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Bushel Boy Farms
215 32nd Avenue SW
Owatonna, MN 55060

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Channel One 2016 Donor of the Year

Bushel Boy Farms Receives Donor of the Year Award from Channel One Regional Food Bank

Channel One Regional Food Bank is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2016 Food Bank Donor of the Year Award. Bushel Boy Farms, which produces fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes year-round, received the award for their efforts to help end hunger through their consistent and generous donations of fresh, healthy tomatoes.

Since 2004, Bushel Boy has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds of their locally grown, greenhouse tomatoes. Grown in a facility encompassing 28 acres in Owatonna, Bushel Boy sends fresh tomatoes daily to retailers in and around Minnesota. Whenever Bushel Boy has a surplus of tomatoes, they partner with Channel One in their efforts to end hunger by getting them into the homes of clients in need. Whether Bushel Boy delivers to Channel One, or a Channel One truck picks up at Bushel Boy, their coordinated efforts help ensure these fresh and healthy tomatoes are put to good use.

“We are incredibly grateful to Bushel Boy for their generous support and amazing donations through the years. It is wonderful to see our client’s faces light up with excitement when we have juicy, red Bushel Boy tomatoes for them to take in our Food Shelf!” said Jennifer Woodford, executive director of Channel One Regional Food Bank.

“Bushel Boy Farms is a pioneer in extending the growing season in Minnesota, and we take pride in providing fresh, healthy produce to help families in need get good nutrition,” said Steve Irland, Bushel Boy President.

Channel One provides food assistance to over 100,000 individuals throughout the 14-county service area of Southeast Minnesota and La Crosse County, Wisconsin, and depends on the generous food donations from distributors, growers, manufacturers and retailers. Bushel Boy’s partnership with Channel One makes a difference in the fight against hunger.

Learn more about Channel One Regional Food Bank.

 
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Bushel Boy’s Steve Irland accepting the award

Bushel Boy is Pioneer in Extending the Growing Season

Bushel Boy Farms among companies extending growing season for tomatoes in Minnesota

Gardeners love the flavorful tomatoes they nurture for a few weeks each summer, but they’d be astonished at the growing season in Owatonna.

There, beneath 24 acres of glass just outside the southern Minnesota city, each plant produces fresh tomatoes for about 27 weeks in a row. It’s the home of Bushel Boy Farms, where year-round production yields 12 million pounds of vine-on and beefsteak tomatoes destined for major supermarkets in and around Minnesota.

“We can put a tomato on your plate right here in Minnesota year-round that you know is safe, wholesome and will taste like a garden tomato in January,” said Keith Kersten, Bushel Boy’s CEO.

The greenhouse farm is riding a wave of success as the popularity of locally grown produce has become a nationwide trend. A pioneer in extending the growing season in Minnesota, the private company does not release sales figures, but in 2015 it added a 4-acre greenhouse to its older system, and plans to build another 4 acres this summer.

Rick Steigerwald, vice president of fresh foods for Lunds & Byerlys, said his company started partnering with Bushel Boy in 1995, when year-round tomatoes grown in Minnesota were “pretty unheard of.”

“They were ahead of their time,” he said. “They’ve done a great job building a brand around locally grown, but also what really made them successful over the years is the quality and the taste.”

Steigerwald said it’s unusual in the produce industry to have a brand, which he credits to the vision of Bushel Boy’s former owner Jay Johnson.

“Where Jay was also way ahead of the curve was that he wanted to be close to market,” Steigerwald said. “Their trucks go right from the greenhouses direct to our stores, and you can’t get much fresher than that unless you grew it in the store.”

That’s easier said than done.

To read the full article, click here.

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Bubbas Make DeRushaEats Hot List

Four columns for the price of one today. From the Beard to Bubba, to Francioli and farmers, here comes the DeRushaEats Hot List:

No Beard For Lenny: It’s an honor to be nominated, of course, but Lenny Russo, the longtime chef of Heartland in St. Paul, did not leave the James Beard Awards with the medal for Best Midwest Chef this week. The new Heartland in Lowertown is a great spot—gorgeous design with Lenny’s beautiful, rich, seasonal flavors.

