Simply put, our approach is sustainable, transparent agriculture. Sustainable: achieved by following the natural cycle of life pattern in our gardens. (Grow, die, decay, feed new plants.) Our plants grow using the sun, rain (and groundwater), and nutrients found naturally in the soil. We then harvest the plants for us, our customers, and our animals. Plant and animal waste is then put back onto the gardens to build up the soil for the next crops. Pests are kept at bay through healthy growing conditions, predation, row covers (insect barriers), hand picking, and sprays derived from living organisms. This natural and simple approach is referred to as organic gardening, also known as traditional or “old fashioned.” Transparency: something only achieved by buying from a local farmer. We invite any of our customers to come visit the farm and see from where their food is coming. Guests have even been invited to pick produce from our gardens from time to time. We also have a variety of animals that enjoy attention from visitors, especially the children.
For years, Pete has enjoyed working with plants. While a child, he and his siblings were required to work an hour every day in the garden during the summer. To him, it was not drudgery but was exciting to see the plants grow and make their way to the table. When he was about 10 years old he started his first business, growing and selling cucumbers. Water was hauled in 5 gallon buckets pulled in a little Red Flyer wagon. Not much profit was realized, but the experience and memories were invaluable.
After Pete married Jill, the couple found a common interest in delicious, homegrown vegetables. Jill grew up in the city of Kentwood, but remembers her family sharing a bean garden with others in Fremont. She recalls pleasant memories of eating fresh green beans from the full baskets surrounding her in the backseat on the way home from Fremont. Since God has blessed Pete and Jill with many children, the passion for gardening also kindled a desire to become more self-sufficient in growing their own food, thereby saving money on groceries.
Friends soon saw the healthful food the family was enjoying and asked if they could buy some for themselves on a weekly basis. Others asked if they could get milk from the farm’s Jersey cows. So, really, the idea of selling the farm goods was the result of others’ interest in the farm, and soon the quest to better their own family with nutritious food turned into a business of sharing this wealth with other friends of the farm. One had the idea of the CSA, another the idea of providing eggs and meat, and still others of the cow and goat herdshare programs. This is a story of community; it is not only one family’s story.
Meet the Team
The team happens to be our family–one dad, one mom, and a dozen kids. In general, we farm together. Some of our older ones have moved on to pursue interests and careers of their own but still find themselves volunteering to help out from time to time. Everyone pitches in to some degree or another. Pete has learned, when he can, to give his little helpers jobs that they prefer or enjoy. Some like to weed with a hoe, others prefer hand weeding, and still others prefer yanking out old plants and feeding them to the pigs. Like most people, the kids all enjoy putting in the seeds and new plants. Almost everyone enjoys picking produce, except for the beans. We love to eat fresh beans, but no one enjoys a sore back or knees from picking the beans off the plants. This is the reason the beans are a more expensive item at the farmers’ markets. Together, the family decided that the price of beans had to be worth the labor!
Pete Wilson: Team Coordinator & Agriculturalist
Jill Wilson: Head of Scheduling & Business Communications