Warm summer greetings from the whole flock here at Ferndale Market! Although the summer season brings lots of work here on the farm, it’s a bit quieter on our delivery route, now that colleges and schools are out for summer.

Many people – myself included – are surprised by the significant portion of our Ferndale Market turkey that is served in school settings. Although I didn’t have the vision to see it in my initial business plan, school lunch programs have played a vital role in balancing our sales beyond Thanksgiving, and developing new turkey items, like our turkey burger recipe made in partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools.

In the past school year, we proudly provided our turkey to over 25 different schools and colleges. On some occasions, we have the opportunity to visit the school when our turkey is on the menu. These have been some of my most rewarding farming experiences, seeing these joyful young students being nourished by the turkey we’ve invested care in growing. I typically open the conversation with students by asking if they’ve ever been to a farm. On one occasion in Eden Prairie this fall, a student quickly replied “Yes, I’ve been to a dog farm.” Not to be outdone, another girl said “Well, I’ve been to a bear farm!” Either these kids have been to some exotic farms, or there’s an opportunity for education about a more typical farm experience. I even had a student express concern, “If you eat so much turkey, do you get enough vegetables?”

None of these top the pride I felt on the day our son came home from kindergarten and proclaimed “Daddy, did you know they served our turkey at lunch today? Can you believe it?” In truth, I wouldn’t have believed it 10 years ago.

These community connections around the food we grow is what motivates us to do what we do. We commend schools for raising awareness about local foods, and for sourcing meals direct from farms like ours. We are excited to be creating change in our food system, while holding onto the farming practices that have brought us here. Thank you for being a part of our local food community, and valuing the difference in our Ferndale Market turkey.