, same height. It looks like a golf green.”

Lettuce in hands

Innovation is a key factor in staying ahead of farming trends. Composting is just one way Duncan Family Farms stays on top.

The on-farm composting program allows Duncan Family Farms to create a food-safe, biologically-superior product. They cultivate soils with the highest populations of the most biologically diverse organisms to produce plants with better flavor, texture and shelf-life.

While their organic program lays the foundation for other sustainable practices, it is just one part of a larger picture. In addition to the innovative and organic practices in the field, Duncan Family Farms strives to reduce any potential food safety issues by mastering traceability.

“Traceability is paramount in guaranteeing a safe product to the customer,” Jeremy said. “We have records of everything planted and for every step of the process. There’s lot numbers, lab analysis, tests for water, tissue sampling, etc. We know the production from the start.”

In 2006, the Arizona and California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements came into play in the business. Duncan Family Farms chose to not only comply but exceed in traceability.

Field of crops

“We took it as an opportunity to go above and beyond,” Jeremy explained. “We’re encouraged to be innovative, think critically and 10 steps ahead of any food safety concern. For us, that meant a food safety program for the operation.”

During their food safety program, every acre that is harvested gets sampled, sent to the lab to be analyzed and tissue sampled to forecast potential risks before an outbreak.

“If an issue arises, we can rapidly narrow in on the issue,” Jeremy said. “Our innovation extends across the board to ensure there is nothing loose in our business.”

At Duncan Family Farms, the team truly believes that if they commit do their best every day, practice honestly, support their community, and work together with respect, they will create a business that has a soul.




18969 W. McDowell Rd.

Buckeye, AZ 85396

Phone: 623-853-9880

Central Coast California – Nipomo

261 W. Dana St., Suite 100

Nipomo, CA 93444

Central Coast California - New Cuyama

3901 Bell Rd.

New Cuyama, CA 93254

Imperial Valley

551 W. Main St., Suite 4

Brawley, CA 92227


Empire Agriculture has been part of the southwestern agriculture community since 1950.

As an Arizona-based, family owned company, we have a unique understanding of the critical role that growers play in our communities and economies.  We salute your dedication to our industry, and are committed to providing the machines, technologies and resources you need to succeed in every season.

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