Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota Faces: The Sweetcorn Salesman July 31, 2015

Portrait #33: Bill Edelbach

Bill of Edelbach Produce

Bill of Edelbach Produce

It’s sweetcorn season here in Minnesota, which reminds me of veggie vendor Bill Edelbach.

I met Bill two summers ago selling peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and sweetcorn from the back of his pick-up truck parked on a street corner in downtown Kenyon.

The Kellogg area farmer has been tending and vending vegetables for more than 50 years. That hard work shows in his salesmanship skills, in his lean frame and in his face. Oh, that face. Sun, sky and wind have furrowed lines deep into his weathered skin. His face tells the story of a man who works hard and loves the land.


This is part of a series, Minnesota Faces, featured every Friday on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


32 Responses to “Minnesota Faces: The Sweetcorn Salesman”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    Ah yes, he is a very familiar face in our neck-of-the-woods, also!!! I think he’s ageless!!!! LOL!!!!

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Perfect picture. His face definitely shows his passion for farming and his love of the land.

  3. Nothing better than fresh fruits and veggies from the farm – Yummers! This sweet man reminds me of my own grandfather. He farmed in Kandiyohi County and my two uncles still own 40 acres of land on the old farmstead. I want to get in the garden now and lazy the day away. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  4. More envy from this corner, this time for farmers and gardeners… You see, I grow tomatoes every year, and every year I have some sort of problem. Eventually, I do get some but, not without the wonder of what I’m doing wrong. The tags says will bear fruit in 72-77 days. Yeah right. This year I planted only 6 plants and so far 81 days into the process I have a grand total of 6 tomatoes showing on the vines of 5 plants.. Each year someone tells me how they are successful, and as of yet, yup, 6 tomatoes on 5 plants from this year’s suggestion. Well, as we say here in “Red Sox” country– “Wait til next year”!

  5. YESSS,
    we have a guy, HANK, who has been on Grand Avenue for years.
    You really captured his lovely face, Audrey! xx

  6. 01rena Says:

    That is the face of true America. What America has been all about – pioneers and folk who strive to make their way, by doing it THEIR way. That is the face of a soldier and hero, a poet and sage. Seeing the face of Mr. Edlebach and hearing his story inspires me to hold on to the simple things in life and to be tenacious in doing what works for my family. As I look into Mr. Edelbach’s face, I see strength and success. God bless you, Mr. Edelbach!

  7. Jackie Says:

    Love this… a Care-worn face indeed. I also noticed the “G’s” in the word Kellogg on the pickup sign…. they are interesting “G’s

  8. Almost Iowa Says:

    Back when I was young and foolish (my wife says that was yesterday), someone convinced me and my friends that the faster you got sweet corn into a boiling pot, the better it tasted. So my track team set up a relay.

    When the pot came to a boil, the news was “relayed” to the field and the corn was relayed back. It was the best corn we ever had…. though the effort and a lot of beer might have had something to do with it.

    Faces like Bill Edelbach’s are why photography was invented.

  9. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I can only imagine the stories this guy could tell and the gardening advice.

  10. Littlesundog Says:

    I love this portrait shot of Bill, Audrey. These people we make deals with, and probably only see once a year… there is something special about that kind of bond.There is genuine trust in an old fashioned handshake. What we learn in a little conversation with an old-timer is priceless. Even Bill’s pickup shows some interesting character.

  11. hotlyspiced Says:

    His face truly does look like he’s lived and worked on the land. I do love to buy my fruit and vegetables from local producers like this – I swear it tastes better! xx

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