Pahl’s Market has grown where it was planted
Family-run market celebrates 30 years
From humble beginnings, Pahl’s Market has taken root in Apple Valley to become a destination business for locally grown flowers and produce.
The family-run market at Galaxie Avenue and County Road 46 along the city’s southern border is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Gary Pahl, who owns the operation with his wife, Jane, and his brother, Brian, remembers the early days of Pahl’s Market – sweet corn, watermelons and tomatoes being sold out of the back of a semitrailer with a hand-painted Pahl’s Market logo on its side.
There wasn’t a lot of traffic passing by in the market’s early days in Apple Valley.
“Everything around us was cornfields and there wasn’t a house until you hit County Road 42,” Gary Pahl recounted. “There was a time before they made this a main thoroughfare that very few cars drove by.”
The Pahls started selling flowers at their Apple Valley store in the late 1980s, and in the mid-1990s built their first greenhouse.
Now, many families make trips to Pahl’s part of annual rituals such as the market’s spring opening, the delivery of the first sweet corn batch in July, picking out pumpkins in October and selecting a Christmas tree in December.
Pahl’s Market is a business that diversified and grew as demand for its products increased.
While many people are familiar with Pahl’s retail operation with pansies, petunias, begonias and much more under three acres of greenhouse glass, the vegetable business is larger than one might think.
The farming operation – spanning five generations of the Pahl family – now includes about 1,100 acres of vegetables, with farm fields in Eagan, Apple Valley, Rosemount, Lakeville and throughout rural Dakota County.
The farming operation supplies about 50 grocery store companies in 15 states, and clients include such supermarket heavyweights as Cub Foods, Target and Rainbow. Peppers grown on Pahl family farms are used in burritos and other entrees at Chipotle restaurant.
Through their business, the Pahls have given back to the community in many ways. Gary has been involved with the Minnesota Grown advisory committee. He’s been a coach with the Lakeville Hockey Association, and has sat on the UMore Park advisory council. Jane has served on the board of the Lewis House golf tournament fundraiser and has been president of the Lakeville North Booster Club.
The business has 10 full-time employees, though the addition of seasonal help in the summer months bumps the employee roster up to about 125.
Gary and Jane Pahl’s two adult children, Jamie and Jack, have lent a hand at the market since they were kids.
Jamie, a recent college graduate who’s planning to attend law school, has worked in the retail end of the business. Jack, who works at the market in the summer, is currently a student at the University of Minnesota’s School of Horticulture.
Gary Pahl looks to son Jack as perhaps the next generation of the Pahl family to take the reins of the business.
“Maybe that’ll be the sixth generation,” he said. “We’ll see.”
In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Pahl’s Market is holding a “Diamond Drawing Giveaway.” One lucky customer who’s entered the promotion will be awarded a diamond pendant at noon on Saturday, June 30.
Pahl’s Market is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, at 6885 160th St. W. in Apple Valley. For more information, go online at www.pahls.com or call (952) 431-4345.