Digging Deeper with Northern Harvest CSA Farm

With CSA Farms Growing in Popularity in Recent Years, Local Crops are Selling Out for the Season

WRENSHALL, Minn. – The Northland is receiving ample amounts of rain this season, causing some local farmers to wish for higher ground.

CSA farming is much more than freshly picked produce on your table.

“You’re never going to master nature; you’re never going to master Mother Nature,” said Farmer Rick Dalen, Northern Harvest Farm.

It’s almost time for books and classroom bells, but for Farmer Rick, he’s been busy learning lessons all summer long.

“I still feel like in some ways I’m still a beginner,” said Dalen.

For the local farmer, weather isn’t always welcoming. Dalen says this year, the season has fared well.

“It has been challenging dodging the rain and finding windows of opportunity to get things done,” said Dalen. “Having the sunshine in between really has been kind of the saver.”

Thirteen summers ago, Dalen and his wife decided to grow their future together.

“The feedbacks been good, we almost always have positive comments,” said Dalen.

For two years, the Dalen’s farmed with nearby friends. They now yield crops from a field they’ve fallen in love with.

“We started with the Food Farm, another local CSA farm in the area,” said Dalen. “There are other farmers who have now come along in this area too in the past few years,” said Dalen.

Community Supported Agriculture or CSA Farming is a relatively recent revelation in the United States and Canada.

“One of the great things about farming is that you always are learning,” said Dalen.

CSA-like farming first developed in Japan by a group of women concerned with pesticide use and processed foods.

“We’ve been doing it over a decade and I still feel like in some ways we’re just kind of starting,” said Dalen.

Now popular in the Midwest, Northern Harvest Farm is focused on educating families while they enjoy fresh produce, picked locally, grown pesticide free.

“They do feel good about being able to feed their family, good, healthy produce that they know doesn’t have chemical residue,” said Dalen.

Dealing daily with Mother Nature while making a big difference year round at the dinner table.

“Over the years we’ve definitely been able to invest more and more into things that can help us,” said Dalen.

New this year, the Dalen’s added apple trees to their list of produce, planting 225 trees earlier this spring.

Each week, roughly 140 boxes of fresh produce are packed and delivered to families in the Duluth, Superior and Cloquet areas.

2017 shares are sold out. If you’re interested in purchasing a share in 2018, it’s $565 dollars for the full 18 weeks. Customers who choose to receive shares every other week pay roughly $310 dollars for the season.

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