The Olson farm has been in the family since 1888 when Les Olson’s great-grandparents, Carl and Beda, moved to Artichoke Lake in western Minnesota’s Big Stone County. The family operated a dairy farm until 1986. After that time, the family continued to live on the farm and rent out the land.
Today, the farm is home to Les and Jessica Olson and their children, Rosa and Anika. It’s one of two sites that make up Big Stone Garlic Company. The garlic is grown in a reclaimed cattle yard and sold locally and across the country.
Les, Jessica, Rosa and Anika are involved in planting, weeding, harvesting, processing, packaging and sales. Rosa handles website administration and Jessica takes care of the bookkeeping. The Big Stone Garlic Company also involves the Russ and Theresa Swenson family.
The Olsons are involved with University of Minnesota Extension and Bonnie’s Hometown Grocery to pioneer a backhauling process that enables small specialty crop farmers to access larger markets with their produce.
The Olsons participate in the Premium Garlic Project with the Sustainable Farming Association to determine the best garlic farming practices. They are members of the Sustainable Farming Association where Les serves as chapter treasurer. He is also a supervisor with the Artichoke Township Board. Rosa is president and Anika serves as treasurer of the Eager Beavers 4-H Club.