In 1956, on his hands and knees, Robert Furleigh planted one acre of strawberries just east of Clear Lake. As a recent Iowa State University College graduate, Robert had returned to the family farm with big aspirations. Sixty-one years later, Furleigh Fruit and Vegetable Farm has grown to cover 20 acres producing a wide variety of produce. While Robert and his wife, Donna, continue to be active in the operation, it is their grandson, Erik, who now manages the family business.
The Furleighs are perhaps best known for their strawberries, selling both ready picked and pick your own strawberries directly from the farm. Strawberry harvesting season typically runs from mid-June to the Fourth of July and keeps the Furleigh family and their 32 seasonal employees extremely busy. But there’s more to the business than just strawberries. Furleigh Fruit and Vegetable Farm also sells green beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, squash, melons, pumpkins and sweet corn. The farm is often a destination for area families in the fall as they visit the pumpkin patch and navigate through the corn maze. The Furleighs take great pride in the products they grow and sell. “You can’t go wrong buying local and buying fresh.” Erik says. “Buying local keeps your money circulating within the local economy…and the strawberries just taste better!”
The North Iowa Farmers Market is pleased to welcome the Furleigh Fruit and Vegetable Farm to the market for the first time. The move to the downtown location appealed to Erik and to his loyal customers as some have started scheduling pick-ups at the market. In addition, he welcomes the opportunity to interact and attract new customers within the friendly, community based atmosphere that the market provides.
Furleigh Fruit and Vegetable Farm will be at the market today from 4:00-6:30 PM, as the last day of strawberry season you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity for fresh picked strawberries! We look forward to seeing them again later in the market season as more of their produce comes into season.