Our 4th generation family farm, located within the 494/694 loop in the Twin Cities Metro Area is truly an urban farm. However, that was not always the case.
Our family started farming in 1912 when George Heinel Sr. moved to a 10 acre site in the area now known as Roseville. George Sr. had immigrated from Germany when he was 17. He married, started a family and had been working at Schmidt Brewery. When arthritis forced him to end his career at Schmidt he decided to go back to what he remembered from his home land, and that’s why he decided to move from the West 7th Street area of St. Paul to start farming in Roseville. Along with his wife and 5 children they worked that land until he sold it.
In the mean time, George Heinel Jr. was getting older and was worried this 10 acres could not support his family along this those of his siblings. So in 1939 when the opportunity presented itself he purchased a 17 acre farm in the area now known as Little Canada. Back then the area was covered with small family truck farms and was considered the country. George Sr and Jr worked together selling produce from the family stall at the St. Paul Farmer’s market.
In 1961 his son, Richard Heinel, took over the farming operation. And as he say farmer’s markets change, he changed the family selling methods, too. He gave up the family’s stall at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market and went to a solely wholesale business, working directly with grocery stores and produce houses.
Richard and his son, Don, farmed in a partnership from 1988 – 1996. And in 1997 Don, the 4th generation farmer took over the family farm. And by 2005 he had taken us back to our Farmer’s Market roots by eliminating all our wholesale business and selling only directly to consumers via the White Bear Lake, Shoreview, and Minneapolis Farmer’s Markets.
And now, as this 4th generation farm continues, we are the only farm left in the city limits of Little Canada.