You are invited to join us this weekend for two separate events here at ROSMANN FAMILY FARMS!  The first is Saturday afternoon at Ellen and Daniel’s, 1240 Ironwood Road (our next door neighbors!) for a canning demonstration!  Call Ellen at 579-1933 for more details. 

Then Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., we will be the site for a Mass to be celebrated by Des Moines Diocesan Bishop Richard Pates.  Following Mass in our front yard, there will be a short address by the Executive Director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, Jim Ennis.  Following that will be an ice cream social featuring ice cream from the Picket Fence Creamery in Woodward.  We look forward to this and are PRAYING FOR DECENT WEATHER.  The event will be held rain or shine.  If you don’t want to sit on straw bales, feel free to bring your own lawn chairs or blankets to sit on. 

A Day at the Farm: A Rural-Urban Eucharistic Celebration

Diocese of Des Moines’ Council Bluffs Region plans

local celebration in honor of diocese’s 100th


            In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Diocese of Des Moines, a special centennial Mass celebrating life on the farm will be held at 2 p.m. on Sept. 18 at Rosmann Family Farms near Harlan in Shelby County, in the northwest part of the diocese.

            The Rural Life Mass is being organizing through the Rural Life Initiative which is part of Catholic Charities Social Justice Consortium. The theme will be “A Day in the Country: A Rural-Urban Eucharistic Celebration.”

            Everyone in the diocese is invited to attend the Mass, which fulfills the Sunday obligation. The Mass will be held rain or shine. If it rains, a sizeable machine shed will be used for the Mass.

           “The Mass will let rural America and rural Iowans know that we understand they’re a very important part of our communities,” said Deacon Luke Tieskoetter of the Basilica of St. John in Des Moines and the Rural Life contact for the Social Justice Consortium.

            Rosmann Family Farms is a certified organic 700-acre grain and livestock operation. The rosmanns are parents of three grown sons: David, of Minneapolis, Minn., and Mark and Daniel Rosmann of rural Harlan. Mark, Daniel and Daniel’s wife, Ellen Walsh-Rosmann, are all part of the farming operation.

            “It’s an honor to host people at our farm and to have the bishop acknowledge the rural part of our diocese,” Maria Vakulskas Rosmann said. “We invite people from Des Moines, Council Bluffs and all parts in between in our diocese for a day in the country.”

            Bishop Richard Pates will celebrate the Mass, with priests of the diocese concelebrating. After the Mass, James Ennis, executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference will speak. An ice cream social follows. Guests will be able to tour the farm.

            To get to Rosmann Family Farms, go to the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 59 and Iowa Hwy. 44 in Harlan. Drive two miles west on Iowa 44, then 2¼ miles north on Ironwood Road.

For more information, visit www.rosmannfamilyfarms.com.

WOW! What a Stormy Field Day!

One thing that can be said about our field day was that it blew in and left in a similar fashion!  The PFI (Practical Farmers of Iowa) field day that we hosted at our farm on Aug. 18 was a winner, in terms of planning.  We lined up speakers from Iowa State who are doing research on our farm and Todd Churchill from Thousand Hills Cattle Company came to talk about grass fed beef.  The event started at 2 p.m. and the noon news that day said to anticipate stormy weather between midnight and 2 a.m.  Well, they were way off, because it came about a third of the way into field day!  Heavy winds, noisy thunder and pea sized hail came about 3:30 p.m.  We were able to move our 55 guests into the shop in time before the rain started. 

Discussion continued during the storm.  Then, we were notified that a sizable portion of our neighbor’s farmstead was destroyed.  These folks are just a quarter mile south of us, our next door neighbors.  Grain bins, sheds, trees, outbuildings, machinery, all gone.  They lost their grain bins in a wicked storm just four years ago!  And here’s the irony, our feed shed and barn is located about 150 feet from their farm and we had no destruction! 

But then, about 90-minutes later, the golf ball sized hail came.  It lasted about three minutes and did a number on our crops.  UGH! 

But, when all is said and done, we’re so grateful to have our field day attendees all safe and sound.  We are convinced it would have been a tragedy with injuries and fatalities had it been OUR shed that was destroyed!


Our annual PFI field day at ROSMANN FAMILY FARMS is set for Thursday August 18, from 2 – 5 p.m. at our farm. Our address is 1222 Ironwood Road, Harlan.  From the intersection of Highway 59 and Highway 44 in Harlan, go 2 miles west on Highway 44, then turn north on Ironwood Road and go 2.25 miles.

The event will be held RAIN OR SHINE and is free and open to the public.

This field day will focus on pink-eye control in organic livestock production with presenter Annette O’Connor, DVM, Iowa State University.  This presentation is based on a Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture study. 

Another guest speaker is Todd Churchill, owner of Thousand Hills Cattle Company in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.  Thousand Hills Cattle Company supplies grass-fed beef for sale to restaurants, natural foods stores and three colleges in the Twin Cities area.

We will also share data from an aphid resistance soybean research trial that we’ve been conducting for the past three years.  Discussion will also take place on using multiple planting dates for soybeans and a ridge-till weed control study in soybeans.

And, following the organic meal that I (Maria) will cook, there will be a fence construction demonstration put on by Ron and Daniel. 



As I write this, it’s the day before Father’s Day.  Ron and I both lost our fathers and the pain of loss doesn’t go away with time.  Both men were gems and we were lucky to have them as dads. 

There’s a good feeling we’re getting this weekend knowing that our meat and popcorn products will be part of quite a few Father’s Day cookouts and gatherings!  Folks who have made purchases for dads to enjoy later, and others who have told us they will host their dads for a meal… well, this certainly makes us feel proud! 

