Kitchen Garden

Sundog Farm Field Day

Field Day FlyerMy friends Carmen and Susan are hosting a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day called “ZJ to Sundog: Sharing Knowledge and Passing on the Farm” at Sundog Farm on Sunday, July 17, from 2 until 5 p.m.

The transition in farm ownership has been a long time coming and Sundog Farm is finally here.

Susan Jutz began Local Harvest CSA on ZJ Farm in 1996. After almost 20 years building a successful business and farm, she began looking for an opportunity to transition her farm to the next generation. The process was completed in May 2016, when Susan sold her farm and business to Carmen Black.

Carmen grew up nearby, was friends with Susan’s children, and had Susan as her 4-H leader. She has worked on the farm with Susan for five years. ZJ Farm has been the site for numerous Practical Farmers field day programs; this event will be the farm’s first as Sundog Farm.

The event will include a field tour and discussion with Susan and Carmen about their systems for pest management in vegetable production, including cabbage worms, cucumber beetles, flea beetles and tomato blight. They will discuss field scouting, cultural pest management, products they’ve tried and those they prefer. During the second part of the program, they will share their farm transition story.

Carmen has been part of the farm since I began working there in 2013. She called Friday to ask for help to begin the clean up in preparation for the field day. I spent part of Saturday removing weeds from around the old grain silos and barns and edging some of the fields. I was reminded of how far the farm had come since its days of being a conventional livestock operation before Susan began farming there. Sundog Farm should look good by next Sunday, so come to the field day, learn a small part about Iowa’s ongoing farm land ownership transfer, and wish Carmen well.

A potluck follows the program; bring a dish to share and your own table service. Please RSVP for the meal by July 14 to Lauren Zastrow at (515) 232-5661 or

Susan Jutz and Carmen Black
ZJ Farm and Sundog Farm
5025 120th St. NE • Solon • 52333
(319) 331-3957 •