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Local farmer brings Utah-grown citrus to Weber-Davis area

By Ryan Aston - | Mar 25, 2024
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Chad Midgley grows pomelos and other citrus fruits on his property in Ogden. This tree was photographed Thursday, March 21, 2024
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A greenhouse on Chad Midgley's plot in Ogden, photographed Thursday, March 21, 2024. Midgley grows citrus trees on the property.
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A greenhouse on Chad Midgley's property in Ogden houses a kumquat tree, photographed Thursday, March 21, 2024.

OGDEN — Chad Midgley is passionate about local farming, but your average Utahn might struggle to define his produce as “local.” That’s because he has been redefining what’s agriculturally possible in the Beehive State.

Midgley grew up in Davis County and learned the tricks of the farming trade from his dad — and by watching famed “no work” mulch gardener Ruth Stout. Now, he’s using those tricks to grow and harvest citrus fruits like oranges, pomelos, kumquats and more on a large scale.

He’s also growing things like figs and pomegranates alongside crops more common to Northern Utah.

“They’re pretty amazing,” Midgley told the Standard-Examiner of the citrus trees at his Ogden plot, located just off of 13th Street. “The soil here is amazing. Tell everybody that Ogden’s soil can grow this.”

Midgley has trees growing in 13 custom-built, DIY greenhouses spread across properties in Ogden, Syracuse (where he and his family reside) and Bountiful. And they’re heated year-round — even during the dead of winter — with little more than green waste and water masses.

The fruit that Midgley grows can be found at farmers markets around the region. But, after more than a decade of building his operation, he’s no longer just looking to sell his unique brand of citrus; he’s helping others grow their own in Utah’s unforgiving climate.

“I figure a lot of this has been hidden,” Midgley said. “I didn’t say anything about it for like four or five years because I wanted to monopolize the farmers market on citrus. But this real drive and feeling inside of me has come out that I need to teach this.”

To that end, he runs farm tours in the spring before getting to work on the harvest. Upcoming tour classes are scheduled for this Saturday and April 13. Midgley also said Friday classes could open up, should there be a demand for them.

While anyone can come tour Midgley’s land, though, successfully applying his methods to grow producing citrus trees requires an incredible amount of time and dedication.

He spends 40-50 hours weekly working his plots during the summer, and 25-30 weekly hours otherwise. He also has been fine-tuning his operation for several years, and his family has been on the journey with him, too.

“The wife and the kids, they all think I’m a crazy mad scientist,” Midgley joked. “We have two different houses. We have the farmhouse where I grow things in. My wife won’t live there because she says it’s an ecosystem.”

It probably helps that Midgley loves what he does; while showing off his Ogden greenhouses, he likened the location to Disneyland, comparing the huge piles of mulch on the property to the Matterhorn and referring to the land as a “permaculture playground.”

His hope is that others will see the process the same way, that more community farms and gardens will pop up in the Ogden area, more people will learn to grow their own produce and local growers can become a better alternative to big-box stores.

“The more we can blow stuff up like that, the better. I want it to blow up so I can teach people this stuff, and I want Ogden on the map,” Midgley said.

For more information about Midgley’s farm tours, go to his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chads.produce or text 801-668-5535.


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