An organic way of life

July 14, 2008

Dassel family believes in organic and sustainable farming

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Organic farming for the Housmans has become a family thing, raising everything from turkeys and lambs to herbs and apples.

Originally from Crystal, Mike and Mindy Housman dreamed of one day moving, and living a life in the country.

So in 2000, the young family moved out to a hobby farm north of Dassel and began raising turkeys, sheep, goats, and chickens.

The turkeys and chickens are organic free-range, meaning they aren’t cooped up and are able to roam around. They also are fed organic feed, Mindy said.

Even before they moved to the farm, the young family began eating healthier and switching over to organic foods, according to Mindy.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in organic and sustainable farming, according to Mindy.

On their 40-acre hobby farm, the Housmans have black, rich soil which Mindy attributes to their feeding of the soil with compost and manure, as well as the technique of crop rotation.

With sustainable farming, the soil feeds the plants, as opposed to chemicals, Mindy said.

Besides organic vegetables, the Housmans also have an orchard with apple, apricot, peach, and pear trees.

They recently planted 68 blueberry plants.

“We hope to have lots of blueberries this fall,” Mindy said.

This year is the first in which the Housmans have been selling their produce, eggs, and meat at the Cokato Farmer’s Market Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m., and so far, business is fairly successful.

Also, the Housmans will be part of the farmer’s market the last Thursday of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Little Red Hen in Dassel.

A family matter

Emily, their 12-year-old daughter, has made raising chickens and selling eggs her own small business.

Her favorite part is taking care of the chicks, she said.

Their son, Brandon, 15, started raising turkeys just for fun, but now he has turned it into a small business as well.

The turkeys are pre-sold, which allows Brandon to raise the turkeys to between 18 and 20 pounds, which takes about five months, according to Mike.

There are about 20 turkeys left to sell for the Thanksgiving season, which will be ready in September. If anyone is interested in pre-ordering their Thanksgiving turkey, call Brandon at (320) 275-0121.

Raising lamb is the newest part of their business. The Housmans began raising sheep and selling lamb meat to family and friends about three years ago, according to Mike.

Since the family is raising a lot of different things, the Housmans are currently working on a plan to become more specialized and focus on one or two areas, rather than such a variety.

For example, maybe the family will focus on raising only organic turkeys and chickens, Mike said.

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