Farm News

Posted 8/20/2009 8:15am by Trent Thompson.

Hello All:

Something Better Natural Foods has been wholesaling natural and organic foods for over 25 years. Now, they are selling retail out of their storefront which is less than 1/4 mile away from the farm! They have plenty to offer, including dried fruits, nuts, local maple syrup, honey, cereals, grains, baking supplies, soups, natural cleaning products, etc. They are open until 6 PM on Thursdays so if anyone makes an order at the online farm stand (farm pick-up is from 4-7 PM today), it is a convenient place to stop by and do most of your weekly organic/natural food shopping.

Online ordering will run until 1 PM today for 4-7 PM pick-up at the farm.

Crops being offered include: basil, cilantro, sweet corn, squash, zucchini, peppers, tomatillos, beefsteak tomatoes, hierloom tomatoes, eggplant, and sunflowers.

Free sunflowers with any order today! May they brighten up your's dark and dreary here at the farm right now.

2009 Barn Bash Update coming soon!

Local food news/events below the picture of the eggplant taking a swim yesterday.

Hope all is well.


From Paul Sterner, Executive Director of Fair Food Matters, a local food advocacy group based out of Kzoo:

Dear friends of local food:

It wasn’t just a melon-induced daydream on our part … this nation really does have more gardens than before!

The National Gardening Association says 43 million households planned a backyard garden or joined a community garden in 2009, up from 36 million in 2008. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proclaimed August 23-29 National Community Gardening Week.

Here are some of the ways we’ll be celebrating:

Kalamazoo community garden tour
Fair Food Matters will celebrate National Community Garden Week with a public tour of 11 local gardens on Saturday, August 29 from 1-5 p.m. (rain or shine). Guests can tour the gardens, ask questions, and enjoy the kinship that comes from growing food and caring for a shared plot. The self-guided tours begin at any one of the gardens, located throughout Kalamazoo’s neighborhoods (including Eastside, Edison, Northside, Vine and Stuart). More information and a map of the gardens at

Urban garden tours
For a unique perspective on backyard gardens, our friends at the Michigan Land Trustees continue their summer farm/land tours on Sunday, August 23 with tours of urban organic gardens in both a condominium and suburban setting. More information at

Annual Harvest Dinner on the Farm
Food Dance presents its annual Harvest Dinner, an evening of big fun, live music and the best local food prepared outdoors by local chefs. You’ll enjoy grilled veggies, harvest salad, grilled chicken with roasted corn, peppers and onions, assorted Michigan cheeses, artisan breads and desserts featuring fresh Michigan fruit. It takes place at the Kirklin Farm (7894 East ML Ave.) on Sunday, September 6 from 5-8 p.m. The cost is $75 per person, and proceeds for this event benefit Fair Food Matters (thank you, Food Dance!). To register, visit

Eat Local, Kalamazoo!
The coalition known as Eat Local, Kalamazoo!, made up of area eateries and community organizations, is again busy planning local food-related events throughout the growing season. Highlights include:

  • The Eat Local! passport program, which takes place the entire month of September, is a fun way to enjoy local food – and to enjoy discounts from retailers and restaurants (and qualify to win food prizes!) at the same time.
  • “Finding Good Food Beyond Factory Farms,” a discussion by Nicolette Hahn Niman, will take place in two locations (Kalamazoo College and the Portage District Library) in October. Nicolette, an environmental lawyer and the author of The Righteous Porkchop, will look into the workings of factory farms vs. traditional farmers.
  • “Everything But the Beak,” a cooking demonstration and meal hosted by Judy Sarkozy, will take place in late October.
  • “Don’t Run Afowl of the Law,” scheduled for November 5 at the Portage District Library, will look into local ordinances, zoning issues and variance requests for keeping chickens.

Stay up-to-date at

What’s cooking at the Can-Do Kitchen?
The Can-Do Kitchen now has five clients in its new home at the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo, including The Adventures of Barb & Tammy (find them at the Texas Township Farmers’ Market); A Bushel & A Peck (at the Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market with Scobey’s Produce); and Kurry Guru (find their all-natural Indian food at Sawall Foods), among others. They’re making baked goods, entrees, breads and sauces, using a wide array of local ingredients!

The Can-Do Kitchen is an incubator kitchen that gives food entrepreneurs the opportunity to start their business in a low-risk environment. In addition to the commercial kitchen facility, Fair Food Matters can provide connections to local business resources, assist in the licensing process, and offer cooking and baking consultation. To find out more, contact, or join us for an open house on Wednesday, September 30 from 4-7 p.m.

Seed saving workshop
Seed saving, a centuries-old technique that helps ensure top yields and preserve agricultural diversity, is the topic of the next Growing Matters Garden community workshop. “Lessons in Seed Saving” takes place Thursday, August 20, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the garden (2119 N. Westnedge). Workshop presenter Lori Evesque will demonstrate methods to save late-summer vegetable seeds, discuss winter seed care and storage, and provide other seed-saving resources. A suggested donation of $5-10 covers costs of materials. Please contact to register.

