Getting To Know Your Grower: Fresh, pickled produce from Skanawan Lake Farm
By Jed Buelow
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor, Sports and Nature Editor
There is no doubt gardening is in their blood. It has to be, considering Jeff and Karen Larson, who own Skanawan Lake Farm , have been doing it for the past 40 years.
The benefit of four decades of knowledge is invaluable, especially when it comes to trying to raise a crop to bring to the Tomahawk Main Street Downtown Farmers Market each and every Tuesday.
Some plants they have stopped growing due to bug infestations. When Mother Nature won’t cooperate with timely rain, they have a crystal, clear spring to draw water from to keep their 150’ by 250’ garden green and growing despite any dry spells.
Forty years of experience has also given Skanawan Lake Farm the opportunity to hone in on some specialty products they regularly bring to the market along with a bounty of fresh produce each week. Along with jams and jelly, they also offer a fall menu of pickled products that include pickled caliabri, pickled green tomatoes, pickled peas as well as other pickled produce.
“My wife and I have grown almost everything at one time or another and really enjoy the challenges of the different plants,” Jeff said of the husband and wife duo that does all the weeding, watering, planting, picking and pickling at Skanawan Lake Farm. “We enjoy experimenting and finding innovative ways to deal with the challenges.
Jeff said their garden is small compared to some of the other local growers who bring homegrown produce to the market each and every week, but they still are able to produce enough to take part in markets in Minocqua, Rhinelander as well as the downtown Tomahawk market.
When asked why Skanawan Lake Farm thinks it is important to support local farmers markets, the Larsons said freshness is a big part of it – most of the items they bring to the market are picked within maybe an hour before the produce is put out for sale.
“Freshness is a huge factor. It’s also important to support local markets because it gives smaller growers a place to sell.”
The Larsons added the market also gives the opportunity to interact and meet face-to-face with those who have grown the produce that will be bought and taken home to share at the dinner table with family and friends.
And it doesn’t take 40 years of gained knowledge to understand the importance of knowing who is growing your food and where it is coming from. The Larsons have been doing it at their place out in the town of Skanawan for the last four decades because it is in their blood.
Getting to Know Your Grower is part of a Tomahawk Main Street Inc. series for the Tuesday downtown farmers market that will run the rest of the summer. The market will run into October and takes place every Tuesday from 1-5:30 p.m. on Third Street in downtown Tomahawk.
For more information on the market, visit tomahawkmainstreet.org.