Clermont farm hopes to fulfill dreams of expansion

Clermont farm hopes to fulfill dreams of expansion

Brian Smith
Contributing Writer

 

 

            Fairfield Farm of Clermont is ready and willing to grow, and in this case we aren’t just talking about produce. Fairfield Farm is one of 13 nominees in a six-county area of northeast Iowa competing in the “Dream Big, Grow Here” Contest. The winner of the contest will walk away with a $5,000 cash award, as well as an opportunity to go on and represent the Northeast Iowa Business Network (NEIBN) for a chance at an additional $10,000.

            “Dream Big, Grow Here” is a grant contest specifically for Iowans who want to fulfill their dreams of self-employment or expansion of their current business. The contest not only offers motivation for individuals to become business owners or improve their already existing business, but helps them establish partnerships with other resources that can help make their business a success.

            Fairfield Farm is a family business, run by Clermont farmer Larry Reiling and his family. His daughters Laura Hennessee and Amanda Reiling-Pasket, as well as his sons-in-law Josh Hennessee and Eric Pasket are all major contributors to the business, which produces bulk potatoes as well as peppers and onions.

            “Our goal is to expand our business by constructing a building that will provide storage, a washing area, and a packing area all in one place. Although we have all those things currently, they are spread out in multiple buildings,” noted Laura.

            They also hope to become more automated by updating their equipment, thereby increasing production and overall efficiency.

            “If we can increase our total production and become more efficient in how we do things, then we can provide our product year-round. As it is now, we can only provide produce up until the end of March or beginning of April before we run out and have to wait until another growing season is completed,” explained Amanda.

            Fairfield Farm provides fresh and locally grown products as an option to consumers, something of which they are proud and believe to be important to the community. This year they planted 10,000 pounds of potatoes, which is estimated to yield approximately 50,000 pounds or more at harvest. Dark Red Norland and Yukon Gems are the two varieties that are currently grown on the farm. You can find these, as well as their peppers and onions, at Moore’s grocery store and Unionland Feed and Supply in West Union and Oneota Community Food Co-op in Decorah. You can also order bulk potatoes by calling (563) 380-6979.

            The “Dream Big, Grow Here” Contest officially began Oct. 8 and will run until Oct. 30. Contest winners are determined by an online voting process, and anyone with a Facebook account is free to vote once every 24 hours. The top three nominees plus one wild card winner will be invited to a “pitch-off” on Jan. 23, 2014, to compete for an additional $10,000.  

            “We feel that winning this contest can help us achieve our goals, and if we are successful in doing that, we would like to expand even more in the future. We think that would be a great thing for us and the community,” stated Laura.

            To vote, go to www.dreambiggrowhere.com and click on “Vote” at the top of the page. You must have a Facebook account in order to vote. While you are there, you can also find out more about the “Dream Big, Grown Here” grant competition, its sponsors, and the contestants.

            

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