Volunteer night at the garden
The Growing Matters Garden continues to host volunteer nights, where you and your family are invited to lend a hand, meet new people, and learn more about organic gardening. These kid-friendly events take place every week:

  • Woodward Elementary Garden Night: Every Tuesday from 7-8 p.m., June-August, at the Roots of Knowledge School Garden (at North St. and Stuart Ave.)
  • North Westnedge Garden Night: Every Wednesday from 6:30-8 p.m., May-September, at the Growing Matters Garden (2119 N. Westnedge)

Please call (269) 492-1270 or email for more information.

Great news from area grocery chains
The Kalamazoo Gazette News Services reported that regional grocery stores are answering customer calls for more locally grown food. Retail chains Meijer, Spartan Stores Inc. and Wal-Mart Inc. are “playing up their relationships with local farmers.” Supply (finally) seems to be catching up with demand at these large retailers, and we invite you to visit your favorite grocer to ask about local food.

Attention, food film fans
If you love local food and great films – or, heck, if you’re just a big fan of alliteration! – and would like to join us in planning the upcoming Fair Food Film Festival, please drop us a line at, or call (269) 492-1270.

“Food, Inc.” debuts
Speaking of films, the much-anticipated “Food, Inc.” recently made its Southwest Michigan debut, at the Riviera Theatre in Three Rivers (, where it continues through Thursday, August 20. In the film, director Robert Kenner reveals surprising truths about what we eat and how it’s produced. Negotiations are underway for a Kalamazoo-area screening in the near future!

And finally …
It’s a sign of the times: Last month, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary added the word “locavore” (one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible).

We wish you good health and happy eating!
Paul A. Stermer
Executive Director
Fair Food Matters
323 N. Burdick St.
Kalamazoo MI 49007
(269) 492-1270

Posted 8/10/2009 9:33pm by Trent Thompson.

Thanks for those interested in the extra tomatoes. It seems that many are canning this year! What great news! I am certainly going to take this into account for next year, perhaps putting in 300-400 more plants, especially Romas, so I can better meet your canning needs. I can put your name on a bulk tomato purchase order list for this season, but there are no guarantees. Many are already on the list and much depends on weather, plant productivity, and market sales.

Thank you, Trent

Posted 8/10/2009 8:26am by Trent Thompson.
Hello All:

If anyone is interested and ready for extra tomatoes for canning or freezing for the winter, please contact me via e-mail ( as soon as posssible. The farm had an awfully large harvest (~500 LBS) on Friday. After market on Saturday, we still have about 150 LBS of beautiful New Girl tomatoes and 20 LBS of Romas. The prices are as follows:

  • 25 LBS (1/2 Bushel) New Girls for $30
  • 50 LBS (1 Bushel) New Girls for $50
  • 20 LBS Romas for $25

All of these tomatoes have been grown using organic practices, sprayed only once with an organically approved fungicide (Copper sulfate).

If you need extra sweet peppers or basil to go with them, please let me know. The farm has extras of those as well.

Again, please e-mail me if you are ready to preserve the taste of summer for this winter. The first respondents will get them. Pick-up can be arranged for this evening or tomorrow evening at the farm, or if you are a CSA member, I can drop them off at your CSA pick-up point on Tuesday.

Finally, a customer pointed out an excellent article in the NY Times this past Sunday about the perils of tomato production in the Northeast. The farm is also seeing a very slow onset of the tomato blight as mentioned in the article. Hopefully, it can be controlled to some degree with copper fungicide, although if a totally resistant tomato variety were developed, you better believe the farm would grow it to eliminate spraying.

As for rain...yes, we received over 3" in the past two days! The plants are greener and grateful.

Have a great week, Trent

Posted 8/4/2009 11:45pm by Trent Thompson.

Hello All:

The season is really kicking into high gear here at Green Gardens. Many crops are yielding heavily, so the online farm stand is opening to the farm's CSA members and regular customers.

Regular customers, please place your orders on Wednesdays for farm pick-up the next night (Thurs) from 4-7 PM. CSA members should place their order by 10 AM on their CSA pick-up day (TUES, WED, or FRI).

Crops are looking very good overall. There have certainly been some problems this year. Flea beetles early this spring wiped out the first rotation of some brassicas and weeds have been an issue in a handful of plantings, but for the farm's second year, I am satisfied. The learning curve is huge and I am still a rookie grower. However, day by day, crop by crop, I am beginning to understand the complexities of managing and maintaining a productive organic farm. It is an exciting time to be part of a growing movement towards local, healthy, sustainably-produced food!

The farm is entirely dependent on a community of people here in the Battle Creek/Kzoo area who understand that local/organic food is better for our health, the environment, the local economy, and the strength of our community. Thanks again for all of your support.

