Revisiting Ferndale Market
Although this article was written several years ago for our November Shopper, Ferndale Market’s focus on providing top quality, free-range turkey hasn’t changed. In fact, while the mainstream poultry industry has been battered with negative repercussions from bad business practices over the last few years, Ferndale Market has stood out from the rest, leading the way as an example of a healthy, sustainable farm. People’s Food Co-op is proud to partner with Ferndale Market, not only to provide our community with the best locally sourced turkey, but also to promote and support a farm with such standards and best practices.
From PFC’s Co-op Shopper November 2011
Peterson Turkey Farm started in 1939—seventy years ago Dale Peterson settled in Cannon Falls, MN, to do what he knew best—raise turkeys. The first few years found Dale sharing his residence with incubators, and the comforting sound of day-old turkeys routinely filled his home. Dale’s wife, Fern, had grown up raising turkeys, and although she thought she had left them forever when she left home and became a schoolteacher, her plans changed when she met Dale! Fern was an avid advocate for the environment and believed that everybody had a role to play in preserving our earth. The legacy of Fern and Dale still guides Ferndale’s mission, so it’s only fitting that Ferndale Market, Peterson Turkey Farm’s retail store, is named in their honor.
Dale always believed raising quality turkeys was the best contribution he could make to the world, and his formula for success was simple: he worked hard, treated customers as family, and cared deeply for both the land and his turkeys. This tradition has continued for three generations. Although the days of literally sharing a home with turkeys are in the past, the farm is still committed to raising turkeys naturally—completely free-range during the warmer months and hormone-free all the time.
Ferndale Market opened in 2008 as an on-farm food market. The shelves are stocked with a variety of local food items, from their own turkeys to fresh, organic produce, artisan cheeses, ice cream, condiments, jams, syrups, and honey. Ferndale Market is Peterson Turkey Farms’ way of continuing Fern and Dale’s impressive legacy—to strengthen the bounty of high-quality local agriculture and preserve our environment while inspiring people to eat meals that are full of flavor, good for your body, and good for the world.
A summer visit to the farm (all are welcome, naturally!) will reveal a warm and idealistic family farm heritage—you’re likely to see the turkeys outside—happily and healthfully spending time roaming in the rolling hills of the Little Cannon River Valley. It’s a pastoral and majestic scene and it’s happening right now—helping us to reclaim our food independence and a lifestyle of health and happiness!