Karen and Rich with Spring Hill Gardens showed us around their farm on a sunny, early-summer morning. They have been a fixture of Rochester Farmers Markets for decades!
A few years ago when their production was at its peak, Karen and Rich were known as the "pepper people," specializing in many varieties of colorful chilies that are harder to find at Minnesota farmers markets.
Rich was on the market's Board of Directors when the association first implemented the farm inspection requirement. "This is a little more laid back than it was," he says, and we agree. Our main purpose with these visits, apart from verifying that growers live within our radius and do, in fact, grow their products, is to hear their stories and learn what makes this all worthwhile for them.
The Carlsons farm only what's useful to them. With decades of experience, they are able to keep the scale of their product in check to make time for the things they truly enjoy. As a hobby, they currently keep three delightful Norwegian Fjord horses and enjoy buggy rides around their country home.
You can follow Spring Hill Gardens on Facebook to find out what they're growing and when it will be available at market.