Oct 26, 2010
Farm markets showcased on bus tour

Plan to come a day early to the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO, so you can attend the third annual Great Lakes EXPO Farm Market Tour on Monday, Dec. 6.

Join Fruit Growers News, Vegetable Growers News and the Michigan Farm Marketing & Agri-Tourism Association as you visit six farm markets and agritourism locations in west Michigan – all different locations than those visited on the 2008 and 2009 tours.

Attendees will engage with other farm marketers to share ideas, explore business opportunities and discuss strategies during the one-day tour. While traveling on the bus, Michigan Stave University Extension personnel will serve as tour hosts.

The 2010 stops include:

Critter Barn – The Critter Barn takes a hands-on approach to teaching about animals, farming, food sources, products and careers. There are a variety of opportunities for children to learn to care for animals through Critter Camp, where they collect eggs, milk goats, feed critters and learn about sustainability. The Critter Barn nurtures an appreciation for agriculture, teaches about farming’s importance to our future and inspires visitors to respect all living things. Visit www.critterbarn.org to learn more.

Lubbers Family Farm – Lubbers Family Farm operates a cow share program and raises grass-fed beef, grass-fed succulent beef, grass-fed lamb and pastured pork for meat sales. Lubbers Family Farm is home to the recently opened Cowslip Creamery, which makes farmstead artisan cheeses. The farm also has the Little Rooster Bread Co., where bread is baked daily using farm-grown products and a unique fermentation process. Visit www.lubbersfarm.com, www.cowslipcreamery.com and www.littlerooster.net for more information.

Moelker Orchards & Farm Market – Since 1907, the Moelker family has been growing fruit on the same farm. They grow and sell a wide variety of tree fruits including apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, pumpkins and squash. They offer an assortment of fruit jams, salsas, butters, baking mixes, fresh apple cider, pure Michigan Maple Syrup and locally produced honey. They create gift baskets to maintain fresh fruit sales year round. Visit www.moelkerorchards.com to learn more.

Post Family Farms – Post Family Farms has created a haven for weddings, reunions, corporate gatherings and other events. They have enhanced the barn, added ponds, a waterfall and floral landscaping to provide backdrops and settings for special events. In the farm market, they offer seasonal items including poinsettias and sleigh rides in the winter, corn stalks and donuts in the fall, a produce stand in the summer and fresh jams and flowers in the spring. They have corn, straw and post-&-rope mazes, barn dancing and other family activities. Visit www.postfamilyfarm.com to learn more.

Vander Mill Cider Mill and Winery – Vander Mill’s has been open for five years and has a brewmaster who has created an entire line of cider, hard ciders and fruit wines, all on-site. They have marketed their hard cider as a draft beverage and have secured taps at several southwest Michigan bars and restaurants. The hard ciders have been infused with a variety of fruits to create unique blends including peach, apple and blueberry. Vander Mill’s takes its products to many local farmers’ markets. Visit www.vandermill.com to learn more.

Well’s Orchard – Well’s Orchard has been in operation for more than 100 years, handed down from generation to generation. Through the years, the owners have added tree fruit acreage and expanded wholesale and retail sales. They have also added two controlled atmosphere rooms for long-term apple storage. Well’s grows apples, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, apricots, sweet cherries, pumpkins and squash. It also hosts school field trips. They have expanded their market by becoming a member of the West Michigan co-op, which is the region’s first online farmers’ market. Visit www.wellsorchards.com to learn more.

The cost to attend the tour is $149, and includes transportation to all farm markets, lunch and snacks. Registration is limited. Register by going to www.glexpo.com and sign up at the same time you sign up to attend the EXPO, or visit the Tour website at http://bustour.greatamericanpublish.com. Call 616-887-9008 if you need more information.

By Sara Middlebrook, Events & Marketing Manager

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