Sweet Beet Farm is an transitional organic vegetable operation located 5 miles south of Waverly, MN, 40 miles west of Minneapolis. We farm vegetables, herbs, and flowers, but also raise layer hens and tend bee hives for healthy distractions. For the past five years we have been growing food for our local community. We currently grow our produce on 2.5 acres and market our vegetables, herbs, and flowers through a “farm share” program for families in Watertown, Buffalo, the west metro, and the Twin Cities areas.
In November 2013, after growing for five seasons on rented land, we purchased a ten-acre farm of our own that fits the size and scale of our future farm plans, just four miles west of the Neaton family farm, where we operated till 2014. This land we will be due to be certified organic in August 2016! We will be growing on this land for the 2015 season and beyond.
We started farming for our interest in healthy food, joy of physical enduring labor and most strongly our connection to biodiversity of the land ! We believe that the backbone of a healthy, thriving farm is healthy, thriving soil. Healthy soils equals healthy food.To accomplish this, we rotate annual crops every two years. A given field is in
vegetables for two years, then put in a two-years of a mixture of clover and grass and back to vegetables again. This allows pest and disease cycles to be interrupted and allows the plant roots, earth worms, and soil microbes to create a rich growing environment. We find it extremely important to balance our growing with efforts to preserve this farmland so that future generations will be able to find it even more valuable then how we found it, rich with organic matter and nutrients.
In adventure of growing food, we have had large learning curves,experienced tremendous community support, and developed a focus on helping build our local food community. We started farming in 2009 by renting a quarter-acre field and providing produce to our local community through a small farm stand. That same year we worked on neighboring farms by day, gaining insight and experience that provided us with the skills and knowledge, and by night, returning home to work in the fields of our own. These years gave us a solid foundation to be able to start to create an efficient and sustainable farm business of our own. Nick spent two years working at Gale Woods Farm as a farm educator, while Amelia spent her first two years in the Watertown area working for local orchard and apiary Ames Farm. She then spent two summer seasons working at Riverbend Farm, learning under the wings of Greg and Mary Reynolds. In the spring of 2010, Nick and Amelia found a farmhouse to rent, with additional acreage for growing, and continuing to work on other farms. They were farming an acre at the family farm and an acre at the rented farmhouse. This situation taught them a lot about the farm/life balance, as well as farm scale, efficiencies, harvest techniques,soils, irrigation systems, and diverse plant species and varieties. They followed this routine until 2013, when Amelia was able to be on her own farm full-time.
Nick’s love for farming comes not just with blood and sweat he endured with the days of growing up helping his father, Paul, with field work, and mother, Holly, with sheep chores, but also from the stories and geography that make up his family’s fifth-generation farm. He has a knack for places and people, stemming from his love of geography and extroverted personality. When he is not farming, he fits right in as 4-H Program Coordinator for Wright County Extension, spending time with youth and families and engaging them in educational opportunities right in their own backyard! Nick spent his younger twenties exploring and living in almost every region of the U.S., working at farms in Maine and California, and returning home to start one of his own.
Amelia grew up in northern Minnesota, working with her parents and family in their large garden,putting up dilly beans, freezing sweet corn, seeding, and harvesting for the home-cooked meals. She has underlying passions of building and design work that serve her well with many farm projects. When she is not farming, she pursues her interest in education, particularly math and the sciences, by teaching at local schools. Her passion lies in understanding how food and nature impact our lives. After guiding children in creating a school garden, she knew that building a farm of her own was not far behind.