RAMSEY, Minn. (WCCO) -- A Twin Cities man turned the land he lived on into an organic farming wonderland.
Bruce Bacon supplied more than a dozen Twin Cities restaurants and co-ops with exceptional fresh produce. Bacon owned Garden Farme in Ramsey.
It's a place where he started rebuilding the soil back in the 1970s without using chemicals. In this week's Life Story, we discovered the impact Bruce had on the restaurant industry in Minnesota.
A pioneer in the field of organic farming... That's how many people describe Bruce Bacon.
Beth Dooley is a food writer for newspapers and magazines, and a cookbook author.
"He used a lot of sustainable practices well before organic became a term, or permaculture became a term. But he did that because he knew that it created really nutritious, beautiful food," Dooley said.
She explained what Bacon did to his land to make it ideal for growing crops, without the aid of fertilizers or pesticides.
"He was doing a lot of composting, turning the soil over. He was also rotational planting, which means one crop would follow the next, and whatever nutrients were extracted from the soil by one crop would be replenished by the next crop," Dooley said.
She says what Bruce grew on his family farm soon became in high demand among restaurant owners.
From garlic and greens, to beets and basil.
"One person would taste that basil and go 'Oh my God, that is amazing' and want to know where did it come from. And they would say 'Well it's from Bruce Bacon.' He ended up selling his produce to places like the wonderful Birchwood Cafe to Clancey's Meats. They always had his garlic and his honey on hand... And a number of the co-ops in town," Dooley said.
In 2015, Bruce shared why he became interested in gardening in a documentary about sustainable farming.
"We wanted our boys to have healthy food. My wife and I were in agreement on that, so that's one reason we moved out here... to have a garden," Bruce said at the time.
He was proud of the praise he got from restaurants.
"The chefs told me that my products had the longest shelf life of most of the growers they were buying from," he said in the documentary.
Beth Dooley was a big fan. She says Bruce inspired her.
"He was so committed to doing this and it was clear he wasn't doing it for the money. He did it because he really believed in what he was doing. And I find that incredibly inspiring," said Dooley.
Bruce Bacon was 76 years old when he died last month. His family and the staff at Garden Farme plan to keep running his business and holding educational demonstrations.
Two events to honor Bruce will take place in Minneapolis next month.
Golden Farme's Facebook page posted the following message: Save the date: December 10th for two events to honor our Bruce Bacon. First, 2-5 pm at Hook & Ladder (Minnehaha Av. and E. Lake Street) with local musicians and $10 admission fee. Then, 5-9 pm at Powderhorn Park Community Center with potluck food, no admission fee, testimonials and storytelling, sales of Garden Farme honey, a little music.
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