Burmeister farm continues legacy of German heritage, family involvement
LAKEFIELD -- A view of South Heron Lake is a cherished feature of the Burmeister family farm."We have a park down by the lake and host family gatherings there sometimes," commented Marianne Burmeister, who has owned the Burmeister Century Farm in...
LAKEFIELD - A view of South Heron Lake is a cherished feature of the Burmeister family farm.
“We have a park down by the lake and host family gatherings there sometimes,” commented Marianne Burmeister, who has owned the Burmeister Century Farm in trust since the 2014 death of her husband, Albert D. Burmeister.
“The swimming used to be very good, but now it depends on the year.”
Located about five miles northwest of Lakefield in Jackson County’s West Heron Lake Township, the Burmeister property today consists of 148.85 acres and continues to be worked by a Burmeister.
“My son Joel Burmeister rents and farms it,” said Marianne Burmeister.
Herman Burmeister initially purchased the farm in 1916.
“Herman and his wife Ida bought it around the time their son Albert got married so he and his wife [also named Ida] would have a place to farm,” reported Marianne.
She presumes the family did what other area farmers did at that time - raised a diverse range of crops, from flax and oats to wheat, along with different livestock.
Albert C. and Ida Burmeister farmed the property for 39 years, but after Albert D. returned from a two-year stint in the U.S. Army and he married Marianne in 1956, the couple took over the operation.
“We had diversified acres and dairy,” said Marianne. “Dairy was the main thing - we milked about 60 cows - and we did it a long time.”
In addition to cows, Marianne and Albert raised a healthy crop of seven children.
“Taking care of our children was my main job, but I did help milk, too,” she shared.
Although son Joel is the only one of the seven to remain engaged in farming, the other Burmeister children include LeCinda of Lime Springs, Iowa; Rhonda, an R.N. in Fort Dodge, Iowa; Loren, who works at Toro in Windom; Joel’s fraternal twin, Jer, an electrician; Alan, a postal worker in St. Paul; and Nichole, a bank employee in Okabena.
“I also have 18 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren,” stated Marianne with pride.
Small wonder, then, that a recent family reunion, hosted at the Burmeister farm earlier this month in celebration of its newly awarded Century Farm status, attracted close to 200 attendees.
“We prepared the meat - Alan was doing it on the grill - and then the rest was potluck,” noted Marianne. “We’d been pulling together for a long time to get things ready.”
German heritage is prevalent among the Burmeisters. Marianne explained that Herman Burmeister’s parents had immigrated from Germany, likely after 1860. Marianne’s father, Charles Gott, also arrived in the U.S. from Germany, although he married Ruby, who was of English descent.
“August Burmeister was the one who came from Germany,” said Marianne. “He was a charter member of the group that started St. Peter Lutheran Church.”
St. Peter Lutheran, located six miles north of Lakefield on Minnesota 86, remains the Burmeister family’s house of faith and worship.
“Our children were all baptized there,” she shared. “But Albert and I were married in Okabena, where I grew up.”
Marianne explained that she and Albert met in Okabena at Kruse’s Tavern, where they were hanging out with a group of friends. They dated and were engaged for about a year before they tied the knot.
“His dad had five heifers, and that’s how we got started,” she said.
The house on the Burmeister Century Farm dates to before 1916; it’s undergone additions and remodeling projects over the years. Marianne continues to live there, but admitted, “We’re still trying to find out more about it; we don’t know all of its history.
“Albert always said he was born in this house and would die in this house, and that’s pretty much what he did.”
For many years, Marianne has been an enthusiastic quilter.
“I’ve made quilts for everybody,” she revealed.
With one of Joel Burmeister’s four children - son Landon - interested in farming, Marianne has hope the Century Farm may stay in the family for coming generations.
“There were times that were not easy - the ’80s were tough, just like they were for everybody else - but we survived,” she said.
“We’re proud the farm has already been in the family for this long.”