Arizona Olive Oil - Mankato, MN
Arizona Olive Oil - Mankato, MN

From growing up in St. Paul to rural Mankato, Lisa Phillips of Blue Skye Farm has come a long way, and she’s got her hands full!

“I was a city girl, but my grandparents had a dairy farm,” Phillips recalled. “Every day I didn’t have school, I would go there. I just love living on my farm now. I love the smells! It smells different in the country. You can smell the corn. You can smell the dirt. After a rain, how the rain smells! I even love the smell of the cow poop we get from our neighbor for fertilizer!”

“My husband Marty and I have five adult children, two of which are married, and a five-year-old granddaughter,” She said. “We have a horse and a mule that we rescued. A new calf, two labs and many farm cats!”

But that’s not all! The Phillips have their hands in no less than four ventures!

Blue Skye Farm

Photo by Lisa Phillips - Blue Skye Farm - Mankato, MN - Fire Maples lining the driveway
Photo by Lisa Phillips – Blue Skye Farm – Mankato, MN – Fire Maples lining the driveway

Along with Marty and the cats, Phillips lives on Blue Skye Farm south of Mankato. “The farm was started by Marty’s grandparents so it’s a 3rd generation family farm. We grow everything from Asparagus to Zucchini,” she explained.

The Farm grows produce available for sale to the public. “We put up red and white tents, then people come get their produce. It’s on the honor system,” she said. “One time there was a note that looked like a grocery list. The folks said they’d be back to pay but wanted us to know what they took. The did come back and we were cool with that!”

In addition to the tent, the Phillips have also been offering CSA shares for the last three years. “It’s not my favorite part of the garden,” she said. “Normally, you plant something, and it just grows. But if there’s a timetable for it, sometimes the crop says, ‘Guess what? I’m not going to grow today!'”

Though they’ve found CSA has been well supported, the Phillips are still trying to figure out if its something they will continue. “The season runs 15 weeks. Usually it starts June 1st, but sometimes it starts July 1st then we go way late into October. Lately it snows in October!”

Part of the dream for the farm is to turn it into a destination attraction. “We want to have a produce store on the farm,” Phillips said. “Our oldest daughter got married at an apple orchard. On the drive home we talked about having an events center. We want to make the farm a place that people can come and love as much as we do.”