If you are eating a green salad this winter, it almost assuredly came from Yuma, Arizona. This time of year over 90% of the green leafy vegetables in the U.S. come from this area. The Colorado River that runs through town feeds a series of canals, dams, and pipes providing the water needed for extensive farming.
Yuma is surrounded by miles and miles of desert but has a large verdant irrigated area adjacent to town. Add plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures and you have the perfect setting for the lettuce in your salads.
One of these dams on the Colorado River is the Parker Dam south of the town near Lake Havasu, Arizona.
Yuma is also the only place we have been that has buses with bathrooms attached!
One of the fun parts of the town of Yuma are the numerous murals that are found mainly in the “Old Town” district. There are so many that there are even maps at the visitor center to help you find all the murals.
Many of the murals are huge, while others are just a few feet tall. Regardless, they are very colorful and we enjoyed tracking some of them down.
The Old Town area of Yuma is a great place to get a meal or just stroll around. We were able to have lunch with friends there also.
Yuma is also a place where you can drink a date shake at a farm. They are very sweet but a must-try if you are in the area.
We took a day trip to explore the Imperial Dam area just north of town and discovered the smallest church we have ever seen. It is along the main highway and was built in 1995. The twelve seat church was built by a local farmer in honor of his wife.
Also north of town is the massive Yuma Proving Grounds facility where various types of weapons are tested. It is one of the largest military installations in the world. For example, the restricted airspace over the proving grounds is over 2000 square miles. Over its 75 year history this facility has been a significant source of testing and development of equipment for military readiness. In the 1970s, the proving grounds was also the sole development center for the GPS systems now used for both the military and the general public.
Yuma has always been an important crossroad on the Colorado River, the Mexican Border, and the State of California. It is also one of the warmest and sunniest places in the country. In fact it is so sunny that many years ago a local hotel advertised “Free Board Every Day the Sun Doesn’t Shine.” For us, we will not eat another salad without thinking about where it was produced.