MITCHELL, Iowa - We all know that eating fruits and vegetables are healthy for us. And a farmer's market is a great venue to find them. For those that frequent the Osage, Mason City and Clear Lake farmer's markets, and are looking to find great tasting lettuce grown right here in North Iowa, you're in luck.
It's the 5th year in operation for Steve Strasheim, owner of Twisted River Farm. He primarily grows leafy greens, including lettuce, spinach, arugula, and microgreens. Recently, high demand has allowed him to expand into herbs like basil and cilantro, as well as peppers. In addition to farmer's markets, Strasheim also sells his products to a few restaurants and 7 grocery stores from Clarion to Charles City, as well as through home delivery via North Iowa Fresh.
Lately, he's been one of many area growers getting raving reviews for his products, with one reason being that people want to know where their food comes from, as well as looking for a product that's fresh and in high quality.
"That might not have been on their minds last year when it was abundant in the grocery store, but now that they're aware of that, you can find a lot of good produce in North Iowa, and there's a lot of food - meat especially, produced in North Iowa. We can produce a lot of our own food here."
"It makes you feel good. It's rewarding at the end of the week of standing out in the heat to hear someone say that."
While many produce farmers in other parts of the country have dealt with hardships from the pandemic curbing demand and forcing them to till or dump their crops, Strasheim doesn't feel that a large vegetable shortage is coming for later in the year, especially for leafy greens, which are fast growers.
"Shelves are looking full at the grocery stores still. We have a lot of local produce coming on, so we're certainly not in any danger of not having any vegetables and produce. Going into the winter, it remains to be seen, but we'll have our product into January, and have our microgreens year round."
Strasheim is looking to partner with more grocers on both sides of the state line to sell his products.