Bonnie and Bob Dehn of Dehn’s Garden didn’t work Minneapolis’ downtown Thursday Farmers Market this year.
Bob’s hip just wouldn’t tolerate the rigors of a 38th season. “There was a lot of unloading and setting up in a separate area, so we decided not to go that step this year. The powers that be have told us they plan on having that Hennepin Plaza market one more year and then possibly continuing it on a different day,” said Bonnie. “It would be exciting because the consumers who attended the Hennepin Plaza market and the vendors were significantly happy with it.”
Bonnie also said they have been informed of a possible Interstate 94 project that could take away parking under the bridge near the weekend Minneapolis Farmers Market in 2017.
Whatever happens, count on Bonnie laughing about it while Bob smiles through it. That’s what he did before undergoing a total hip replacement in September at Mercy Hospital — during the nurses strike. Bob said the care was top-notch and the food was so good he called the kitchen to convey his compliments.
“It was a little unfortunate we had to depart from the hospital. It was like a vacation,” he said. “I got out of a lot of work this summer.”
Since Bob has been home, Bonnie has pampered him on the “comfort food diet.” The day this interview was videotaped, she prepared chicken soup with dumplings. Herbs from Dehn’s Garden elevated this soup to such a delicious level I ate all the peas in my bowl. I HATE PEAS!
Q: What did the hip do to your bottom line?
A: [Bob:] Quite a bit. We didn’t get a lot of crops planted that we would’ve. We knew that I wasn’t going to be 100 percent, and I’m the farmer.
Q: You guys spend part of the year down in Florida. Do you sleep in while in Florida or still get up like you are here in Andover?
A: [Bob:] I like to say in our offseason, I try to stay in bed until 4 to 5 a.m. It’s not easy. There are many days I am up by 3; it’s hard to break that sleep habit after all these years. When we go to Florida it’s an hour’s difference. If I sleep until 5 I think I am doing good, but I’ve actually gotten up at 4 again.
Q: Bonnie asked for something very special for her birthday this year?
A: It was a welcome request to me. She said she would like for us to retire. We are trying to set up a plan.
Q: You’ve got five grandkids. Do any of them not like to get dirty?
A: [Bonnie:] There are a couple who REALLY like to get dirty. The girls especially.
Q: How many people does it take to run this operation?
A: [Bob:] Several years ago when we had all the land planted for crops we sell, we would have 25 to 30 employees for the summer season. Now it takes about eight people to do what we do. That includes the greenhouse work and the hydroponics; it’s a big job. [Bonnie:] Any management we have, we’re out there. I have spent more time in the field this year than I have for 10 to 15 years.
Q: You guys have a really romantic marriage, shall I put it that way. [Bonnie laughs].
A: [Bonnie:] He’s still the most romantic man ever. [Bob:] I’ll leave it at that. [Bonnie:] Why talk about it? Just do it. We’re farmers, earthy people.
Q: Are your daughters, Jen and Norah, who are both married moms, embarrassed by how romantic their parents are?
A: [Uproarious laughter from Bonnie as Bob answers:] Most of the time.
Q: When your daughters were teenagers you had a surefire way of teaching them how not to stay out late?
A: [Bob:] I said I didn’t want to give them a curfew. “Just remember you’ve got to go to market at 3:30 a.m. Get home and get rested and be ready to be at market and smile all day and help customers.” [Bonnie:] They would lean against the post and smile.
Q: Is there anybody in Hollywood better at keeping a secret than your cousin “Mad Men” star Vincent Kartheiser? He and his actor wife, Alexis Bledel, just proved that you can have a baby without the media knowing.
A: He’s probably the best. Even the family didn’t know a lot of things going on.
Q: Family members didn’t know there was a baby coming?
A: Barely. Kudos to him.
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show.”