Farm News

Posted 9/5/2010 8:28pm by Trent Thompson.


We hope all of you are having a relaxing and fun Labor Day weekend! Here on the farm, we continue working because the weeds and the vegetables do not stop growing on Holidays!

September is a big month for local food! I wanted to bring to attention a few local food events we have going on in the area this month:

*Sunday, September 12, 5 pm: Annual Harvest Benefit Dinner, Kirklin Farm ($75)

Come slow down, celebrate the season’s harvest and share a meal with your community. Dine outside under tents on the centennial Kirklin Farm, just outside Kalamazoo and help us raise funds for the Fair Food Matters’ Growing Matters Garden program and the Future Chefs program. These programs protect the stewardship of our land and strengthen our local economy by educating the next generation about food and where it comes from. Area chefs come together to prepare a five-course meal and celebrate the best of the season’s offerings. ($60 of the event cost is tax-deductible)

*Sunday, September 19: Southwest Michigan Harvest Fest at Tillers in Scotts, MI

Interested in farming, local food, sustainable living? Then the SW Mich Harvest Fest is for you! $10 per carload. Bikers enter for free.

*Friday-Sunday, September 17-19: Mushroom Growing Weekend at Circle Pines Center in Delton

Michigan mycologists David Schaffer and Brian Rogers will reveal the art and science of growing edible and medicinal mushrooms. The pair owns and operates Mushroom Gardens LLC, a successful fungi farm in Interlochen.  These experts will lead you in hands-on log inoculation with cold stain oyster spores and impart trade secrets of the mushroom business. The weekend will also include Qigong, goat milking, lakeside sauna, canoeing, hiking and relaxation in a wooded atmosphere. To register call (269) 623-5555 or email

*Friday-Sunday, September 24-26: Harvest Weekend at Circle Pines Center in Delton

This slow food and homesteading event at CPC will demonstrate how to extend the local food season. Harvest Weekend will include an experiential dehydration workshop led by Excalibur COO Whitney Verkade on Saturday, September 25th. Other workshops will explore and explain canning the garden’s bounty and cooking root vegetables with our very own talented kitchen staff.

Circle Pines Center is dedicated to supporting Southwest Michigan farmers. All participants of camps, educational events and retreats are served from-scratch meals consisting of organic, locally-sourced ingredients. This approach is in accordance with the mission of CPC to teach peace, social justice, environmental stewardship and cooperation as a way of life. Costs for workshops vary; visit the website for more information at To register call (269) 623-5555 or email
In addition to the Harvest Weekend, we are also having a farmer appreciation feast at CPC on Sunday, September 26th at 3:00pm. More than 12 farm families that have been providing CPC with locally-grown produce, meat, and cheese will join us, along with other community members, to celebrate the year of generous harvest. A five-course, locally-sourced meal will be served family style for a suggested donation of $60 per plate. Please email if you are interested in attending.

*Sunday, September 26, 1:30 pm: Barn Bash 2010 at Green Gardens

Join us for our annual Fall potluck at the farm on White Rabbit Road. Arcadia Way will be entertaining with their wonderful folkgrass music. RSVP by September 20 to so we can plan accordingly.

Take care, Trent & Ruthie


Posted 9/3/2010 2:33pm by Trent Thompson.

Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.

May 2008

An anti-Monsanto crop circle in the Philippines

No thanks: An anti-Monsanto crop circle made by farmers and volunteers in the Philippines. By Melvyn Calderon/Greenpeace HO/A.P. Images.


Gary Rinehart clearly remembers the summer day in 2002 when the stranger walked in and issued his threat. Rinehart was behind the counter of the Square Deal, his “old-time country store,” as he calls it, on the fading town square of Eagleville, Missouri, a tiny farm community 100 miles north of Kansas City.

The Square Deal is a fixture in Eagleville, a place where farmers and townspeople can go for lightbulbs, greeting cards, hunting gear, ice cream, aspirin, and dozens of other small items without having to drive to a big-box store in Bethany, the county seat, 15 miles down Interstate 35.

Everyone knows Rinehart, who was born and raised in the area and runs one of Eagleville’s few surviving businesses. The stranger came up to the counter and asked for him by name.

“Well, that’s me,” said Rinehart.

As Rinehart would recall, the man began verbally attacking him, saying he had proof that Rinehart had planted Monsanto’s genetically modified (G.M.) soybeans in violation of the company’s patent. Better come clean and settle with Monsanto, Rinehart says the man told him—or face the consequences.

