Harmony Valley Farm

Richard de Wilde & Andrea Yoder
Viroqua, WI
Vegetables & Berries
Certified Organic
http://www.harmonyvalleyfarm.com/

Nestled in a lush, fertile valley just east of the Mississippi River, Harmony Valley is a family-owned farm that has been growing high quality organic produce for nearly forty years. Farmer Richard de Wilde began growing organic vegetables in 1973, a decision that sprung from concern over the health of his family and that of the land, water, and wildlife around him. Richard is considered a pioneer of organic farming in the Midwest, and has used his four decades of experience to produce some of the cleanest, freshest, tastiest vegetables in the region.

The Farm

Surrounded by the rolling hills of southwestern Wisconsin, Harmony Valley Farm is situated on 200 hundred acres of pastures, woods, and crop land lying along Spring Creek in Viroqua, about 5 1/2 hours northwest of Chicago. The silt loam soil of the valley is high in organic matter, humus, and biological matter and thus ideal for growing delicious organic produce. Harmony Valley grows a diverse group of vegetables and fruits, and is best known for its season-long salad mix, saute greens, and spinach. The woods around the farm produce another native crop all on their own: ramps! Ramps are wild leeks that grow in heavily-wooded areas and pop their leafy green heads out of the cool forest soil in early spring. In fact, ramp season is underway right now!

With such a large farm producing such a vast variety of produce, Richard and co-owner Andrea Yoder need plenty of help. The farm usually staffs a crew of half a dozen to a dozen workers, depending on the season. The crew currently includes a former Fresh Picks employee, Armando Aguirre. According to Andrea, Armando is a valuable part of the Harmony Valley team, assisting with planting, tillage, irrigation, and cultivation. Way to go, Armando! 

Farm Practices

The farm is certified by the Midwest Organic Services Association but Richard is not content with just practicing basic organic farming methods. He places great value on soil fertility and an integrated, healthy, natural growing environment. To promote soil health, Richard has developed a system of cover cropping with green manures, applying natural rock powders and incorporating compost. The folks at Harmony Valley are continually conducting research on ways to improve their farming methods. A recent project involved studying the disease-preventing properties of soil enhanced by compost.

Harmony Valley also provides perennial habitat and nesting sites to its allies in the war on pests, allies such as raptors, song birds, bats, wasps, and other beneficial insects. Richard, Andrea, and the rest of the farm crew are dedicated to organic farming because it produces the highest quality, best tasting food while protecting the quality of precious natural resources like water, soil, and wildlife. 

Challenges of Farming

The challenges faced by the team at Harmony Valley are similar to those faced by any organic farm, weather and weeds. Too much rain makes it difficult to plant and harvest crops, while too little rain and intense heat require added irrigation of crops, which can be tough to keep up with. Without the use of herbicides, weeding can be a very time-consuming endeavor, especially when hand weeding of crops is required. 

Rewards of Farming 

Despite the challenges, Andrea is adamant that the rewards of organic farming make all of the hard work worthwhile. She feels blessed to work and live in Harmony Valley, where she is surrounded my nature’s resplendent beauty. She finds great satisfaction in providing safe, healthy, high quality food to folks in Madison, La Crosse, the Twin Cities, and beyond. “Irv and Shelly are great people,” Andrea says. “We appreciate the opportunity to share our produce with the folks in Chicago!”

Last Updated May 2012

1 Item(s)

  • Burdock root 10 oz

    Potent Blood Cleanser!! Local Certified Organic from Harmony Valley

    Burdock root 10 oz

    $4.99

1 Item(s)