Baked potato bar popular feature at annual event


FARMINGTON — Employees at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry are once again preparing for customer appreciation day at the 80,000-acre farm south of here.

The annual event celebrates harvest time at NAPI, and the tribal enterprise offers reduced pricing for its crops and Navajo Pride products.

This will be the sixth-year Ryan Garcia, corn crop manager for NAPI, has helped organize the event. He said customer appreciation day provides an opportunity for executives, managers and employees to interact with customers.

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"During this time, all the employees are there. We have employees from different departments that are unloading hay. There's people at the scales, taking money and also doing the transactions, but there's also a lot of people directing traffic because there's a lot of vehicles here," Garcia said.

The event also provides an opportunity for the public to learn about the farm, as well as for employees to receive feedback from customers, he added.

The event will include live music by the Kross-Road Band, a live remote broadcast by local radio stations, and raffle drawings for hay grazer, alfalfa, cowhay, sheep and one steer.

A popular feature is the baked potato bar, an area where customers receive a free baked potato they can top with chili beans, sour cream, chives or bacon bits. The potato bar will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Nate Begay, the technical services manager for the farm, said his department teams with personnel from the packaging department to bake up to 5,000 potatoes for the event, each one grown at NAPI. To bake that many potatoes, the process starts at about 5:30 a.m. the day before the event, Begay said.

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Garcia said it is not unusual for customers to travel from as far away as Tuba City, Ariz., to take advantage of the special prices at the farm.

"There will be a line for hay sales at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning, and I'm not talking about two or three trucks," Begay said.

The event will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Region 2 Complex, located 6 miles west of N.M. Highway 371 on Navajo Route 3003/7010.

"We try to make it worth their while by making sure they get something to eat and to be able to enter a drawing and to be able to hang out and relax. It's basically to give thanks to the public and the surrounding community," Garcia said.

Noel Lyn Smith cover the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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