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Many farmers turning to community supported agriculture during uncertain times

Brett Hoffland
Updated: April 02, 2020 06:34 PM
Created: April 02, 2020 03:41 PM

Some farmers, like many others Minnesotans, are struggling during these uncertain times amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But many are relying on community-supported agriculture. One Minnesota farmer said he's found a way to adapt and still connect to the community.

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"We're taking it day by day," said Dean Engelmann, owner of Tangletown Gardens Farm and Wise Acre Eatery.

With help from all ages, Tangletown Gardens Farm in Plato is proud of its work with community-supported agriculture — or getting the product directly from farmer to customer.

"It tugs on your heartstrings, let me tell you," Engelmann said.

But when their Minneapolis restaurant, Wise Acre Eatery, closed the dine-in option because of the pandemic, they had to adjust.

"We really just said let's take the same approach with all of our meats and some of those other things and make it the same kind of relationship," Engelmann said.

That's when they decided to ramp up their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share program, packaging up boxes and boxes of food.

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"We have freezers full of meat, let's get it to people," Engelmann said.

Once the truck is all packed up, it's a short 45-minute drive to their restaurant in Minneapolis to get the food directly to the customer.

"People look at it as a little bit of a refuge, it's not quite as crazy as a grocery store," said Scott Endres, co-owner of Tangletown Gardens and Wise Acre Eatery.

A couple times a week outside Wise Acre Eatery, people who ordered shares online could pick them up and bring the meat and produce home to prepare.

"With the current situation, we feel like there's a stronger need for that good local food and we just wanted to create the best conduit to get that wonderful product to our consumers' tables," Endres said.

Back on the farm, they're ramping up production as 30% of those signing up for the program are new customers.

"The amount of support we've had is mindblowing. The first week we did 150 orders, I was telling all of my staff, 'Yeah, maybe we'll get 20, maybe 30, and we had 150 and we had to cut it off," Engelmann said.

Life out on the farm is far from quiet, and Farmer Dean, as he's known by many, encourages people to find a CSA program that works for them, at a time when we all need community.

"During times of the unthinkable, unthinkable things can happen," Engelmann said.

For more information about Tangletown Gardens and their CSA program, click here.


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