We are a family farm consisting of three generations. Produce is grown on Matt’s parent’s farm in DeForest, WI. Both Matt and Tracy grew up on farms. I (Matt) grew up growing cash crops with my parents. We mainly grew corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and oats. Tracy grew up on a dairy farm in Sun Prai-rie. Her parents are still involved in dairy farming.
Fresh market produce became part of my families crops when my sister went to College in 1997. My parents were looking for a way to supplement their income and help my sister with college. They sold, and still sell, sweet corn at a road side stand on HWY CV near the truck stops in Dane County. This last year was their 18th year selling corn.
I started adding other produce, more as a hobby about 5 years ago. Watermelons were my first venture into fresh produce. The second year I added more watermelon, muskmelon and honeydew. The last two years have seen the number and amount of produce we grow more than double each year. This last year we grew 45 different veggies and fruit.
All of our family is involved in one way or another. My three older children Anna 14, Josef 13 and Jakob 12 did a lot of the more manual work this year. Planting, picking and packing are all hard work. Their help has been invaluable. The younger children Abby 6, Johann 5, Helena 3, Heinrich 2 and Erika 1 all like to help in their own way (Baby nine will possibly arrive around Christmas 2014). They are very good at planting seeds. Abby is excellent at picking strawberries. Johann loves to “drive the tractor” with papa and dad.
Our love for our family also influences how we grow our produce. We always try to use the least amount of chemicals possible. This means we using organic sprays first and only when needed. When we have in-sect problems that we can not control we sometimes need to resort to conventional sprays, but it is rare that this is necessary. We do not use any herbicide on our produce crops. We want our children to be able to help in the field without worrying about chemicals.