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Small farms

Peony
Fall 2018

Peonies from heaven

Come late summer, Alaska’s farmland blooms with romance and colorful ruffles. It’s the season for peonies in the north country—an unlikely floral industry that, thanks to bridal demand, has given rise to a surprising horticultural gold rush.

The lure is especially tempting for those with small parcels of land. Wayne ’76 and Patti ’75 Floyd, for example, joined the stampede in 2011 with only two acres, and have since created a successful business claiming both national and international markets.

 

“We’d had this farm bug in our hearts from the beginning but we were never in a place that we could do that,” says Patti. … » More …

Sheryl Hagen-Zakarison and Eric Zakarison
Summer 2013

Eric Zakarison ’81 and Sheryl Hagen-Zakarison ’83, ’91—Thinking small

Somewhere along the Norwegian-Swedish border in the 1920s, Eric Zakarison’s grandfather and his family decided it was time to leave.

“They literally put on their packs, with everything they owned on their backs, skied down to the fjord, got on a boat, and came to Minnesota,” says Zakarison. After farming there for three or four years, they picked up and moved again, to the Havre/Chinook Hi-Line area of Montana.

Tired of northern Montana, Eric’s aunt ran away. She married a wealthy railroad man and they bought land north of Pullman. She invited the rest of the family to come further west, which they did, settling … » More …