My dad, the late John Vakulskas, Sr., was the expert griller in our household and he took that position very seriously.  He would always mention that the steaks or burgers tasted better because they came from the Rosmanns!  As little children, our sons would beam with pride when he said that because the combination of a quality meat product AND a skilled griller made for a tasty meal.  My sister Jan took over grilling duties at the family home when dad passed.  She’s very good.  So good that I never even learned how to operate that grill!  Seriously!

In our household, Ron is the expert griller.  True to form, I don’t know how to run our grill, nor am I interested in learning!  Like my mom, I provide quality (I hope) “indoor” meals, Ron or George Forman can fill in the gaps. 

But as much as I love my husband, as fine a father as he’s been to our sons, I still contend no one can beat my dad for expertise on the coals.  Rest in peace dad and know that we will always love you.

It Actually Feels Like Spring Today!

Here it is, the last day of May!  I’m not going to spend time fussing about how lousy the weather has been this month, (it has been crummy) because I want to be outside to enjoy the day!  It’s a BEAUTIFUL DAY, cool, sunny, pleasant, … all the good stuff you can gather into a 24-hour period!

We’ve had a stinky month for weather issues on this farm, but then, who hasn’t?  Yesterday (Memorial Day) it was the wind… all day! 

But, here’s the farm update.  We still have about 60 acres left to plant for soybeans.  It’s hard telling if that can be completed this week.  We’ve been dodging weather issues and working late each night. 

The garden is about half planted.  I wanted to get our transplants into the ground yesterday but decided I did not want them getting attacked by the wind.  We had three tenths of an inch of rain last night, so maybe I can get them in by this afternoon or this evening.

But today!  Today will be the day of all days to savor!  Here’s hoping that wherever you’re at, the weather is just as pleasant.  Sadly, it seems like you have to take those when you can get them.

Whether the Weather Will Prove It’s Spring

Corn planting continues for Midwesterners amid unusual weather conditions.  That reads like a newpaper headline, but yet, it’s oh so true.  Here in Shelby County, Iowa, it’s been hot, cold, windy, calm, drizzly, dry … all within just a few days.  For those reading this who are not from the Midwest, you’re probably experiencing your own issues of weather, as well.  Our hearts go out to the folks on the southern receiving end of the fury from the Mississippi River’s flooding.  Ron was in western Nebraska last week and commented how dry everything seemed and how much dust was being kicked up.  Will we ever see the kind of spring we enjoyed when we were kids? 

We’re getting the field corn in and the popcorn (12 acres) has been planted!  Hooray!  Then it will be time to plant soybeans and from there the rush will be on to rotary hoe and cultivate all the crops to kiss any weeds goodbye. 

It may be a stinky spring weather-wise, but it is spring and the work continues.  Love it, love it, love it.  (But, then again, I’m not the one putting in the long hours!)

Happy spring to you, and thank you for your support of ROSMANN FAMILY FARMS!




If you have a dog, and you really love that dog, then you know your dog is “Number One” in the canine world.

Look to your right among our family photos and you’ll find Casey, our sweetie!  And, for the most part,  she’s perfect, except when she gets into trouble, and those are usually minor infractions.

Casey came to us via the Kalona Sale Barn for what seems like many years ago.  Someone with young children purchased her at auction, but found a young puppy and young children in a city home was a bit much.  Long story short, we bought her from that family and it’s been a great ride since.

Casey’s not a house dog, but she came housebroken which was an added plus.  She grew to love activity, following the boys, and Ron and Maria wherever they went on the farm.  She initially had her share of mishaps, (getting hit by a truck on the road – that cured her of being near the road) and getting kicked by a cow while trying to herd it.  She’s now shy around cattle, but does a good job of guarding gates and she loves to work with the guys on sorting pigs. 

Casey’s photo has appeared in the London (as in England) Times from a political event that occurred on our farm.  She was far more interesting that the politician!

Casey and Maria’s mom are best buds!  The two bonded when Maria’s mother, (Mary Vakulskas from Sioux City, Iowa) came to the farm for an extended stay following hip surgery.  Casey could sense compassion coming from Mary, particularly in the form of her cane.  Mary would (and still does) use her cane for a gentle massage of Casey’s back.  Most times it occurs when Casey lays down on the sidewalk right in front of Mary as she’s trying to get into the house!  Casey, the therapy dog…….

David will come from Minneapolis this Easter and it is a joy to witness them greet one another.  Casey gets all excited when he arrives and then literally sad when it becomes time for him to leave.  When Mark (Peace Corps in Honduras) comes home, it’s the same scenerio – absolute excitement. 

So there you have it, a brief history of our dog.  I write this in the A.M. hours after a full night of sleep.  Sometimes we’re not that lucky.  Sometimes, more like oftentimes, Casey thinks she has to protect us from “hidden prey” – A.K.A.  – coyotes, badgers, raccoons, etc.  Then she barks and barks and barks all night.  But we love her and try to keep her awake  during the day SO WE CAN GET SOME SLEEP AT NIGHT.


Well, that headline should have your attention!

You’ll see a section on our webpage for recipes from me, (Maria).  What’s been put in to date are recipes that were from my mother and grandmother and those I’ve discovered. 

No recipe will be added unless it’s been tried, and liked! 

Keeping with the theme, the newest listing for recipes is one TO DIE FOR!  Maria found it in a cookbook featuring slow cooker recipes.  It was wonderful, the meat was juicy (of course it was, it was ROSMANN FAMILY FARMS’ MEAT!!!!) and the leftovers are like we served it first run! 

Even if you’re not a big sauerkraut fan (we love it in this household) keep in mind that the ingredients all work in harmony to bring out the flavor of the meat. 

This is one of the better slow cooker recipes I’ve tried.  You’ll love it!

And, as always, thank you for your support of organic agriculture and ROSMANN FAMILY FARMS!