Vlad Messing, Alex Mohrbacher
Have you always been a farmer?
Alex has been a horse-farmer for nearly a decade. He was an apprentice for 7 years for a horse-farmer and managed a homestead in Esko, Minnesota just south of Duluth prior to moving and establishing a new horse-farm homestead in Hastings, where SpringTooth Harvest grows all its produce. Whilst in Esko Alex also worked full time as a manager at the Food Cooperative in Duluth, and served as a board member of the Northland Sustainable Farming Association. Vlad is a Twin Cities culture enthusiast and local foodie guru. He participates in community gardens in Minneapolis, and grows an abundance of tomatoes every summer. Vlad grew up learning how to garden with his Babushka. He’s been the labor hand on Alex’s farm for nearly a decade. Vlad is on a mission to ensure Twin Citians and all Minnesotans enjoy the bloody-mary experience with a legitimate mix created with real tomatoes and real ingredients.
What’s your favorite or least favorite vegetable?
Without question our favorite vegetable is the tomato! So many varieties, so many flavors, so many shapes, so much nutritional value, and so much history!!
There’s no such thing as a least favorite vegetable!
What’s your favorite thing to get from other vendors at the market?
Aside tomatoes we are huge fans of garlic, which has a very intriguing grow cycle. Seeing the varieties of garlic farmers grow and harvest in Minnesota is very cool. Otherwise, it’s always interesting to see the various vegetables folks pickle, and their pickling recipes.
What question do people not ask you at the market that you wish they did?
“What does a restaurant mean when they say ‘homemade’?” Answer: more probable than not, it means the restaurant mixes its own ingredients together to make a bloody-mary mix; however, the base tomato juice they use, which is obviously the key ingredient in a bloody-mary, is produced from tomato concentrate or puree. We won’t even go into the synthetic ingredients and preservatives all bloody-marys found on the store shelf are composed of. SpringTooth Harvest grows all its own tomatoes (and we make our own horseradish), we treat our soil with love and respect, and we harvest, blend, sieve, strain, and produce our bloody-mary mixes and other tomato products by hand.
Do you have a favorite market memory?
Those sunny morning market weekends are the best. Farmers Markets are the healthiest places to spend time and bring the family. The Kingfield Market especially, is vibrant and all-around beautiful. Farmers Markets might be the last legitimate public forums we have where citizens meander and exist together, and all of it is revolves around fresh harvest brought in by wonderful farmers and other producers. It’s an extraordinary happening.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about farming?
Start small. Think things through. Love the earth. Love people.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and why?
To snap our fingers and make all hate, greed, and ill-doing disappear forever from mankind. If we can root out these fundamental human instincts we can wash away the manifestations of these qualities existent in so many aspects on planet earth.
What do you do when you’re not doing work for your farm?
Alex is a tax preparer and clerks for a judge. He’s a second year law student at Mitchell-Hamline Law School. Him and his wife Kate are raising a beautiful little toddler, Juniper or “Junebug.”
Vlad does a lot of theatre as well as financial regulatory investigations for the Minnesota Dept. of Commerce.