One City Kid's Journey into Organic Farming
Anna Metscher’s evolution spans from “non-vegetable eating” child in Milwaukee; to budding farmer who savors nearly everything fresh from her field.
Metscher, along with her two partners, farm four acres near Fredonia in what she describes as silty loam soils above the Milwaukee River.
Metscher knows her soils, but more about that later.
“My farm is called Wild Ridge Farm. This is going to be our first season. Last year Alissa Moore and I farmed independently on the same land, with our third partner Joseph Dittman,” Metscher says.
Metscher started farming in 2010 after graduating from UW-Madison with degrees in soil sciences and environmental science. What drew her to the field?
“I don’t really know. I grew up a city kid, I didn’t really know what I wanted to study in college, but I always loved plants and being outside,” Metscher says.
After graduating, Metscher was torn between moving into research....
“Or I could just travel and eat,” Metscher says.
She chose the latter and worked on farms on the West and East coasts.
Metscher ran her own 10-member CSA; this season Wild Ridge Farm aims to feed 60 members. They’ll also sell at a couple of farmers markets.
“We decided, it’s our first year, we don’t want to get too big. We figured out the amount of money we thought we needed for three partners and how much food we could realistically sell to make that target,” Metscher says.
The young farmer says she still can’t believe her own evolution. As a child, Metscher was a picky eater. “I would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut on a diagonal and carrots. I didn’t know a thing about food until I started working on farms,” Metscher admits.
Now she can grow and cook it. Metscher admits she doesn’t personally embrace every variety, but she’s working on it. “There’s really nothing I won’t try; I at least try everything twice,” Metscher says.
When pressed, Metscher admits she hasn't tried okra. “But we don’t grow it, but I don’t know if I can handle that, it’s kind of slimmy; I don’t really like zucchini in that same way,” Metscher says.
Wild Ridge Farm is among the participants at the 12th Annual Local Farmer Open House being held at Riverside Park’s Urban Ecology Center Saturday.