Amish/Mennonite Produce Auctions

Patrick OMalley, Field Specialist Commercial Horticulture, Southeast

Problem Statement:

There is a growing interest in Iowa towards producing and consuming fresh local produce.  The Amish and Mennonite populations in and around Davis, Howard, and Johnson County have begun to fill this need by initiating a produce auction in each of the three counties starting in 2003.  Although these growers were familiar with small scale vegetable gardening, for the most part they had not previously grown produce on a commercial scale. 

Programmatic Response:

In 2006/2007 at least four educational meetings were held at each of the three sites.  These meetings addressed production and marketing issues for both field grown and greenhouse crops.  During the growing season field days were held in each of the sites to address seasonal production problems including disease, insect, nutrition, irrigation, and pesticide safety.  Additionally, I had on-site consultations at the produce auction sites and in the field to discuss and help with these same issues. 


A 100% decrease in greenhouses with ethylene plant injury.  More complete use of personal protective equipment when using pesticides.  Quality of produce sold has progressively increased at the produce auctions.  This increase has led to more buyers and subsequently higher prices.  Examples of prices received throughout the season at the Johnson County site (Frytown Produce Auction) can be found at:

130  Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer

Page last updated: September 27, 2007
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