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7/8/2009 – News

Volume 126, Number 23           Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Gardendwellers FARM becoming tourist destination
It isn’t uncommon for visitors to stop by gardenwellers FARM and find no one there because the couple that owns it have second jobs — for now anyway.
Holly Mawby, with a degree in horticulture and business industry education, works for the Entrepreneur Center for Horticulture at MSU Bottineau and runs this farm, too. Husband Barry works in printing as well as filling in at the bar in Churchs Ferry.
It is  uncommon that Holly wants the public around even when she’s not there. She wants people to feel  free to roam around the grounds and check the place out on their own. She feels this is part of the whole "living in North Dakota" experience.
The gardendwellers FARM, started in 2002, is now North Dakota‘s largest herb farm and one of the local area’s best kept secrets. But word is getting out.
Since planting the first seed six years ago gardendwellers has been growing steadily. They now grow and sell over 15 varieties of culinary herbs, such as basil, rosemary and thyme, to grocery stores and restaurants in the Minot and Grand Forks areas and are expanding their market to include Bismarck. They even have regular customers at the Grand Forks Farmers Market who Holly says get a little upset if they don’t show up one week.
The annual plants, such as the number one seller, basil, are planted, in succession, two weeks apart and harvested twice a week throughout the summer. This means a continuious supply of fresh herbs are on store shelves within 24 hours of being cut.
Planting, growing, weeding and harvesting a garden that contains nine 75-foot rows of plants, times three, all in different stages of growth, seems like a daunting task all on its own. Then throw in some rhubarb.
Last year the Mawbys harvested 2, 600 lbs. of rhubarb for the Pointe of View Winery at Burlington. This year, due to cooler temperatures, and a late start to the growing season they came up short with only 1,600 lbs. That’s still a lot of rhubarb, but they will cut it twice.
Their latest project is a high tunnel greenhouse that will give them approximately six more weeks of growing season. This 26×48 feet Quonset-style greenhouse has roll-up walls. The plants start out in an enclosed environment. As the temperature rises so do the walls, thus warming the plants in early spring and giving them proper air circulation in the heat of the summer.
Growing and selling herbs is the primary activity at gardendwellers but it certainly isn’t the only thing going on at this busy place.
Thanks in part to the ND Department of Tourism, gardendwellers has become a stopping point for tourists, birdwatchers and people in need of a break that just happen to be traveling through the area. The farm has been featured in Readers Digest’s tourism guidebook "Off the Beaten Path" and National Geographic’s "The 10 Best of Everything for Families."
The farm contains so many unique and interesting nooks and crannies it is impossible to list them all. One example is the labyrinth. This is a path cut through a patch of native grasses that from a distance looks like an unkept lawn. But once on the path it doesn’t take long to realize there is more to it than that. If the whole path is followed to the center and back out, the walker will have trekked two-thirds of a mile through a wide variety of native grasses — all in a 95 square foot diameter space.
Classes and workshops are offered throughout the summer at gardendwellers. July 14 Holly will offer a "Beginning Cooking With Herbs" class that teaches the basics of  how to harvest, prepare and preserve fresh herbs for everyday eating. Participants receive small herb plants to start their own gardens or a container of herbs and many recipes to try.
Saturday,  Sept. 5 over Labor Day weekend the farm hosts a produce party, farmers market and garden festival featuring demonstrations and speakers throughout the day. There will be an ugly vegetable and biggest tomato contest as well as a host of vendors.
This is just a small sample of the many activities gardendwellers FARM has to offer. A full list is available at Holly says she wants the place to be more than an herb farm. She wants it to be a place where everyone feels welcome to stay and enjoy ND nature and hospitality.
The chalkboard sign by the entrance to one of the buildings at gardendwellers FARM reads: "Welcome. 701-351-2520.Make yourself at home. Please leave a note. Check out the self-guided activities in the vending machine behind the building."
The sign is Holly and Barry Mawby’s way of letting people know they are always welcome. They want the people that stop to stay and dwell there for awhile  because the sights, sounds, smells and overall tranquility of this place are much better experienced than described.

Holly and Barry Mawby stand in one of the gardens at gardendwellers FARM in Churchs Ferry. They plant herbs every two weeks which are harvested weekly and sold to stores in Grand Forks, Minot and Bismarck. They also sell a lot of rhubarb to a winery.

Neat rows of lush greenery are common at gardendwellers FARM.

Beautiful lavender foliage adorns these herbs.

Maddock held its 4th of July celebration complete with a parade. Members of the BCATS Class of 1959 barely fit on the large flatbed. The class had a reunion at the Maddock Community Center in the afternoon. A turkey dinner was served and a rodeo was held.

A mixed color guard, made up of members of the Theo. A. Togstad American Legion Post 123 of Maddock and the Robert Tovsrud VFW Post 757 of Harlow, led the parade at Maddock on the 4th of July.

Four World War II veterans rode in this modern day Jeep provided by the Robert Tovsrud VFW Post 757 of Harlow. In the back seat are Art Duren and Bob Hunter. Harris Togstad is the driver and Fred Jacobson is in the passenger seat.

The Harlow Co-op Elevator float featured a scale model of the elevator on a flatbed pulled by a 1935 W-30 IHC tractor. Ross Hill is the tractor operator. This tractor was purchased new by Ole Groff from Lalum Implement in Harlow.

This small group of people from the A.S. Gibbens FFA Chapter of Maddock provided some big music in the parade. They were good!

Some of the younger members of the Mollargutten Sons of Norway Lodge 478 of Maddock were featured on a float depicting a Viking ship.

Dean Hagen provided this team and wagon. County commissioner Curtis Hvinden is riding shotgun.

Jimmy Westrum is shown driving his R John Deere. The tractor has a front end from an 820 or 830 John Deere.

Hailey and Brady Kallenbach, Kristen Smith, Megan Olson and Tyler Gustafson escort the Memorial Home dog, Barkley in the Maddock 4th of July parade.

Sandra and Keith Coleman of McVille and their passengers are shown in the wagon pulled by a matched pair of horses wearing an elaborate harness. She is a daughter of Anna Harmon of Maddock and the late Chet Harmon.

Maddock Memorial Home residents participating in Maddock’s 4th of July parade were Mamie Johnson, Bennie Marquart, Mike Fritel, Leo Marquart, Brent Grondahl, Royce Bender, Hilda Kotaska, Ruth Sorenson, Lula Rader, Jerri Peterson, Diane Gustafson, Joyce Vallier, Barkley and Beth Olson. Lillian Moran was seated on the other side of the float.

The Maddock Sports Boosters served a turkey dinner at the Maddock Community Center after the parade. Servers are shown on the left and customers are on the right.

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