About the Farm

Laughing Loon Farm is located just one mile south of Northfield, MN on land that we rent from our fabulous partner SEEDS Farm. 2012 is the farm’s first season in Northfield and owner Dayna Burtness’ 7th year in the food and farming world.

Why sustainable farming?
Laughing Loon Farm uses sustainable farming practices such as focusing on plant diversity and soil health, rotating crops, using only organic soil amendments, and planting cover crops.  Why? Simply put, it’s the right thing to do and it allows us to sleep soundly at night (ok that plus the 16 hour work days).  Spraying endocrine-disrupting pesticides or spreading fossil fuel-based fertilizers might seem easier or cheaper to some, but only if you ignore the negative effects on the environment and future generations.  Laughing Loon Farm is not certified organic, but we use the practices that would enable us to become certified. The chefs we partner with would rather visit the farm and learn about our farming methods instead of requiring us to pay to become certified and pass the cost on to them. To learn more about sustainable agriculture, visit Sustainable Table.

Why keep it local?
All of the chefs we partner with are within a 2 hour drive of the farm.  Our decision to sell only to local restaurants sets off a chain of positive reactions.  First, we can deliver our vegetables and herbs just hours after we harvest, which means providing the best-tasting and most-nutritious produce possible.  Second, we can select varieties of vegetables for their delicious flavor instead of how well they hold up for a week in a truck.  Third, we can form great relationships with chefs, other farms and businesses, and our neighbors in Northfield and the Twin Cities.  When you support local farms like Laughing Loon, you’re setting off a chain of positive reactions too! To learn more about buying from local farms, check out this other great resource from Sustainable Table.

Why Laughing Loon?
What can we say, Dayna’s got a thing for all things Minnesotan, especially loons. Here are some favorite LOON FACTS!

  • Loons actually do laugh! Ok, it’s a call–also called a tremolo–that sounds kinda like a laugh.  Take a listen. 
  • Loons are only about 2 feet long, but they have a wingspan of almost 5 feet! They’re heavy birds too, weighing up to 14 pounds.
  • Why are loons so heavy? Glad you asked! Unlike most flying birds, most of their bones are solid.  Hollow bones would make loons more buoyant, which would be problematic for birds that spend much of their time darting around underwater.
  • Loons can hold their breath for up to 3 minutes!
  • Loons can live upwards of 30 years!
  • Favorite loon book: Fascinating Loons: Amazing Images and Behaviors by Stan Tekiela
  • Favorite sentences from this article by Tim Tiner and Doug Bennet:
  • Males sometimes yodel at low-flying planes.
  • American biologist William Barklow studied loons up close for 15 years, infiltrating their ranks by snorkeling among them with a goose decoy painted to look like a loon on the top of his head.
  • Most are thought to mate for life, though they overwinter separately, renewing their relationship with an elegant, quiet, diving courtship waltz when they return to their original honeymoon lake each spring.
  • Takeoffs are impossible from land. Beneath the water, though, they pivot like otters and outswim most fish.

Hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about our namesake Gavia immer, or the Common Loon!

2 Responses to About the Farm

  1. Pingback: Paid Internship at Laughing Loon Farm « MISA Announcements

  2. Pingback: Can We Get a Little Farm-aid? « Once a Month

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