Probstfield family diary entries mention that Randolph stopped by John Erickson’s brewery from time to time on trips into Moorhead. He bought Erickson’s beer and he also bought hops, which indicates German-born Randolph did some homebrewing. One of Randolph’s oldest and closest friends from the pioneer days, Nick Hoffman, owned a brewery in East Grand Forks. Randolph’s son Andy worked at Hoffman’s brewery. According to family letters, Randolph eagerly awaited Andy’s gifts of Bock beer in the spring.
Probstfield Farm President Markus Krueger helped create a new exhibit at Moorhead’s Hjemkomst Center called “Wet and Dry: Alcohol in Clay County 1871-1937.” The Probstfield family played a central role in the community all through these years. A series of blog posts to follow will highlight the ways in which Randolph Probstfield and his children were connected with this era.
“It all started as a joke,” Ray said. One day, while talking politics over beers, two of Ray Gesell’s friends told him he should run for office. Ray, jokingly, said he would. Within a few days, his friends were actively campaigning on his behalf. “I tried to back out and I couldn’t.”
Ray Gesell served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1945-1951. Again, he found himself following in the footprints of his grandfather Randolph Probstfield, a poor but respected farmer who served as a Minnesota State Senator.
This month, those records were shattered. Not since 1881 have temperatures in April failed to rise above 50 degrees Fahrenheit in Fargo-Moorhead. April 2013 is also well on its way to standing as the coldest April on record, since record keeping began in 1881. To date, the average temperature has been just 35 degrees, a full 21 degrees below normal. For the farmers, gardeners, and citizens of the Fargo-Moorhead region, spring just can’t come soon enough!
“Unquestionably, community gardening will continue. It will be the peace-time descendant of the war garden.” —Charles Lathrop Pack, U.S. National War Garden Commission, 1919
During World War I, eager gardeners sought out vacant lots and other “slacker land” in cities across America and started community gardens. Community gardens provided a place for gardeners without land of their own to grow food. Groups of people could pool their resources for big projects like getting a tractor to plow a large area or setting up irrigation systems.
In recent years, community gardening has experienced a resurgence in America. The Probstfield Organic Community Garden has over 100 plots maintained by gardeners from the Fargo-Moorhead area. The Probstfield Farm provided people in Fargo-Moorhead with fresh produce since the cities were founded, through World War I, World War II and after. The farm is still feeding people in our community today – many people just grow it themselves now.