Ames Heritage Farm Rivals Old McDonald - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Ames Heritage Farm Rivals Old McDonald

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By Ron Marasco


If you think Old McDonald had a farm, you haven't been to Black's Heritage Farm in Ames.

"We have pigs, we have goats, we have chickens, ducks and turkeys, as well as other animals," said farm owner Norine Black.

The farm dates back five generations.

"Our number one product here at the farm is sweet corn," aid Black.  "We've been raising sweet corn for 25 years."

And according to Black, at one time they owned the largest seed company in the world.

"I believe we were in the Guinness World Book of Records," said Black.

But Norine and her husband Duane have a greater mission than breaking records.  They want to educate.  They do so by bringing the past and present together and sharing it with those who tour their farm.

"We feel we are stewards of the land, that we don't actually own the land per se, that we need to share and to teach," said Norine Black.

And they love it when kids visit the farm.  

"That is so precious, because there's so many children that do not know what a farm is, and that's pretty sad in this state," said Norine.

The Blacks also host a community garden.

"We rent the plots out, garden plots, to what we call the 'Townies' and they come out and get to utilize some of this beautiful soil," said Norine.

For 25 bucks, you can plant a 10 x 10 garden and the Blacks will even water it for you.

"Lettuces, beans, dill, they've got all sorts of peppers over there," said Norine Black as she points to the rented-out plots.

For the Blacks, though, they focus on sweet corn.  And thanks to a man–made pond and drip irrigation system, they're seeing their best yields despite a couple of dry seasons.

"They (the corn stalks) are a lot more uniform, and there's going to be a lot more ears here than where it wasn't watered," said Duane Black.

For the Blacks, their farm is their field of dreams.  They say they wouldn't do anything else.

"This is in your blood, said Norine Black.  "You are literally born with this passion.  If you enjoy what you do, nothing's difficult."

Anyone's invited to tour the farm.  For more information, we have a link to their Facebook page here.

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