After taking her around the world, farming has brought University of Minnesota graduate Sarah Woutat back to Minnesota.
Woutat has been running Uproot Farms since 2010, and this year is being recognized as Isanti County’s Farm Family of the Year award recipient.
Each year the University of Minnesota selects one family from each county to honor. The program has been running strong for over two decades.
According to the Farm Families of the Year website, the families that are chosen have made “significant contributions the agriculture industry and their local communities.”
Uproot Farm is located off County Road 6 near Princeton. They are an organic farm, featuring over 150 different types of vegetables, melons and herbs.
The farm is a relatively small operation featuring Woutat and two seasonal workers. Food from Uproot Farm can be found at local farmers markets while in season.
Farming has taken Woutat all over the map, having worked in Oregon, New York, France and Spain. It was at Fort Hill Farm in Connecticut, however, where she gained some of her most valuable experience.
“If I hadn’t worked on that farm in particular, I would not be farming,” she said.
Woutat was lured to the farm after spending the previous two years working in the environmental publishing business in New York. She accepted an apprenticeship at Fort Hill and learned about sustainable food production and organic vegetable farming.
“It is a solid education, it is very hands-on,” she added. “About halfway through that first season, I knew I wanted to go back.”
She learned all about the science behind farming and received a formal education in the world of sustainable living. After a second season, Woutat had affirmed her love of farming.
“I could have stayed there for 10 years and never learned enough,” she said.
She left Fort Hill after her second season. Her next step was a move to La Finca CSA, near Sandstone. After being back in Minnesota, she was ready to start out on her own.
Taking ownership of Uproot Farm in September 2010, she achieved her dream. It has been an around-the-clock operation ever since. Her season starts in the early summer months, and her crops alternate throughout mid-fall.
In a state with harsh winters, farming is impossible during most of the year. This does not mean that Woutat is done working.
“There is a lot of planning,” she said. “The only way to make a small diversified farm like this work financially, to actually make a living on it, is for things to be organized and efficient.”
After a bit of traveling, the next three months are filled with conventions and planning out next season’s crop.
To learn more about Uproot Farms, visit uprootfarm.com.