JIM RIDDLE – FOUNDER, CO-OWNER, FARMER
Jim Riddle grew up on a small, diversified farm in Iowa, and has been involved in farming since graduating from Grinnell College in 1978. In addition to operating Blue Fruit Farm, Jim has been involved in the organic sector for more than 30 years as an organic inspector, consultant, educator, speaker and activist. Jim was founding chair of the Winona Farmers Market and the International Organic Inspectors Association. He served on the National Organic Standards Board and on the boards of the International Organic Accreditation Service and the Organic Farmers Association. Jim currently serves as chair of Minnesota’s Organic Advisory Task Force, which advises the MDA and UMN on organic policy and research priorities.
On the farm, Jim is involved in all aspects of the operation, from propagation and pruning to harvest and sales. He maintains our equipment and helps us all remember to clean our tools after use.
JOYCE E FORD – FOUNDER, CO-OWNER, FARMER
Joyce E. Ford started her career as an organic vegetable farmer in the 1970’s. She and her husband, Jim Riddle, helped organize the Winona Farmers Market. She was an organic inspector for over 20 years, and helped organize the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA). She has trained organic inspectors for the IOIA and was the first inspector to monitor pipeline construction on organic farms, enforcing MN’s Agricultural Impact Mitigation Plan’s Organic Appendix.
Joyce served on the MOSES board of directors for 6 years. More recently she helped develop a Healthy Food Charter for the State of Minnesota. In 2013, Joyce and Jim were awarded EcoFarm’s Stewards of Sustainable Agriculture. In 2019, they will receive the MOSES Farmer of the Year award.
At Blue Fruit Farm, Joyce is involved in every aspect of the farm, but especially marketing and keeping organic certification records. She loves to weed and hand harvest. She also manages pest monitoring activities and post-harvest handling. She is learning about Food as Medicine through the healthy benefits of the fruits that are grown at Blue Fruit Farm.
BEN AND NATALIE MCAVOY – FARM MANAGERS
Ben and Natalie McAvoy are delighted to be the new farm managers at Blue Fruit Farm. They have relocated from Illinois with their daughter to SE Minnesota. They value healthy food and sustainable agriculture and are excited to be able to share that with others. Ben and Natalie share Blue Fruit Farm’s commitment to producing quality fruits.
Enjoying canning and preserving food from their own garden for many years, they look forward to making Blue Fruit Farm’s jams and juices using Joyce’s tried and true recipes.
Ben and Natalie are grateful to be learning from Jim and Joyce as they mentor them on all aspects of running the farm. While new to organic farming, Ben brings experience in equipment use and maintenance and Natalie is knowledgeable about business and IT. Their 2 year old daughter looks forward to being the berry taster this summer!