Vision: To create a family-owned and operated fruit and vegetable farm / market garden which will function in a predominantly but not exclusive, permaculture model.
Mission Statement: By utilizing mostly on-site materials, we plan to evolve 5 acres of mostly ignored pasture and 5 acres of neglected planted pines into 10 acres of primarily permaculture orchards and market garden spaces.
Strategy: Although rural and agricultural, the area is currently under-served in terms of locally grown fruit. Most homes do not have their own orchards and rely on a small handful of large retail grocers for their fruit. Within a 45 minute drive, there are five competing orchards or berry farms. Of these five, one is exclusive to blueberries, one is exclusive to apples and another is focused only on selling berries in the Detroit area. The two remaining competitors are significant in variety and volume but are at the outskirts of the area and inconvenient to reach for residents of Sturgis, Howe and Lagrange whose combined population is roughly 13k. A sixth potential competitor (Nottawa Fruit Farm) announced last year that they are shutting down. They had operated successfully for over 30 years and were also successful in the agri-tourism sector, being an elementary school field trip destination for many of the areas schools. Our goal is to emulate Nottawa Fruit Farm in many ways while adopting mostly permaculture methods instead of conventional practices.
✓ Purchase tractor and basic implements necessary to begin development.
✓ Build first orchard utilizing trees from planted pines to form deer fence.
✓ Move and re-purpose the homes pool house into a secure, roadside stand.
✓ Become a SNAP / EBT authorized retailer.
✓ Install a drip irrigation system in the orchard.
• Build half acre raspberry patch. (In progress)
• Build raised beds from trunks of removed planted pines. (In progress)
• Install dedicated well with irrigation lines to orchard and veggie plots
• Move and expand apiary to 6 hives
• Install water retention pond in low-lying center portion of pasture between orchards.
• Erect a high tunnel south of first orchard for seed starts and propagation.
• Build half acre blueberry patch.
• Build second orchard in north pasture.
• Erect small (~ 30′ x 40′) livestock barn near the pole barn.