Dancing the Land Farm is a new vendor at the Fulton Farmers Market this year. Farmer Liz Dwyer answered a few questions for us via email so we could get to know her and her partner Curtis Weinrich a little better.
Be sure to stop by the Fulton Farmers Market (8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturdays, 4901 Chowen Ave. S.) to say hello and give them a warm welcome. Purchase produce, wool fiber, goat meat and cut flowers from their great small farm all season long.
The interview has been edited.
Have you always been a farmer?
I’ve been running my own farm with my husband, Curtis, for the last six years. In 2012, my mom offered us the family farm. As young farmers with limited to no access to land, we said yes and moved our lives back home to Minnesota.
Before that, we were living and farming in Northern California. In those days I had all sorts of jobs! Working as an herbalist at an apothecary; farming jobs; landscaping jobs; teaching gardening and bike shop and poetry at the local school district; building; modeling for local artists; starting farms for other folks — all kinds of things. Lots of learning how to do what we’re doing now!
What’s your favorite or least favorite vegetable?
This is such a hard question!
I think I’ve decided that my least favorite veggie is one that’s been canned, except tomatoes, and my favorite ones are ones that are in season at the moment. Right now, on this side of the year, I’m madly in love with the idea of peas, fennel, arugula, radicchio, salad turnips and spigariello broccoli. But when things are fresh and perfectly ripe, there’s nothing I don’t love!
What’s your favorite thing to get from other vendors at the market?
I enjoy trying out new veggie varieties that I haven’t had before. For the most part I really enjoy getting those things that we don’t produce on our farm, like bread and honey.
What question do people not ask you at the market that you wish they did?
I wish folks would ask me what new and unusual veggies we have that they might not have tried yet.
I have such a love of growing rare and unusual veggies, or usual veggies in their rare heirloom colors. So often folks have an idea in their head already of what they want, which of course is based upon things they’ve had before. I get really excited in those moments when folks find their curiosity about new things!
I also love talking about cooking and how to best highlight our veggies on the plate and palate.
Do you have a favorite market memory?
I love farmers markets and have had so many good moments! Connecting with the people that we’re feeding is such a joy.
If I had to choose: Sometimes on the shoulder seasons I’ll bring my spinning wheel to market to demonstrate making yarn, and I love how enthralled folks get — adults to children — watching fluff turn to string!
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about farming?
I’ve had many mentors and teachers in learning the vast skillset that I employ every day in this incredibly diverse endeavor we call farming. I don’t know how I could possibly isolate any one best piece of advice.
Maybe it was the encouragement to farm in the first place, because this was the best choice I could have made for my life. Farming is my livelihood, my home, my community, my creative expression, my church and my moral compass. Living and working every day with plants and animals, making efforts to live well and feed people beautifully, has made a person out of me.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and why?
Answering this question today, after just watching a beautiful red-tailed hawk surfing on the breeze, I’m going to have to choose flying!
What do you do when you’re not doing work for your farm?
Farming is pretty well all-encompassing, which, luckily, I love.
There’s always a problem to solve, a skill to hone or learn for the first time. There’s always looking to the future and learning from the past, planning, plotting, growing as farmers, as shepherds, as teachers, as people who eat and love and want to keep going.
Alongside all that, I love spending time with my sweetheart and my little 6-month-old daughter. I’m currently taking a year-long mentorship on seed saving, and I love to make and teach other folks how to make felt.
Curtis and I are founding members of the Central Chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition and spend some time with those good folks trying to make and enact policies that help other young folks get back onto the land with some good support to get going and stay going.
In the winter I love to spin and weave and otherwise indulge my love of fibers. And I love to write.
Rebecca Noble is the Market Manager for the Fulton, Kingfield, and Nokomis Farmers Markets. She has been working with Neighborhood Roots since 2014.