Mary Jane Newswanger wanted to start a business to supplement the income from their 200 acre corn and soybean family farm that was established in 2001. As an avid gardener and living only 20 miles away from the North Iowa Farmers market, growing and selling fresh produce sounded like an opportunity. Fourteen years later she and her family are still capitalizing on that opportunity and have been selling their high quality, fresh produce at the farmers market every season since.
Maple Grove Farms, located just east of Nora Springs, occupies about an acre of land and features a greenhouse where the Newswanger family can strategically grow tomatoes to supply the busy summer market season. Tomatoes are not the only thing Maple Grove Farms provides, however. Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, green beans, sweet and green onions, peppers, red beets, red potatoes, radishes, rhubarb and squash are all freshly grown produce that consumers can expect to see in the market this year. Mary Jane is also trying her hand in growing kohlrabi and whole and snap peas this year in order to continue to provide an array of options at the market. Although Maple Grove Farms was started with the intentions of becoming a form of supplementary income for the family, it has become much more than that to Mary Jane. “I enjoy meeting the customers most of all, especially my local, faithful customers that come back year after year” she says. Even though it’s the relationships she values, her two teenage daughters, Kayle and Amber, are now doing about 90% of the marketing as Mary Jane’s busy schedule doesn’t always allow her to attend every market. These young ladies carry the same passion for fresh food as their mother and do an excellent job connecting with their customers.
“Choosing to buy local not only provides you with the highest quality produce but helps the local economy,” Mary Jane reminds us. “Not to mention, local produce is usually much fresher than what you’ll find elsewhere since there’s no need to ship it halfway across the country”.
We encourage you to buy local this summer and come check out the first market of the summer season at our NEW downtown location (corner of 1st NE and Delaware) in Mason City on Friday, May 19th. Fresh, locally grown, high quality products are what Maple Grove Farms and all of the North Iowa Farmers Market vendors work so hard to provide. Support the local economy AND those taste buds, plan to join us!