The old bakery and “luncheonette” on the town square in Emmetsburg will reopen soon, to sell organic products raised in the area.
“We are renaming it our ‘New Shoots Bakery’ and we are remodeling the building to support a farm store, bakery and a restaurant/cafe,” says Harn Soper, one of the partners in the enterprise. “…Focusing on local, fresh food because there’s quite a demand for that.”
It’s a project of “New Shoots Farm” in rural Emmetsburg. Soper is one of three men who’re working to convert fields that used to be reserved for corn and soybeans into plots for raising organic vegetables and pastures for grass-fed livestock.
“We’re going to be raising 150, 160 grass-fed angus,” he says, “and they’ll be followed in the rotation cycle by several thousand chickens.”
That’s a roughly 160-acre section for cattle and chickens; the other 100 acres will be dedicated to organic vegetable production. The 260 acres were planted with cover crops last fall to begin the conversion to organic farming, a process that may take up to five years.
The Practical Farmers of Iowa will hold a field day this Friday, October 21, at New Shoots Farms near Emmetsburg. It will conclude with supper at New Shoots Bakery on the town square in Emmetsburg. Make reservations for the event by phoning the Practical Farmers of Iowa office at 515.232.5661 or by emailing [email protected].
According to the most recent data available from the U.S.D.A., organic farmers in Iowa were using over 108,000 acres of Iowa land in the 2008 growing season. There were 677 organic farm operations in Iowa that year, according to the U.S.D.A.
(Reporting by Dan Skelton, KICD, Spencer)