Feuchtenberger family: Growing food and community
By Mariah Laqua
Just before 7 a.m. on a cloudy June morning, the Feuchtenbergers - Paula and Craig, and their four sons Max, Alex, Ty, and Jed - are up moving pigs and tending to their garden. This long patch of black earth and green plants separates the Feuchtenberger's lawn from their corn field, as well as providing them with vegetables.
Paula is both a vendor and the coordinator of the Morris Area Farmers' Market. Selling produce, canned goods and flowers with her family every Tuesday and Thursday, Paula also works to organize market participants, prices and location.
"I'm hoping we get more vendors and more people coming through the market," said Feuchtenberger. "Hopefully it will become more of a community event, and then we can look at changing to a location where the atmosphere is more than asphalt."
The Morris Area Farmers' Market is currently held in the Aaron Carson parking lot across from Town & Country on Atlantic Avenue in Morris. For Feuchtenberger, the tradition of gardening runs through her family.
"Growing up I've always had a garden; my grandmother had a garden," said Feuchtenberger. "I have an addiction to growing flowers. Every year I plant more. I got that from my mom - she always had fresh flowers on the table at home. Now, from May on I usually have flowers in the house."
Paula's sons help in the garden, at the market and also work on a plot of land of their own - a pumpkin and gourd patch. The Feuchtenberger boys sell them every year at a stand held on their farm in September and October.
"We started it because we had extra pumpkins and the boys wanted to see if they could sell them," said Feuchtenberger. "They sold out within three days, and so the next year we planted some more. Now we have about an acre of pumpkins and gourds every year, and the money goes into college savings for the boys."
The Morris Area Farmers' Market is held every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., running now through the end of the season. The Feuchtenberger farm stand opens Labor Day and is located just off of Highway 9, four miles south of Morris towards Hancock, offering fall decorations including corn shucks, wheat shucks, various colors of pumpkins and gourds, canned goods and also an opportunity to see the space where the Feuchtenbergers grow their produce and flowers.
Buy Fresh Buy Local connects customer to local, sustainable, and healthy foods in the Upper Minnesota River Valley. For more information on finding local food visit www.prideoftheprairie.org. Buy Fresh Buy Local Upper Minnesota River Valley is part of the FoodRoutes Network (FoodRoutes), a national nonprofit organization that provides technical support to community-based groups that are working to strengthen regional markets for locally grown food. Visit www.foodroutes.org for more information about FoodRoutes.
Mariah Laqua is an intern with Buy Fresh Buy Local Upper Minnesota River Valley.