Hard to argue with the choice of Tory Miller though—he’s the owner and executive chef at L’Etoille and Graze in Madison. He also was nominated last year when 112’s Issac Becker won.

Graze is my go-to stop when I’m driving from Minneapolis to Chicago. We used to stop for fast food, but my kids don’t eat fast food fast. So we’ve started pulling into Madison to eat a nice meal. I had a crazy delicious beet burger (shown above) the last time I was there. The deep fried cheese curds almost still squeak they’re so fresh.

Miller thanked the farmers in the Madison area when he won; Graze’s menu has a page-long list of local purveyors. But while the local ingredients make you feel good, the quality of the cooking and creativeness of the preparation is what really matters. Plus, you can get a pint of some incredible Wisconsin microbrews for just $4. Why Minnesota microbrews seem to cost $5-$7 at restaurants is beyond me.

Dessert for a (Sea) Change: We are lucky to have some amazing pastry chefs in local restaurants: Adrienne Odom as pastry chief at Parasole’s restaurants, Diane Yang at La Belle Vie, Khanh Tran at Cosmos. But add Niki Francioli to your hot list. Her desserts are as theatrical as the Thrust Stage located right upstairs in the Guthrie.

We were just there, and loved the frozen passion fruit soufflé with hibiscus granita (like a sorbet) and hazelnut crisp, for just $8. The calamansi napoleon was incredibly delicious: Calamansi is a tiny lemon-like fruit that has a real strong sour taste. Francioli makes a toasted sesame brittle for the layers of the napoleon, and then adds some coconut sorbet on the side, also for $8.

Sea Change has one of the best white wine lists in town, too. So add Sea Change to your list of places to stop by for dessert, even if you’re not seeing a show at the Guthrie.

New Tomato In Town: Sick of grocery store tomatoes that look and taste like they were created in a lab? Minnesota’s Bushel Boy has come out with a tomato named “Bubba.” Grown in Owatonna, the Bubbas look more like something from my garden: big, beefy, and full of flavor. I’ve been putting them on sandwiches and salads, and I’m really happy with them.

Bushel Boy tomatoes are grown in 20 acres of greenhouses—they try to mimic outdoor growing conditions.

Too Many Farmers’ Markets? Much like people have been wondering if we are reaching the point of having too many local breweries (we’re not), Andy Greder wrote a great article asking if we have too many farmers’ markets (we do).

Andy profiles a farmer who visits six farmers’ markets each week to sell meat and eggs, and sometimes she’ll net $50 in sales. There are 156 markets opening in Minnesota this season, up from 100 last year, according to the Pioneer Press.

As more and more suburbs open farmers markets to create a neighborhood gathering experience, it’s a strain on the farmers, and it’s hard to believe that these new markets create a, well, new market. The buyers largely shuffle around, and instead of buying in St. Paul or Minneapolis, they’ll buy in their own community.

I suspect it will shake out, and we’ll see some of these new ones shut down. I just hope that farmers still have time to farm. I’m suspicious about the proliferation of markets: I wonder if the local farm movement might be better served figuring out ways to pool their product and get placed in more grocery stores, instead of spending hours hanging around in a community center parking lot, moving a couple dozen eggs.

Read full article here.

 

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Read about Bubbas in the Star Tribune

With spring comes the promise of garden tomatoes, if we’re patient. Perhaps we needn’t be as patient as in the past, though. Bushel Boy Farms in Owatonna, Minn., this week released its newest variety, a beefsteak tomato that comes mighty close in flavor and appearance to what comes off our back-yard vines. “Bushel Boy Bubbas” are grown in special greenhouses, pollinated by bees, then ripened and shipped on the vine to stores within about 24 hours of being picked. They’re available in most Twin Cities grocery stores.

Read it here.

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