Farm celebrates 100 years
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Elk River’s Wingard Farms is celebrating its 100th year.
Descendants of the founder, Arthur Wingard, own and operate the farm today. The farm’s sprawling 30,580-square-foot potato packing warehouse is located at 15596 County Road 14 in Big Lake Township and the family farms 900 acres of land within a 3-mile radius of that site. Three hundred seventy-five acres produce potatoes; seed corn and soybeans are grown on the rest.
The farm got its start in 1918, when Arthur Wingard traded his hotel near Mille Lacs Lake for land in Brooklyn Center. There he began growing potatoes and other vegetables. After World War II, a housing boom prompted Arthur to relocate the farm to Sherburne County in 1956 and develop the Brooklyn Center site into housing, located today across the creek from Park Center High School.
Tom Wingard, Arthur’s grandson, said his ancestors looked for two things when choosing a new place for the farm: sand and good water.
Sandy, irrigated soil is ideal for raising potatoes, and Wingard Farms has thrived over the years.
Arthur’s sons, John and Art, were partners in the farm after Arthur. Today, the farm’s owners are John’s son, Tom Wingard, his sons Mark and David Wingard, Art’s son, Art Wingard, and Dan Ward.
Tom said in 100 years of farming, they’ve never experienced a major disaster.
“We’ve been very successful and we have some very good customers,” he said.