Updated: Dec 17, 2019
We spend a lot of time talking to farmers, and we feel lucky to know the people who grow and raise our food. It can be intimidating to ask questions at the market - sometimes the vendors are busy, the kids are running off in the opposite direction, or maybe you're just not sure whether "what do cows do in the winter to keep warm?" is a stupid question. We know the feeling!
Our "Ask a Farmer" project makes it easy (and anonymous) to find out more about farming and food in southeastern Minnesota, and we'll connect you with the families who bring their talent and passion to Rochester every week at our markets.
Bring your question to the market and drop it in the basket at our red barn display, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll do our best to find a farmer who knows the answer and post it here!
What's the best part of being a farmer?
"For me, perhaps the best part of being a farmer is being so connected to the seasons and cycles of life and getting to know a piece of land so intimately. I have become an avid sky-watcher--paying constant attention to the weather and clouds and sunrises and stars and the phases of the moon. It is so thrilling and poignant being so intimately connected to life and death--whether the hatching of baby chicks, birth of a calf, sprouting of the first seeds in spring, or the loss of your beloved old milk cow or harvest of your young steer, who will feed your family and your customers and support your farm."
"I love the hard physical work and the constant responsibility, and the friendship of my livestock. We are all a team on this farm. I love learning how everything, absolutely everything, is interconnected. Everybody gives - the cows mow and give manure for compost, the goats clear brush, the chickens eat bugs, provide fertilizer and give meat and eggs, the bees pollinate and provide wax and honey. I love working with my husband (and daughters when they were still home) and being our own bosses and being able to try new things, aware of the risks but also valuing the rewards gained even when a venture sort of fails. All of my life I wanted to be a farmer on a small, diverse, traditional farm, and finally being able to do this in my older years is a dream come true. There is no one individual piece I love most, it is the whole shebang."
- Susan Waughtal, Squash Blossom Farm
What do you do when you are not farming?
"The nicest thing about being a farmer is that there is no time to not be a farmer, from helping another farmer in need to getting work done in a slow time that you couldn't do when you were busy. When I'm not doing that, I'm fishing or taking a hike with my best friend, a dog named Brownie. Hopefully this gives some light to your question. Thanks for the coming to the market and asking a farmer."
- Andrew Serio, Serio Farms
What's the hardest part of being a farmer?
"Always needing to learn new things... like how to butcher different animals, how to grow different fruit or produce, whatever the customers ask for. As a farmer you're always changing so you always need to learn new things. That's also the best part of being a farmer."
- Kelly Davidson, Prosper Valley Farm
What do you wish people knew about farming or farmers that most people don't know?
"The prices are not too expensive considering all the work that is put into the produce."
- Tori Timm, Fairview Farm