A version of this post by farm co-owner Andrea Yoder first appeared on Viroqua Food Co-op’s website.
Harmony Valley Farm (HVF) is located just outside of Viroqua, Wisconsin in Newton Valley. HVF was founded by Richard de Wilde who has over 40 years of experience growing certified organic vegetables. Richard started farming organic vegetables in Eagan, Minnesota at a time when the University and Extension Services told him it couldn’t be done. He went on to prove them wrong and today HVF grows over 150 certified organic vegetable varieties on 100-120 acres!
HVF places great value on soil fertility and plant nutrition. Richard has developed a system of cover cropping and applications of compost and minerals to promote healthy, mineral balanced soils which results in vegetables with exceptional flavor, color and nutrition. They also plant and maintain year round habitat that provides a place for songbirds, bats, bees and beneficial insects to take up residence and become allies in pest control.
HVF has been supplying vegetables to the Viroqua Food Co-op since the very early days of both the farm and the Co-op! Richard remembers delivering orders to the original food Co-op building that existed before the current location. As an integral part of the community, Harmony Valley Farm has been working with restaurants, food co-ops and their CSA membership for years to promote a local, seasonal diet. HVF products are now available in a number of P6 co-ops. Long before the word “Locavore” was ever used, HVF was exploring ways to extend the season of availability for vegetables in order to feed Midwesterners through the long winter.
Over the years HVF has become known for supplying a variety of root crops well into the winter including parsnips, turnips, beets, rutabagas, celeriac, sunchokes, burdock and winter radishes. During the summer months, HVF stocks our shelves with their salad greens, spinach, arugula, & baby kale, as well as cilantro, parsley, dill, dandelion & mustard greens, radishes and baby bok choy.
Richard de Wilde will be the first to tell you that it takes many hands to raise vegetables and he couldn’t do it alone. Co-owner, Andrea Yoder has been with HVF for eight years. She enjoys managing greenhouse production, packing shed operations, and her weekly communication with buyers, including Linda & Arwyn at the VFC. HVF has many long-time employees that continue to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities. Everyone at HVF works together to uphold a reputation for producing tasty, nutritious and beautiful vegetables.
Despite a cold, wet start to the season, the HVF fields are filling up and it won’t be long before we start to receive the bounty of the summer. Over the years, Andrea has learned more about some of the crops our customers enjoy. One of our favorite times of the season is when the melons start rolling in. Andrea assures us there will be delicious French orange melons, seedless watermelons and possibly even a taste of a new Japanese green cantaloupe this summer.
Harmony Valley Farm products are available and labeled P6 at Viroqua Food Co-op, Eastside Food Co-op, Willy Street Co-op, and Seward Community Co-op. You can learn more at their website.