A Day Full of Touring, Working, and Learning

Visiting C. Brown Gardens

The interns of Region 1 and Region 5 gained a new appreciation and knowledge of the work that goes into producing and selling local foods. We spent last Friday morning touring C. Brown Gardens located in Merrill, Iowa.  We were all amazed by the amount of work and effort that is put into their operation.

C. Brown gardens is run by Clint Brown.  For Brown, the garden started as a project when he was younger and has turned into the amazing garden it is today.  C. Brown Gardens has four high tunnels in which they grow many different types of produce including tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, peppers, and many more.  Brown learned about gardening through shadowing other gardeners and trial and error.

We gained an inside look into the work that is done to prepare the produce for the farmer’s markets.  We hand wiped boxes of cherry tomatoes and weighed them out into containers to be sold at the market.  We also wiped peppers, washed broccoli, bagged Brussels sprouts, and clipped spinach.  It was fun to help them with their work and become more appreciative for locally produced foods.

The working environment was very upbeat at C. Brown Gardens and we felt very welcomed.  We got to join them for their daily coffee break enjoying coffee, iced tea, homemade coffee cake, and samples of their homemade hot jams.

Learning about Aronia Berries

 Cali, Cheryl, Christel, Emily, Carissa, Mackenzie, Sherry, Jade, and John Lucken.That afternoon we toured and learned about the nutritional benefits and products made from Aronia berries from Akronia Valley.  Aronia berries are an antioxidant filled berry that can be made into a juice, powder, wine, and added to honey spreads.  

Eden Valley Apple Orchard of Elk Point, South Dakota and Lucken's Bluebird Springs of Akron, Iowa both work together to grow and process the berries.  We had the opportunity to tour both berry patches and sample the aronia berry juice.  We enjoyed our time learning about this high in antioxidant fruit.

We all had a fun day touring, working, and learning at C. Brown Gardens, Eden Valley Apple Orchard, and Lucken's Bluebird Springs.  Check out more pictures of our day below!


Touring the high tunnels and learning about C. Brown Gardens Seeing all the picked produce Learning how to wipe tomatoes at C. Brown Gardens
At C. Brown Gardens Boxes and boxes of tomatoes ready to be cleaned and packaged for the market. Cali laying out the containers for the tomatoes at C. Brown Gardens
Tomatoes at C. Brown Gardens Many hands make light work when wiping tomatoes at C. Brown Gardens Ready for the market at C. Brown Gardens.
That's a cool looking Heirloom Tomato at C. Brown Gardens. Jade and Carissa cleaning tomatoes at C. Brown Gardens Ready for the market at C. Brown Gardens
Christel and Emily learn how to clean the peppers at C. Brown Gardens More peppers at C. Brown Gardens. Peppers are ready for the Farmer's Market at C. Brown Gardens
Christel cleaning a pepper at C. Brown Gardens. So many peppers at C. Brown Gardens. Cali clipping spinach at C. Brown Gardens
Learning about the history of C. Brown Gardens Touring Eden Valley Apple Orchard Learning about aronia berries at Eden Valley Apple Orchard
Cauliflower at C. Brown Gardens Christel, Emily, and Mackenzie cleaning broccoli in ice cold water at C. Brown Gardens Tasting yellow raspberries at Eden Valley Apple Orchard