Rural Hollandale family enjoys homegrown

Published 6:26 am Friday, August 31, 2018

There’s no doubt that Stephanie Winter has a lot on her plate.

There’s preparing for a new business downtown and a family winery in South Dakota she has a major hand in running.

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And there is gardening. All of it adds up to a self-sufficient lifestyle that gives her family a healthy piece of mind.

She wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’ve always wanted to be able to grow and can food, preserve things,” Winter said. “I went from being a little kid growing things with my mom to our own property where I could grow fruits and vegetables.”

Early preparations for Stephanie Winter’s garden, after the family moved in to their property north of Hollandale. Photo provided

Stephanie, along with her husband Travis  and her children, Ambrose and Ryan, moved from Faribault to a small acreage north of Hollandale around six years ago.

Almost immediately, Stephanie set her sights on how she was going to utilize the land in terms of planting, which follows a lifelong attraction to gardening.

“I’ve always been into gardening,” she said. “I went to school for landscape design.”

It was freeing in a way, especially when Stephanie saw all the room she now had available as opposed to what she had available to her in Faribault.

“… There was not a lot of space to mold a garden into something this large,” Stephanie said of their time in Faribault.

“I was able to do something I really love and it changed a lot for my family, too,” she continued.

Winter’s family takes an active role in helping plant and maintain their garden. Here her two sons, Ambrose and Ryan, work at picking lettuce. Photo provided.

It also meant that her family was able to change over to a self-sufficient lifestyle, something she had wanted for a while. It allowed the family a comfortable state of mind that they alone were accountable for: growing their own food source.

“I know where it comes from,” she said. “There are no pesticides and herbicides. There are so many health risks when things are sprayed with chemicals. We make most of our foods from scratch, make our own meals.”

Among these benefits, of course, is the health of her family as well as spending less money on produce sold in stores.

“Our kids have taken to healthier foods and getting away from junk foods,” Stephanie said. “And the economy really pushed us in the direction to grow my own food. It pushed me into growing more.”

There is also one other benefit to growing so much.

Find this story and more in the September-October Austin Living Magazine.

Stephanie’s produce is spread over much of the property and it includes a 20 X 70 foot strawberry patch.

That means a lot of food for her family, but it also means a lot of work. A 100 percent organic operation means a lot of weeding, the canning takes work, the harvesting, the planting.

But Stephanie sees the benefits. She sees the exercise and the well-being of being outdoors.

“Gardening isn’t just about being healthy,” Stephanie said in reference to the food itself. “But the exercise as well. You’re getting satisfaction of just doing stuff all day long that changes you.”

With so many benefits to taking on this self-sufficient lifestyle, it’s hard to imagine that there is even more, but Stephanie insists there is and it has to do with her own peace and piece of mind.

“It’s kind of like my place of peace,” Stephanie said. “I don’t have to think of anything else. Gardening is kind of my way of getting my thoughts out and focusing on gardening.”