Aaron grew up surrounded by farming. His parents both grew up on farms, many of his relatives and friends’ families farm, and his dad worked in the agricultural industry selling fertilizer and chemicals for many years. Aaron never thought he’d want to be a farmer.
After graduating college, Aaron joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Bulgaria where he served in Borino, a remote mountain village, for two years. Most of the food he ate was grown or gathered from the surrounding forest by people in the village. Going mushroom hunting in the forest with friends, gathering eggs from the barn, making yogurt from the milk of his host family’s cow under the direction of a Bulgarian Baba (grandmother), and helping slaughter a lamb for the winter’s meat supply, Aaron saw food for what it is - something that nourishes our communities, bodies, and souls. He made the connection that had escaped him growing up, that farming is about growing good food for people, in your family and in your community. One morning, a beloved Baba came to Aaron’s flat with a small reused jar containing what can only be described as the soul of the mountains - blueberries. Aaron swears he can still taste that jar of blueberry compote today. Then, started his love affair with the sweet blue pearls.
In early 2009, we sat in our living room talking about remodeling our tiny home. The next thing we knew Aaron confessed to me his realization that he wanted to be a farmer and would like to begin pursuing the idea. As you can imagine, changing our life course in such an unexpected way took a lot of time, conversation, research, and as Terrence Real would say, “thinking relationally.” In Fall 2009 we started the Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings Program. Now, here we are. We own a sweet farm nestled on a little hill just north of Northfield, MN. We are transitioning 15 acres of former corn and soybean land to certified organic perennial fruits. 4,000 blueberry plants are growing in our soil, with many more to come.