Welcome to East Grove Farms!  The 2024 Iowa Preservation Summit pre-conference mixer will be held here on Wednesday June 5 from 6-8 PM.  You will be able to tour the old farm settled by Joel C. Garretson in 1837 and enjoy a free mead and wine tasting with an opportunity to purchase a bottle to enjoy with Cynful Smokers award winning BBQ.   Learn about the Underground RR activity of the 1840's  & 50's, browse through a restored country school, take a look at some old farm equipment and vehicles, and tour the house which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Entertainment is provided by Whiskey Friends on the old barn stage.

The address is 1878 335th Street, Salem, IA.   We are 5 miles southeast of Salem just off Hwy 27/218.  At mile marker 32 drive 3/4m east to the farm.  11 miles north of Donnellson or 60 miles south of Iowa City.

Visiting the farm:  Open weekends 1-5pm and by appointment.   Call Joel at 319-217-0276 or Steph at 319-795-0620

We are one of two meaderies in Iowa, establishing East Grove Farms as an LLC in 2011.  We specialize in using our own home grown fruit from our vineyard, caneyards, and orchards.   Some of our nursery stock originated from the farm in the 19th century.

We are located at 1878 335th St., Salem, IA 52649.   We are one mile east of the Avenue of the Saints (Hwy 27/218) at Mile Marker 32 about 11 miles north of Donnellson or 60 miles south of Iowa City.

THE FARM IS RICH IN HISTORY-  This 19th century country Victorian farm house built by O.A. & Emma Garretson serves as a residence and headquarters for the farm peration.  This house is on the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and Garretson's role in the preservation of Iowa history.   O.A.'s numerous articles on local Iowa history were published in the Iowa Journal of History & Politics and The Palimpsest.  His well known article "Travelling on the Underground Railroad" is a top read for UG RR researchers.   

During Iowa's Sesquicentennial celebration in 1996, the Garretson farm was named Iowa's Oldest Continuously settled farm, established in June of 1837 by Joel C. Garretson.    Joel was a stock raiser, minister, orator, inventor, and a station master on the Underground Railroad and the farm was a key stop for freedom seekers on the route between Salem, New Garden, and Denmark.   Missouri slave owners had a price on his head of $500. 

Joel's father Isaac is buried back in the timber in the East Grove Cemetery.  He was a government land surveyor and received patents for a nail cutting machine,  a means of rigging the sails around the hull of a ship to prevent it from sinking during an attack, and one for using steam, wind, and water to power machinery.  The three patents were signed by George Washington, John Adam, and John Quincy Adams.  We are working with the U.S Patent Office in providing them copies of these patents and their schedules which their copies were destroyed in the patent office fire in 1836.

East Grove was an abolitionist community on the Underground Railroad route between Salem, New Garden, and Denmark.

East Grove Cemetery is one of Henry County's pioneer cemeteries established in 1839.  Isaac Garretson 1765-1844 is one of the burials.   His sons Joel and Harvey settled the farm June 1837.  Pictured here is the Henry Co Pioneer Cemetery Commission.

We grow several alternative crops like heirloom green gage plums, white peaches, apples, and persimmons, but we specialize in elderberries and aronia berries.  The Green Gage plums have been growing on the farm for about 150 years or more.  Letters discovered in the attic between family members in the 19th century describe the plum, peach, and apple harvests.

East Grove's manufacturing facility

The Pilot Grove #6 one room country school was moved to East Grove Farms in 2021 with restoration expected be completed by May 2023.  The original bell, blackboard,and a few pre-1870 desks are on display with other rural school artifacts.  It is open to the public and just one of the many surprises you will find at East Grove Farms.

Over the years we've had lots of musical guests!  Here's a short list:  Calin Wilson, Nella Thomas and Will Locker, The Nearly Great Horned Owls, Bob Anderson, Clyde Burchard,  The Burnt Grass Band, Randy Wilson, Dyno and the Road Kill Orchestra, Steve Prottsman, Rob McCuen,  Dyno and the Roadkill Orchestra, The Kay Brothers,  The Burney Sisters, The River Kittens,  Grass Fed Mule, Flash in a Pan, Mercer & Johnson, Dave Zollo,  Barroom Billies, Eric Pettit Lion, Travis Reid, Will Whitmore, Brutal Republic, Katie Belle and Belle Rangers, Whiskey Friends,  The June Bugs, Ned Francis, Chaz and the Channel Cats, Society of Broken Souls, Adam Bruce, Meredith Musgrove Shaw, Rena Mackey, Suzanne Overberg.  Country Unlimited, Jake McVey, The Creek Rocks, Amanda Day, Bob Dorr Blue Band, Bluezillion, Awful Purdies, Nikki Lunden Trotter & Natural Habits .

Bob Dorr and band have performed frequently at East Grove's restored 1880's barn.

Check out the selection of East Grove Mead at New Pioneer Co-op in Cedar Rapids!    They have virtually everything that we offer at the farm.  If you are in the Cedar Rapids area you don't have far to go to enjoy a bottle of our mead.   New Pioneer in Coralville has a good selection of mead as well.