Crop Mob

On June 25, 2011, my mom, Stella and I packed up the car and headed to Riverbend Farm for a Crop Mob!  The Crop Mob, sponsored by the Birchwood Café, is an opportunity for “city folk” to support and experience first hand the operations of a local organic farm. 
Crop Mobbers including Tracy Singleton (owner of Birchwood Cafe)
Photo: Mette Nielson
A short drive from the Twin Cities (only 30 miles west of Minneapolis), the Riverbend Farm, owned by Greg and Mary Reynolds, produces vegetables on 30 acres.  Their main crops are tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, salad and cooking greens, radishes, onions, winter squash, and potatoes.   Their focus is on high quality, good tasting produce and they are committed to sustainable practices and organic methods.   They have been certified organic since 1994.  Their major markets are local natural food co-ops, independent, chef driven restaurants, Farm to School, and a Community Supported Agriculture program.   All of their produce is sold within 50 miles of the farm, the Birchwood Café is one of their highest purchasers behind the Wedge Co-Op.
Mulching tomato plants
Participants arrive at the farm at 10am and tackle the latest project needed on the farm (on June 25 we mulched and staked tomato plants).  Everyone, including the kids, gets right into the field and gets dirty.  As you can see from the pictures, Stella, being a St. Paul city kid, seemed to fit right into the farm and was quick to start hauling hay and mulching the plants.  
Stella quick to pick up farming skills.
About mid-day everyone takes a break and enjoys a delicious lunch from the Birchwood Café.  The day we worked we were served a beautiful mixed green salad, beet sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies the size of Stella’s head and lemonade my mom said was the best she had ever had!   
After lunch, you can explore the farm and on occasion, when kids are there, take a tractor ride to a neighboring farm to see horses and sheep.  After checking out the farm, participants return to the field to continue working and end the day sometime mid-afternoon.
Stella checking out the tomato plants.
Photo: Mette Nielson


The Crop Mob was a very special event for my family!  Not only were there three generations of women in my family working together, it was close to the one year anniversary of my mom’s brain surgery.  So to see her being able to work in the field was amazing.  It was also a great experience to get connected to the food we eat and as “city folk” see the inter-workings of an organic farm.

Bubbie and Stella working together.
Photo: Mette Nielson
And playing together!
Photo: Mette Nielson
The next Crop Mob is scheduled for Saturday, July 30, 2011 from 10am-4pm.  Participants can meet at 9am and carpool from the Birchwood Café.   This is a family-friendly event and children are welcome! You must RSVP to attend the Crop Mob, send an email to Tracy at: [email protected]
If you can’t participate in the Crop Mob, head to the Birchwood Café for breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy the beautiful and delicious food they create from the local and organic produce from Riverbend Farm.
You will be doing tough work but are rewarded with the satisfaction of participating in the local, organic foods movement and you are served an incredible lunch farm side from the Birchwood Café!

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