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Steeped in Tradition: A Spotlight on Fennville's Unique Local Offerings
Posted: Aug 18, 2011

Home to many agricultural farms, Fennville has many unique offerings for those who pass through the land.  Included in the Chamber of Commerce are Crane’s U-Pick orchards, Crane’s Pie Pantries, Apple Blossom Chapel and Gardens LLC, Baragar Pines Farm, Fenn Valley Vineyards, Earl’s Farm Market, Pleasant Hill Farm, Golden Orchards, Ayer’s Alpaca Farm, Huntree Nursery Inc., and Khnemu Studios on Fernwood Farm.  Many of these businesses are steeped in tradition.  Take for example, Crane's U-Pick.  Founded by Albert and Letha Crane after purchasing the land from John and Bessie Whitbeck in 1936, the Cranes began to transform their land as well as their crops.  Owned and operated today by Gary and Sandy Crane, Crane's U-pick offers pickings for apples, blueberries, peaches and cherries.  It is common on many weekends throughout September and October to see cars lined up along M-89 for U-pick apples.  Gary and Sandy suggest calling for weather conditions, or crop availability.  For schedules, visit www.cranesupick.com.

Fennville is also home to one of the first certified organic blueberry farms in Michigan.  John Van Voorhees and Joan Donaldson have been growing organic blueberries at Pleasant Hill Farm since 1977.  Taking pride as a third-generational farmer, John continues to care for some of the same blueberry bushes his grandfather and uncles planted in the 1940s.  Pleasant Hill offers you-pick blueberries, pickings during harvest by appointment, and will soon offer organic you-pick strawberries, fall raspberries, peaches and pears.  You can find Pleasant Hill Farms updates, notifications, and picking availabilities on their Facebook page.  For more information, visit www.pleasanthillblueberryfarm.com.

If you've ever wondered what happens on a farm, a trip to the Fernwood Farm is in order.  The farm specializes in free range farm fresh eggs, grass fed beef, herbs and vegetables. Described by Dawn Soltysiak as a small hobby farm that grows a lot of the food they consume, Fernwood offers tours.  "Over the last ten years of being in business we realized that many of our visitors had very little knowledge of where their food comes from, so we started touring people around the farm and teaching them about the animals and gardens." Soltysiak stated.  "Our guests ask a lot of questions and are really interested in learning about growing food.  In many ways I consider our farm a "gateway" farm. We do not make a living off farming, we do it because we enjoy it."  

Fernwood Farm is home to Khnemu Studios, specializing in handmade pottery - which is their primary business.  Khnemu Studios will participate in the 22nd Annual Blue Coast Artists October 1-2, giving free demonstrations in the pottery studio.  Dawn will be doing some wheel throwing, Raku firing, and will have a project for kids. This event runs from 10am-6pm both days. The studio is also participating in the Lakeshore Harvest Country Road Rally October 8th.  If you'd like to know more about how the farm is run, would like a tour, or are interested in pottery, visit their website at www.khnemustudio.com.

Looking for something to do on a Friday night?  Cruise on down to Earl's Farm Market in Ganges Township the second Friday of the month for Friday Oldie Cruise-In Nights; a chance for collectors and admirers of oldie cars to gather and enjoy great cars and great treats.  Earl's offers assorted local and seasonal vegetables and fruit, jams, syrup, cider, ice cream and assorted baked goods in their Michigan Farm Market.  Stop by and pick your own strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, or see what the market has to offer!  Check out www.earlsfarmmarket.com for a more detailed look at what Earl's has to offer.

 


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