Steady Hand Farm, LLC is the vegetable CSA farm of Jason and Juli Montgomery-Riess. While SHF is in its second year as an agricultural venture, Jason and Juli are not new to this work.
Prior to the 2015 season (the first season for SHF), Jason worked as the Field Manager for Wozupi, the Organic farm of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Prior Lake, MN. As the field manager, Jason was responsible for wrestling vegetables out of 10 plus acre garden, a 250 hen Certified Organic egg operation, and raising vegetable starts for an annual Mother’s Day Plant sale. In 2014, Wozupi delivered 200 weekly CSA boxes, sold at two farmer’s markets, and sold to the tribe’s natural foods grocery store, and restaurants. Jason has also worked as a field hand for Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista, MN and Foxtail Farm in Osceola, WI. Starting plants in the greenhouse, is among Jason’s favorite activities. His favorite vegetable is Pico de Gallo (okay, that’s not a single vegetable, but it’s his favorite vegetable topping).
Jason followed the career path of most small-scale vegetable producers by earning a degree in History. His last job before selling everything and moving to THE FARM was as a librarian in Milwaukee.
Juli’s farming experience includes working for a couple of Polk County, WI CSA Farms. Including two seasons at Burning River Farm in Frederic and one season at Foxtail Farm in Osceola. In addition to working in the field, she helped Foxtail start-up their commercial kitchen operation. Besides the simple pleasure of working outside, Juli’s favorite farm activity is hand weeding. Her favorite vegetable is anything green and leafy.
While Juli loves this work, she also has another professional passion (and job) in School Counseling. She spends school months helping students manage high school and the teen years towards a bright future at Frederic Junior High and High School. She also holds part time Adjunct Professor positions at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and the University of Wisconsin River Falls educating the next generation of School Counselors in their respective Graduate Programs.
Before moving back home to the Midwest to pursue a degree in School Counseling and work on organic farms, Juli lived and worked in the Bay Area. She spent some of her time there working in anti-racism training and action.
JULI & JASON
We come to this work with a passion for messing in the dirt, growing safe, clean food, and with a concern for the food system. We both find a lot of joy working outside and raising food under the blazing sun. We want food that is safe to eat for our family and community. That means food raised without synthetic chemicals, and mindful of all the inhabitants of our farm – humans, animals, bugs and smaller bugs. We also want our food to reach all kinds of people. Healthy, safe food ought not be a luxury. As our business progresses we will look for opportunities to expand our markets to neighborhoods with less access to fresh produce.
Jason and Juli met while working at Foxtail Farm. They fell for each other transplanting eggplants, and hand weeding onions.
Soon after meeting, in a sort of sideways proposal, Jason asked Juli, “Will you farm with me?” After a long pause and a yes, they began scheming and planning and they haven’t stopped since.
Steady Hand Farm is based in Amery, WI. Jason and Juli are raising their young children here, and look forward to making Polk County their home for a very long time.