Here at Jupiter Ridge we’re just getting our very first season all wrapped up – and looking back at the year, it’s definitely been a good one!
We started from scratch this spring, turning 2 out of 20 acres of pristine prairie into row-cropped, organically grown vegetables (we’ll be pursuing some type of certification next year, most likely Certified Naturally Grown). All of this is atop a 1200-foot high ridge on Jupiter road (thus the farm’s new name) with breathless views of Driftless bluffs and valleys as you work.
We sold our produce and shiitake mushrooms direct to consumer at the Downtown Cedar Rapids Farmers Market, the Dubuque Farmers Market, and the Dubuque Winter Farmers Market. Jupiter Ridge also took part in the very first Millwork Night Market in history, we were happy to be a part of that!
We also built relationships with chefs and restaurants across Eastern and Driftless Iowa. This includes the Map Room, Quarter Barrel Arcade and Brewery, and Lightworks Cafe in Cedar Rapids; the Pepper Sprout and the Food Store in Dubuque; and Schera’s Algerian Bar and Restaurant in Elkader.
We’re branching out even more from this as we speak. Our food also had the privilege of being part of some exciting new Iowa food events, including a pop-up dinner at Cobble Hill featuring the awesome folks over at The Kitchen Counter.
Our farm also had plenty of produce to donate to non-profits like Feed Iowa First to get healthy, sustainable food to people in need. We hosted a lovely on-farm showcase tour along with the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) and despite experiencing almost 10 inches of rain that day, had a great turnout, great food, and a great time.
What’s in store for next year? Probably more of the same! We also hope to be finishing our pack shed/machine shed combo and produce walk-in early next year, as well as building more high tunnels for season extension next winter. All this so we can grow more and more food, and get it to more people!
No doubt we’ll be branching out to yet more restaurants, amping up our farmers market stands, and working hard so our 2 acres produces even more food next year, as we work out the kinks of what didn’t work last season to make it run better next year – and the outlook looks incredibly good. Of course, we do all of this without chemicals, and with a huge, healthy focus on good soil health and crop rotation.
For a first year, things have gone amazingly – we can’t complain. We give a huge thank you to those who have supported us on the journey so far, and we can’t wait to serve you again next year. Much love from Will and Adrian at Jupiter Ridge Farm.