Providing Local Food in the Winter

The Food Farm serves nearly 400 families in the Duluth area.

WRENSHALL, Minn.- Summer in the Northland offers many farmers markets and weather conditions to eat locally sourced produce. One farm is dedicated to providing families in the Duluth area with fresh produce during every season.

Food Farm owners Johnaki Fisher–Merrit and Annie Dugan pride themselves on suppling their crisp fresh produce through every season.

“The big purpose of our farm is providing food directly to families,” Fisher–Merrit said.

Many homes in Wrenshall Minnesota come with a root cellar but none are like the one at Food Farms.

“When we first started doing this everyone thought a root cellar was just a dark whole in the ground,” Fisher–Merrit said.

The Food Farm has brought back the old means of storage, with a new twist.

“We’ve kind of changed that and help people realize you can use kind of the old principals and update it in a modern way, that makes sense in more of a commercial setting,” Fisher–Merrit said.

The root cellar is located nearly three to four feet below the surface of the soil and uses the Earth’s natural temperature for cooling.

“We’re really focused on reducing our energy foot print and having a stable operating center for our produce so the root cellar really made a lot of sense for us,” Fisher–Merrit said.

This allows the farm to keep the produce alive through the Minnesota winter. If the storage rooms get too hot, fans kick on bringing in the winter air. This system allows the farmers to keep their produce alive through every season, now they deliver to nearly 150 families in the winter season.

“Awhile ago it came out that you’re supposed to eat sort of eat what’s in season,” Dugan said. “Which is really good thing to do but sometimes in winter and you’re looking over this vast white landscape it’s like do you really want another white potato.”

Although the farm looks different during the warmer months, Johnaki and Annie keep things colorful and fresh. This time of year the cellar is stocked with a plethora of potatoes, onions, carrots, and much more.

“It’s really nice to be able to maintain that relationship with people for almost the whole entire year, although we have such a short growing season,” Fisher–Merrit said.

The Food Farm is a Community Supported Agriculture. When you become a food farm member, you’re purchasing a share of the farm and will have a box of organic food delivered directly to you.

“Relying on those community connections is an old way of doing something that’s been updated now,” Dugan said.

The Food Farm process was created through trial, error, and dedication. Which owners describe as an art process.

“It lets you be the master and the one that’s trying to figure everything out in partnership with your spot and your particular slice of land.”

Sign up to be a Food Farm member is going on right now, for more information visit Food Farm.

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