THE BEGINNING OF SOMETHING GREAT:
A Family Affair
You could say farming is in our blood... but that blood is two generations old! So how did we, an urban-based family of secret foodies, two generations removed from farming, get into growing garlic?
Many of us have always loved to garden, and we've wanted to engage in a family business endeavor for many years. Then, in 2010, we acquired the 5.1 acre property on what we lovingly call Dragonfly Bay on Webb Lake near Hackensack, Minnesota. We quickly realized that this land presented us with the perfect opportunity and location for literally growing something of our own.
But the "what" of our endeavor would remain a mystery to us for quite a few years; that is until we took a "girls day" trip to the MN Garlic festival in the summer of 2019. Several of us have grown garlic in our gardens for fun and to give away to family and friends for years, so we just though it would be exciting to check the festival out and see what the all the "Minnesota garlic" fuss was about. And find out we did! In the span of one conversation with a farmer, we were connected with the MN Premium Garlic Project and met many more very passionate garlic growers, gurus, and geeks who convinced us to expand what we were already doing and join the fray. We were officially hooked!
So, after conducting much more research, creating many spreadsheets, and talking with many other garlic farmers, we landed in the garlic world. In the fall of 2019 we excitedly planted our first crop on just under a half acre of our sunny back fields overlooking the beautiful, glistening lake. This pristine setting, formerly a hay field, is where we spend our summers fishing, swimming, cooking, laughing, and adventuring alongside the thousands of dragonflies that naturally gravitate here. So we were eager to bring another element of joy to the place we love so much!
And now, having outgrown our back fields in 2021, we have expanded to 127 beautiful acres of field and forest just outside of Isanti, Minnesota. This expansion has allowed us to plant even more garlic so we can bring our 24 varieties of unique, delicious garlic bulbs to fields and tables throughout the region!
We are growing our delicious garlic varieties because:
We love garlic!
Garlic has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects that help the body fight over 160 ailments and chronic conditions.
We love offering a locally grown, sustainable crop to foodies, gardeners and farmers.
Fresh, natural, heirloom and gourmet homegrown hardneck garlic has been found by scientists to have higher levels of allicin (the organic compound that is responsible for garlic’s health benefits) than softneck garlic imported from China and elsewhere.
We believe everyone can benefit from experiencing entirely new garlic varieties that differ greatly from supermarket garlic, most of which is a single, bland variety. Our garlic varieties vary in flavor from mild and nutty, to hot and spicy, to sweet and creamy.
Garlic is a truly beautiful, magical plant!
NICOLE, A NEW GARLIC LOVER
“Dragonfly Bay garlic is super fresh, and the Chesnok variety
I tried was perfectly spicy!”
MIKI, A GARLIC GURU
“I didn't know garlic could taste this good! Seriously!”
ROBERTO, OUR ITALIAN GARLIC EXPERT
“I was born and raised in Italy and this is truly the best garlic that I have ever tasted!”
INSPIRED BY SOME AWESOME MOVIES TO START!
Making a Difference
We're often asked how we were inspired to start our farm and become soil health advocates. Believe it or not, it all started with a fun sisters trip to the MN Garlic Festival in 2019. However, our plans and dreams quickly expanded after an innocent movie night a few weeks later! One evening, several of us were hanging out and decided to watch The Biggest Little Farm (2018). After the credits rolled, we were all, quite honestly, just moved!
This experience sparked hours of excited discussion, and after rewatching the movie a few times, that discussion turned into ideas, proposals and spreadsheets over several more months; that ultimately lead us to purchasing our first batch of seed garlic bulbs in fall 2019.
Oddly enough, choosing to become soil advocates was similarly inspired when we chose to watch Kiss the Ground (2020) during another family movie night. This incredibly compelling movie instantly inspired us to investigate low-till planting and growing methods, because we learned that even though we're operating a small, family farm in the upper midwest, we're not powerless or insignificant when it comes to curbing the realities of climate change. We learned that we are the key actually!
So we figured out that, with some small changes to what we've already been doing to grow our garlic naturally, we can easily improve soil health and reduce our carbon footprint significantly. Now, we're knee-deep into more research, and we're very excited to begin testing several regenerative, low impact growing and weed control methods with our current crop. One of our goals is to perfect these practices and share them with others who are also inspired into action, so by purchasing our garlic you are helping us make a difference too!
What's the moral of this part of our story? Obviously we highly recommend everyone watch these two fantastic movies, but also be careful about what you choose when you're just "chillin' and watchin' Netflix" -- you never know what it might inspire you to do!