River Ridge Farm

River Ridge Farm, a unique property with woodland, wetland, and tillable land, is a local farm owned by Dean and Denise Biechler since 1979. Over the years the farm has gone through several changes.

The land was originally part of Iowa State University Horticulture Farm in the 1900s. It was owned by the Manney family. The Manney family planted apple trees on the farm and build outbuildings and a cabin in the 1930s. Later in the years the farm split into two parts, the Van Meter family had the 86 acres that was sold to them in the 1974. The rest of the 14 acres was sold to the Bichler family in 1979. After a couple of years the Van Meter family just stop farming. They rented the farm ground with other farmers. In 2005 the Van Meter family went and talked over with Dean and Denise of them taking the rest of the 86 acres. The Bichler's agreed and bought the farm. The original 100 acre farm was together again but the 86 acres was destroyed, farmed for 80 years with no break all was grown there was just corn. There was no topsoil left on any of the fields and the outbuildings, barn, and the original house just fallen apart.


Since 1979, Dean and Denise have improved River Ridge Farm. They taken out the crops and started planting pasture and hay, then with the help of NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) they planted native prairie grass also helped restoring the wetlands. Now in today they have 8,000 square feet of garden and over 100 acres. The farm is sectioned into thirds. There is a third of prairie, a third of pasture and hay fields, and a third of timber. Mr. and Mrs. Bichler work with CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). CSA is a partnership between farmers and community members forming a local food system. There are seasonal CSAs as in spring, summer, and fall. The CSA invest on the farmers produce and pay the farmers up front for the seasonal. The CSA pay about $150 to $800 depending on the season length, the variety and the quantity of produce provided, the farmers use that money to buy seeds and basically continue again for the next season. For the Bichler's they do the weekly CSA which doesn't give them a lot of pressure. For the weekly CSA they do not pay you up front. Farmers distribute about 5 to 20 pounds of vegetables once a week for 10 to 25 weeks. Some CSAs do the door to door delivery, some have pick-up sites and others come to the farm for the products.











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