By: JoAnn Dahl, Owner #66
"It’s not just about what you take from the land, it’s also about what you give back."
Ross Uphoff, Owner #449
Walk around The Bluffs Farm with Ross and Ashley Uphoff and you will find yourself in a thoroughly charming landscape. The property has been in Ross’s family since 1887 and was originally settled by his great grandfather. Beautiful, lush, rolling hills of pasture land are cut here and there with ribbons of wetland and dotted all around by ancient stately oaks. Then you spot the cattle! With their long horns and shaggy brows, Scottish Highland cattle are just adorable. Although sheep, pigs, turkeys and chickens are also raised at the farm, the cattle are the iconic livestock at The Bluffs. Hearty, healthy and great foragers, Scottish Highlanders are the perfect fit for a grass fed operation. Grass fed simply means that the livestock are raised their whole lives, to finishing, on pasture. Animals at The Bluffs eat the way cows were meant to eat and know nothing of cement floors and artificial lighting. Ross and Ashley say “We are a farm, not an industry.”
Their commitment is not only to the health and well being of the animals but to the land, and in a larger sense, the planet itself. The Uphoffs employ regenerative farming techniques such as rotational grazing, and no-tillage cropping giving special attention to the health and biodiversity of the soil. “It isn’t just about what you take from the land, but also what you give back,” Ross explains. Well-managed grazing is the key. By locking carbon in the soil, it can offset or even completely compensate for methane and other greenhouse gases associated with raising beef cattle. With careful attention the pasture is never overgrazed and the vegetation soaks up, or sequesters, carbon, preventing carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. All the animals; the beef, the Icelandic sheep, the foraging Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs, and even the turkeys and chicken, are moved around to forage in different areas at the farm. Ashley and Ross tend the animals and tend the land as well.
The results are good quality meat, ethically raised and with environmentally friendly practices. Although they have grown their herd from seven to 130 head of cattle, they are still a relatively small operation selling direct to consumers on their website and at local farmer’s markets. They sell to Sprout and have been featured at Purple Carrot pop-up markets. As owners/producers, Ashley and Ross believe in the benefits of buying local and being part of a community like Purple Carrot Market. They appreciate that when you buy from small, family-run, local farms like theirs, much of your money stays local. Supporting local farmers means supporting your neighbors and caring for your local economy. Constantly learning and with long range vision, Ashley and Ross are thoughtful caretakers- of their animals, their land and their community.
To learn more about The Bluffs and their product availability, visit www.thebluffsbeef.com or download their pre-order form.*
*Pre-order form is subject to change due.
By: JoAnn Dahl, Owner #66
“I’ve become very passionate about the importance of good nutrition and fueling our bodies with healthy foods. I like knowing where my food comes from, and what’s involved in the farm to table process."
Ben Back, Owner #403
At the home of Ben and Zoe Back, the yard is menagerie of green leaves of every size, shape and hue. You might find a mini cantaloupe, vines of heirloom peas or a four year old rosemary plant, but the place Ben’s green thumb really shines is in his basement. That’s right, in his basement, Ben grows superfoods. Working from home, where Ben cares for his three children, he has used his passion for healthy eating and growing food to create Little Falls Microgreens. If you are not a foodie, you might not be familiar with these delicate, tender mini leaves and stems that are packed with powerful flavor and loaded with nutrients. Microgreens are a super food that can provide anywhere from 4 to 40 times the nutrient value of their full grown counterpart. Similar to sprouts, without the seeds and roots, they are grown in trays and pull water up from below. Just about any vegetable can be grown as a microgreen. Using mostly organic soil and following organic practices, Ben grows the microgreens indoors to control the environment. Then, at just the right moment, he harvests the ‘baby leaves’ before the plants mature.
For Ben and his wife Zoe, providing healthy, nutritious food for their family is a priority. They care deeply about the earth and having access to sustainably grown, ethically resourced food. That was a big reason they became Purple Carrot Market owners. The Purple Carrot Market community is one of the things they love about the Little Falls area.
Microgreens are a perfect way to power pack nutrients into the family diet. Whether sprinkled on a salad, dropped into a soup, or hidden in a smoothie, the three Back children get extra nutrients with no complaints. The greens keep in the refrigerator from two weeks to a month. Radish greens really jazz up a sandwich, or you could try red Russian kale microgreens on an egg scramble, or pea greens in a chicken stir fry. The possibilities are endless.
Visit Little Falls Microgreens on Facebook for some great ideas or order a clamshell of fresh greens. Ben also sells his greens to Sprout MN for their CSA program, in addition to local restaurants. If you are interested in growing some super food of your own, Ben sells kits as well. Click this link for more information on Ben and microgreens. Calm, earthy and disarming, Ben is just a super guy producing super food and we are so fortunate to have him and his family as owners/producers in our Purple Carrot Market community.
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