By Michelle M. Sharp, Founder and Content Creator of Meet the Minnesota Makers

The Olberdings bought a neglected piece of farmland in Alexandria. Removing the decaying farm equipment and taking care of the land itself allowed them to establish their award-winning garlic crop. “Since 2022, our farm has been honored to selected to be a featured grower at the Minnesota Garlic Festival. This was a huge goal for us and we were selected on our first attempt,” shared Julie. “This past year, our Red Grain hard neck garlic was named Best in Show amongst growers from four different states at the Minnesota Garlic Festival!”

The Olberding Family loves being outside. Harvesting sap for maple syrup from the grove of trees on their home property was a way to celebrate the late winter. For the first several years it was a hobby for their own delicious enjoyment. “That was our entry point,” shared Julie. “We started scaling up our operation and selling our maple syrup in 2010.” 

As their family grew, Julie and her husband Chad wondered how best to instill a strong work ethic in their two kids. The answer? The establishment of Rustic Roots Farm in Alexandria. “We started Rustic Roots Farm to teach our kids the values of independence, hard work, self-reliance, perseverance and creative thinking. They are involved in the day-to-day operations of the farm. This is a whole family business.” 

Everything on the farm is grown following regenerative agriculture and sustainable methods. This woman-owned small business is run by a team of first-generation farmers. “Our kids are learning alongside us. We’re all new to this,” explained Julie. “It’s such a joy to watch my kids explain our products when we attend events. They are so knowledgable and confident when talking with customers.”

The farm is the family’s test grounds for a number of fun experiments. This fall saw their first oyster and shiitake mushrooms crops bloom. Next spring they hope to enjoy a full harvest from their growing asparagus patch. The signature item for the farm is their garlic along with the garlic powders and seasoning blends. 

“We’ve now shipped our garlic to over 30 states!” exclaimed Julie. “I love providing our customers with top notch products. Just today I received positive feedback about our Farm Dust and Sultry Secret seasoning blends.” 

Rustic Roots Farm started producing its premium garlic powder in an effort to eliminate food waste. When they size their garlic, any of the smaller bulbs are set aside to make their powders. Every single clove is peeled before they dehydrate them and ground them into powder. “There are no fillers in our powders and seasoning blend. The powders are 100% garlic. You can tell from the flavor.” 

Rustic Roots Farm garlic powders come in three varieties: Gourmet Garlic Powder, Smoked Garlic Powder, and a Garlic Scape Powder that is the most beautiful shade of green. Buy them individually or along with their Dried Mushroom Powder in their Foodie Lover Gift Pack. 

Julie’s biggest surprise in farming with her family? “How much I love it. All of it!,” smiled Julie. “We have met some amazing people in this network of customers and growers and makers. This community legitimately wants to see their peers succeed.” 

Find Rustic Roots Farm garlic bulbs at the MN Olive Oil Company in Glenwood. Purchase garlic, garlic powders, and gear to be shipped on their website Maple syrup and spice blends can be picked up in Alexandria or nearby. 

This feature is a part of the 2023 Meet the Minnesota Makers Holiday Gift Guide series. Visit to download your copy of the gift guide featuring over 100 of Minnesota’s talented makers. Find Rustic Roots Farm on page 38!

Follow Rustic Roots at @rusticrootsfarmmn on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s new on the farm. 

Follow @meettheminnesotamakers on Facebook and Instagram to discover more of the people who make Minnesota an amazing place to be!





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