Our Farmers

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Minnesota-Grown Food

We’re working with many small-farm families in Southern Minnesota to make fresh, healthy, locally grown food readily available. We work with a variety of vegetable farmers ranging in size from 1-60 acres. This diversity allows us to source a wide variety of the freshest locally grown vegetables in the region.

While all of our produce is available seasonally, our farmers make every effort to extend the produce availability as long as possible. Many of our farmers have invested in greenhouses and high tunnels where cold-sensitive crops are started as early as February. With careful management of our cold storage facilities, we were able to stretch our supply of apples into March!

We currently source all of our produce within Minnesota and nearly all of it comes from within 50 miles of our facility in Mankato. We are always looking for new farms and new markets for Minnesota-grown foods. When considering which farms we purchase from, we prioritize our purchasing based on local market demand, farm size, product availability and distance from us to the farm. By weighing these factors together, we are able to ensure a strong supply of fresh vegetables for our customers and a fair price to our farmers.

Interested in growing for MVAC Food Hub?

Ben Penner Farms

Ben Penner Farms exists to inspire human flourishing through agriculture. My method is systematic entrepreneurship using a lean framework to learn and continuously improve every facet of the operation. The farm is located on a 36 acre certified organic land near Belle Plaine, Minnesota. I grow, market and sell alfalfa, hard red winter and spring wheat, food grade soybeans, organic vegetable starter plants, cover crops, lentils, black beans and pinto beans. I use no-till organic farming practices using a combination of rye cover crops and crop rotations.

My MN Farmer

My MN Farmer
Dean & Jean Braatz

Our farm is situated on 40 acres, 3 miles west of Montgomery MN. Over the past 10 years we have been growing the farm piece by piece, each year growing more food on healthier soils. We are committed to growing all our food free of chemicals in a natural and sustainable way and providing that food to you in its freshest, simplest form. We call it eco-ganic. It is more than organic because it is produced in a way that is holistic, with each part supporting the others, while sustaining our precious resources.

We want you to know about your food and how it’s grown, and therefore we feel we do not need a government ‘organic’ label to tell our customers that our meat and produce is naturally grown. Our openness is our labeling. In addition, our children pick and eat the produce right in the garden, they play in the dirt between the rows; and it simply is not worth risking the health of our children for the perceived benefits of chemically grown food.

Brandt Gardens & Greenhouse

Brandt Gardens & Greenhouse was established in 2000 by Bill and Rhonda Brandt to grow plants and vegetables. The business began as a family project to teach responsibility and work ethic to their sons, Matthew, Nathan, and Aaron. What started as a family teaching opportunity, turned into and business venture; selling annual and perennial plants, as well as a wide variety of vegetables. Bill and Rhonda believe that food grown locally is a critical component of sustaining and growing the local economy. Brandt Gardens & Greenhouse has partnered with the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) to focus on improving nutrition in our communities.

Brandt Garden & Greenhouse grows vegetable crops on agricultural land and in a high-tunnel, which is simply a greenhouse built on agricultural land. The high-tunnel helps extend the production season, by allowing vegetables to be planted earlier than outdoor conditions will permit. By utilizing a high-tunnel, fruits and vegetables will be available for consumption both earlier and later in the year, than crops grown outdoors.

Montgomery Orchard

Our mission is to provide a refreshing and memorable outdoor experience for families, friends and organizations. We hope you will enjoy the peace that comes with the fresh air of a crisp fall day.

Montgomery Orchard bloomed in the mind of owner, Scott Wardell, and transcended into reality when the first section of apple orchard, Orchard A, was planted in 1999. Since then, thanks to the help of many, Scott and his family have now expanded the orchard nearly six-fold, adding on a new segment designated by another letter every year.

Aside from Orcharding, the rest of Scott and Barb’s farm land is dedicated to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) including the growth of various hardwood and evergreen trees and prairie restoration. It is now the mission of Scott and his family to deliver the joy and experience of taking part in the most beautiful parts of nature to their guests. When the summer comes to a close, our arms are open to all that will come.

Anderson Truck Farm

We are a 4th generation family farm specializing in fresh sweet corn, muskmelon, watermelon, tomatoes, squash & pumpkins. Wholesale & retail sales available. We sell at the Mankato Farmers Mkt. We’re also selling off trucks in Mankato & other neighboring towns.

Blue Skye Farm

We are a 3rd generation family farm. We proudly grow food grade soybeans, non gmo corn, oats and hay. Plus sweet corn and garden produce.

Gulden Family Farm

Guldan Family Farm was founded in the late 1980s by Denny and Janice Guldan. The farm produces most of the fruits and vegetables common to the southern Minnesota climate on roughly 25 acres of land.

Family members active in production and farm stand sales include Denny and Janice’s daughters Emily and Samantha, along with their son Tim. Tim has taken over Janice’s jam and jelly making along with canning cucumbers and salsas besides being Denny’s right-hand man.

With losing Janice to cancer in September 2012, Denny and Tim had their doubts about being able to manage the farm business without her in 2013. There were ups and there were downs, but in the end, they succeeded and plans for the coming year are in the works! Denny said many prayers that there would be someone to share his life and be part of the business. Those prayers were answered in finding another special person, Dani, and introducing her to the farm, markets and family early in 2013. Dani is new to farming but enjoys working side-by-side with Denny, Tim, Emily and Samantha to continue to provide quality fruits and vegetables through farmers’ markets and their CSA program.

Back 40 Acres

This is a produce farm run on three acres of land with several different vegetables and herbs located in between St. Peter and Nicollet, Minnesota. We try to use as many sustainable and natural methods in our garden as possible. We also like to rotate where our crops are planted in order to reduce the impact of pests to our plants.  We will NOT use any synthetic insecticides, herbicides or fertilizers!

Sonnek Potatoes

We grow several varieties of potatoes on our third generation farm near Delavan, Minnesota.

Harvestar Gardens

Donna and Dan Maday operate Harvestar Gardens. Harvest Star Gardens is one of the smaller farms that the MVAC Food Hub purchases from. What they lack in volume, they make up for in variety and quality! We source several heirloom specialty vegetables from them. In the past we have purchased golden beets, purple carrots, dill, and cherry tomatoes from them for our CSA. Variety like this from small local farmers is really what sets the MVAC Food Hub apart from other sources for fresh vegetables.

Straight River Farm

Straight River Farm began in 2002 when owner Bill Hein, retired from a 30-year teaching career, needed an occupation. He had tried several things in the Twin Cities, where he & his wife Maggie lived, but nothing excited him like the idea of having a farm and growing good food for people to eat. After much discussion and negotiation, Maggie agreed, asking that he find a farm within an hour’s drive of her work as a Librarian, and that once the farm was up and running, Farmer Bill would hire staff so she didn’t have to use her vacation days to farm.

Having previous experience raising strawberries, it was a given that they would be one of Bill’s main crops. Raspberries, ripening just as strawberries finish, seemed a natural fit. An apple orchard, to produce a crop from late August through October, came next. The fact that Bill had no experience with apples didn’t faze him at all; he was enrolled in a farming program in the MNSCU system that gave him access to an incredible consultant, and he set about learning how to raise apples. Other crops, including early-season tomatoes raised in hoop houses, incredible cantaloupes field ripened and richly flavored, and sweet corn – both traditional yellow and modern super sweet bi-colored, are grown each year to keep Bill occupied in his ‘off-season’ between berries and apples. Blueberries were added to the mix a few years ago & it’s hoped they’ll prove popular when the bushes start to really produce.