Down on the farm
Co-op coordinates tours of area farms
MARQUETTE — The Marquette Food Co-op has been coordinating tours of local farms throughout the Upper Peninsula for 13 years, offering people the chance to discover where their food comes from, learn about how it’s grown or raised, and meet the farmers who provide the area with quality food.
“Behind every bite of food is a story,” Kelsie Dewar, MFC publicity coordinator, said in a press release. “This is a great opportunity to pull back the curtain and find out where your food comes from, learn about how it’s grown or raised, and meet the hard-working farmers who are dedicated to bringing fresh, quality food to our tables.”
The annual farm tours will be held Sunday and Sept. 16 and are free and open to the public. All tours are independently led by the farmers, and run continuously between noon to 5 p.m., rain or shine.
“These are working farms, and attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable and durable shoes and appropriate clothing for weather conditions,” the press release reads.
On Sunday, people have the opportunity to visit MSU North Farm, Treasa’s Treasures, Rock River Farm and Guindon Farms.
According to its website, The North Farm was originally founded in 1899 just north of Chatham and is part of the MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center. The farm functions as both a production and teaching facility.
“We are an incubator farm specializing in diversified organic vegetable production, research, education, and outreach for northern latitude climates. We offer farm tours and activities, on-site workshops, and opportunities for beginning farmers to live and work with us to learn about sustainable farming in the challenging northern climate of the U.P.,” the website states.
Using organic and sustainable practices coupled with season extension technologies, the farm is growing a wide variety of vegetables.
Treasa’s Treasures has been a vendor at two farmers markets since 2010, and also sells a small quantity to the Marquette Food Co-op.
According to the MSU North Farm website, Treasa has been in the Michigan Farmers Market Association’s Certificate Program, and is the Market Manager for the Munising Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. She has served two years on the MIFMA Board of Directors. Last year, Treasa became an MSU Master Gardener Volunteer Program Trainee.
“She has participated in the USDA GAP Program. She has two 30 foot by 72 foot hoophouses, one from the MIFMA Hoophouses for Health Program. Transplants are grown in a 17 foot by 24 foot heated greenhouse. Treasa keeps honeybees and a few chickens. She practices biodynamics, companion planting, planting for beneficials and permaculture,” the site says.
Rock River Farm, which is another farm the public can tour Sunday, was established in 2009 by three friends with a dream of building a diversified market farm.
“Today, we are a six acre farm growing cut flowers and veggies managed by Rowan (and) Shailah Bunce. Our farm has become one of the largest flower farms in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, with two and a half acres of annual and perennial flowers in production. We grow a huge variety of flowers for different markets, including weddings, which have been featured in magazines. Our produce is picked at peak maturity and used in our catering events or sold at the Marquette Farmers Market and several restaurants in our region,” the Rock River Farm website states.
Guindons’ Farm is owned and operated by Matt and Barb Guindon and known for raising Limousin cattle that are raised without antibiotics or added hormones.
“They are fed a healthy, all vegetarian diet of lush grasses, raised on the farm and allowed to grow at their own pace. All natural choices mean you can feel good about what you are serving your family — beef that doesn’t contain nitrates, nitrites, preservatives, MSG, cereal fillers, or any artificial ingredients to enhance the flavor or texture. It is natural beef that is wholesome, and healthy. If you love beef, you may already know how lean and tender Limousin beef is,” its website states.
If you’re unable to attend any of the tours on Sunday, more tours are scheduled Sept. 16. The participating farms are BSB Farms; Reh-Morr Farm; Slagle’s Family Farm; Seeds & Spores Family Farm; and Cloverland Farm.
For more information on each participating farm and directions to their location from Marquette, visit https://marquettefood.coop/2018-local-farm-tours.
Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.