40+ years ago, when Vince and Sally Jonas first purchased the property that would become Spirit Lake Farm, they had a vision for the land to produce, and to be passed from generation to generation. When they looked out into the cleared pasture south of the homestead, they always dreamed that it would be covered with trellises of grapevines, and oddly enough, sheep.
In recent years, the property has produced, as their son, Karl, has opened an on-site bakery, with his popular artisan breads selling out at local farmer’s markets throughout the season.
But the field, itself, sat dormant, giving over to weeds and tares over the last four decades.
In the fall of 2015, it was time for the old field to start producing. After much prayer, counsel, and research, we decided that the original vision of a vineyard, combined with Karl’s bread, would bring to the property the elements of communion, right there on one productive farm.
So Vince worked the soil tirelessly. What he accomplished to get it ready for planting was simply amazing.
In May of 2016, the first vines arrived, and the entire family came together to help plant the Vineyard at Spirit Lake Farm. The grapes have been specifically developed and licensed by the University of Minnesota to grow in weather up to 40 degrees below zero. These include Marquette, LaCrescent, Frontenac, and Frontenac Gris, with table grapes to be added soon for grape juice, jelly, and fresh eating.
Out of a desire for the farm to be as sustainable as possible, we researched the idea of utilizing a small flock of sheep to maintain the vineyard's cover crop. This led us to Babydoll Southdown sheep--a small-stature breed perfect for mowing grass without reaching the grape leaves. And, of course, that led to adopting Rosebud, our friendly, lovable Great Pyrenees livestock protection dog.
So, with sheep, a dog, bread, and someday wine, we are proud, excited, and above all blessed to be participating, as a multi-generational family, with Vince and Sally, at Spirit Lake Farm!