February 2022 - 18

GLVPN VEG CONNECTIONS
Learning from the u-pick pros at the GL EXPO
BEN PHILLIPS
Michigan State University
There's no one way to run a successful
u-pick, but it always takes creativity to
find that perfect niche: an experience that
brings the customers in and is manageable
given your business' size and situation.
I interviewed three creative u-pick
ventures at the Great Lakes Fruit,
Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO in
Grand Rapids, Michigan, so our audience
could learn from their experiences (hear
the conversation at glveg.net/listen).
I wanted to share the essence of our
conversation here, so you can select from
their u-pick insights.
So who did I talk with? Blake Farms
was the largest farm in the interview,
with three distinct u-pick farm properties
north of Detroit. It was represented by
farm team members Lonnie Decker, Brent
Christiansen and Stephen Campbell.
Hooper's Farm Gardens was a smaller
single-farm operation outside Traverse
City represented by owners and managers
Terry and Bruce Hooper. Will Forage
for Food is an educational business that
roams the southern lower peninsula of
Blake Farms has three distinct u-pick farm properties north of Detroit. Photo: Blake Farms
Michigan and was represented by owner,
Rachel Mifsud.
General overview
Blake Farms offers 30 distinct u-pick
crops ranging from the staples like
strawberries, apples and pumpkins, to
some less common u-pick crops like herbs,
root crops and broccoli. In its peak season
it has 500 employees across three farms. Its
u-pick sales units change throughout the
year, starting with by-the-pound peas and
strawberries, and then becoming a half
bushel, mixed-vegetable bag at a set price
when more crops are ripe, and a separate
apple/pear bag.
Hooper's Farm Gardens grows cut
flowers for u-pick and custom order for
weddings. The number of different species
and varieties depends on the wedding
planning that occurs before seed orders.
It supplies four to six weddings every
weekend from June through October.
It also has retail secondary items like
votives, lighting, arbors and other event
accessories. It hires between three and 10
employees.
Mifsud begins her outdoor foraging
classes each year on New Year's Day,
though the season starts picking up for
her around maple sap run and continues
through November. There are hundreds
of foods that can be foraged. She conducts
MODEL 912 MULCH
TRANSPLANTER
* Sets plants through plastic mulch
* Water system available
* For cells or plugs up to 2-1/2 " in diameter
* No more setting plants in wet, cold mud by hand
* Twin row available for row spacing as close as 12 "
* Plant spacing starts at 10 " in the row
1150 CENTRAL AVENUE, HOLLAND, MI 49423
Phone: 800-757-5268 or Fax: 616-396-3619
website: www.mechanicaltransplanter.com
e-mail: mtc@mechanicaltransplanter.com
16 | VegetableGrowersNews.com
http://www.glveg.net/listen http://www.mechanicaltransplanter.com http://www.VegetableGrowersNews.com

February 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of February 2022

February 2022 - 1
February 2022 - 2
February 2022 - 3
February 2022 - 4
February 2022 - 5
February 2022 - 6
February 2022 - 7
February 2022 - 8
February 2022 - 9
February 2022 - 10
February 2022 - 11
February 2022 - 12
February 2022 - 13
February 2022 - 14
February 2022 - 15
February 2022 - 16
February 2022 - 17
February 2022 - 18
February 2022 - 19
February 2022 - 20
February 2022 - 21
February 2022 - 22
February 2022 - 23
February 2022 - 24
February 2022 - 25
February 2022 - 26
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February 2022 - 28
February 2022 - 29
February 2022 - 30
February 2022 - 31
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February 2022 - 33
February 2022 - 34
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/vgn-digital-seed-guide-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-october-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-august
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-june-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/vgn-digital-seed-guide-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-october-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/seedguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/seedguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2019
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com