One of Jeff’s earliest memories is of his dad’s two five gallon carboys that sat underneath the staircase in the basement. Full of a rich amber-colored rhubarb wine, it mesmerized him. Once off to college at the University of Minnesota, Jeff “borrowed” his dad’s book on winemaking and made one of his first batches using mulberries “because they were free for the taking everywhere you looked” and a 5-gallon bucket snapped up before it hit the trash. It’s a resourcefulness that Jeff has never outgrown.
As a board member of his neighborhood council, six years ago Jeff led the effort to start an organic community garden and remained as its lead coordinator for two years as the fledgling organization got off the ground. Before that, Jeff helped to start the Eastside Food Co-op as a founding board member. So our landscape-architect-by-day has a long history of organizing around local food and sustainability issues. It was only a matter of time before Jeff’s 20 years of experience making wine would be incorporated into this passion.
Gita loves her job as a Public Health Nurse. A native of the beautiful nation of Nepal, she brings a taste for the spicy to the Urban Forage line of products. Happy to roll up her sleeves to put in time at the apple grinder or gleaning fruit, she considers “the work” to be some of the best quality time she spends with her family. She’s also an unabashed promoter. If it looks like you can’t get to harvesting the apples on your tree, don’t be surprised to see Gita knocking on your door with an offer you can’t refuse!
This February, Jeff and Gita Zeitler celebrate their 11-year wedding anniversary with their two kids who are developing a love for organic gardening and foraging alongside their parents. The family lives in the Merriam Park neighborhood of St. Paul, just over the bridge from their business in Minneapolis.