For over fifteen years, Sandhill Family Farms, along with partnering family farms, have been serving as many as 475 CSA members in the Chicagoland area, supplying them with organic vegetables, fruit, eggs, dairy and meats.
While located on two farms, one in Brodhead, Wisconsin, and the other in Grayslake, Illinois, the award-winning Sandhill Family Farms creates member share boxes that are consistently full of certified organic, high quality produce. At the helm, is co-owner Peg Sheaffer, who works alongside her farmer-husband Matt on their Brodhead farm, along with farmers Jen and Jeff Miller who steward the operations in Grayslake. Together, they turn out a dizzying array of over 150 different cultivars of vegetables over the eight-month growing season.
We took a walk with Peg Sheaffer as she checked on her flock of St. Croix sheep to learn more about her and her farming operations. Her farm will be featured on the SOIL SISTERS: Tour of Farm on August 2, 2015. She’ll also be teaching a SOIL SISTERS: Green Acres Workshop on raising chickens on August 1.
Lori Stern, owner of Cow & Quince Market and Restaurant in New Glarus, Wisconsin, is out to do more than serve up great tasting seasonal dishes made with locally-sourced, sustainably raised or grown ingredients.
In a manner of speaking, she’s looking to entice some members of her community to get into business with her by offering a Community Supported Restaurant, inspired by the popular Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model where farmers get paid up front by their “shareholders” for the products grown throughout the season. Along with being a CSR-focused restaurant, Cow & Quince also serves as a hyper-local market for the fresh vegetables, fruits and meats available in the area.
At the upcoming SOIL SISTERS event July 31 through August 2, 2015, Stern’s Cow & Quince will be showcasing the amazing abundance the area has to offer, featuring numerous locavore specials while hosting the SOIL SISTERS: Taste of Place. The Taste of Place is a culinary farm-to-table gathering where you can try out a variety of flavors while you meet some of the farmers and food artisans behind the ingredient list. Delicious dishes prepared by Chef Jared Austin will include Summer Vegetable Tarts, featuring heirloom tomatoes from Grassroots Farm, greens from Scotch Hill Farm and cheese from Landmark Creamery.
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Would you like to visit a pizza farm? Watch a newborn lamb take her first steps? Help a farmer with planting or harvesting?
You can help make these and other fun and educational opportunities more possible by contacting your representative TODAY! The Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee will be deciding at a hearing at 2:00 on February 4th to pass through new agritourism legislation.
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Renewing the Countryside is partnering with Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture to bring four post harvest handling workshops this March 2015.
These half day workshops will be presented by farmers Lisa Baker of Bakers’ Acres, Laura Frerichs of Loon Organics and Joan Olson of Prairie Drifter Farm. They will cover a range of topics from on farm food safety to sorting and grading to transport.
The cost to attend is $20 for the first person and $10 for the second if coming from the same farm (fee includes lunch). Workshop attendees will also get a discounted rate for the Wholesale Success book that can be purchased at the workshop.
Participants also will receive a free copy ($10 value) of Farm Food Safety Decision Trees For Fruit and Vegetable Growers. By, Elizabeth A. Bihn, Ph.D., Michele A. Schermann, R.N., M.S., Annette L. Wszelaki, Ph.D., Gretchen L. Wall, M.S., and Susannah K. Amundson, M.S. With limited time, money, and available labor, produce farms must learn how to prioritize which practices to use on their farm to reduce food safety risks as well as achieve business goals. These Decision Trees were created to help you prioritize your farm food safety practices and begin to build your own farm food safety plan.
These Decision Trees are intended to:
· Help you begin to identify food safety risks and practices that reduce risks,
· Help you prioritize implementation of practices to use your resources most eciently, and;
· Familiarize you with the terminology, tools, and methods you may need to use to meet the requirements and expectations of your customers as well as future regulations for produce.
St. Charles -- March 3 -- Lisa Baker (Bakers' Acres)- 10AM-3PM
Fairmont -- March 5 -- Joan Olson (Prairie Drifter Farm)- 10AM-3PM
Little Falls -- March 20 -- Lisa Baker (Bakers' Acres)- 10AM-3PM
Cannon Falls -- March 25 -- Laura Frerichs (Loon Organics)- 10AM-3PM
Please visit http://www.renewingthecountryside.org/calendar to register for the date and location that works best for you. If you have any questions, please contact Devon at [email protected].
Soon Minnesota's entrepreneurs may benefit from a vast, previously untapped source of capital.
We hear from many small businesses that traditional financing can be challenging to obtain, or, without the right collateral it's simply not enough. Although we know some lenders are working hard to increase flexibility and close this gap, crowdfunding websites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter have become game-changers for financing small businesses. If you haven't crowdfunded before, here's how it works: You pledge a donation in exchange for a reward, like a product or special event. For a farm, you might get to choose from an exclusive CSA box offering or tickets to a farm dinner. This model has a proven track record -- some of our favorite food businesses and farms have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars online.
Crowdfunding has worked for some businesses, but not everyone can offer the right mix of rewards to entice donors. Fulfillment can be onerous, particularly for a fledgling business with unpredictable cash flow. With the limitations of a rewards-based system, it is often only useful as a supplement to more traditional financing. However, that may soon change. The proposed MNvest legislation has the potential to blow the lid off of crowdfunding in Minnesota.
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Foodmakers and Farmers - Exhibitor Applications are now being accepted for:
FEAST! - the largest celebration of local foods in the tri-state area will premiere November 2-3, 2014 at the Rochester Civic Center, Rochester, MN. The first day of this two-day event will be open to the public with a Sunday showcase of the best of local food by producers and makers from Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Sunday’s theme will be “Homegrown for the Holidays” and will feature over 150 exhibitor booths, plus a lineup of chef demonstrations, tastings, live music, workshops on healthy eating and holiday cooking, activities for kids, sampling of local beer, wine and craft distillers’ libations for adults. Event-goers will be able to purchase items for holiday gifts or from homegrown holiday cooking.
The public FEAST! event on Sunday will be followed by a trade event on Monday. “Grow It, Make It” will be the theme of this regional conference and tradeshow which is being planned exclusively for food growers, makers and buyers. The conference will offer multiple tracks and will give producers and buyers opportunities to meet, network, discuss sales, and forge supply-chain relationships. A first of its magnitude in the region, this conference will offer buyers workshops and connections to accelerate local sourcing and. The day’s educational workshops will include industry panels providing technical assistance and access to funding opportunities, plus timely, in-demand classes for market-ready producers as well as aspiring farming and food business beginners.
Premiere partners in producing this event include Mayo Clinic, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Renewing the Countryside. A crowd of organizations and food-focused volunteers are busy with the planning. Other organizations and individuals are invited to join as sponsors and volunteers. To learn how you can participate, please contact Jan Joannides at Renewing the Countryside, [email protected] or call 612-251-7304.