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Hometown Farmer - Year in review pt. 1

Hometown Farmer - Year in review pt. 1

2016 is almost over, but before we say goodbye to the year we're going to take a look back at where we've been this year in "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer."

In February we met the "Tree Man," Kevin DeBoer.

His family knows trees, there are enough of'em growing at his farm.

"About 8,000," said DeBoer.

He grows 38 varieties, from spruce to hackberry.

"This is probably one of the better ones to block wind and snow in the winter time," said DeBoer, talking about a special windbreaker tree he grows at his farm. "That tree is probably five-and-a-half, six-feet tall."

In April we went against the grain at "Against the Grain Antiques" in Le Mars.

It was a place where you could look beyond the treasures to find a grain bin with a brand new life.

Greg Jahn and his wife Ronda didn't know what they were getting into at first.

"It just seemed like it was something that could be done," said Greg.

In October 2014, the two decided to turn a 30 foot grain bin on their farm near Le Mars, built in the '60s, into an antique store.

"It was difficult, but I didn't know that it was difficult because I haven't ever built anything before," said Greg.

Later that month, we found out how 2015 was a hard year for "Ollie's Little Honey Bees" north of Sioux City.

The farm was down to 20,000 bees, one hive from nearly one dozen previously.

Kris Hurlbert owns the place with his family, but he's not the boss of what was left of the bee business.

That honor goes to person "Ollie's Little Honey Bees" is named after: Kris's son, Oliver.

"He's only four but he works hard at it," said Kris.

In May, we got a look inside a special vineyard owned by Leah Knowles.

"This is the first year that this one's going to produce," said Knowles, pointing to a specific grape vine.

It's where her grapes are growing, now that's the surprising part.

When you're inside the vineyard, behind the bushes out front, you'd never guess you were really in Sioux City, on the West Side.

And in June we found a one-stop-shop for customers at Loess Hills Lavender.

After seeing fields of lavender in Washington State, owner Mary Hamer was hooked.

"You can cook, clean and heal with it," said Hamer.

She and her husband bought their farm in 2009.

Mary wanted to grow lavender, but her husband needed some convincing.

"He did think I was crazy," said Hamer. "He's not here to tell you the story, but he did think I was a little crazy, but he has supported me immensely."

"If it was not for his help we would not have the farm," said Hamer.

If you think of a farmer that might be great on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," please email Jake at: jheller@siouxlandnews.com.

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