The Story of Pheasant Run Farm
Pheasant Run Farm began in 1991 when Eric and Ann Franzenburg returned to Eric's family farm--a traditional Iowa farm with corn, soybeans, and a farrow-to-finish hog operation. We quickly learned that land was difficult to secure because rent prices were too high and competition for acres was fierce. Rather than go into debt to get larger, we decided to investigate alternative crops that might yield more dollars per acre.
Because of Eric's background in ag research at Iowa State University, he was approached by the Benton Development Group to write a grant proposal and do the research for a two-year SARE study on investigating cultural practices of culinary herbs for Iowa. Eric was hooked and started an odyssey in learning how to grow various culinary and medicinal herbs. Currently, we grow and dry medicinal herbs for the wholesale market.
Eric can't stand to see a greenhouse sit empty, so in 2005, we experimented with growing tomatoes in greenhouses for an early-season crop of the red beauties. In 2007, Ann quit her teaching job to join Eric full time on the farm. In addition to helping with the daily farm routine, Ann started a cut flower business that supplies a variety of fresh, fragrant flowers to local florists and farmers markets. Ann also supplies and designs flowers for weddings and special events.
The couple is assisted by their three children--Ellen, Calvin and Grant--on the farm. Ellen graduated from Iowa State University and now likes helping her mom make flower arrangements and working at the farmers markets. Calvin attended the University of Iowa and has joined us in farming as well as renting his own land. Grant graduated from Benton Community High School in May and will attend Iowa State University in the fall, though we hope he'll come back during his breaks from school!