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Soper Farms Introduces Organic Plan

By Staff | Nov 4, 2010

An all-organic supper was served at McNally Bake Shop Monday evening after a pasture walk, organized by Practical Farmers of Iowa, to learn more about plans to convert Soper Family Farms to organic production. Participants not only were treated to a meal prepared with organic ingredients, but had the opportunity to meet Harn Soper, President of Soper Family Farms (above). More photos can be found on Page 5 of today’s Reporter. – Lori Hall photo

Those curious about Soper Farms’ conversion of 260 acres to organic farming and the marketing of organic food products participated in a pasture walk and supper on Monday afternoon, Nov. 1.

The pasture walk, organized by Practical Farmers of Iowa, was held north of Emmetsburg at 310th and 440th Streets. The walk was led by Harn Soper, President of Soper Farms. Among those in attendance were Sarah Carlson, Research and Policy Director of Practical Farmers of Iowa, and Jim Munsch, a beef grazer from Wisconsin. Carlson presented information on management options for cover crops that over-winter, like rye. Cover crops help to reduce soil loss. Munsch discussed the grass component of a perennial pasture mix.

Soper Farms’ five-year plan includes building a grass-fed cow/calf operation that harvests 160 organic cattle and 9,000 organic pastured chickens per year. Plans also include adding 80 acres of organic vegetable production to their operation.

Following the pasture walk, participants were invited to McNally Bake Shop to enjoy an all-organic meal of pork, potatoes, salad, cornbread, and apple pie prepared by California Chef Donna Prizgintas. Prizgintas, who now resides in Ames, has cooked for such celebrity clients as Norman Lear, Sally Fields, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Warren Beatty. She was also executive chef for Paul Newman’s “Hole In The Wall” camps.

Soper recently purchased the McNally Bake Shop building and intends on converting the upper level to offices for sales and marketing and the development of value-added products like baked goods, cheese, and meat. The bakery will continue to be run by Chuck and Kim Mammen, and will expand to include a deli and the sale of fresh produce, beef, and chicken.