3733 220th St E Faribault, MN
Straight River Farm began in 2002 when owner Bill Hein, retired from a 30-year teaching career, needed an occupation. He had tried several things in the Twin Cities, where he & his wife Maggie lived, but nothing excited him like the idea of having a farm and growing good food for people to eat. After much discussion and negotiation, Maggie agreed, asking that he find a farm within an hour's drive of her work as a Librarian, and that once the farm was up and running, Farmer Bill would hire staff so she didn't have to use all of her days off to farm.
Having previous experience raising strawberries, it was a given that they would be one of Bill's main crops. Raspberries, ripening just as strawberries finish, seemed a natural fit. An apple orchard, to produce a crop from late August through October, came next. The fact that Bill had no experience with apples didn't faze him at all; he enrolled in a farming program in the MNSCU system that gave him access to an incredible consultant, and he set about learning how to raise apples. Other crops, including early-season tomatoes raised in hoop houses, incredible cantaloupes field ripened and richly flavored, and sweet corn - both traditional yellow and modern super sweet bi-colored, are grown each year to keep Bill occupied in his 'off-season' between berries and apples. Blueberries were added to the mix a few years ago & are starting to produce as well.
Straight River Farm © 2018
to your table
Produce from our farm
The apple orchard has grown from the original 1800 trees to 2600 trees on 8 acres. Primarily Minnesota developed apples, there are Zestar!, Chestnut Crab, Honeycrisp, Sweet Sixteen, Sweetango, Haralson, Honeygold and Keepsake among our varieties. The apples page has more information.
We do not offer pick-your-own apples at this time, and
do not sell apples at the farm.
Strawberries are available to pick your own, or to buy picked, from June to early July. Check the strawberry picking page for more information about picking & buying strawberries, and the strawberries page for information about strawberries in general.
The summer raspberry patch usually opens about July 1--just as the strawberries are finishing. The raspberries page gives updated picking information as it's available. Raspberries have proved very challenging to maintain and we haven't been able to open for pick-your-own for several years, but we're working on it!
Spring 2011 saw the planting of a half-acre of blueberries. There were a few (really, just a few) blueberries to pick in 2013, a bit more in 2014, and even more in 2015. We hope to open for pick-your-own one of these years... A blueberries page on the website posts updates on that crop.
Two hoop houses are home to tomatoes each year. Being able to start the plants in the ground on April 1st means ripe, home-grown tomatoes in early July. Bill continues to learn the intricacies of growing in this environment, and loves being able to have Minnesota-grown tomatoes, one of his favorite foods, a month earlier than average.
Melons go in spare pieces of ground each year. Think of the best cantaloupe you ever had and multiply that by 5 to get a rough idea how good Farmer Bill's melons are.