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Autumn takes shape at Borden Farm Market

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Borden Farm Market, in Merrifield, is currently laden with apples, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes and more. Located down Borden Road in Merrifield, the farm is in harvest mode.

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Win Borden, farm market owner, said his family has farmed the land he lives on since 1880. All his siblings live within a mile, as well as many nieces and nephews. Borden sells produce at the market from his farm as well as his family’s farms.

“We grow most flowers, vegetables and herbs that will grow in Minnesota,” Borden said.

Pumpkins and squash of many varieties are stacked on tables and displayed on hay bales as the farm market prepares for its pumpkin party from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12.

Borden plans to have complimentary pumpkin soup, sweet chili, cider and egg coffee.

Egg coffee, he said, is a method for making coffee used by old-timers. When coffee was made in a pot with grounds tossed in, those drinking it had to filter it with their teeth, Borden said. When making egg coffee, the method is to crack the egg into the pot, adding shell and all, and all the grounds are caught up in the egg, which cooks hard, separating out the grounds.

Apples are in season, and Borden said there are a dozen or so trees scattered around his property. The apples are gathered and sold in the market, and include Zestar, Sweet 16, Honeycrisp and Haralson.

The apples aren’t sprayed, and prices vary based on the type of apple.

Borden said he’s made an effort to make the farm market kid-friendly. Scattered down “Bucky Beaver Lane” are three rabbit cages where rabbits are eager to be fed carrots.

The Duck Pond Trail leads visitors to a pond where ducks and a goose are eager to greet visitors. They don’t fly away, Borden said, because, quite simply, they’re generally too fat. Roberta the goose did make a good try of it, flapping the length of the pond, but didn’t get much off the ground. Borden said Roberta’s mate migrated south with the wild geese last year.

Peeps the goose is a farm resident and mascot. Borden said Peeps thinks she’s human, having been raised on the farm with a lot of contact from people.

Borden also has a chicken coop filled with crowing roosters, and that path will lead visitors through a tunnel of Minnesota bamboo, which has grown to be very tall and thick since just last spring. Borden said some people say the bamboo is invasive.

“I tell them it hasn’t crossed the road like my chickens,” Borden said.

Nearer to the market stands is the bell from the one-room schoolhouse Borden attended as a child. There were 16 children in the school amongst six grades, he said, and 14 of them were his relatives.

Borden said his family moved to the area from Ohio in 1880. He grew up on the farm, and his father had a sawmill where the pond is located today. The lumber that came from the sawmill was used in many cabins on the Whitefish Chain, Pelican Lake and Lake Edward, Borden said.

His father later started farming, and at one time the farm was home to hogs and cows, but then turned to soybeans and corn in the 1970s. Today it’s a vegetable farm, and it’s in full swing.

“Fall is a time to pick the apples and pumpkins, pull the rutabagas and beets, and cut the wood to get ready for winter,” Borden said.

Borden Farm Market is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Halloween. It’s located east from County Road 3, north of the intersection of County Road 3 and County Road 4.

Kate Perkins can be reached at kate.perkins@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at twitter.com/KateAtEcho.

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