The third annual Mitchell County Farm to Fork Dinner was held on the Amundson Farmstead, located southwest of Osage, with 56 people in attendance.
The event, held on Thursday, Aug, 29, was sponsored by Healthy Harvest of North Iowa. The organization provides community members with an opportunity to converse with local food producers.
The event began first at Taste, in downtown Osage, with attendees then being bused to the Amundson farmstead for the remainder of the evening. Guests were seated at festive decorated tables in the open air. Once seated the evening began with the music of Brian Odeen.
Much of the four-course meal was prepared, by Jessica Baldus and her staff at Taste, with locally grown ingredients found at the Thomas Farmstead, Otter Creek Orchard, Berry Hill Orchard, Sugar Creek Farm, Ashland Farm, Sunset Creek Farm, Steve’s Sweet Corn, Dam Pure Honey and Twisted River Farm.
Several speakers then provided brief comments about their involvement with and support of the local food movement. Steve Strasheim, owner of Twisted River Farm in Mitchell, served as this year’s chairman and Master of Ceremony for the event.
“These Farm to Fork Dinners are used to connect producers with other people interested in local food production,” he said. “It’s about connecting local food and community. The benefit of these events is creating more local farms. Five years ago we didn’t have the diversity or availability of product that we have today.”
Aaron Thomas, of Kensett, who ventured into food production several years ago, told attendees how he became involved in the local food movement after watching documentaries on television. Eventually, he and his family moved from a metropolitan area to rural Kensett, where they now produce locally-grown livestock.
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Speaking on conservation, Mitchell County Naturalist Chelsea Rowcliffe said, “We have some really amazing farmers in Mitchell County, doing some amazing things. They are thriving while doing it. The butterfly count is up this year and it’s all because of you farmers.”
The hosts of the event, Alec and Rachel Amundson, have long had ties to the farming community. Alec grew up in New Hampton, but had two sets of grandparents who farmed. He went on to obtain a degree in Agriculture System Technology at Iowa State University (ISU).
The farm where the event was held was purchased by Steve and Jolene Norby in 1988. Rachel (Norby) Amundson, who grew up on the farm, attended Osage High School. She went on to obtain a degree in Agriculture Studies from ISU. The Amundsons moved to the farm after the Norbys moved from the homestead.
“This was a wonderful place to raise our family and now they have a place to raise their family,” Steve said.
Commenting on the strong conservation practices the Norby’s initiated, Amundson said, “We strive to create a green cover all year around. Most of our crops are planted into green cover crops. We don’t lose organic matter, but build organic matter.”
“The Norby Family has had a long history of conservation and we are continuing that legacy,” Alec said. “We are dedicated to soil health.”