Feature Friday: Eagle Lake Gardens

On a 300 acre farm near Britt, Iowa Bill Rasmuson farmed corn and soybeans commercially for years. Still living on his same childhood farm, Bill fondly remembers the memories made there, especially the large plot of raspberries they grew every year. For Bill, agriculture is in his roots, a part of who he is. It seemed natural then in his retirement to take up produce farming.
Bill, an accomplished scholar and longtime lover of the land, has transformed the family farm to produce a wide variety of produce including tomatoes, garlic, herbs, carrots, radishes, lettuce, asparagus, rhubarb, eggplant, cucumber, peas, green beans, zucchini, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, pumpkins, gourds, apples and more.

The latest addition to the selection at Eagle Lake Garden’s booth at the market includes cute, painted pumpkins! 

“I do a lot of double cropping in the short Iowa growing season, allowing me to produce more without having to prepare and use more land,” Bill says. “Every time you put a seed or a plant in the ground, you have to be thinking ahead and have a plan. Crop rotations are crucial in this business.”

Bill’s current operation covers approximately 3 acres including several fenced garden plots, raised beds and hoop houses. Bill is able to heat his hoop houses, allowing him to start growing some produce earlier in the season. While no small feat, Bill has tactfully managed his farm in a way that allows him to have a wide selection of produce from early spring to late fall.

Bill’s raised garden beds work great for a variety of leafy greens and herbs. The arcs above the beds allow plastic to be laid over top, aiding in temperature and climate control and allowing earlier planting dates.

Bill is a long time vendor at the North Iowa Farmers Market, having sold produce in Mason City for over 6 years. Currently, Bill also sells at the Clear Lake Farmers Market. While Bill enjoys his interactions with his customers, it’s the other vendors he enjoys most about the North Iowa Farmers Market. It is not uncommon to see Bill at another vendor’s stand exchanging stories and advice.

Customers always look forward to Eagle Lake Garden’s impressive spread at the market. Bill’s Carbon variety of tomatoes won the Tomato Tasting Contest this year!

“Fresh is truly the best,” says Bill. “You just can’t beat buying produce right off the farm”. Bill’s passion for vegetable production is apparent in his conversations with customers and vendors alike. A huge asset to the market, Bill provides extensive selection and knowledge.
Join us at market today from 4:00- 6:30 p.m. to visit with Bill and our other great vendors!


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