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Farming with Human Hands...
Welcome to Ruf Acres Farm... Our story
My maternal Great Uncle Elmer was a truck farmer and raised hot house tomatoes. Because they were raised in a greenhouse he had early tomatoes. He told my dad he made all his money on tomatoes before July 4.
When I retired in 2004 and I realized my wife would probably work another 15 to 20 years I began look to what I wanted to do in that time. I took a trip to Tibet in 2006 and saw huge plastic covered greenhouses. The Chinese are colonizing Tibet much as Europeans colonized North and South America. I formed an idea that if they could grow vegetables to feed the increased population in Tibet we could extend the season for vegetables in MN.
In 2009 my wife and I bought 5 1/2 acres and we began to think of a way to have tomatoes before the 4th of July. We had a wood burning boiler on the property that we were not using. We formed a plan to install hot water heat pipes under raised beds in a commercial size greenhouse. (A similar system to in floor heat in houses.) This innovation has allowed the soil at planting time to be 70 degrees.
We called the farm Ruf Acres after my childhood home in Illinois to honor my mother and my great Uncle Elmer. We ended up with 6 85 foot raised beds giving us about 40 tomato plants per row. Planting the seeds in the potting shed the 1st of February allowed us to transplant 4 inch tomato plants in the greenhouse by the 1st of March. Each year we have had ripe tomatoes by the 1st of June.
Last year we experimented with side crops in the rows. These were mostly cool season greens. These also are way ahead of the MN outdoor season. Then 2 years ago we planted strawberries in one row and had fresh strawberries from May to November. This year Ramon Rodriguez Carrion has come from London (he is originally from Spain) to manage and expand the farm operation. We will expand into herbs again extending the season.
John R. Besse
Family - Everywhere family is implicated you will find simple, healthy, natural, delicious food and nourishment... this is why we treat our plants as part of our family.
John R. Besse & Ramon Rguez Carrion