Nowthen farm family enjoys bond with the land

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Ryan Thompson grew up on a farm in Nowthen, and farming is in his blood.

Ryan, Becky and Lydia Thompson with some of their produce.
Ryan, Becky and Lydia Thompson with some of their produce.

He took over his grandfather’s vegetable farming business after Wally Thompson died and today, he and his wife, Becky, grow produce on 15 acres of land in Nowthen.

“I enjoy doing it,” he said.

They sell their produce at farmers markets in Nowthen and St. Paul. They also will have a roadside stand with sweet corn, likely available towards the end of July. The stand will be located 2 miles north of Bill’s Superette in Nowthen, off County Road 5, at the end of Becky’s parents’ driveway — the Paul Hillukka’s.

In addition to sweet corn, the Thompsons grow a variety of other things including potatoes, watermelons, pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, cucumbers and about 15 different varieties of squash.

The crops are off to a slow start this year with the cool, rainy weather and he said it will likely be mid-July before they have anything to sell at the Nowthen market.

“It’s slow. It’s up but it’s not really growing,” he said early this week.

Besides growing vegetables, Ryan Thompson also is in real estate. He had been working as an auto mechanic, but recently got his real estate license.

About the Nowthen Farmers Market

The Nowthen Farmers Market opens for the season on Thursday, June 20. Hours are 3-7 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 19 (closed July 4) and concluding Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Nowthen Heritage Festival.

The farmers market location is one block north of Viking Boulevard on Nowthen Boulevard (behind the Nowthen Memorial Park).

The June 20 market will include a drawing for a portable weather radio. Thirty frequent shopper cards will also be given away.

There also will be music and a woman who raises butterflies will teach children about the life cycle of butterflies, according to Lynda Kolasa, who organizes the market.

The Nowthen Farmers Market averages about 20 vendors but approximately 10 are expected to be there the first day, she said. Among the products that will be available at the first market are jams, jellies, bread, canned goods, honey, buffalo meat and jewelry. More vendors will be there as produce becomes available.