Virtual Field Trip to Untiedt’s Produce Farm

We're excited to explore a year in the life of a farmer and the importance of healthy soil with owner Jerry Untiedt and his family. They'll show us how they raise fruits and vegetables on their farm, Untiedt's, near Waverly, MN and share these fresh foods with people across our state. This virtual field trip is perfect for K-5 students and lasted around 30 minutes. In case you missed the virtual field trip live, you can view it on our YouTube channel.

About Untiedt's Produce Farm

The Untiedt's Produce Farm was founded in 1971 by Sue and Jerry Untiedt located in Waverly, Minnesota. The original 40 farm acres has expanded to serve the Twin Cities and beyond. Jerry and Sue's daughters and grandchildren play a role in the farm. There are just 12 people on staff full time with up to 200 people during peak harvest season.

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Untiedt's High Tunnels

Plants are grown in a high tunnel. The one that Jerry did the virtual tour in is 500 feet long by 24 feet long and is covered with a special plastic with an ultraviolet inhibitor (increases shade) in it. Greenhouses get really warm but the ultraviolet plastic helps keep those temperatures moderate. This is why Untiedt's uses high tunnels instead of greenhouses to keep the temperatures more moderate.

At Untiedt's, water conservation is important. They limit water use and evaporation through the high tunnels and by planting underneath plastic. The high tunnels also provide a barrier from the weather outside by heating up the soil and soil mass. Planting can occur earlier in the spring and harvest is longer in the fall (by about two weeks) because of the warmer soil temperatures.

Soil Health

Soil health is also very important at Untiedt's. Their sandy soil has improved in health over the last 35 years. Now the soil is be able to absorb water better and hold the root structure from the plants. This was done by adding compost to the soil to make it healthier, richer and feed the plants better.

Whether you make it on the farm or in your background, compost is the byproduct of natural, organic combinations that goes through the spoiling process. Untiedt's compost has old hay or cornstalks and animal manure ground up and mixed with a lot of water to encourage decomposition. Their compost is very high in organic matter with twigs, roots and has a lot of nutrients in it to help plants grow better. Amending (adding compost) to the soils increases the fertility, organic matter and increases the ability to hold moisture to allow plants to flourish without much chemical fertilizer. However, nitrogen is one of the fertilizers that Untiedt's adds to their soil as it does not get added from the organic matter.

To learn more about more about the Untiedt's Produce Farm, check out the virtual field trip video.

Untiedts Floral
Untiedts Floral

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