Peter and Carmen Marshall
Carmen grew up in Peru and spent the summers on her uncle’s mango farm. She came to the United States as part of a cultural exchange program. Carmen met Peter while visiting Peter’s family’s pumpkin patch. They were married in 1999 and Carmen then began learning about farming in Minnesota.
Peter comes from a long line of farmers. His late father, George, was an early vendor at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Peter’s grandparents used to sell directly to small grocery stores in their local communities. After their marriage, Peter and Carmen dabbled in a small half-acre plot of land where they grew pumpkins, peppers and watermelons. Later that year, the couple struck out on their own and purchased a small farm near Shakopee. Borrowing tools from Peter’s father and mainly using hand tools to raise pumpkins, corn and watermelons, Peter and Carmen’s dream came true.
Currently, Peter’s Pumpkins and Carmen’s Corn flourish on 15 acres along with 50 acres of rented land. The farm has become a destination for many families in the area. The couple operates a corn maze in the fall and sells U-pick apples and pumpkins. They sell a lot of produce, including fresh-picked sweet corn, straw bales and chrysanthemums.
The farm is home to three high tunnels for extended season growing. They maintain 750 apple trees, raise 40 chickens and they own a small red shed used for selling fresh fruit and vegetables, along with canned goods and eggs. The Marshalls sell a wide variety of fruits and vegetables at their roadside stand in addition to sales at eight area farmers markets. The couple has invested in a cold storage system for apples, squash, potatoes and other produce.
Carmen teaches Spanish to students in kindergarten through fourth grade at Cologne Academy. She fills her school breaks and summers by working in the gardens and high tunnels and attending farmers markets. Carmen holds a cottage food license. Since 2017, Peter has been working full-time on the farm handling all aspects of the operation. He is grateful to carry on the traditions of his father and grandfather.
The Marshalls are members of Minnesota Grown and the Minnesota Farmers Market Association. They learn from attending the Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association conference and the MOSES conference. They participate in activities at their church, and they donate produce to worthy causes including the CAP agency, First Responders, and Second Harvest Heartland.