Getting a Taste of Michigan in Osceola County

Submitted by the Osceola County Farm Bureau

EVART — The Osceola County Farm Bureau hosted a District 7 Farm Bureau Innovative Farm Tour on Thursday, Aug. 11.

Around 40 people from the seven-county Farm Bureau district visited four different types of farming operations in Osceola County.

The first stop was at Elder Farmers Market, operated by Dave and Kathy Elder; sons, Corey, Craig and Chris; daughter-in­-law, Kelli Elder; and their four grandchildren. For the last several years, the Elders raised dairy beef and sold it to area residents at local farm markets. The Elders opened their own farmers market on Oct. 17, 2015, with direct marketing of their dairy beef. The Elders also have a 200-cow dairy operation.

The second stop of the tour was at Morgan Composting Inc., in Sears. A family­-owned business, it was founded in 1996 by Brad Morgan and his father, Dale. Now Brad; sons, Jeremy and Justin; and 34 employees work at Morgan Composting. The practice of composting was initially just a solution to dispose of manure on their dairy farm. They have multiple blends of high-quality, all-organic Dairy Doo Compost. This is their 20th year in business. People also saw Morgan’s vermicompost operation with more than 2 million worms.

The Osceola County Farm Bureau served lunch.

The Cadillac Winery, located in LeRoy, owned by Kevin Laehy and Jean Charbonneau, offered a wine tasting during the lunch break, serving several varieties of their wines.

The third stop was at Central Michigan Hops, located in Evart, owned by Kendall Wirth, along with his sons, Joshua and Tyler. Hops is rather new and the Wirths are in their second year of growing hops commercially for the state’s expanding brew industry. At the present time, the Wirths have two acres of chinook and Zeus hops growing on their farm.

The last stop on the tour was at Wirth Dairy Farm, located on 80th Avenue, outside Evart. Doug and Melanie Wirth, along with their sons, Jacob and Andrew, operate the farm, where 580 cows are milked three times a day. The family also farms 2,000 acres.

Ice cream, milk and cookies concluded the tour.