By Jan Swinton
Barbara Stone is the manager of the Maharishi Vedic City Greenhouses at 2037 – 140th St., Fairfield, IA. The largest is 2 acres, and the first of its size to be constructed in Iowa. The climate controlled, automated, vaulted plastic top opens on each of the east-facing slopes to allow for the prevailing Iowa winds to carry out some of the summer heat. Winter cold is buffered with a low tunnel system that covers greens, root crops and flowers that are grown all year.
The greenhouse is a major supplier of fresh, certified organic produce in Iowa. The facility has a large walk-in cooler that is used to store produce before delivery or pick-up, for the regional retail and restaurant markets. Produce is picked very early the day of delivery; larger orders the day before. This farm crawl is a rare opportunity to visit a wholesale greenhouse operation in Iowa. It is an interesting place to watch vegetables grow, and talk with gardeners about organic practices.
This wholesale vegetable growing operation is one of 6 stops on the Hometown Harvest “Savor the Flavor” Farm Crawl set for Sunday, September 9, from noon to 6pm. You are welcome to tour any of these farms in any order on that day. Maps of the whole route are available at each farm, and at the Fairfield Hy-Vee & Everybody’s Whole Foods. For more information, please call the Hometown Harvest office at 641-472-6177.
By Jan Swinton
Doug and Tanya Webster’s farm “Rolling Prairie Acres” has about 6 acres under food production at 708 Ringgold St. on the north edge of Sigourney, IA ( please park at the Library and walk up the hill if you are able, Ringgold is a congested area and a dead end street). This family-run farm is known for their 80 varieties of garlic and 350 varieties of heirloom tomatoes (5 plants of each variety). A tour of this farm will reveal several generations of greenhouses, traditional barns and (of course) rolling hills. They are experimenting with companion plantings, constant rotation and cover crops on the annual veggie beds. Their 150 fruit trees are still young, but growing into full production in the next few years. Bees provide pollination for the fruit trees and honey to eat. Katahdin sheep wander the pasture and relax in the shade of the barn near the naturally-raised hogs. Chickens spend all day out in their run with the a few turkeys and ducks for company.
Websters’ will be celebrating their 10th year working the land and Rolling Prairie Acres and they are inviting the whole Hometown Harvest system to their farm. Their entertainment will include Bob & Kristie Black and friends playing bluegrass perfection from 1:30- 4:30 pm. They will be sharing blackberry pie with ice cream while you enjoy the farm and music. At the Sigourney Public Library parking lot (where you will park unless disabled), Julie Stutzman will bring in her Stone Wall Brick Pizza oven and sell hot stone hearth personal pizzas all afternoon, as well. Other lunch/dinner local food items include: Kombucha and mint sun tea. Pickle Creek Herbals witll be setting up so show off their wares, and herb cookies made by with locally grown whole wheat flour. It’s a feast of SE Iowa’s best!
The Webster’s farm operation is one of 6 stops on the Hometown Harvest “Savor the Flavor!” Farm Crawl set for Sunday, September 9, from noon to 6pm. You are welcome to tour any of these farms in any order on that day. Maps of the whole route are available at each farm, and at the Fairfield HyVee & Everybody’s Grocery. For more information, please call the Hometown Harvest office at 641-472-6177.
Learn more and keep up to date via the Rolling Prairie Acres Farm blog
By Jan Swinton
Barb Grijalva is the gardener at “Back to the Basics Farm” just north of Fairfield: 2254
136th Blvd. Barb’s traditional Iowa garden has all of the normal seasonal vegetables
grown naturally along a mile of gravel road. “This has been an unusual year,” says
Grijalva, “we started so early, and then the sweetcorn was ready for harvest in June!”
Farm Market regulars will recognize Barb from her tables at the Fairfield Market. Her
baseball cap and pony tail let you know that she’s been out working in the sun. Her
helpful attitude and friendly service show why she is a favorite at the market.
A visit to her farm proves to be an adventure! The old barn that was built in the 1800’s
burned to the ground from a lightning bolt a few years ago, leaving behind the limestone
foundation. Barb is dismantling the piles of stone and re-constructing it to form a
more contemporary landscape. This creative attitude is apparent throughout the farm
Back to the Basics Farm is one of 6 stops on the Hometown Harvest “Savor the Flavor”
Farm Crawl set for Sunday, September 9, from noon to 6pm. You are welcome to tour
any of these farms in any order on that day. Maps of the whole route are available at
each farm, and at the Fairfield HyVee & Everybody’s Grocery. For more information,
please call the Hometown Harvest office at 641-472-6177.