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Abundant Vine grows from the ground up

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People who know Rachael Cochrane like to joke that if the zombie apocalypse ever comes, they’re heading to her house because she’s basically self-sustaining.

They’re probably not far off. Between the large garden plot, the coop full of chickens and the recently added hive of bees, Cochrane has just about everything you need to survive if the dead ever start walking the earth. To complete the pioneer-woman vibe, Cochrane taps trees in her yard for maple syrup and grinds her own wheat for baking.

Cochrane has been growing things all of her life, but it wasn’t until this year she officially turned that garden into a business. Abundant Vine, the community-supported agriculture business Cochrane and her husband, Nick, run from their rural Farmington home currently has 13 subscribers.

Those subscribers get weekly boxes filled with fresh vegetables, baked goods and more. Cochrane grows heirloom tomatoes and varieties of potatoes you won’t find at the grocery store. Everything is laid out in neat rows in a large, fenced-in garden. Once her orchard matures, there will be apples and apricots. Chickens cluck happily from a pen at the back of the yard. They’re there to provide eggs. Cochrane can’t quite bear the idea of butchering the birds, which come when they’re called.

For Cochrane, the business is a way to support a passion she’s had all of her life.

“Come January, I really get the urge to plant something,” she said. “It drives my husband nuts.”

The idea for Abundant Vine started with friends from the church Cochrane and her husband attended at the time. Those friends told other friends, and things kept growing. Cochrane jumped in enthusiastically, with the garden and the syrup and everything else.

“We had this bucket list that we wanted to do and we said, let’s just do it,” she said.

Now Abundant Vine customers can pick up their produce in both Farmington and Woodbury. Cochrane planted enough to support 15 customers this year, but she would eventually like to expand to support 25.

She’s gotten plenty of help along the way. Cochrane is a Dakota County Master Gardener, and she’s had support from other Master Gardeners. When she started looking into starting a CSA, one of the first things she did was post an ad on Craigslist. She got four emails right away from people offering help.

Cochrane enjoys the community aspect of the business. She puts out a newsletter every week and has coloring contests for kids. When families come to her house to pick up their produce, the kids play with the chickens.

“Most of the chickens are named because of the kids,” she said.

For more on what Abundant Vine has to offer find them at facebook.com/abundantvine or at abundantvine.com.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606