Commitment to the agricultural industry is Lindsay Baneck’s strong suit

There’s not much that can stop Lindsay Baneck in the weeks leading up to strawberry season at Jelli’s Market.

While spring is a busy time for all farmers, Baneck’s start to the season included welcoming a baby girl in April. After the birth of her child, Baneck quickly found herself in the swing of things on the diversified farming operation owned and operated by her parents Steve and Jody Knoebel.

Baneck and his sisters, Jessica and Libby (the name of the farm is a combination of the sisters’ names) each manage a specialty estate on the farm. According to the website, Jessica is in charge of the commercial kitchen, Libby manages the employees and produces the crop while Lindsay oversees the crop protection part of the operation and manages the production business.

“I haven’t really taken a lot of time off,” Baneck said, adding a bit of wisdom she’s learned while waiting. “You can do whatever you want to do, but it just takes more time and thought to do it with a baby.”

Although she admits it was a life adjustment, she adds, “It’s fun and it makes you slow down and appreciate the little things too.”

Baneck says she wouldn’t be able to run Jelli’s Market without her support system, especially her family, and looks forward to her daughter sharing similar experiences, especially during strawberry season.

“Our heart and soul is the strawberry business,” said Baneck, who expects customer numbers to increase this spring, but not to the extreme of the 2020 season when crowds have sought out outdoor activities.

Strawberry season varies in Wisconsin, but Baneck says their 18 acres of strawberry plants typically produce fruit from Father’s Day through July 4.

Seasonal crops of asparagus, strawberries, apples and more expand Jelli's Market window in Helenville, Jefferson County.

According to the website, the family planted their first fields of strawberries on their Jefferson County farm in 2001. Since then, the family has added raspberries, blueberries, asparagus, sweet corn, bedding plants and, more recently, apples, pumpkins and an assortment of pear and plum trees.

Customers can also purchase farm-raised meats and an assortment of jams, pies, apple cider donuts and more from the commercial kitchen of the on-site family store.

Well-deserved recognition

As Baneck balanced the spring rush, a newborn, and running Jelli’s Market, she was recently named GroundBreaker of the Year by Compeer Financial. The award recognizes young, small-scale farmers who overcome barriers and make a difference in agriculture and their community.

“Being named GroundBreaker of the Year means people see the hard work I put into farming and dedication to this industry,” Baneck said. “Compeer Financial realized that we are trying to shine a light on our industry.”

Lindsay was nominated by her Compeer Insurance Officer, Justin Foegen. In the nomination, Justin wrote that Lindsay is driven, genuine and ambitious.

Although running Jelli's Market is where Lindsay Baneck spends most of her time, she also plays a role in the neighboring family operation, Maple Mound Farms, where they grow corn, soybeans and wheat and raise livestock.

To stay positive

Staying in a positive frame of mind is important to Baneck.

“You have to be mentally strong and not let challenges and battles overtake your thoughts,” she said.

Baneck told Compeer officials that 2019 brought a host of challenges, including a life-altering medical emergency involving his mother, Jody.

“Some days we felt like we were surviving,” she told them.

In addition to her career on the family farm, Compeer notes that Baneck is also involved in the community, working with the Farm Bureau, 4-H, the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and more.

Promote an industry she loves

Agritourism destinations like Jelli’s Market respond to a need to promote agriculture to consumers, an area Baneck places great emphasis on. The young mother is quick to recognize the need to have those conversations (with the public) that many farmers don’t always find the time for, she said.

Located a short drive from Janesville, Madison and Milwaukee, Baneck says the agritourism destination attracts customers from all walks of life.

A great tip she learned to meet the increased demand at Jelli’s Market?

“You just have to be patient and think outside the box.”

To find a local strawberry grower, visit https://www.pickyourown.org/WI.htm or the Wisconsin Berry Growers website at https://bit.ly/3b0Hztl

Comments are closed.