March 2019 - 28

FARM MARKET & AGRITOURISM
SODAS
AND SALADS
Value-added products boost small
grower's revenue
Kris and Steve Van Haitsma in one of their greenhouses. Photo: Stephen Kloosterman
By Stephen Kloosterman
Associate Editor
To a grower, a value-added product
means a crop plus processing and
packaging - but such products also may
add revenue to the farms themselves.
That's the working theory at Mud
Lake Farm south of Hudsonville,
Michigan. In just over a dozen years,
Steve and Kris Van Haitsma have
built a successful farm operation from
the ground up, growing greens for
local restaurants and a community
supported agriculture program. But the
newest part of the farm, a profitable
effort producing cordials and sodas
from elderflowers, has grown to
produce nearly 40 percent of the farm's
revenue in just four years and is much
more profitable than the greens.
The experience has made Steve Van
Haitsma is a firm believer in valueadded
products. Small vegetable farm
operations, after all, can be a hard row
to hoe.
" There are so many more small
farms doing that, and you're
competing against California and
Mexico, " Van Haitsma said.
Value-added products are more
workable, he said.
" It gives you control over your product, "
he said. " You're selling at retail. "
Mud Lake Farm was a stop on the Farm
Market Bus Tour held as part of the recent
Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm
Market EXPO in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Finding the farm
The seeds of Mud Lake Farm were
sown in 2000 when the two moved to
a homestead that had been in Steve's
family for roughly a century. The two
started to grow vegetables in 2006, and
eventually added greenhouses and as
they were approached by restaurants
and their business expanded.
Today, they germinate their own seeds
under lights in their basement. The
plants are grown hydroponically in flats
that float in a nutrient-mix that lines the
floor of each of the three greenhouses.
While the hydroponic operation is
not certified organic, they do not
use pesticides or herbicides - relying
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March 2019

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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
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-october-2023
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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
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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
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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
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2020
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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
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