Located just north of the Twin Cities in Forest Lake, The Berry Patch is one of the oldest berry growing operations in the metro area. Beginning his 43rd season on the farm, Kevin worked his way through the ranks and is now the majority owner of the business. Read on to learn more about the farm’s history, operations, and adjustments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Berry Patch is a mainstay berry farm in the northeast metro area. Just a short 30-minute drive from downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, the farm is easily accessible as it is located 5 miles off the freeway. Today, The Berry Patch focuses exclusively on fruit crops, and its 20 acres of fruit production allows the farm to supply fruit for the berry lovers of the north metro area. The farm season begins in mid-June for strawberries, transitions to raspberries in early July, and wraps-up with blueberries in mid-July.
On-farm sales are available at the Berry Patch with both pre-picked and pick-your-own berries. The freshness of the product is evident; all of the berries are sold the day they are picked. “Customers appreciate that they are getting quality, fresh food. The berries in our fields are a different product than what is available at the grocery store” explains Kevin.
The beautiful natural environment surrounding the farm is all part of the experience. Kevin noted that Sandhill cranes nest just off the property. These wildlife sighting opportunities amplify the experience of picking berries straight from the farm. When asked about his favorite part of farming, Kevin replied “Walking the fields close to sundown. It’s such a peaceful and calm part of the day. I am able to admire what we are able to create.”
This year, the farm has implemented a number of precautions to ensure the safety of customers and staff. “Community is really important,” Kevin emphasizes, “we want to be socially connected but physically distant”. Creating a safe environment is of the utmost importance. The farm will ensure that customers pick on every other aisle to allow to allow at least 8 feet of distance between customers. All staff members will be wearing masks and customers are highly encouraged to wear masks as well. The farm has hand sanitizer and handwashing stations around the farm. For a full list precautions, visit the farm’s website.
As a founding member of Minnesota Grown, Kevin is proud to be working toward connecting his community with local food in his role as a farmer as well. To find information about pick-your-own and pre-picked berries at The Berry Patch, check updates on their website and on Facebook.
Minnesota berry season is short and sweet! Be sure to find local berries near you on the Minnesota Grown website.