Brian and Brenna Scanlan are ready for visitors at their new business
By Tara Lindquist
Twelve years in the mowing and snow removal business left Brian and Brenna Scanlan searching for something different.
"He operated his business out of Rochester so he was never home," Brenna said. "I did the bookwork so it seemed like the business was all we ever talked about."
The couple knew they wanted to remain business owners but wanted to do something different. They sold their business and started working on a different venture.
Scanlan's Red Barn Learning Farm was born.
The couple began working on their new business in early spring of 2012 and opened the farm in October of 2012. "I know from growing up in Rochester how big of a shock the life on a farm can be." said Brenna. "We want to give kids just a gimpse of what life is like on a farm but not make it overwhelming for them; we want it to be fun."
Brian grew up on a farm in rural Hayfield where they had cattle and pigs, and grew crops and hay. Brenna grew up in Rochester and had no idea what a farm was like. "I love it now, but it was a shock at first," she said. The couple has three children, Wesley, 6, Paisley, 5, and Conley, 1, and hope to have them involved with the business as they grow up. "We have the older two help with feeding the animals and taking care of them."
The farm includes a barn filled with straw for jumping and kitties for cuddling, a silo for climbing, a place for kids to ride pedal tractors and, most importantly, they have animals kids can interact with. "This year we'll also be doing a lot of gardening out here so kids can plant their own seeds in the spring and will be able to pick their own produce later in the summer," she explained.
Also coming this spring are new baby animals. The farm recently had two goats that were born and are expecting a few more, along with sheep and chickens to add to their current herd. The farm is already home to ponies, ducks, geese, donkeys, kittens, a potbelly big, a llama, bunnies and a cow.
The farm is open to the public on weekends and is currently taking weekday reservations for April 1 through October 31. The farm hosts school field trips, home-schooled kids, birthday parties, daycares and corporate events. "We really let the kids set their own pace out here," Brenna said. A group visit consists of a quick farm tour to introduce kids to the farm, review safety and farm hygiene. They get a farm presentation and activity and the free play to explore the farm. They also have hayrides available and a picnic shelter for lunch or snack time if the group prefers. The farm can accommodate bus parking. They also encourage local FFA, scouting, and 4H groups to contact them if they are looking for volunteer opportunities.
The farm will host their first annual Easter Egg Hunt on March 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The farm will officially open for the season on April 1. "We're excited to get going this spring and welcome guests back to the farm," she explained. Brian and Brenna are also thinking about ways to expand their farm and add new things. "This year we'll be hosting movie nights in the barn on Friday evenings for families to attend," Brian said. "We'd like to add a farmer's market eventually and open it up to different vendors as well." In the meantime the couple will be selling their own produce, eggs and free range chickens this year.
The farm is located at 27251 Highway 30. Brian and Brenna can be reached at 507-365-8321. You can visit their newly launched website at www.redbarnlearningfarm.com.