From Your Farmer: April 2020

It’s both an honor and a challenge to be an “essential business” during the COVID-19 pandemic.  No doubt most farmers would gladly tell you they’ve always been essential, but the impacts we’ve felt here at Ferndale Market have pulled us in many new directions.  We’re in the food business from farm to table at Ferndale Market, so it’s been like riding a rollercoaster blindfolded as the situation turns each day. In our on-farm market, our team rallied incredibly fast to get us ready for curbside grocery pickup and local delivery.  We’re fully up and running with both, and I’m proud that we were able to quickly find ways to serve both customers and local food partners, all with social distancing in place.  The curbside and delivery options had been aspirational long-term goals for quite some time, but became a reality in less than two weeks with thoughtful work and hours of web programming.  Our frequent cleaning of all surfaces [...]


From Your Farmer: March 2020

I realized recently that we talk a lot about our baby turkeys (poults) and big birds on range, but not necessarily about the time in between those stages.  Although brooding (starting baby turkeys) and life outdoors are two of the high points (and definitely most labor intensive) on our farm, there is plenty that happens between those periods. I thought I’d share more about that process here. All of our turkeys begin their life in a brooder barn.  By the time they arrive on our farm, they’ve already put in an honest day’s work, pecking their way out of their egg at the hatchery, being sorted into boxes of 100, and then riding in a warm, comfy truck to the farm.  Our poults arrive within a day of hatching, and we place them in small groups, encircled by cardboard dividers to create rings, where they can easily find heat, feed, and water.  And they like the heat!  While we [...]


From Your Farmer: February 2020

I’m not used to winning awards.  I must be too old for the everybody-gets-a-trophy era, and my own abilities have rarely proven award winning.  In our family, our trophy heyday came over 80 years ago, when my great grandparents took turkeys to regional and national competitions to show their birds.  We have the trophies and platters to prove that my ancestors were true award-winners, but we’ve had a long dry spell since. This experience probably explains why I didn’t think to stick around for the awards ceremony at the Feast Festival in December.   So, you can imagine my surprise when I learned the next morning that Ferndale Market had been given the “Inspiring Social Benefit Award,” which recognizes a business model that incorporates community values and social benefit causes.  Needless to say, I was incredibly surprised and honored. I believe business can – and should – be a force for good.  Change can be spurred in many ways, and [...]


From Your Farmer: January 2020

What would you like to see from Ferndale Market in 2020? This is the question on our minds and in our discussions here as we start the New Year.  2019 was good year for us here.  We experienced some high-profile milestones, like the 80th anniversary of our farm’s founding and the chance to be at the state fair with Minnesota Cooks, while also making slow-but-steady progress on the unseen, daily projects that prepare us for the future – building more ranging shelters, planting new trees, and replacing worn fences. In 2019, we are proud to have launched our new Ground Turkey Breast and our Birchwood Café Turkey Burger.  In our on-farm market, we introduced our now-popular glass bottle milk from Crystal Ball Farms and re-introduced local favorite Thousand Hills Cattle Company grass-fed beef.  We also welcomed a number of new members to our team and somehow allowed a few to sneak off into the world of retirement.  We expanded [...]


From Your Farmer: December 2019

Buy now with one click!  Next day shipping!  Free delivery!  Although speed and convenience may be the fuel for our world today, it stands in stark contrast as we reflect on our Thanksgiving season and look ahead to Christmas. There are few things fast about farming.  We spend months planning our farm schedule to best-guess sizing for the Thanksgiving season.  Once the birds have hatched, our days are tied to their natural growth rate, which means we invest months in growing our turkeys.  There’s no high-speed mode or accelerated pace, and success in farming comes from attention to the daily, minute husbandry details that lead to a healthy, happy flock.  It’s oftentimes slow, deliberate, and intentional, but it’s worth the investment of time and care. Likewise, we know you have many convenient options for holiday gift giving.  In a world of speed and convenience, we appreciate that you make the trip to visit us at Ferndale Market to build [...]


From Your Farmer: October 2019

There are only 30 days until Thanksgiving, so it’s our season to shine at Ferndale Market. This time of year, I can feel the pace quicken with preparation on the farm, in the market, and in our warehouse. The turkeys look good, the store is busy stocking holiday items, and the delivery trucks are humming. This is what we work toward all year. I’m reminded of Howard Buffet’s concept of “40 chances” during our Thanksgiving season. The basic premise is that a typical crop farmer, growing an annual crop and working an average career span, will have 40 crop seasons – chances – to leave their mark. I love the way this frames the work in agriculture; instead of a continuous cycle of plant-to-harvest, it’s instead an opportunity to start anew each season. Although we turkey farmers get to cheat quite a bit (growing more than one flock each year), the Thanksgiving season is still the bookend of our [...]


From Your Farmer: September 2019

The Minnesota Twins went 2-and-1 and I hardly saw a minute of the games, but I won’t forget my favorite baseball series of the year.  You may have seen that Ferndale Market had the opportunity to be a vendor at Target Field for the Twins vs. Tigers series in late August.


From Your Farmer: August 2019

It’s been a great summer here on our farm and I hope the same has been true for you. Our older flocks are active and happy on range, and our brooder barns are busy with the excitement of young poults, now just a couple weeks old. It’s the time of year that keeps us very busy, but also prime time to capture the benefits of having our turkeys outside. In addition to the usual farm work, our July was busy with farm tours. Hosting guests is sincerely one of my favorite parts of my work, and I thought it would be fun to share a couple fun stories from the past few weeks: I was leading a tour with a mix of adults and children, and found myself talking about the difficulty we face in finding equipment for ranging our turkeys, since so few farms still grow poultry outdoors. Using a figure of speech, I said “this is one [...]


From Your Farmer: July 2019

Have you ever pondered the origins of the aluminum can your favorite beverage lives in? I’m reading a fascinating book on the transportation economy and the seemingly endless miles our goods travel from source to consumer.


From Your Farmer: May 2019

Great products with great stories. Simply put, this is what we’re all about at FerndaleMarket. We strive to produce and source the very best in distinctive local foods, and share the stories of the people and practices behind them. In that spirit, I wanted to share the stories behind two of our Ferndale turkey items, just in time for grilling season.