Growing Local Produce Responsibly
Buffalo Ridge Orchard (BRO) was started with the planting of its first apple tree in 2003. This planting began the transition of a traditional 80-acre agricultural farm to one that supplies healthy local produce. It is BRO’s goal to supply vegetables, apples, and pears to the community in the most sustainable way possible. Over the past three years the orchard has expanded from 800 to over 3,000 trees. BRO has over 50 different types of new and classic apple varieties. In 2011 we installed our first moveable hoop house which allows us to grow greens and root vegetables in the winter and get an early start on tomatoes and extend the season for other vegetable crops.
Vernon and Mary Zahradnik, the founders and continued visionaries for BRO, graciously invited their daughter and son-in-law, Emma and Marcus Johnson, to join in their venture in Central City, Iowa. Marcus and Emma Johnson spent seven years in Philadelphia working in the field of landscape architecture. This work gave them lots of opportunities to see how to build, grow, and create. It was in Philly that they were able to see the importance of healthy local food in the success of a community. Spring 2012 the Johnson’s sold their row house in Philly and headed west to eastern Iowa where a row house is called a town house and the land rolls gently with fields of corn, beans, pastures, and suburban development. This blog is a record of their transition from city to farm and the continued transition of the farm to orchard.