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‘Organic and biodynamic’

By Staff | Dec 5, 2014

Julia Petrovic shows breads she baked on the farm she and her husband operate 25 miles south of Rugby.

They come from two separate countries, but as a family they have a fresh, cohesive farming outfit.

Mirek and Julia Petrovic own and operate Slavic Heritage Farm, a 12-acre farmstead located 25 miles south of Rugby, along with their two sons and three daughters.

Mirek emigrated from the Czech Republic in 1996, and Julia from southern Russia at about the same time. For many years they lived and worked on the East Coast. Mirek noted that in both countries everyone has a garden, a tradition they took with them to North Dakota.

Mirek describes their farm operation as “organic and biodynamic.” Some of what they grow goes to feed their animals, including goats, sheep, a cow and chickens, and they use fertilizer produced by their animals. The animals also provide food, milk and cream. They do not use synthetic pesticides or herbicides in their operation.

“We love a lot of things, and we do a lot of things,” Julia said.

Their farming operation started in 2011, when they planted their first vegetable crops while working on their home. The house had fallen into disrepair after being abandoned for 15 years and needed to be rebuilt. In their second year they began planting vegetable and berry crops, brought in animals and divided pasture for grazing. In their third year they put in a high tunnel and began growing vegetables in it. This year they planted several varieties of fruit and vegetable crops, including tomatoes, currants, eggplants, potatoes, flowers, herbs and strawberries. They also planted honey berries – hybrid berries similar in color and size to blueberries, but with more antioxidants – the fruit of that labor will not yet be seen for another three to four years.

“We strive to grow stuff in a healthy way,” Mirek said. “We want to bring and grow the healthy foods we are used to and introduce it (here).”

In addition to their vegetable and berry operation, Julia also bakes traditional breads and pastries.

For the past few years the Petrovics have been present at farmers’ markets in both Rugby and Anamoose.

Next year, the Petrovics plan to start a community supported agriculture group. Members of CSAs prepay farmers and receive boxes of produce. A relationship and understanding develops between the farmer and consumer, especially in the event a disaster affects whether the farmer can deliver on produce. Also in the works is a possible “food hub” – a cafe of sorts serving and highlighting locally grown produce. However, the farm will always be at the forefront.

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