We had the good fortune of connecting with Rich Westerberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rich, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When we first moved to our small farm, we wanted to be able to provide quality food for ourselves. Almost immediately, people began to ask if we had extra produce. Since we had a huge garden, and room to grow even more, it was a simple decision.
We expanded our gardens, planted more vegetables, and, over two years, we’ve added over 50 chickens. This season we will be adding raised beds for better potatoes and carrots, as well as planting more varieties of other vegetables. We’re also adding an orchard and several fruit varieties, and our chicken flock will be expanded!
Since the beginning, we’ve kept our farm all natural and use no chemicals. Everything is hand picked by the two of us and our hens are allowed to free range over the entire property. The result is incredible tasting fruits and vegetables, and unbelievably large, tasty eggs!
People love what we’re growing and we enjoy sharing the bounty from our farm! It’s been a win-win for everyone!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Over my career, I’ve owned my own business and helped others grow small businesses. I’m an entrepreneur at heart and love to create new things. I’ve helped a cell phone repair business grow to over $50 million, and I’ve owned a large environmental dry cleaning business.
I’ve learned that you need to be nimble as the business climate changes. I’ve also learned to bounce back from failure and use it to improve your business.
Whether your business is cell phones, pressing a dress shirt, or providing vegetables to someone, success comes down to providing a great quality product, incredible customer service and a good price. If Holly and I can provide those three things, our farm business will do just fine!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
While our little town of Henderson, MN isn’t the center of the universe, there are a lot of fun places in the area. Dinner at the Road Haus restaurant is required, or a great burger at the Union Hill Bar & Grill. I’d recommend the beer at u4ic Brewing in Blakeley.
There are a lot of small stadiums around the area offering incredible “Town Ball” baseball games during the summer. If you want a larger venue, grab a Twins game in Minneapolis.
One of our favorite venues for music is also in Minneapolis. First Avenue is an incredible spot for a concert and a place that Prince made famous. Speaking of Prince, some of the outdoor filming for Purple Rain was completed near Henderson, only a few miles from our Farm!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
All of this is possible because of the love, support and encouragement of my Wife, Holly! She has spent countless hours planting, watering, weeding and harvesting veggies. She loves our hens and has become the Queen of the flock! I couldn’t do this without her!
My family has been very supportive of our Farm venture. I need to single out my daughter, Molly, who helps us, and has one of the best Green Thumbs around!
None of this could’ve taken place without the gardening knowledge passed on from my father, the original Old Swede! While he never got to visit the Farm, his love of gardening, both vegetables and flowers, is alive and well here!