Empty Nest Winery being featured in statewide Farmers Market promotion project this summer

Dave & Pam Kruger, Empty Nest Winery

This summer Dave and Pam Kruger, owners of Empty Nest Winery of Waukon, are gaining recognition not only for their successful, expanding wine business, but also for their work in the Local Foods movement being selected as one of the “Faces of Northeast Iowa’s Farmers Markets”.
In the Spring of 2013, Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) opened an application process for a project to highlight farmers market vendors.  The organization received funding from a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant secured by the Iowa League of RC&Ds.  The project, a collaborative effort involving individual RC&Ds across the state, charged Northeast Iowa RC&D with selecting 10 applicants from its seven-county region to be profiled as the face of northeast Iowa’s farmers markets. These applicants were then interviewed and photographed by a professional photographer to capture each producer’s unique story.

The Krugers submitted an application to be one of the featured producers and were selected. Now their photos and story are helping promote farmers markets across the region. Northeast Iowa RC&D used the photos of the Krugers and other producers to create large and medium-scale prints, flyers, banners, television commercials, bookmarks and greeting cards. These promotional materials are being featured in area businesses like Java John’s, Oneota Coop, and Restauration in Decorah, as well as the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre in Marquette, and Em’s Coffe Co in Independence.
“Having the Krugers be part of this project has been a huge asset to the success of the project. Not only do they bring something unique to the farmers markets, their business model and production philosophy are grounded in all things local,” stated Amanda Streeper, Northeast Iowa RC&D Program Manager.
The Krugers use local blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, elderberries, strawberries, black caps and grapes for their 18 unfiltered, straight berry wines. They use an old-fashioned wine-making process where they ferment the berries whole.  This technique provides a more vibrant color, authentic aroma, and a true to fruit flavor. For a hobby that began as something to do when they’re kids “flew the coop,” they have seen incredible success and growth.

For Empty Nest Winery’s full story or to read more about the project and the profiles of the other farmers market vendors involved in the project, visit www.northeastiowarcd.org.