Rinehart was incredulous, listening to the words as puzzled customers and employees looked on. Like many others in rural America, Rinehart knew of Monsanto’s fierce reputation for enforcing its patents and suing anyone who allegedly violated them. But Rinehart wasn’t a farmer. He wasn’t a seed dealer. He hadn’t planted any seeds or sold any seeds. He owned a small—a really small—country store in a town of 350 people. He was angry that somebody could just barge into the store and embarrass him in front of everyone. “It made me and my business look bad,” he says. Rinehart says he told the intruder, “You got the wrong guy.”

When the stranger persisted, Rinehart showed him the door. On the way out the man kept making threats. Rinehart says he can’t remember the exact words, but they were to the effect of: “Monsanto is big. You can’t win. We will get you. You will pay.”

Scenes like this are playing out in many parts of rural America these days as Monsanto goes after farmers, farmers’ co-ops, seed dealers—anyone it suspects may have infringed its patents of genetically modified seeds. As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country. They fan out into fields and farm towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants about farming activities. Farmers say that some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records. Farmers call them the “seed police” and use words such as “Gestapo” and “Mafia” to describe their tactics.

When asked about these practices, Monsanto declined to comment specifically, other than to say that the company is simply protecting its patents. “Monsanto spends more than $2 million a day in research to identify, test, develop and bring to market innovative new seeds and technologies that benefit farmers,” Monsanto spokesman Darren Wallis wrote in an e-mailed letter to Vanity Fair. “One tool in protecting this investment is patenting our discoveries and, if necessary, legally defending those patents against those who might choose to infringe upon them.” Wallis said that, while the vast majority of farmers and seed dealers follow the licensing agreements, “a tiny fraction” do not, and that Monsanto is obligated to those who do abide by its rules to enforce its patent rights on those who “reap the benefits of the technology without paying for its use.” He said only a small number of cases ever go to trial.

Some compare Monsanto’s hard-line approach to Microsoft’s zealous efforts to protect its software from pirates. At least with Microsoft the buyer of a program can use it over and over again. But farmers who buy Monsanto’s seeds can’t even do that.

Read more here.

Posted 9/2/2010 9:09pm by Trent Thompson.



Well, with the cooler temperatures and shorter days, Fall is on its way! Barn Bash '10, the farm's annual fall harvest celebration, will be on Sunday, September 26 from 1:30-4:00 PM RAIN or SHINE! Arcadia Way (Acoustic Folkgrass musicians) will be entertaining, starting around 2 PM. Family and guests are welcome to attend, but please RSVP to by Sept. 20 so we can plan accordingly. Click here for directions if you have not been to the farm before.

This is a big potluck! A farm-inspired dish is required for entry, preferably with a farm ingredient. There will be plenty of good food, music, and fun. No need to bring silverware, plates, cups, chairs, or pets. For those who haven't seen the farm, you will be welcome to walk around to view the crops growing in the field and high tunnel.

A $5-10 donation is encouraged to help the farm cover the costs of the band and putting on the party.

Hope you can make it!

Your Farmers, Trent & Ruthie

Photo from last year's Bash of the band seting up. Good people, music, and food followed.


Posted 7/27/2010 10:07pm by Trent Thompson.

Tomorrow (WED) the farm will be selling produce at the Battle Creek Farmers' Market from 9-12 PM on the corner of Jackson and McCamley in Downtown Battle Creek (across the street from Kellogg Headquarters). We will have numerous crops including beautiful orange, red and Sun Gold cherry tomatoes from the high tunnel, celery, yellow bush beans, basil, dill, onions, Yukon Gold potatoes, collards, peppers and summer squash. We hope to see you there!

Also, we have decided to have a farm market at the farm on Thursday evenings from 4-7 PM. We will set up a stand with produce. No pre-ordering is necessary. However, for greater selection and faster pick up time, please order through the online farm stand on Wednesdays. Here are directions to the farm.

Once again, thanks to all who have supported the farm this season. It's been a great year and we hope for many more, even better, years ahead.

All the best, Trent & Ruthie

Posted 7/25/2010 10:43am by Trent Thompson.

This is a quick note to let you know that we will be opening the Green Market today at the farm until 3:30 PM. Produce offerings include beautiful orange and red tomatoes from the farm's new high tunnel, freshly dug Dark Red Norland potatoes, onions, summer squash and zucchini, peppers, celery, mini red cabbage, green beans, collards, kale, and cucumbers.

No online orders. Please just come on out! If you've never seen the farm, this could be an opportunity for you to take a peek and walk around.

This is probably not going to be a weekly occurrence. I pulled a muscle in my back this past WED and am taking it easy by not doing field work this Sunday.

