Projects at Home on Pioneer Farm
In addition to fly fishing, we enjoy working with the land for wild harvest and habitat management. Many of our products are available for purchase in small quantities, contact us if you are interested. Check out some of the projects and pursuits we have going on below.
We are also happy to work with landowners and clients with questions about their property or natural resource management. From learning about forestry, to planting and harvest strategies for our natural landscapes around the region, we’re excited to work with all aspects of landscape ecology.
We are managing a section of our property as orchard and enjoy testing new tree and shrub varieties and pushing the limits of what can grow in our planting zone. Each February we clip scions from desirable trees and keep them in cold storage until spring. In April, before the buds have burst on the trees, we graft the scions onto recipient branches. We have been able to create trees with strong, cold-hardy root stock and productive branches, occasionally with fruit of many different varieties on a single tree.
A fiddlehead is the new, curled growth of ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthioteris), found along riparian ares. The ferns are only available for a few weeks in May, and they offer a spring-time treat tasting similar to asparagus. Our fiddleheads are sold to a variety of local restaurants in Duluth and the Twin Cities.
Ramps, or wild garlic, is another riparian plant species that we forest harvest. Both the bulbs and the leaves are edible and have a bold flavor that is similar to garlic or onions. We take great care in the sustainability of our ramp harvest and are sure to protect the future of this resource.
Wild rice is a traditional Minnesota food and extremely culturally important to ancestral people of our area. This is non-cultivated and non-genetically modified rice and our harvest is grown naturally in clear Minnesota Lakes. It is hand-harvested in late August to early September.
Maple syrup creation is one of the largest projects that we take on each year. Sap is collected from sugar maple trees when temperatures are below freezing at night and above freezing during the day. This is typically a two-week window in April, though a changing climate has made the timing more unpredictable. Sap is boiled down with a surface area-intensive wood burning stove to create maple syrup. We enjoy managing our forests for the health of our sugar maple trees and working to maximize sap volume each year.