The Petersen family has been tied to agriculture for five generations. The story of our heritage, their faith, and dedication, inspires us to go forward in this great cause of agriculture.
Our great, great grandfather James was an immigrant from Denmark and in 1871 was one of the first settlers in South Jordan. He farmed and set the foundation for his posterity in agriculture by participating in the construction of the many canal irrigation systems we use to bring life-giving water to our crops in the desert.
James’ son Joseph Melvin, or “Mel” continued on in his footsteps managing the 240 acre “Hardy Farm” in the South Jordan area. Mel was a leader, serving on many agricultural boards and city councils. In his day, much of the produce and hay he grew went to support the workers, animals, and business in the Bingham mines.
Mel and Teenie, 1955
Joseph’s son Royal, or “Coke” as he called him, continued on his father's love for farming. When he was still in his teens, he worked in the mines where the pay was good and started purchasing his own land out on the “flats” way out on the West end of Riverton, eventually owning 120 acres. Roy was a pioneer in the area, moving his young family into a tiny two-room cottage; literally in the middle of nowhere. Roy was frugal and did what most farmers have to do to get established, he worked two jobs. Grandpa Roy worked in the mines at night and farmed in the day for many years until the farm had enough acreage and production that he could afford to quit and farm full-time. Grandpa was never rich and times were especially tough during the depression years. In fact, grandpa even once listed his home and property for sale at $27,000. Luckily he held on being considered one of the best farmers in the area. How blessed we are for his dream and sacrifice.
Ad for the sale of the farm.
Grandpa and Grandma “Pete” had 5 children, two boys and 3 girls, nearly all of whom settled their families on the farm where grandpa Pete gave them their own building lot. All of the children were proud of and loved the farm but none more than his youngest son Craig. Craig had the farming bug and an entrepreneurial spirit. He started his own construction business so that he could have the freedom to also be a farmer and he spent all his free time working the ground he had come to love and teaching his five children to do the same.
Grandpa Pete and Craig, 1964
The farming bug settled deeply into many of us kids. Growing up, I would rather spend time on the farm with my dad than doing much anything else. I was the first Petersen farmer to complete a formal college education earning a Bachelors and Masters in agriculture and business. During my lifetime the farm changed drastically. My Grandpa’s original 120-acre farm was cut down the middle by the construction of Bangerter Highway in 1994. The development of our quiet country community has presented great challenges and opportunities for the farm here. As Roy, then Craig, and then “Grandma Pete” (Vera) left the farm to cultivate the fields of heaven, more of the farm was sold. Today less than 20 acres of grandpa’s original farm remain in the Petersen family.
Despite changing times and urban sprawl, we are determined to keep the farm going. This has required us all to dig deep, to not only change our paradigm of how to produce a profitable crop, but to truly understand the source of our love for agriculture and how to ensure a future for our family heritage. We have learned that sharing the farm with others, enlarging the Petersen family if you will, has created not only success in farming but a staple amenity for the community. We feel honored to play the role of your local farm.
Today we grow fruit and vegetables on approximately 70 acres of land owned by the family and friends here in the South valley area. We feel blessed to be carrying on the “Royal” legacy of the Petersen Family, working the ground and thereby staying grounded. Often as we toil in the fields we feel strength coming from those who paved the way for us. We are grateful to reap the harvests of many seeds sown in faith and the blood, sweat, and tears our ancestors shed while partnering with the God of nature to make a living off the land.
Our goal is to cultivate the farmer in all of us and together, harvest the simple beauty of life.
Luke, Hilarie, Maddie, Craig and Finn, 2016