Also, if anyone is interested in placing weekly orders from the online farm stand, please let us know. We will place you on a weekly e-mail list, so you can be reminded to make your order every WED.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! It looks to be a beautiful, sunny Sunday!


Posted 7/9/2010 4:33pm by Trent Thompson.
Greetings All:

It's been a long time since our last communication with you and we apologize for that. The plants out in the field, CSA, and farmers market have kept us incredibly busy over the past couple months.

Fortunately, most crops are thriving. The summer crops are slowly coming in! Tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers are all new additions to the CSA, farmers markets, and online farm stand this week. We will extend the online farm stand hours to noon on Thursday for 4-7 PM pick-up at the farm.

At the Kalamazoo market, we now will be located each week on the SE corner of the market, just outside of the structure (across from Dave of Young Earth Farm and Kalamazoo Granola). Many of our customers have struggled finding us because we bounce around the market each week, so we hope this is helpful.

Canning classes will be available in Battle Creek on July 15. Learn how to preserve the taste of summer by signing up today! $25. Link here.

Thanks again for your continued support of the farm!

Take care, Trent and Ruthie

Photo of tomatoes in high tunnel:

high tunnel, 7/7

The indeterminate cherry tomatoes are already 8 feet tall!
Posted 6/11/2010 10:11pm by Trent Thompson.

Green Gardens can be found at the Kalamazoo Farmers' Market SAT with salad mix, garlic whistles, swiss chard, lettuce, green mustard, radishes, salad turnips, cilantro, and purple-top turnips. The hunt to find us will continue for a few more weeks, so keep your eyes open. We'll be there and happy to see you!

Posted 6/2/2010 5:49am by Trent Thompson.
Good morning,

This is just a quick notice letting you know that the farm will be at both the Battle Creek (9-12:30) and Richland (3:30-6:30) Farmers Markets today.

The farm will be at the Battle Creek market again on the first WED of the month in July.

Today we'll have radishes, salad turnips, green mustard, salad mix, arugula, lettuce.

Hope to see you there!

CSA Members: The CSA boxes begin next week!

The online farm stand will continue to be open this week, too, for Thursday night pick-up at the farm.

Be well, Trent

Photo below of the farm's artichoke planting. We tripled the planting this year to 200 plants to accomodate more loss to deer and other pests.

Artichokes in East field

Posted 5/18/2010 11:05pm by Trent Thompson.

With the first harvests and market last week, the season is now officially in full swing. The radishes are sizing up, multiple rotations of salad greens are looking wonderfully tasty, peas are blossoming, carrots emerging, and tomatoes are already forming on the tomato plants in the high tunnel.

This is a very busy time of year for the farm as we have to plant, harvest, and market simultaneously. We never really ever catch up with things. There are always lists and more lists of things that need to get done. Although it can be a bit overwhelming at times, it's all worth it to be doing this fine work, growing great vegetables to satisfy the taste buds of the wonderful community of people that support the farm.

This week the farm's produce will be available at the Richland Farmers Market on WED (this is the first week), the farm on THURS (through the online farm stand), and the Kalamazoo Farmers Market on Bank Street on SAT. In Kalamazoo, the farm now has a permanent location on the NE corner facing the road, next to Maria's Victorian Bakery. We will have salad mix and radishes at both markets and at the farm. Each forthcoming week will likely include the addition of 1-2 new crops.

Finally, there is a new CSA in Battle Creek. Our Little Farm is a small CSA (20 members) geared towards smaller shares. Larry McAuliffe implements sustainable, permaculture techniques to farm his land in Pennfield Township. For more information, see his localharvest listing here.

CSA newsletters and receipts have either been sent out or wil be sent out in the next two days. Thanks for your patience! The CSA begins in three weeks!

Be well, Trent (and Ruthie)

5/18 Photo of tomato plant in high tunnel:

More 5/18 photos here. High tunnel tomatoes still look on schedule for late June harvest.
Posted 5/18/2010 9:11pm by Trent Thompson.

The tomatoes in the high tunnel look positively amazing. Some even have a few tomatoes on them! I still think we are looking at late June for the first tomato harvests! YUM! The salad mix and radishes also are looking incredible this week for the farmers markets in Richland and Kalamazoo, as well as for the online farm stand on Thursday evening. The farm now has a permanent spot at the Kzoo market on Bank Street. It is on the NE corner on the road side, right next to Maria's Victorian Bakery. We look forward to seeing you soon! Best, Trent

staked determinates
















sald mix close-up