There are no signs to indicate the names of farms, no clearly defined separations between them. The Koster Farm is identifiable by the Geneva Lake Produce truck parked on the driveway near the road. Three other mismatched pickups line up behind it. The drive horseshoes in front of a metal pole barn with tangents to the house and other structures. Even when they are home, the never ending work is not far away. Laboring is a 75 foot commute.
Inside the barn can be found an equipment repair shop and a storage cooler. A deconstructed tractor and a low slung dust covered Harley dominate the shop. Winter provides time to fix equipment, fabricate new parts, and make adjustments to old tractors performing new tasks.
The reality of most farms across the U. S. is when children have watched their parents’ hard work and struggle, they escaped as soon as possible. As more and more young people are trading their farmer jeans for business casual khakis, filled up with $5.00 cups of blended coffee drinks, Scott and his sons are bucking the trend. Not only are Jordan and Corban staying put, they are changing the dynamic, marketing their produce directly to the consumer. The Koster family farm stand sits at the corner of Highway 11 and 120 in a town called Spring Valley. At the height of rush hour, every car stopping at the intersection is going somewhere else; Milwaukee, Lake Geneva, Chicago, Beloit, Elkhorn, Burlington, East Troy, all places surrounding the fields that bear the fruit of the Koster family efforts.
Additionally, the Koster’s potatoes, corn, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, and more are sold at numerous farmers’ markets in Wisconsin and Illinois. Family members man the stands and sell the product that they grew. Customers have a choice; they can buy the shrink wrapped, cartooned, frozen and freeze dried, bagged and tagged anonymous product at the grocery and department store, or visit with a neighbor and buy the fruits of his labors. It is good to touch the earth.
Scott Koster introduces himself as Dad. That is the long and short of it. He is the son of a third generation farmer and father to 5 children who are the fifth generation. He is a farmer.
A conversation with Scott, Corban, and Jordan ranges widely. School, government, markets both local and global, temperature, weather, high hoops, and snow plowing. There is more to this family than seeding and harvesting. They are keen business men and marketers. When simple buys produce from the generational Koster farm, we are receiving the benefits of years of knowledge and skill. When we write a check for the ingredients we purchase, we know that the entire amount goes to the family whose heart, soul, and risk went into each bite we take. That is how we should do business.