The Mighty Seed

Assignment Photography……is great fun.

It’s a door in where I normally would not find myself.  The choice is mine whether to take the assignment or not.  Often I meet amazing people doing extraordinary things. This year, the importance of seeds and relevance to life.

Meet Eric and Ben, Founders of a local hops farm based on freshness. It’s all about how quickly the hops can get from the field to the beer.  Mighty Axe Hops beginnings started at Eric’s family farm in Ham Lake and expanded another 80 acres in 2016.

Eric Sannerud and Ben Boo, Mighty Axe Hops
Eric Sannerud and Ben Boo, Founders, Mighty Axe Hops
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Hops, Hamm Lake, Minnesota
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Harvesting Hops
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Fresh Hops are a Thing of Beauty with a Citrus Aroma
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Here’s Where the Hoppy-ness Resides
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Hops Fresh from the Fields are the Best They’ll Ever Be
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Taste a Little Freshness, Fresh Hops Right into Your Cup

Jonathan & Carolyn Olson work the family farm founded in 1913.  They are dedicated to growing organic seed and grain in an area surrounded by convention farmers. The Olson’s were named Farmer of the Year in 2016 and are particularly proud of the hearty organic seed they supply for 100′s of farmers.

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Organic wheat ready for harvest, Cottonwood, Minnesota
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Jonathan & Carolyn farm grain and also organic wheat, soy, corn, and tricale seed to Albert Lea Seed
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The farm terrier at the seed storage
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Seed bags full of organic seed ready for Albert Lea Seed
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Organic Grain

Olson’s Family Farm grains are delivered to FOOD BUILDING where Baker’s Field Flour & Bread create delicious handcrafted breads considered the best in the Twin Cities and attributed partly to Olson’s carefully raised grains.

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Olson’s grain ready for breadmaking at Baker’s Field Four & Bread at the FOOD BUILDING
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Different grains create a variety of flours
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Kneading the dough ready for breadmaking at FOOD BUILDING Northeast Minneapolis
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Delicious whole grain fresh bread at Baker’s Field Flour & Bread, FOOD BUILDING

The Blue Fruit Farm and Prairie Moon Nursery lay alongside the hills and valleys of the beautiful Driftless Region of SE Minnesota. Jim and Joyce Riddle tend to 5 acres of certified organic blueberries, elderberries, aronia berries, black currrants, plums, honeyberries, jostaberries, juneberries and cherry plums. The land is lived on and tended with loving care for ecological balance without any chemicals.  Blue Fruit Farm is part of the Wiscoy Valley Community Land Cooperative, a 360 acre land cooperative farmed organic since the mid-1970′s.

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Elderberry ready for harvest at Blue Fruit Farm
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Jim Riddle Collecting Native Flower Seed at Blue Fruit Farm
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Native Flower Seed ready to harvest
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Harvesting Stiff Goldenrod Native Flower Seed at Blue Fruit Farm

Ever wonder how native flower seed is harvested?  It’s a delicate hand process.  Some of the flowers sit among many prairie plants and are hunted down for their precious seed pods. Prairie Moon Nursery is careful to grow plants from hardy seed that then produces more native flowers, most are important pollen and nectar sources for pollinators.

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Monarch on Stiff Goldenrod, Prairie Moon Nursery
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Skipper Butterfly on Aster, Prairie Moon Nursery
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Virginiensis (American Lady Vanessa) on Joe Pye Weed, Prairie Moon Nursery
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Anise Hyssop, Prairie Moon Nursery
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Bombus Vagans Half Black Bumble Bee on Salvia, Prairie Moon Nursery, Winona Minnesota
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Prairie Moon Nursery harvesting seed
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Prairie Moon Nursery, Harvesting Seed
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Seed Drying Trays at Prairie Moon Nursery, Winona Minnesota

Laurie has been producing award-winning images for 25 years. She specializes in assignment and special project work that involves story development, animals, people, events and farm to table. When she is not clicking the shutter, Laurie is riding horses or rescuing honeybees.  She is proud to be a steward of the land and Founder of the Pollinator Friendly Alliance. Laurie is two time recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artists Alliance Award in 2014 and 2016.

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