Artisanal Raw Minnesota Honey, Ames Farm was founded November 1st, 1994 with the purchase of eight acres of land on Oak Lake in Watertown, Minnesota. The bees and a small team of amazing people make up the Ames Farm Family today.
What is now Ames Farm was once part of an 80 acre piece homesteaded by John McCormack from the USA government when Abraham Lincoln was President. It was listed in the abstract as a military bounty patent land transaction on July 1st 1861. The current farmstead, now 7 acres, was split off in 1885 for $75.00.
In the early 1900's, the property went back and forth in ownership to the Tabitha Society of MN, which was a Swedish Lutheran Church group, who were the founding fathers of the well known Bethesda Hospital in the Cities.
More then once in the early history of the property, the local lumberyard, Fullerton Lumber, which is still in operation in Watertown today, had a lien on the property for unpaid debts. Its hard to imagine how any one made a go of this place with so little acreage during an era were commuting was not easy. Numerous short term owners bought and sold the property and I can imagine it has seen some hard times.
Most notable though was Herman Jahnke. He lived here from Dec 12, 1922 until Dec 17th 1955 who listed himself as "a single man" in the property abstract when he sold the place. There is a cement door stop still with his name on it that we still use on the farm.
Brian Fredericksen purchased the farm in 1994 from David and Shilon Bedford. David is a well known horticulturist that created the Honeycrisp, Zestar and Sweet Tango apples at the University of Minnesota. Many of the Honeycrisp trees at Ames Farm are some of the original trees that were planted in the 1980s before the now hugely popular variety was released to the public. We currently have about 800 beehives, some of which have been around for multiple seasons!