Pahl's Market

Pahl’s began life in 1900, as a classic family farm in the bottomlands of Bloomington, Minnesota, when that booming suburb was still green countryside. In the late 1970s, the family fled suburban sprawl and reestablished itself south of the Minnesota River in Apple Valley and soon started selling produce from the back of a truck.

Today Gary Pahl and his brother, Brian, farm more than a thousand acres, growing a remarkably wide variety of fine produce: sweet corn, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, squash, and more.

For Gary, a sense of history is a key to how and why he farms. “In my grandfather’s generation,” he says, “they practiced sustainable agriculture—avoiding pesticides, planting rye after harvest to hold down erosion, and so on—because it was the only way they knew. The next generation of farmers got away from that, but today I practice it because it makes for a better and safer product for the consumer.”

Gary’s goal is to pass his land on to the next generation in even better shape than he found it. The reason? It’s the L word. “You’ve got to love farming to do it, because it’s a tough business,” he says. “And if you love farming like we do, you’re going to do it right.”