With the help of three generations, the Walker family operates a 200-acre farm outside of Princeton, MN. Using regenerative practices, the farm offers a wide array of animal products to local customers. Read on to hear about the farm’s land stewardship, animals, and adaptations during COVID-19 from owners Anneliese and George Walker.
Walker Farms is a family farm through and through. Grounded in the mission of rebuilding the soil on which their farm stands, the Walker family began farming in 1980. After almost a decade away from the farm, brothers George and Andy Walker started their own farms in the early 2000s. In 2016, the brothers had the opportunity to combine farms. Today, three generations of Walkers farm 200 acres of land outside of Princeton.
Walker Farms is grounded in regenerative agriculture, raising wholesome food while regenerating the land. Each year, the Walkers raise grass fed beef, pastured pork, pasture raised chicken, turkey, and pasture raised eggs. Many of their products are available for pre-order, or as retail cuts as available. Plans to add lamb and honey to the operation are in the works. The animals are raised with a biomimicry approach. “We are trying to mimic the way they [the animals] would behave in nature to restore the soil and return balance to the ecosystem” explains Anneliese. Observation is key as each animal is raised in an environment that meets their needs. “Everything is always moving”, explains George, “All our animals and infrastructure are moved daily or every few days, depending on the season.” George reports that one of his favorite parts of farming is moving the animals to fresh pasture, “everyone is always so happy to be on fresh pasture! They are as happy as can be.”
For the Walkers, connecting customers to the animals and the land is deeply important. Small farmers are a way for people to know where their food is coming from. Farmers offer a point of connection between the customer and the animal as well as the animal and the environment. Anneliese lightheartedly mentions “in a lot of ways, we are somewhat of chaos coordinator, or the ones bringing everybody together.” The family takes pride in knowing that what they are doing is valued by their customers, because at the end of the day, farming is a tremendous amount of work. “Knowing that customers get comfort and value from mindfully raised protein products brings us a lot of joy”, explains Anneliese.
Maintaining their ability to supply high quality meat and eggs to their customers is of the utmost important to the Walker family. Walker Farms has been delivering to the Northwest Metro and the Saint Cloud area for several years. Their robust online ordering system, and pre-existing routes and drop sites poised them to meet the increasing need for healthy local food due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. In response to concerns surrounding deliveries and contact exposure, the farm has implemented a “delicious ding-dong-dash” no contact delivery procedure to bring orders directly to customers while reducing exposure. The support from the local community has been huge; since the start of the virus, the farm has seen their delivery numbers triple. Anneliese voiced that “at times it feels like there is a mass returning to the land, returning to food culture and our foundations in agriculture. Many people are learning the importance of knowing your farmer, and where your food comes from.” Supporting local farms ensures the Walkers and other small family farms can continue to feed and serve our local communities.
Check out Walker Farms website for more information about ordering meat and eggs. The farm’s Instagram ad Facebook pages offer great insight into the daily happenings of farm life, be sure to follow along! To find a local producers of meat and other proteins near you, use the Minnesota Grown online directory.