Riverbend Farm, which the Reynolds have managed using organic practices “forever,” has been certified organic since 1994, currently through MOSA. The Reynolds market a diversity of vegetables primarily to wholesale accounts in the Twin Cities, including restaurants, food co-ops, nursing homes, and hospitals. They also have a CSA.
Greg is the primary farmer, supported by Mary, also a private practice physiotherapist, and paid farmhands. Two daughters, Jennifer and Jeri, are grown and are now off the farm. “Mary does a lot of the support roles that keep the wheels on when the season gets crazy, everything from the simple to the experimental,” Greg explained. She not only keeps the crew well-fed, but also jumps in when needed in the field. Her 15 years of off-farm employment are also important in providing health insurance.
The foundations of the Reynolds’ operation are seed selection for success in wildly variable weather patterns, the use of cover crops for fertility, and careful management to prevent erosion and encourage wild habitat.
A long-time organic vegetable grower, Greg has recently found new passion in exploring and developing locally selected and grown seeds. “As the weather gets more chaotic, locally adapted seed stuffs will become even more important,” Greg said. “Last year we had two feet of snow and it was bitter cold, and this year it’s above freezing and bare ground.” Recent springs have been cold and wet, pushing planting late into the season and challenging early season field work.