Edit ModuleShow Tags

New Urban Farm Ready to Serve Minneapolis


Published:

Amidst throngs of curious Art-A-Whirlers on Saturday, a new urban farm in Minneapolis, California Street Farm, was hosting a small gathering commemorating Minneapolis chef, artist, and community and sustainable agriculture leader Tom Taylor. A sculpture by Minneapolis artist Aldo Moroni was unveiled in his honor. Shortly after the ceremony, farmers Jillia Pessenda Bovino, her husband Jim Bovino, and their dog, Romeo, gave me a quick tour of California Street Farm, which will be available to serve your tables very soon.

The Bovinos hail from Minnesota, but honed their farming skills on a small farm in Washington State. As they planned a move back to Minnesota, they decided to get involved in urban agriculture, and when the opportunity to farm the ¾ acre vacant parcel of land presented itself, they seized it. California Street Farm is located in the heart of the Arts District in Northeast Minneapolis. With a view of downtown Minneapolis, the farm is nestled on a former vacant lot between the railroad tracks and NE California Street on 22nd Ave NE, a stone’s throw from the California Arts Building.

The Bovinos feel fortunate that they are able to use this urban lot to grow food, and are glad that their soil tests have come through clean, despite being located in the middle of the city. “One thing that many are probably wondering about is soil health, in particular toxicity,” Jillia wrote in an email to CSA members. “We are happy to report that we have been very fortunate to inherit an unusually clean plot of ground. There has never been a structure on the site.  This has saved us from many of the ambient chemicals, metals, and other debris that are often the result of a decaying structure.” (I wrote about soil testing in March, if you want to learn more.)

Although they’re busy with their jobs at Lucia’s, where Jim is a server and Jillia works in the bakery, they take the time to treat their soil with organic compost, mulch to control weeds and retain soil moisture, and use efficient drip irrigation—practices that help them be better stewards of the land, while boosting their yields. As we toured the farm, Jim cheerfully pointed out seedlings of onions, radishes, arugula, kale, squash, three varieties of beets, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and carrots. He pointed to a tub full of raspberry shoots and explained that, eventually, they hope to incorporate fruits and berries.

Starting in mid-June, California Street Farm will be fulfilling CSA shares to members, and because new zoning rules from the Minneapolis City Council allow farmers to sell their harvest on site 15 days per year, they will be hosting an onsite farm stand open to the public on Tuesday afternoons, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. CSA members (including yours truly) will pick up their shares at the farm, and with a weekly market at the farm’s front door, the California Street Farm hopes to create a feeling of community among their members and neighbors, and give city dwellers the chance to connect with a farm. 

“We want to feed families in the neighborhood. Picking up directly from the farm, we hope, will allow our members the opportunity to connect to the land each week and watch the farm grow,” said Jillia.


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Pineapple in Every Bite Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Enjoy this twist on the classic cake with chunks of sweet, juicy pineapple maximizing the fruit-to-cake ratio in every taste

3 Drinks to Give Winter the Kiss-Off

West Seventh in St. Paul is bursting with drink options to usher in spring (which is just around the corner, right?)

Minnesota-Grown Greens Now Available Year Round

New locally and sustainably produced Revol Greens makes eating clean and green throughout the year even easier

What to Buy for the Perfect Minnesota Home Bar

From vodka, gin, bourbon, rum, and beyond: Minnesota spirit-makers recommend the best home-bar companions

Quick Moroccan Chicken over Couscous Recipe

Enjoy the exotic flavors of a long-simmered tagine in this easy version that’s quick enough for a weeknight

No-Fail Caramel Corn Recipe

Celebrate National Caramel Corn Day with this sweet crunchy treat—no special equipment needed with this easy recipe

Best Restaurant Bargains Before A Target Field Minnesota Twins Game

They're offering baseball specials, but do you know where to go? Check out these good deals on food before Twins games.

3 Things to Eat This Week: April 4-8

Tropical cake, drinkable flowers, and some mouth-searing spice

Edina Bistro Celebrates National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day

Pinstripes offers a sophisticated twist on the childhood favorite with a five-course meal for two in honor of PB&J Day (April 2)
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags