Eat Local Farm Tour 2016 Features Nerstrand Farms

Eat Local Farm Tour 2016

As it heads into its fifth year, the [2016] Eat Local Farm Tour offers people in the region the opportunity to get a hands-on experience learning just where their food comes from.

The tour itself is sponsored by a number of Minnesota-based co-ops, including Just Food Co-op of Northfield. Nerstrand’s Simple Harvest Organics and Shepherd’s Way Farm are among the 29 farms involved this year.

Kathy Zeman, of Simple Harvest Organics, has been a part of the Farm Tour since the beginning. She said it is important for her to remain involved because it’s a way to listen to her customers and hear whatever concerns they may have.

“We can provide people with education and talk about land use,” Zeman said. “We have the discussion of why certain types of land lend themselves to the food you eat and why we don’t use antibiotics or pesticide sprays.”

She said it also provides the opportunity for people to see how their food is raised.

One popular thing Simple Harvest offers every year is the opportunity for people to milk a goat, something Zeman said is exciting for everyone. She said those who have done it at the farm will stop her later and tell her about their experience.

“Our farm is a beat up, old farm,” she said. “We’re putting it back together. For a lot of people, it reminds them of their grandfather’s farm.”

Like Zeman, Jodi Ohlsen Read and Shepherd’s Way Farm have been a part of the tour since its inception.

Ohlsen Read said because the farm is so busy, it’s difficult to accommodate visitors and tours. However, to have one day set aside where people come through, it allows them to remain involved year after year.

“All we have to do on the farm is get ready,” she said. “The Eat Local organizers and the co-ops do a great job about promoting it.”

For those that visit Shepherd’s Way, Ohlsen Read said they are very interested in seeing how the farm operates.

“It’s important for us to show the diversity in farming,” she said. “There are different crops and different animals on every farm you go to.”

Just Food Co-op Marketing and Member Services Manager Stephanie Aman said the tour is the one big event that Twin Cities-based co-ops come together for, and the co-ops themselves handle the cost of organizing the endeavor.

“One of our goals is to support our farmers,” Aman said. “This is one of the ways we can do that.”

She also stressed the importance of people knowing where their food comes from, and said the tour is a way for people to get that understanding.

“Connecting people to their food is very important,” Aman said. “This also provides the chance for people to build a connection with who farmed their food as well.”

If You Go

What: Eat Local Farm Tour 2016

When: 10 a.m. on July 16

Where: Various farms around the region

For more information, and a map of participating farms, visit the Facebook event page: facebook.com/EatLocalFarmTour.coop/

Kevin Krein covers arts and entertainment, non-profits, community events and people, and matters relating to Rice County and the surrounding townships for the Northfield News and the Faribault Daily News. You can reach him at 507-645-1106, or follow him on Twitter: @NfldNewsKevin.

Kevin Krein [email protected]

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