Bluebird Gardens is owned and operated by Mark and Diane Boen. Below is the story behind the farm...
Mark's great grandparents, Knut and Guri Boen, immigrated from Norway in the 1880's. They purchased our current farm and began dairy farming. Years later, Mark's grandparents, Gust and Ida Boen continued dairying. Mark's parents, Kenneth and Margaret Boen, were married in 1943 and continued the family tradition of dairying. Both Kenneth and Gustav were born in the farmhouse that now serves as a home for our interns. The pictures show Kenneth coming back with the manure spreader, Mark and his mom milking, our holstein and gurnsey cows and Mark's dad, Kenneth.
Mark was born in 1953 and grew up milking cows and attending to calves. Many calves were entered in the County Fair each summer.
In the 1960's, Mark became aware that the eastern bluebird was endangered because of the lack of nesting cavities to raise their young. He began putting up bluebird houses everywhere across the farm! It took years for the first bluebirds to nest. But the first pair finally came, and over time the eastern bluebird became the most common bird on the farm!
After graduating from Fergus Falls high school, Mark went to college and became an elementary teacher, though he remained involved in the dairying operation.
On August 6, 1977, Mark married Diane Rund and they bought a ten acre farm west of Fergus Falls. Because the teaching income was quite meager, they went into the vegetable business in 1978. On a six acre field (with three acres under water), armed with a Troy Bilt tiller, a Gardenway cart, and a Ford Pinto, the vegetable business began! The picture below shows Mark and Scooter "selling" vegetables.
At that time, most families had their own garden and cars drove past their little stand on West Lincoln Avenue in Fergus Falls. Armed with sheer determination, the couple continued the vegetable business along with teaching.
In 1982, Mark and Diane began to purchase his parents' farm. Initially, Mark and Diane milked cows with Mark's parents, along with the vegetable business and teaching. It was at that time the vegetable business acquired the name Bluebird Gardens, in tribute to the birds Mark had helped save.
Mark's dad was determined the vegetables would go and the cows would stay. But he didn't win that battle, and in 1986, the cows left and the farm was then dedicated to vegetables. The business slowly grew and Diane sold the vegetables from one stand in Fergus Falls.
In 2002, Bluebird Gardens took on the self-serve idea and five self-serve stands were started in the area. In 2008 and 2009, full service stands were offered, thanks to the help of some terrific interns! In 2009, we started transitioning to a CSA model. Our CSA membership has been growing ever since!
Currently, we sell our vegetables only through Community Supported Agriculture shares. We decided to get rid of the stands so we could focus our time, energy, and resources on serving our growing number of CSA members.
"Vegetable stands were a beautiful part of our past. Regretfully, our produce is no longer sold at any stands, as we have chosen to focus our efforts on serving our CSA members."