About Produce with Purpose Rick Slager’s father Don Slager was an avid gardener, so he grew up growing food. In fact, he recalls that the highlight of every year revolved around procuring seed catalogs and planning out the gardens for the season. But it wasn’t until later in life, after spending much of his career running a lawn and landscaping business that he found himself turning to farming as a second career. In fact, he describes the decision as “a bit of a midlife crisis.” He’d taken the opportunity to travel and work in West Africa for a year. While he was there, he dipped his toes into work with nonprofits in the agricultural sector. The experience was inspiring. But it also made him realize that, in order to make a difference, he needed to glean real life experience in farming to adequately equip himself for the issues faced by farmers in more remote areas. So, in 2010, he founded Produce with Purpose, a farm borne of his passion for food, his love for teaching people how to make use of farm fresh produce and his desire to make that food accessible to people from all walks of life. Alongside his wife, Dawn, a veteran teacher who spent her summers alongside him in the fields, they began with two tillable acres of land, eventually renting out additional acreage as needed. Their philosophy was simple: put more into the soil than you take out of it and, in doing so, you’ll create strong, healthy plants that can naturally fend off insects and disease. Along the way, he developed an affinity for storing vegetables including carrots, specialty potatoes, beets, parsnips and celery root. For years, the couple farmed as many as 21 acres, selling produce to consumers through farmers markets as well as a traditional community supported agriculture program (CSA), which he upgraded to a build-your-own-box model in 2015 to stay ahead of the competition. They also built relationships with local chefs, many of whom became loyal, long-term customers. Rick credits his relationships with chefs with providing not only as much as 75% of his yearly income, but also collegiality and a much-needed social outlet after spending his day “in the field with the crickets.” Things changed dramatically in 2020, as chefs were forced to pivot in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurant business dwindled and staffing issues challenged farm operations. So, Rick adjusted his business model, reducing his acreage and launching home delivery for customers in the Fox Valley and Green Bay areas. The move not only pulled his business through the pandemic, but gave him a robust new way to reach consumers with farm fresh produce. Rick, who began farming in his 50s and whose wife recently retired from teaching after 34 years, notes that his days working in the field are likely limited. However, he says his commitment to providing access to farm fresh food is just beginning. Currently, he is working toward developing a food hub in the Fox Valley area which aims to streamline distribution for smaller farms located between Green Bay, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois, making it easier for them to deliver their products to consumers, restaurants and retailers. Written by Lori Diedrich and an excerpt from her upcoming book “Field to Fork” cookbook coming out in the fall of 2023. On December 1, 2022 Dawn and Rick began their dream of providing another way of connecting local farmers and producers to people and chefs who were looking for an easier way of sourcing goods. They sold their farm. The last few years have been difficult. Land issues, labor issues, and the fact that 80+ hours were not sustainable for their health, relationships and most of all family made a tough decision easy. When the opportunity arose for the “farm" to move into a brick and mortar setting in Kaukauna to offer fresh produce, fruit and more…the dream of one day working with farmers, artisans and producers to create a food hub became real. It gave us a solid location with deteriorating 100+ year old buildings on the farm that just wasn't a good place if we were to continue. It was time. What's a food hub? According to the USDA, “A regional food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail and institutional demand.” With Rick's passion for making fresh produce and fruit available to everyone…this is the path weve chosen to end our careers as we enter our sixties and hopefully we pass this baton on in the years to come so it thrives for generations. Our farming days may be behind us…but we feel from our experience of ‘living that dream’ for 12 years …it's time for a new chapter in life. And we are excited!
Delivering Freshness Every Day at a Time
Delivering fresh fruits and vegetables has its challenges to your doorstep!
We use climate control thru the whole process keeping your products cold and safe.
We recommend setting a cooler outside if you know you won't be able to retrieve your goods immediately.
You will also be notified your delivery is on the way and after delivery you'll get a notice form our delivery driver.
We Take Sustainability Seriously
"Sustainability" is a Buzzword.
We believe in sustainability.
Sustainable foods are types of foods that are grown or reared in a manner that limits their negative impact on the environment and the communities that produce them. Sustainable foods are environmentally friendly foods that minimize greenhouse gas emissions and use resources as sustainably as possible.
These are our goals.
Supporting Local Products
We love local. Local means different things to different people.
Is local in your community?
We define local as Upper Midwest.
And we try and work with small scale producers as much as we can.
Can we get bananas, avacados, and citrus in our region?
Can we try and source from more reputable sources.
This is our goal.
Subscribe & Save
Your next order