Scott County, MN Ag Industry Still Grows Strong

Long-established agriculture industry thrives.

By
Kevin Litwin
On Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 10:11
Shakopee, MN: SMSC Wozupi Tribal Garden

Scott County is enjoying economic success in several sectors, including its longstanding agriculture industry. The county remains primarily rural and proud of its agricultural roots, and that segment of the economy continues to plow forward to stay modern and fresh.

Several popular farmer’s markets dot the Scott County landscape, mostly from May through November, with markets in Belle Plaine, Jordan, New Prague, Prior Lake, Savage, Shakopee and one operated by the Wozapi Tribe. Many family farms are also thriving, including Zweber Farms in Elko New Market that was established in 1906 and is still raising sustainable beef, pork, chicken, eggs and organic dairy.

At Peter’s Pumpkins & Carmen’s Corn just outside Shakopee, Peter and Carmen Marshall grow fruits, herbs, flowers and vegetables, which the couple weed and harvest by hand to guarantee fresh, high‐quality produce.

“We have 60 acres of property and run a roadside store from July through Thanksgiving along Old Brick Yard Road, and our big sellers are sweet corn during the summer and pumpkins during the fall,” Peter says. “But we also feature farm-fresh eggs, heirloom tomatoes, heirloom beets, melons, beans, onions and more.”

Marshall says the farm is a lot of work, especially since he also holds a full-time job with Emerson Process Management and wife Carmen is a full-time schoolteacher.

“I grew up on my parents’ farm in Eden Prairie that is still operating, and agriculture is something I’ve always enjoyed,” Peter says. “Today, our farm stays away from herbicides as much as possible, and we have beautiful property that customers often photograph when they shop at our roadside stand.”

Going Organic

Scott County has several certified organic farms, including Kes Farm in Jordan, Robling Farm Inc. in Jordan, Mark & Sandy Scheffler in New Prague and Zweber Farms in Elko New Market. Wozupi Tribal Gardens in Prior Lake, an organic farm, uses environmentally sustainable and fair labor practices to grow vegetables, fruit, eggs, herbs, honey and maple syrup, and all produce and eggs are certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Many independent grocery stores in Scott County are also geared toward organic foods, including Mazopiya in Prior Lake, and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in Savage. Fresh Thyme is all about fresh, healthy and natural products at good prices, and most of its fruits and vegetables are locally grown.

Shop Around the Clock

In New Prague, Farmhouse Market is a small organic market that offers memberships and round-the-clock access through a keycard entry system and self checkout. The market works directly with local farmers and food producers who stock the store at all hours of the day or night. Members may shop at the store at any time of the day or night. The market also opens to the general public on Tuesdays from noon-3 p.m., Thursdays from 3-6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-noon.

Membership in Farmhouse Market, which opened in October 2015, costs $99 the first year and $20 for each year thereafter.

"At of the end of 2016, we had more than 275 members, which is impressive for a small, local market,” says Kendra Rasmusson, co-owner of Farmhouse Market with her husband, Paul.

“The store has 24-hour surveillance technology, but it’s pretty much an honor system with our members,” Rasmusson says. “We have all kinds of produce along with local meats, fresh dairy, eggs and more. We offer fair, affordable pricing and are truly happy to be doing business in Scott County.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.