Hops, Pigs, and Perennials.
Stewardship, sustainability and livelihood; living with the tension between these is core to a farmer's identity. Eric's farming pursuits in hops, pigs, and perennials operate at different scales yet all require a clear mind and strong heart to reach potential.
Mighty Axe Hops
Eric is co-founder and CEO of Mighty Axe Hops, Minnesota's largest hop farm. Eric started Mighty Axe Hops in 2013 and has since grown the farm from .25 acre to 80 acres of production. Mighty Axe is the industry leader in Minnesota hops working with commercial brewers, USDA programs, local government and economic development, and University researchers to develop hops as a viable local crop.
Eric loves pigs. He grows them from piglets outside, on rotating pasture. They are fed local feed from Farmer's Coop mill in town and finished on foraged acorns and fallen fruit. Partial hogs available each fall.
Perennial Polyculture Orchard
Monocultures dominate agricultural landscapes. They are efficient but fall short in other ways.
At home, Eric and his partner Rachel are designing and planting a perennial, polyculture orchard intended to earn an income. Balancing financial goals with stewardship values is one of Eric's strong suits.