Zimmerman brothers field day will focus on strawberry, commercial greenhouse production – June 21, near Orchard

The event is one of 25+ Practical Farmers of Iowa field days this summer; see full list below.

For Release: June 10, 2016

ORCHARD, Iowa — Strawberry season has arrived in Iowa, and with it, customers eager to enjoy this early-summer delight. For Leroy Zimmerman, who operates a pick-your-own strawberry operation near Orchard, ensuring customers have a positive experience is central to his business philosophy – and his farming practices.

Leroy started raising strawberries at Log Cabin Produce in 2007. As he began this aspect of his business, he decided that customers and their needs should be the focal point. He explains this has influenced both management decisions – such as deciding to operate rain or shine – as well as some of his farming decisions.

“I wanted to zero in on pleasing customers, making sure they have the kind of experience where they want to come back,” Leroy says. “Thinking back to my younger days, picking strawberries from within the weeds was probably the worst thing. So I use plasticulture, which helps control weeds and produces larger berries.”

Leroy, along with his brother Daniel Zimmerman, who operates Stillwater Greenhouse, will host a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day on Tuesday, June 21, from 2-5 p.m., near Orchard, where they will share their experience growing strawberries, blueberries, vegetable starts – and more. The event, “Berries + Veggie Starts + Potted Flowers,” is free to attend and will include a snack of ice cream and strawberries. RSVPs are requested for the refreshments. Please contact Lauren Zastrow, lauren@practicalfarmers.org or (515) 232-5661, by Friday, June 17. Log Cabin Produce is located at 3011 Mitchell Line St., about 8 miles east of Orchard.

The field day is sponsored by Healthy Harvest of North Iowa – and is one of more than 25 events Practical Farmers is hosting this summer and early fall. (The full list, including dates, event titles and locations, is below).

Guests will get to tour the Zimmermans’ farms – Log Cabin Produce and Stillwater Greenhouse. Leroy will discuss his 3 acres of strawberry plasticulture, blueberry production, and U-pick and wholesale operations. At the greenhouse, Daniel will share processes for commercial production of vegetable starts and potted flowers. Other topics will include discussion of soil pH amendments; cover crops and green manures; greenhouse tomatoes; greenhouse seeding and germination; and flower production from unrooted cuttings.

Leroy and Daniel farm near each other in Orchard. Daniel and his wife, Reba, moved to Iowa from Pennsylvania in 1997; in 1999, they set up their first greenhouse. They now own over 25,000 feet of greenhouse space, producing vegetable and flower plants for retail sale, and to sell wholesale to other growers. Leroy arrived in Iowa in 2005. He began with 6 acres of vegetables in 2005, and planted his first strawberries in 2007. He now grows vegetables on 52 acres, including 3 acres of Strawberries. He sells berries from the farm (U-pick and pre-pick), and sells most other produce at the Cedar Valley Produce Auction.

Directions from Charles City: Drive east out of Charles City on U.S. 18. Turn left (north) onto Underwood Avenue and drive 10 miles. Turn right (east) onto Mitchell Line Street. The farm is the first house on the north side of the road.

2016 Practical Farmers of Iowa Summer and Early-Fall Field Days & Events
June 15 — Effects of a Custom-Made Roller-Crimper on Rye Cover – Churdan
June 20 — Reintegrating Small Grains into an Organic Crop Rotation – Polk City
June 21 — Berries + Veggie Starts + Potted Flowers – Orchard
June 23 — Cut Flowers: Production, Handling Marketing and More – Lamoni
June 25 — Managed Grazing to Improve Pasture and Cropland – Cherokee
June 28 — Improving Soil and Pasture Through Management Intensive Grazing – Bloomfield
June 30 — Working Together to Keep Children on the Farm – Knoxville
July 10 — Pruning and Managing a Medium-Scale Orchard – Central City
July 13 — Conservation Practices on a Century Farm – Slater
July 16 — PFI Farmland Owner Award Ceremony and Farm Tour – Carlisle
July 17 — ZJ to Sundog: Sharing Knowledge and Passing on the Farm – Solon
July 25 — RAGBRAI Fun in Stanton – Stanton
July 27 — From a Soil Conservation to a Soil Regeneration Mindset – Hastings
July 30 — Working Together: Benefits of Mentoring and Collaborating – Avoca
August 5 — Pork from Pasture (and Woodlot) to Plate – Knoxville
August 7 — Starting a Market Garden – Grinnell
August 13 — 7 Farmers, 10 Enterprises: Diversity at 7 W Farm – Paullina
August 14 — Partnerships: On-Farm Research and Pollinators – Kanawha
August 20 — Voluntary Robotic Milking and Baleage for Improved Dairy Production – Wilton
August 20 — Workshop: Enhancing Pollinator Habitat – Tripoli
August 25 — Practical Farmers Summer Social and Open House – Ames
Sept. 10 — Hazelnut Production and Marketing – Fenton
Sept. 12-15 — Livestock Marketing and Stockmanship Schools – Exira
Sept. 25 — Packhouse Tour and Harvest Efficiency – Decorah
Sept. 28 — Using Ultrasound as a Tool in Grass-Finishing Cattle – Maxwell
October 15 — Grading Grass-Finished Carcasses for Meat Quality – Mingo
Nov. 15-17 — The Web of Life: Three Days with Fred Provenza – Winterset

All field days feature farmer-led discussions and farm or field tours, and many feature local foods and potlucks. Details are in Practical Farmers’ freshly printed “2016 Field Day Guide,” available at practicalfarmers.org, or for free in print. To request a guide by mail, call the PFI office at (515) 232-5661.

Practical Farmers’ 2016 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Organic & Natural Meats; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); Iowa Cover Crop; Iowa Environmental Council; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; ISU Extension and Outreach; ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; RIMOL Greenhouse Systems; Riverside Feeds, LLC; Soil First; The Yield Lab; Trees Forever; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; Welter Seed & Honey Co.; and Willcross Soybeans.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit https://www.practicalfarmers.org.


Leroy Zimmerman | Log Cabin Produce | (641) 982-4866

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | tamsyn@practicalfarmers.org