For this Minnesota grower, farming is a labor of love

Farm Forum

For almost 20 years, Linda and Mike Noble and their son, Dillon, have sold organic eggs and grass-fed meats from their Farm on Wheels stand ( at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market.

Linda Noble, 55, talked with us about her love of farming and how the business run out of the family’s 200-acre farm in Kenyon, Minn., has grown.

Q When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A Farming is in our blood. We come from generations of farmers and grew up on farms. Our families sold products to markets. My family sold things like eggs, and Mike’s folks would sell animals by the whole.

I knew from a young age I wanted to be on a farm. I like being outside.

Q What’s your first food memory?

A We always had a garden growing up. We baked bread every Saturday. We’d bake something sweet to eat for the week. Sunday was our nicest meal. We would always have a duck dinner. I always loved Sunday dinner.

We pretty much ate what we grew on the farm. I’m pretty much a from-scratch cook. I’m teaching many people at the market how to cook that way.

Q How did you wind up in the food industry for good?

A We really liked the idea of grazing our animals and the health of our animals. And we feel the taste is so much better. It felt really good to do it this way, and we started selling locally.

It was tough reaching customers from our location, and we wanted to go where the people were and get our volume up. It turned out the St. Paul Farmers’ Market was looking for someone like us. They wanted other purveyors that would go well with the vegetables they were already offering.

I really enjoy the farmers’ market and interacting with the people. It has been fun building the relationships and seeing people enjoy our product. Our son, Dillon, has been with us at the market since he was 7. He’s 23 now. It’s fun watching him and the other farm kids grow up around us. It’s a wonderful community here.

Q How has the business grown over the years?

A We started with pork because that was the thing that was so volatile in the market. We eventually added beef and chicken. Then people asked us for turkey and ducks. Then we added geese and lamb. Basically everything we have now is a reflection of what our grandparents would have raised.

If you could only eat five things for the rest of your life what would they be? Chicken, beef, lamb and duck. And eggs. Pretty much off the farm.

Q What’s next?

A When people ask us for a new product, we’re always seeing if it’s something that could work. Lately, we’ve added some new types of brats (onion bell pepper, Hawaiian) and bacon (apple cinnamon, Cajun).

Nancy Ngo can be reached at 651-228-5172. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest at nancyngotc.