In the late 1970s, Gordon and Susan Miller’s children wanted to earn some spending money.

So the Millers planted sweet corn to provide their kids, Scott, Ryan and Kori, with jobs.

From that idea grew a produce business, called Grandview Farm.

The farm, south of Fremont, provides the Millers with a scenic view of beautiful sunrises. Wild turkeys can be seen in nearby fields and Canada geese fly over the Millers’ house.

A family whose roots go deep into the art and practice of farming, the Millers now enjoy seeing their grandchildren work on the farm.

The Millers mainly grow corn and soybeans but have also dedicated about 12 acres of their land to growing produce, which they sell at area farmers’ markets.

They grow a variety of produce including: asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts, squash, watermelon and cantaloupe.

The Millers’ fruit-and-vegetable venture grew gradually.

After they planted sweet corn, customers began asking for other types of produce.

“As our customer base increased, we raised more and different kinds of vegetables,” he said.

Susan began taking the produce to the Haymarket in Lincoln and farmers’ markets in Fremont. She now also takes produce to the Sunday Farmers’ Market at College View in Lincoln.

Miller retired from Hormel Foods Corporation in 2010 and began taking produce to farmers’ markets in Omaha. He takes vegetables to Village Pointe on Saturday and the Askarben Village Market on Sunday.

“We raise most of the vegetables for the farmers’ markets and we do some wholesale,” he said.

Miller enjoys growing produce.

“We’re able to get up in the morning and just go out and work. We have a more flexible schedule than someone who has to go to work somewhere,” he said.

Miller likes the challenges of growing vegetables.

“Every year is different,” he said. “You’re confronted with the changes of the weather, but it’s interesting.”

Like her husband, Susan enjoys the benefits of an outside workplace.

“I like working outdoors,” she said. “It’s peaceful. It’s calm. It’s real therapeutic some days. We’re out in nature.”

And they see plenty of nature.

They tell the story of a wild turkey.

The turkeys who come to the Millers’ cornfield, leave and fly toward Camp Cedars in the winter.

One tom turkey, probably injured in a fowl fight, had been rejected by the other birds.

He started hanging out not far from the Millers’ house. They set out some water and food for the turkey and he slowly recuperated.

The turkey would follow Miller down a lane as the man started to leave to go to town.

“He’d perch on a tree branch and wait and when I came home, then he’d jump off that branch and follow me right up to the house,” Miller said.

The late behaviorist B.F. Skinner, whose experiments involved chickens pecking a button to get a kernel of corn, probably would have enjoyed the turkey, who’d ring the Millers’ doorbell.

“He was smart,” Susan said of the turkey, who’d also try to nudge her bird feeder to knock seed out on the ground to eat.

When the hen turkeys returned from their winter grounds to the farm, he rejoined them.

The Millers still see the turkey once in a while.

They enjoy other aspects of their outdoor work.

“The sunrises are amazing,” he said.

In the morning, the skies are painted in shades of red, orange, yellow and pink.

“When we have a rain, you can see a rainbow and it will be cool, because you can see the whole thing,” she said. “Sometimes in town, you can only see a piece of it.”

Susan’s love of nature stems from a farming heritage that spans decades.

Her relatives came from Baden, Germany, and she believes they were farmers before they came to the United States in 1854.

After arriving in the U.S., they moved to Wisconsin and then came to Cedar Bluffs.

Her dad, Christian Krause, grew up on a farm. Once he graduated from high school, he went into the military in World War II and served in Germany. Twice wounded, he was awarded a Purple Heart.

Krause returned to farm at Cedar Bluffs. He married Carol Rasmussen in 1947 and they had 10 children.

Susan was the second oldest child.

Her grandfather, Roy Rasmussen, bought the farm south of Fremont, where her parents moved in 1954.

Here, her dad grew corn, wheat and alfalfa, and baled hay. Christian Krause later left farming and went to work at Fremont Hatchery.

Susan and Gordon married in 1969 and moved onto what became Grandview Farm in 1970.

One sunny afternoon, the Millers went out to an asparagus field. He sat in a motorized cart with a canopy. Blue sky peeked out behind huge white clouds as he quietly made his way down the row, harvesting the crop.

Asparagus is one of the most popular vegetables because it’s fresh and the woody tissue is left in the ground when they pick it. That means pretty much all the rest to be edible — versus what’s offered in stores where about a third has to be trimmed off, he said.

They harvest asparagus from the last week in April through the first week in June.

Susan Miller likes growing artisan tomatoes best, while her husband likes cantaloupe.

“We get to take this to the market and people like it,” he said. “You meet a lot of customers and it’s fun to have customer friends.”

Susan has a customer, who brings his children. Each child may select a vegetable.

“This one little boy always wants broccoli,” she said.

One time, broccoli wasn’t available so the dad encouraged his son to ask for asparagus.

Now, the boy asks for asparagus each week.

“It’s interesting how a lot of parents bring their kids and try to teach them about vegetables,” she said. “I feel like the parents are trying to teach them to be healthier. I think that’s pretty cool.”

COVID provided some unique challenges in 2020.

Farmers’ markets didn’t start until June that year. Spaces were made between vendors. Everyone wore masks.

“People were slow to come,” she said. “They were afraid.”

Gordon contacted customers from Omaha and arranged a drop-off point where they could get their vegetables.

“It was in a big, wide-open space,” she said.

To stay safe, customers would park and come one at a time to get their produce.

“Everybody would wait until it was their turn and it worked out nice and they were very thankful for us to meet them that way,” Susan Miller said.

This year, she’d started going to farmers’ markets in May in Lincoln and he’d started in Omaha. Customers have been enthusiastic.

“They’re so excited to have something fresh off the farm,” she said.

May also was the time when Audrey Woita of Omaha, project leader of the nonprofit No More Empty Pots, brought friends from Mosaic to help weed the onions on the Miller farm.

Mosaic pursues opportunities to empower people with diverse needs including intellectual and developmental disabilities. Woita brought the Mosaic friends to the farm so they could see if they enjoyed working outdoors.

The Millers and their guests worked knee to knee weeding onions and Woita said she enjoyed hearing about the history of the farm.

“It is a special place and Gordon and Susan are delightful,” Woita said.

The Millers plan to keep going with their vegetable venture.

“We’ll probably continue what we’re doing for a few more years and then kind of slow down,” Gordon said.

But memories of a turkey, a broccoli-loving boy and magnificent sunrises will last a long time.

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