DragSmith Farms was founded in 1988 when Gail and Maurice Smith bought the farm that has now been in Gail's family for 115 years. They grow approximately 30 acres of certified organic produce, greens and micro greens that is marketed, along with bison, elk, lamb, honey, maple syrup and many other products from neighboring farms, at their on-farm store and greenhouses, as well as at restaurants and food co-ops in Minnesota and Wisconsin year round. DragSmith Farms was the featured Know Our Grower, June 5 - 18. Demo: Saturday, June 15.
Growers: Gail and Maurice Smith
1. When did you begin farming and what inspired you to pursue farming as a profession?
In 1988, we moved from Austin, TX to Barron, Wis. Gail wanted to grow a few vegetables for our own use and it kind of got out of hand. We started by doing a road side stand in Barron and Rice Lake, Wis. Then we helped start two farmers markets. The farm has been in Gail’s family for more than 115 years, so when we retired from getting a paycheck, about eight years ago, we decided to work the farm full time. It didn’t go so well relying on our own farming community, so we started marketing in the Twin Cities and now we sell to about 100 restaurants and food co-ops and have a small CSA.
2. When and why did you decide to produce micro-greens?
We attended a conference in Colorado about growing tomatoes in greenhouses; during one of the presentations they talked about micro-greens and were trying to sell a $20,000 system for that purpose. After watching the demonstration, Gail decided she could do it without spending the money on their system. We had a customer, Canoe Bay, which is a five-star resort near Chetek, Wis., that was buying produce from us each week. He started buying four or five trays a week from us and the rest is history.
3. How do micro-greens compare to more mature greens?
Micro-greens have more intense flavor, nutrition, visual appearance and color.