Gardens of Eagan (GOE), a 100-acre certified-organic farm near Northfield, Minn., has always been a place to learn about and grow organic produce. After more than 20 years of growing vegetables, farmers Martin and Atina Diffley leased their farmland to the Wedge Co-op, selling the co-op their 20 tractors and well-respected brand name. Overnight, in 2008, the Wedge’s 10,000 members became farmers by proxy.
Produce from GOE can now be found at two farmers’ markets, in addition to the co-op’s shelves. Look for GOE’s new type of community-supported agriculture (CSA), based on market-style shopping instead of prepacked shares. GOE is also home to the Organic Field School, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching about organic food and farming. Currently, GOE is incubating three new farm businesses, Fazenda Boa Terra, Bossy Acres and Humble Pie Farm CSAs. Every season at GOE is an opportunity to grow new farmers and feed people fresh, local food. Gardens of Eagan is the featured Know Our Grower July 17 - 30. Demo: Saturday, July 27.
Grower: Linday Halley, Farm Manager
When did you begin farming and what inspired you to pursue farming as a profession?
Growing up on a farm, I learned early about my connection to the soil and have been farming organically since 1989. It just made sense.
How does GOE as an organization differ from other farms?
GOE is unique in that it combines the challenges of running a farm, but using a brand-new model in farming. As a cooperatively owned farm and as we've recently transitioned to new land, we are breaking new ground literally and figuratively.
What distinguishes your products from other local produce?
We are drawing on years and years of experience, and it shows. We grow lots of produce that other farms won't attempt -- like sweet corn and watermelon.
What is your favorite way to enjoy your own produce?
In the field and with knife in hand. Nothing better.