“I just fell in love,” Strohmayer said. “It was just my escape, and we really got into it. It was awesome.”
Now she runs a small commercial farm on 2 acres of her 12-acre property.
“I never thought of that when we bought the place. I was like, ‘Oh, a field, I don’t know what I’m going to do with it,'” she said. “And now it’s like, ‘I don’t have enough space.'”
This is the second year that she has been growing products to sell. And she just found out she’s been accepted as a Certified Natural Grower. It is a peer-reviewed process run by a grassroots non-profit organization.
“I brought in a local farmer who grows very similarly to ours…so he fully understands natural farming,” Strohmayer said. “They allowed him to come out and do an inspection, just to kind of be the eyes on the pitch.”
Originally, she wanted to be certified organic, but when she became interested in it, she found that it was more for medium to large farms that don’t grow as many crops as she does. She was also disappointed to find that certified organic farms may use some less environmentally friendly practices, which is important to SolFed.
So she did some research and found the Certified Naturally Grown designation. There are 750 farms across the United States that have earned it, but Strohmayer’s is number one in Minnesota.
“It’s almost exactly the same standards as organic, but they put a lot more emphasis on things like small farms, micro farms, urban farms, vegetable growers, CSAs, things like us where we grow 20, 30, 40, 50 different varieties of things,” she says.
She sees every fruit, vegetable and plant from seed to harvest. She plants everything by hand without the aid of machines. And she is aware of the impact of agriculture on the environment. She only plowed her bed once.
“Carbon is sequestered by plants, and it’s stored in the root system, and if I disturb it and till it, it releases the carbon,” she explained.
Her mission is simple: to provide sustainable, healthy and delicious food for her own family and others.
“I love that I touch everything that we put in the ground and everything that goes to people, in their kitchens and when they feed their families,” she said, “and I guess I don’t wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Strohmayer will sell its products on site SolFed Farm stand on Lismore Road, Hillside Farmers Market and CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes.