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Address: 23078 164th Street
Big Lake, MN 55309

Phone: (952) 836-5263

Email: Jodi@brownfamilyproduce.com 

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  • Admin The Farmer's Wife

Rain, rain, go away.

Well guys, I'm sure you've seen it everywhere so far this spring. It's not a nice spring, it's the wettest on record, it's colder than normal, etc. The river has been above flood level for months, the farmers in the southern part of the state (and nation) are losing their opportunity to plant and their income.


We are different from those farms because they're growing field corn and soy beans mostly (huge crop farmers), so if they don't get it in the ground by a certain date their harvest is non-existent. The same concept does not apply to us, we grow over 100 varieties, & have different planting dates for all the produce types (because they take different amounts of days to reach maturity).


We are selectively planting certain fields, selectively tilling and laying mulch where we can. We're behind in our planting because a lot of the fields have standing water still. In the past couple of days the water has actually risen instead of dropped because at this point there isn't anywhere for the water to go, the culverts, ditches, lakes, steams, holding ponds, etc. are already full. So even though today will be nice and hot, that doesn't mean that we're out of the swamp yet so to speak.

We are not immune to the weather, although our planning and efforts have increased even more to hopefully counteract mother nature. We're anxiously waiting and praying for the water to go down.


No, I don't think an "oh shit" reaction is appropriate yet. But I wanted to make you guys all aware that we're trying our hardest to keep up with the conditions of this spring.

The onions, bok choy, kohlrabi, and a few others are underwater. Not just around a lot of water, but completely submerged after the last rain on Memorial Day. Ben has re-seeded a lot of those varieties this week to try and get them started in time to hopefully plant them in a couple weeks. So this year, when your shares look different than they have in the past, that's why.

To clarify, we are re-seeding in trays in the greenhouse. We start most of our produce in the greenhouse and then transplant it into the fields. By doing so, we're able to control many factors of the growth of the young plants resulting in a better germination rate, health & growth and ultimately the yield. Some produce varieties are direct seeded into the ground (like beans for instance) but we simply haven't gotten any of those varieties in yet (but aren't necessarily behind with those either).


We cancelled our order for sweet potato plants, because we literally don't have anywhere to plant them right now. We need to get the tomatoes, melons, peppers, etc. in the ground before sweet potatoes out of priority. Our hands are tied with that one because they need to be planted by a certain date (first week of June to get a harvest from them), but we will continue to search for answers for our other varieties and ways of how to move forward and still offer you the fullest season possible.


For our new members, this is going to be more difficult to understand because you haven't had many established years with us and seen the bounty we are so proud of. I want you to know that we have done everything the same this year as every other year, that all the seeding and transplanting has been done exactly on time, until this past couple weeks of heavy consistent rain when we had to stop planting and wait, or get it in the field and watch it drown. We did plant the onions, bok choy, etc. on the highest ground we had, but that too was underwater. This year will look a little different in terms of what things are harvested and when. I want to make sure you know you can reach out with questions anytime, otherwise keep checking these emails from me for updates.


Out of our 7 years of operating a farm, our thousands of CSA Shares sold and happy families, this is by far the worst spring we've seen yet. That doesn't mean it's going to reflect that on the whole season, but just being plain, this really sucks.


This video shows the field to the right (where we are hoping to plant) and the drain to the culvert with a whirlpool because it's draining so fast. This was almost a week ago, and we were waiting for the water to go down more. Now, it's stagnant, not apparently draining anymore. We've made sure there isn't anything blocking the culvert (yes we got in there...), and are anxiously waiting to see the water line regress.


Praying for no more rain and some dry hot days & weeks.

~The Farmer's Wife

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