Berry Ridge Farm
Ann and Ron Branch grew up on family farms in Minnesota. Ann was an active 4-H member and Ron was honored as an FFA District Star Farmer and served as state FFA vice president. The couple met at the University of Minnesota where Ann earned a degree in home economics education and Ron in agriculture.
Ann and Ron purchased the land for their farm in 1984 and built a house a year later. They started selling produce in 1988.
In 1992, the Branches pioneered the use of high tunnels in the farm’s specialty crop operation and now the family has six high tunnels to maximize production on their 11-acre farm. The Branches’ sons, Carl and Eric, began working on the farm when they were young. At age 10 the boys used a Farm Service Agency Youth Loan to build their own high tunnel. Carl is enrolled at the University of Minnesota. Eric graduated from the U of M this spring and begins a graduate program in plant pathology at Cornell this fall.
The Branch family raises a wide variety of produce including strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, beets and cut flowers. Over the years, Berry Ridge Farm has hosted University of Minnesota on-farm research.
Ron has served as president of the Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and is involved with other organizers that include the Douglas County Farm Bureau, Douglas County Master Gardeners and he helped organize the Minnesota Farmers Market Association. Ann helps at their local farmers market with demonstrations promoting the fresh produce sold by vendors.