The Farm and the Farmers

Sleepy Root Farm was started by Brandon Wiarda and Kevin Karl in the Spring of 2011, renting land from the fine people at Living Song Farm. In 2013 Kevin left to continue his education and start his own CSA farm in Canada, Heather joined Brandon full-time on the farm, and we moved the whole operation east of the Twin Cities to the lovely Amery, Wi. area. After renting for three years we purchased and moved to our fabulous forever farm in the fall of 2016!

2016 will bring lots of change and excitement to Sleepy Root! Brandon and Heather are diligently working on improvements to our new property and preparing for a fabulous 6th season farming.  We’re hiring a larger crew including apprentices since we’ve expanded to 200 members in an effort to make our CSA more financially sustainable. Thanks to everyone who signed up early to help us cover some of the capital improvements we’ve had to start on already, like tearing down a building to make way for a greenhouse, and drilling a well!

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Farmer Brandon and the Bean
Farmer Brandon and the Bean

Brandon claims Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota as his homes, spending early school years in the city of LaCrosse,  and childhood summers on his father’s South Dakota farm.  His interest in working with plants, pursuing practical knowledge and skills, and living in rural landscapes led him take on internships with organic vegetable farms in MN after graduating from college.  Love of the outdoors, good food, the pleasures of plant husbandry, and the desire to connect others to those same meaningful experiences led him and Kevin Karl to start Sleepy Root.

Heather harvesting french filet yellow beans
Heather harvesting french filet yellow beans

Heather grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, moving several places around the country before settling in Minneapolis.  A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, New York, Heather has worked extensively as a baker and chef in New York, Chicago, Vermont, Colorado and Minneapolis.  Most recently she has been the head chef at everyone’s favorite NE deli and cheese shop, Surdyk’s, where she and Brandon met when Sleepy Root started delivering produce there.  Her culinary background brings a unique skill set to the farm and insights in food trends, variety selections, food prep, and recipes.

Maybelle Lee joined the family on November 11, 2014, and has been a delight to her parents and farm community. Specializing in being cute, she’s the Sleepy Root Farm cheer-builder and funny girl extraordinaire. She is now the 4th generation of Wiardas to farm!

 

Franklin crunching the seed order numbers
Franklin crunching numbers for the seed order

Franklin is the real brains behind the business.  Manager of management, seed orderer, and accountant (he’ll do member’s taxes for a discounted rate), Franklin enjoys the intellectual side of farming that comes with planning the production of hundreds of varieties of vegetables for hundreds of people and is our key strategic planner of adopting low energy technologies as we brace the farm for an emerging economy that is less dependent on abundant, inexpensive fossil fuels and materials.

 

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2 thoughts on “The Farm and the Farmers

  1. And don’t forget Kelsey, who provided plenty of entertainment that first year, matchmaking, and some of these photos!! 😉 Best of luck to you guys. I can’t wait to come visit…I’m learning all about permaculture and food forests here in Pennsylvania, so if you ever need help on a perennial patch and Kevin isn’t around, I’m your girl!!

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