The farm's produce will continue to be available at the Richland Farmers Market on WED from 3:30-6:30 PM at the Community Recreation Center on CD Ave, and the Kzoo Farmers Market on Saturday at Banks Street from 7:30-1:00 PM. Please look around the market for the farm in Kzoo. We continue to be placed in a lottery and get put in a random location each week. Last week we were acrossed the road!

Details for Barn Bash II, the farm's annual Fall harvest celebration, will be going out within 4 weeks.

Hope you are all having a great summer!

Best, Trent

Posted 8/4/2009 10:07pm by Trent Thompson.

I wish I had more time this season to send out e-mails and update the website with photos and farm updates. It has been a very busy year! Despite the drought, things here on the farm are growing great. Here's the proof, and, yes, those are artichokes grown in Michigan!...































Posted 7/7/2009 9:20pm by Trent Thompson.

Published: July 1, 2009

Will Allen, a farmer of Bunyonesque proportions, ascended a berm of wood chips and brewer’s mash and gently probed it with a pitchfork. “Look at this,” he said, pleased with the treasure he unearthed. A writhing mass of red worms dangled from his tines. He bent over, raked another section with his fingers and palmed a few beauties.

It was one of those April days in Wisconsin when the weather shifts abruptly from hot to cold, and Allen, dressed in a sleeveless hoodie — his daily uniform down to 20 degrees, below which he adds another sweatshirt — was exactly where he wanted to be. Show Allen a pile of soil, fully composted or still slimy with banana peels, and he’s compelled to scoop some into his melon-size hands. “Creating soil from waste is what I enjoy most,” he said. “Anyone can grow food.”

Like others in the so-called good-food movement, Allen, who is 60, asserts that our industrial food system is depleting soil, poisoning water, gobbling fossil fuels and stuffing us with bad calories. Like others, he advocates eating locally grown food. But to Allen, local doesn’t mean a rolling pasture or even a suburban garden: it means 14 greenhouses crammed onto two acres in a working-class neighborhood on Milwaukee’s northwest side, less than half a mile from the city’s largest public-housing project.

Continued here.

Posted 7/5/2009 8:43pm by Trent Thompson.

The farm is now selling produce at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market on Saturdays through mid-November. Unfortunately, I had to make the painful decision to leave the Battle Creek Farmers markets. I have developed many wonderful relationships with members of the Battle Creek community at the BC Farmers market over the past 1 1/2 years and I am forever grateful for your kindness and support. Thank you. This was purely a business decision. The farm needed to sell a larger portion of its produce to survive, so a bigger market like Kalamazoo was needed. I am excited to build new relationships with Kalamazoo FM customers.

The farm will likely have an unmanned farm stand set up at the farm within 2 weeks. I will keep you posted.

Best, Trent


Posted 5/27/2009 11:15pm by Trent Thompson.

Hello All:

Hope everyone is having a wonderful spring and getting ready for a great season. The vegetables here on the farm are positively delighted with the recent rain. After the field-check tonight, I noticed many of the greens and other crops have grown 1-2" in the past day alone. It's just amazing what a nice dose of water from the heavens will do to spring the plants to life.

Big News This Week: All of the farm's tomatoes are planted! I haven't done the exact count, but it is roughly 900 plants...quite a job, but looking at them all out in the field in the ground brings a great deal of satisfaction to me. They are just beautiful plants. May they yield bountifully for us all!

Sunflowers, more green beans, pole beans, lettuce were all seeded or transplanted this week. Today the snap peas started blooming.

This weekend the zucchini, summer squash, and cucumbers will go out, and next week peppers and eggplant, melons will be planted.

Orders can be made today (THURS) on the online farm stand for Friday evening pick-up at the farm. There's quite a bit  to choose from: radishes, spinach, spicy spinach mix, red and green mustards, kale, collards, Napa cabbage, Komatsuna, Pac Choi, and numerous plants for your garden.

All of these crops, and perhaps a couple more, will be at the Battle Creek Farmers Market on Saturday as well. The market is located Downtown, corner of Jackson and McCamley, from 9-1 PM.

Hope to see you at the farm or at market!

Best wishes, Trent

CSA Members: Details will be going out this week about your pick-up point. You will receive confirmation of your first choice as your pick-up point, a map of the pick-up point, and other CSA basics in the mail.

A close-up of Pac Choi in the field...



Posted 5/25/2009 7:45pm by Trent Thompson.

Lorraine will be the farm's flower girl this year, helping out with the perrenial flower garden and making bouquets. She has quite the green thumb and an eye for beauty. She is also using a small plot of land on the farm to grow plants to landscape local Habitat for Humanity homes. Nice work, Lorraine!

Posted 5/24/2009 9:28pm by Trent Thompson.

It was a beautiful night last night here on the farm, so I just couldn't resist getting out the camera and taking a few shots around the farm of the vegetables. The golden hour, the last hour of the day on a sunny evening, is my favorite time to be on the farm. As darkness sets in, life on the farm seems to calm down, getting ready to relax and recover through the night to prepare for another busy day the next morning. Here are the photos...

vetch and rye cover crop


artcihokeallium close-up