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From Harvest To Table: Historic Probstfield Farm To Host Annual Community Supper

Fall is right around the corner, and in our region that means one thing: it’s harvest time.

For those who enjoy some good eatin’, this is always an exciting time of year — especially at Probstfield Farm in Moorhead.

To celebrate this year’s harvest, Probstfield Farm gathers the community for locally grown and prepared cuisine at its fourth annual Sunday Supper from 4 to 10 p.m. Sept. 10.

Monique Stelzer, board president of Probstfield Farm, says the event is about connecting local producers, growers and community members who are interested in local access to foods.

“We’re very conscientious about the atmosphere and about the experience of being on a living history farm,” she says.

It’s also a way to raise awareness about the farm. Funds raised at the supper support the roof restoration of the Probstfield family log house, built by Randolph Probstfield in 1868.

The house is the oldest structure in the Red River Valley on the United States side of the border.

Featured chefs donating their time at the Sunday Supper include Andrea Baumgartner of BernBaum’s; Sara and Eric Watson of Mosaic Foods; Ryan Nitschke of LUNA; Steven Schulz of Toasted Frog; Christian D’Agostino of Barbacoa; Casey Absey of Blackbird Woodfire; Nichole Hensen of Nichole’s Fine Pastry; Greg Stumbo of Stumbeano’s Coffee Bar; Mark Bjornstad of Drekker Brewing Company; and Bernie’s Wine and Liquor.

Each chef prepares one course using in-season produce from Ladybug Acres Veggie Barn. All food is served family-style.

The first Sunday Supper in 2014 was plated, but Probstfield Farm shifted to family-style meals to foster new connections and merriment among diners.

“A family-style type of supper like this is made even more special by sharing not only food but also the stories of the Probstfield family and (the farm’s) importance to the Fargo-Moorhead community,” says Patrick Kirby, chief development officer at Probstfield Farm.

Randolph Probstfield and his family became the first white settlers in Clay County when they established the homestead in 1868.

Photo courtesy of Probstfield Farm.

Probstfield, who emigrated from Germany in the mid 1800s, was an “experimental farmer” who enjoyed discovering what grew (and didn’t grow) in the valley, Stelzer says.

“He especially loved experimenting with fruit trees,” she laughs.

After years of trial and error, Probstfield eventually proved the Red River Valley as prime farming land to the United States Bureau of Agriculture.

But that’s not his only notable contribution to the area. Probstfield, his wife Catherine and their 11 children (two of whom didn’t survive infancy) assisted in “the development of educational and social activities for other settlers that followed them into the area,” according to the Probstfield Farm website.

Although Randolph Probstfield established the farm, his grandson Raymond Gesell — who learned how to farm on Randolph’s knee in the early 20th century — sustained the farm’s legacy through commercial scale production for nearly 70 years until his death in the 1980s.

Raymond Gesell. Photo courtesy of Probstfield Farm.

Gesell and the dedicated group at the Probstfield Farm are the reason it still stands today.

After three prior Sunday Supper events, Probstfield Farm has raised almost enough to repair the log house roof.

It hopes to reach its goal at this year’s supper, keeping the farm’s history alive. Bringing the community together over delicious food is an added bonus.

Photo by TaylorMade Photography.

“There is nothing better than sharing a meal together with friends, family and even strangers,” Kirby says. “No matter how different we may be in our daily lives, that doesn’t matter when we are enjoying great food together.”

If You Go

What: Probstfield Farm Sunday Supper

When: 4 — 10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10

Where: Probstfield Farm (4626 Oakport Street North in Moorhead)

Tickets: $80 per person (limited to first 100 people). To purchase tickets, visit probstfieldfarm.org.

This article is part of a content partnership with the Fargo Forum and originally appeared in print on Monday, September 4, 2017.



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