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Strawberry fields forever

The Lanz family is hoping to make its dream of living in the country and operating a small business come true with Lanz Strawberry Farm.

Cindy and Lloyd Lanz, along with their five children, will operate the business.

Lanz Strawberry Farm was previously Mrs. G's, which was owned by Curt and Diane Grenier, who were in the strawberry business for more than 20 years. The house and strawberry fields are located just south of Wadena on County Road 101.

"We had always picked strawberries and when we saw it for sale, it seemed like the thing to do," Cindy said about purchasing the house and strawberry fields.

After a year of getting strawberry plants ready, the Lanzes are looking forward to selling their first crop to the public this summer.

It has been a learning experience, and she thanks the Greniers for their help.

"There's no way we could have done it without them," Cindy said.

This spring, the family started working on the fields toward the end of April. They planted some new strawberry plants and took hay off the other plants.

Brandon, 15, Ben, 15, and Andrew, 13, help their mother in the field. Beth, 12, has taken on the inside chores and plans summer meals. Josiah, who is 5, has the job of coming outside to visit the field workers and smile.

And they have been weeding ever since.

"It never stops," said Ben Lanz. "But as long as we can keep it weeded, I think we'll have good strawberries."

It starts at the crack of dawn each day, when the three oldest boys help their mother with the field, weeding, irrigating and picking strawberries. Beth brings out breakfast to them a couple hours after they begin.

This summer, the strawberries will probably be ready later than some years because it has been cool, Cindy said. They need some sunny days, she said.

The Lanzes have received positive feedback from people in the community who are looking forward to picking strawberries this summer.

"So many people are anxious to come," Cindy said.

They will have ready-pick strawberries but plan to have most people come and pick their own strawberries. The Lanzes don't know yet when the strawberries will be ready but are looking forward to it. They have already enjoyed what they have done to prepare for the strawberry season.

"I've enjoyed this, and felt like we were doing something worthwhile," she said.