Greg Brandt grew up in the seed business on a farm near Westbrook in southwestern Minnesota, but he took quite a different path before making it his career.
Upon graduating from high school in 1985, Greg attended vocational school for electricity and electronics. A job as an electrical inspector for Windings, Inc., took him to New Ulm. He worked his way into a position as Quality Assurance manager and was involved with inspecting parts for NASA, as well aircraft instrumentation for President Regan’s helicopter. He enjoyed his job immensely and switching careers wasn’t on his mind at the time.
“One day my dad gave me a call said he’d grown his seed business to a point where he needed to divide the territory,” says Greg. “He asked me to join him, and honestly, I couldn’t tell him ‘no.’ Dad had worked so hard to get his seed business to that point, so I decided to assist him. Then in 1995, Krueger divided the state of Minnesota in half. Dad covered half as a District Sales Manager, and I covered the other half. We worked together until 2004.”
Now after working for nearly two decades in the seed business, Greg says he can’t imagine working in any other industry. He really enjoys the strong relationships he has with his dealers. Greg appreciates how, as an independent company, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds keeps its focus on helping farmers.
Greg also appreciates how the company puts family first and looks for opportunities to bring families together. His wife, Heather, and two daughters, Makayla (who will be 11 in two weeks) and Amber (age 9), have enjoyed attending Latham’s summer sales meetings. They also greatly enjoy spending weekends at by the Boy River near Longville where they enjoy feeding the ducks and racing turtles. It’s become their tradition to catch turtles in the spring and race them on Wednesday afternoons at the Longville Turtle Races. Longville is just a short drive from Nisswa, where turtle racing originated 47 years ago.
This coming Labor Day weekend Greg, Heather and their girls will be soaking up the final days of “summer vacation”. The day after Labor Day school resumes. Heather will begin her thirteenth year as a special education teacher; both girls attend elementary school in New Ulm.
Anyone who’s heard of New Ulm knows the community is deeply rooted in German heritage, so it really came as no surprise to me when Greg served brats and kraut at our From the Field spring planting broadcast. What did surprise me is that the kraut was homemade – and that Greg had a hand in making it. It was so good that I had to ask for his recipe! Thankfully, his mother has agreed to share it with all of us on TheFieldPositon.
Brandt Family’s Homemade Sauerkraut
- 3 heads of a cabbage
- 3 T. salt
- Using a vintage -wooden cabbage slicer, we shred the cabbage. Then we pour the shredded cabbage into a larger Tupperware® bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Mix well and then dump the salted cabbage in an original 30-gallon Red Wing crock. (The Brandt’s “kraut crock” has also been handed down and is approaching 100 years old.)
- Repeat until the crock is full.
- Once the crock is full, work all of the cabbage like you’re kneading dough. The more you mix it, the more juices get flowing.
- Cover the kraut with a large plate (inside the crock)
- About a 10-pound field rock that goes on top of the plate
- Place kitchen towel over the top.
- Each day, remove the towel, rock and plate. Mix the cabbage well. Then replace the plate, rock and towel. Repeat for 7 consecutive days.
- On the 7th day, you’re ready to can kraut into pint jars. IF there isn’t enough juice, add a little water into each jar.
COOK’S TIP: 10 medium-size cabbage head will make about 16 pints of kraut. Mom likes to add caraway to some jars.