IF YOU GO

What: Navajo Agricultural Products Industry Customer Appreciation Day


When: Saturday. Products on sale 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Potato bar 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Where: NAPI Region II Scales, six miles south of Farmington on U.S. Highway 371, six miles west on Navajo Route 3003


Information: 505-566-2641 or navajopride.com.


Farmington — Navajo Agricultural Products Industry will celebrate its customers today and mark the end of harvest season.

"It's an exciting time for us because we get to work one to one with customers," NAPI employee Rae DeGroat said.

The annual event allows NAPI employees from the executive offices to the agricultural team to show their appreciation of clients, she said.

It also provides the chance to showcase NAPI products, including its alfalfa, hay, corn stalk and flour.

One popular aspect of the event is the potato bar, in which free baked potatoes and toppings are served.

The event will include hourly prize drawings and live entertainment by Navajo country band, Fenders II.

Right now, NAPI employs 360 people and uses 75,000 acres of land to grow five main crops: alfalfa, corn, pinto beans, potatoes and wheat.

In August, the flour mill marked its first year of operation in which it produced whole wheat and all-purpose bleached and unbleached flour, along with a frybread flour mixture.

"It's been good," DeGroat said about the mill. "It's been a learning process, but we're getting into the swing of things."

NAPI also grows specialized crops like sumac berries -- which are called chíílchin in Navajo -- and used to make a sweet pudding.

During the celebration, NAPI will sell the berries, as well as a grounded version that comes with a recipe, explaining how to make the pudding.

"It's something new that people can try for themselves," DeGroat said.

The Navajo Nation Council developed NAPI in 1970 as a tribal enterprise to operate the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project.

Its products are sold at three locations -- the Region II scales and the 371 farm operation scales, both located at NAPI, and the sales office in Shonto, Ariz.

"It was a good year," DeGroat said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and nsmith@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @nsmithdt on Twitter.