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Prairie Drifter Farm

A Minnesota farmer gets his customers involved with their food
Photo courtesy of Prairie Drifter Farm

Nick and Joan Olson live in the perfect spot for a vegetable farm. Their Litchfield, Minnesota acreage is centered in the transition zone between prairie and the state’s northern hardwood forest.

Nick says they have good agricultural soil, the lakes and forest, and a restored prairie and wetlands across the road. He says because of the rich environment, they grow just about every fruit and vegetable that can be grown in Minnesota. Their focus is a community supported agriculture program, and getting the share members involved.

"We actually just did a cooking class on our farm," says Nick. "We had a chef from Minneapolis come out to the farm and we gave him a CSA box and just had him cook with it, and gave our share members who attended really good tips on how to use it in creative ways. And yet, we keep it simple so that folks aren’t intimidated by the vegetables that they’re receiving."

They do a potluck and tour of the farm every fall, and work parties throughout the year where folks can come out and volunteer. They also have people who work on the farm each week in exchange for their vegetables.

The Olsons have about 200 CSA members, and Nick says he has a core group of members who meet with him twice a year.

"We’re mostly looking to them for a variety of things. From member outreach, how can we can connect really well with our members. We’re trying to see how we can mix up the audience that we’re serving, so other ways to meet families that have different income needs and how we could do that," says Nick. "Our core group is just a really good pulse for us so we can check in with honest people to get the feedback that we need."

Not all visitors to the farm are helpful, especially the four-legged kind. Nick says they recently had to put up a 23-acre, 10-foot woven-wire fence to keep the deer out of the vegetables.

Learn more about Nick and Joan's farm at prairiedrifterfarm.com

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