ABOUT STONEY BROOK FARMS INC.
The largest pumpkin growers in Minnesota
Stoney Brook Farms are a family run business established in March of 2007 and incorporated the same year. Mark and Pam Chmielewski bought it from Shirley Chmielewski, Mark’s Mother.
We started out with around 300 acres. Our biggest crop being sweet corn, other crops we grew throughout the years were potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, green peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, sugar snap and English peas, 10 different varieties of winter squash, pumpkins, gourds and ornamental corn. All of our vegetables are hand harvested. We had a few Mexican workers helping us then and Brad started to help out at the age of 16.
We struggled for the first couple years because we could not find enough help. This is when we decided to enroll in the h2A guest worker program. This required us to build a house for the guest workers and provide them with free transportation from their doorstep to ours. We are required to pay them a set wage that is determined by the government and is set on a year to year basis. In 2019 the wage is $13.54 per hour and overtime is 1.5X that after 48 hours. We really enjoy having them here. They are great workers and even better people!
Today, we farm over 850 acres. We sell our produce to multiple different states through over a dozen wholesale houses and grocery store chains. Our biggest crop is still sweet corn followed closely by pumpkins. We now have 22 h2A workers and enough housing for all of them. We still stand by our principle that handpicked is better and we continue to do that to this day. We have narrowed our offerings down based on what we are good at and now we can focus all of our attention on those crops. Sweet corn, pumpkins, sugar snap peas, green beans, asparagus, mini pumpkins, gourds, pie pumpkins, white pumpkins, ornamental pumpkins, and 10 different varieties of hard squash; Acorn, Buttercup, Butternut, Spaghetti, Delicata, Sweet Dumpling, Carnival, Turks Turban, Ambercup and Hubbard.
Brad has helped us a lot as we have moved into a new era of farming. GPS guided tractors and computer monitors fill the tractor cab. This move has helped us to be a more sustainable and ultimately a more reliable source for the best quality produce. We are currently GAP approved for sale of all of our produce as well as part of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, which helps to reduce wind and soil erosion to reduce chemical and fertilizer run off into lakes and rivers.
Starting in 2017, we have started up an agritourism side of our business. We planted an 8 acre corn maze and we also have a pick your own pumpkin patch. This is a big hit in the community and we hope to see you this fall for our Spider Web inspired corn maze! See our events page for more info.