|Borrowed from the Swede Lake Farms website|
Today, Josh and I went driving in the country with the kids in search of this farm that he had bought some tomato seedlings from last year. We found it. Oh, did we find it. If they had asked for a foster family to move in, we would have accepted (they did offer up internships if anyone is inclined). Even after we drove off, Kendall said she wanted to be a farmer when she grew up. First off, there is just something so amazing and magical about people working so hard on this Earth to do good, get dirty and all the while be surrounded by gorgeous plants and chickens. This place is called Swede Lake Farms (also called Global Garlic). This cute, lush farm is out in Watertown, Minnesota. So we drove up, at first they looked a little suspect at us as we parked. Josh got out and told them why were there and then I hear the backdoor of the truck open and before I could say anything, Dilly is out abounding in her galoshes chasing chickens. Well, then Mason couldn't stand it. So I get out and before you know it. They are letting the kids feed tortillas to the chickens and they are giving me advice on which chickens they like the best. They then showed us their worm casting set up (they call this part of the business Swede Lake Vermiculture and Castings). Worm Castings (aka worm leavings, worm poop, fertilizer), whatever you want to call it. I had never even heard of it. Have you? Basically, you let worms really work the dirt in a small bucket and then you separate the castings, from the dirt that remains and from the worms. And off to work the worms go again. Those castings are so super nutrient. They feel like tiny tiny light pebbles of dirt and they are very dry. You essentially use them as fertilizer or compost. Rumor has it that people are getting 12 foot tomato plants using castings (GOOGLE worm castings and you can see all the things people are doing, reviving ill plants, refreshing bulbs, etc.). Oh and to top it off...it is totally natural and chemical free. You can apply the worm castings directly or you can make a worm castings tea (directions found here.) We bought a bag of it and since we had already planted some seedlings, we did an experiment, where we are applying castings directly to some and not to the others to see how it goes.
So not only are these people experts on worm castings, they are organic farmers. They make and sell seedlings at all three of the local farmer's markets (Mill City, Minneapolis, and Kingfield). Then once they have produce, that also goes to market. Oh but it doesn't stop at that, they are FAMOUS for their garlic. So famous in fact that the New York Times wrote an article about them. UMMMMM...New York Times....you heard that right, we are not fooling around here!!! Here is the article. Oh and that is not all, after the article was published a certain person that is well known in the home decorating camp and who had a small stint in prison because of securities fraud gave them a call. Oh yes M.S. called them and asked them to drive out with their garlic and be on the show and they had to decline. (Like you can just drop the farm for a couple days.)
Then to top it off, as if they weren't cool enough, they let Dilly and Mason go pluck some eggs out of the coop. And they let them keep them. As for our purchases, we purchased two really good canning tomatoes, called Vivas. Some purple cherry tomatoes for flavor. Habanero, lemon peppers (new to me), and some other large tasty sweet pepper(dear me, am I terrible or what at remembering names, plants, people you name it). Oh and some Empowered Earth worm castings. They hope to have a green house some day to sell all their seedlings direct from the farm.
I just wish I had a really popular blog and everyone would go and support these guys. Somehow I am determined to give them business. No farm, no food. Update to come.