We were fortunate enough to tour Kelly Davidson's Prosper Valley Farm in Wykoff, MN on a perfect August afternoon. The traditional family farm straddles a trout stream and features wooded hillsides and open meadows - it's a diverse and eclectic property that matches its owners' creativity and love of the natural world. Kelly tells us a bit about her history as a city girl "9:00 to 5:00 and pencil skirts were my life," she says, before she became a farmer.
We hop in the four-wheeler for a tour of the property, looking at Kelly's mix of vegetable gardens, a hazelnut grove, and an impressively diverse pumpkin patch where she grows the many varieties of pumpkins and gourds used to make decorative stacks at our autumn markets.
The farm is home to cattle, chickens, and a few pet dogs. In the past they've kept goats as well, but the farm's size and complexity have fluctuated over the years. In fact, Kelly and Don are still recuperating from storm damage to the property and outbuildings from the past summer, but from our perspective everything seems lush and vibrant.
Prosper Valley Farm purchases 200 new egg-laying hens each spring for a year-round supply of fresh brown eggs at our markets. The chickens explore the yard, and even though they have free reign, they like to stick together close to the safety of the shed. The family dog keeps watch and helps protect the birds from predators. The eggs are cleaned with a clean, dry rag, graded and sorted for sale at the market.
Back in the farm house, Kelly shows us how she makes pickles with tiny, crunchy cucumbers picked just hours before they're canned. She also collects and dries decorative gourds, painting them with bright colors and patterns to sell as bird houses. She says the birds love to nest in the gourds and eat all the seeds she leaves inside!
Our tour ends with some troubleshooting - as we pull out of the driveway we notice the bull looking at us from entirely the wrong side of the fence! After a chase with the four-wheeler, some convincing with a corn bucket, and creative gate maneuvering, we help get him back inside. Kelly says Don will come back later to walk the entire fence line and check for places where the animals could be getting through. There's always something that needs fixing on the farm, she says, but always something new to learn!
At the market, look for Kelly's distinctive white bus in the summer months and colorful painted gourds throughout the winter. She offers one of the most diverse selections at the market, and is happy to work on custom projects or creative arrangements. You can also follow Prosper Valley Farm on their Website or on Facebook.