The Brand farm has historically been a dairy farm. It was purchased in the 1950s by Richard Brand. The family expanded to other entities because of the farm’s proximity to the Twin Cities.
Currently, Aaron is the fourth generation of Brands operating the farm. Aaron farms with his father, John, and his 84-year-old grandfather, Richard, still has a daily presence on the farm. The Brand family milks 70 cows. They raise all their own young stock and steers. They grow corn, soybeans and alfalfa on about 320 acres.
When Aaron graduated from college he decided to expand the operation, not by increasing the dairy herd, but instead choosing products new to the farm. He began with a few hens for their eggs and slowly expanded the egg laying business that now includes 2,400 hens. At about the same time, he heard about a nearby defunct apple orchard whose owner was looking to lease it and Aaron began raising apples. Aaron also planted new trees—many from the University of Minnesota—on the farm’s building site. The family sells apples, apple products and eggs through local farmers markets and their own farm store.
The Brands are members of the Minnesota Apple Growers Association where Aaron is currently vice president