Katie Lange | Blue Fruit Farm – A Personal Interview

hat is your best childhood memory here in the Driftless.
I remember going to Whitewater State Park while in daycare. All of us daycare kids would go on a hike followed by a swim. We’d always have a picnic lunch. Just thinking of those days makes me smile. I can just picture a dozen or so kids, mostly under the age of eight, running and climbing up a bluff and then splashing in the water.

If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?
Find a farm sooner!

What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of following the path in life that totally aligns with my mission in this world (educating on food as Katie Lange | Blue Fruit Farm – A Personal Intervie
medicine). I see people stuck in a career or only working towards goals measured by material possessions, which is fine if that brings people actual happiness, but it seems that so many times it fails to do so.

What is your favorite music or your all time favorite song.
I love the Traveling Wilburys…there’s not much better than a little Tom, Roy, Bob, and George all at one time!

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
I really want to travel through Northern Europe. There seems to be a peaceful, almost fantasy-like atmosphere in that region of the world. I would especially love to visit Denmark and Finland. I admire their high quality of life. 

If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be?
My goal statement, passport, and I’m going to shamelessly say my phone just because it’s a camera, clock, computer, my calendar, and my communication to all my people I love. 

What teacher in school made the most impact on you and why?
Matt Smith. He was my Social Studies teacher in Middle School and the first one who popped into my head when I read this question. He taught us to dream big and most importantly to work really hard for whatever you want to achieve. He also remembers his student. Like remembers them by name, which shows his authentic care for his students. Him and his wife, Katy Smith, have done amazing things not only throughout Winona, but also throughout the whole state of Minnesota and are living examples of how you can create a really awesome life if you have the dedication and work ethic to do so.

What was one of your most defining moments in life?
Luke and I were very good students in school and therefore, were very encouraged to pursue as much formal education as we could. There’s a mentality in our society that your success in life is proportional to the amount of education you have or the prestige of your career. I think the most courageous thing I did was turn down a very “prestigious” education opportunity to get a PhD in Epidemiology at UW-Madison. I did a lot of soul searching to realize what I actually wanted versus what others wanted for me and I turned down that opportunity to instead dive into informal education on food as medicine and nutraceuticals. This was the best decision I made as that led to me finding Blue Fruit Farm. The lifestyle that Luke and I are creating is exactly what we want. Had I chased the formal education and prestigious career, I would have found myself in a situation where my personal values conflicted with my career. Now I know my personal values and my career align perfectly.

How do you spend your free-time?
Renovating our house. Luke is a carpenter and we bought a house almost four years ago and have been completely flipping it. We call it “That 70’s House” because it had shag carpet and paneling or wall paper in every room when we bought it.

What are your favorite reads, (books, magazines, online stuff, cereal box) and why?
I love a good “Change your life and become an awesome leader” type book. Some favorites are Entreleadership, the Wallace Wattles trilogy, Lincoln on Leadership, and Soil Sisters.

What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?
I would love to be able to fix my own car because it would be cool as a female to open up the hood of a car, figure out a problem, and fix it.

What does a perfect day look like to you?
Luke and I would be in Kauai. First we would hike to Hoopii Falls and jump in for a swim, then hit up Kealia beach, then Kilauea Lighthouse, then hike Sleeping Giant and rest a while in the wind tunnel. We would then drive up to the top of Waimea Canyon and admire the views. We would end the day with driving out to Polihale beach, pop open the tailgate of our vehicle, and watch the western most sunset in the US with a big old blanket in the back of the car.  

If you were to tell a friend to come and visit the Driftless Area, and they ask “Why” … what would you tell them?
To go hiking with me. Then go to a craft-brewery or distiller and have a drink, or a few! Then we would go out on the river the following day for a ‘lazy day’ laying on the beach and swimming. Or, for a more scenic trip, canoe down the Trempealeau River. Then we would go out to eat at The Boat House, stroll along the river or through the downtown area to follow up with some live music and a drink at Ed’s No Name bar. We would also definitely have to do some tubing (AKA floating) down the Root River near Rushford because you need an afternoon of that when you’re in the area.