Eichten Family Farm

Chisago County
2016

Joseph and Mary Eichten started farming in 1955 after they purchased a 160 acre farm near Center City.  In 1976, after raising 10 children on their dairy farm, the Eichtens became the first dairy farm in the country to produce a value-added product—they built a farmstead cheese plant that produced Dutch Gouda.

Over the years, the Eichtens added to their award-winning cheese line and their farm.  In 1987, the family began raising bison that adapted well to the farm’s natural prairie grass feeding program. The farm produces all its own feed for the animals including hay, oats and corn silage.  The Eichtens’ operation also includes a market, café and catering business.

Four years ago the Eichtens started using solar energy to supply the cheese factory with electricity and recently added a solar garden that allows community members to buy shares allowing more community access to solar power.  Last year the family raised its first crop of certified organic rye.

All of the Eichtens’ children grew up working on the farm and now their granddaughter, Brenda, is the third generation to come back to the business.

The Eichtens are members of the Minnesota Farm Bureau and the Minnesota Farmers Union.  They’re involved in the Minnesota Cooks program, Minnesota Bison Association, Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service, the Chisago County Fair Board and Chisago Lakes Chamber.

Chisago, 2016

Click the image to view a high-quality copy of the photo