March 2019 - 29

FARM MARKET & AGRITOURISM
ever tasted before back in the U.S.
" We thought, nobody's doing this,
and we have all of these elderflowers
on our land, " Kris said during a
recent farm tour of her land. " We
should do this. "
Plans and cans
In 2014, Mud Lake Farm began
Elderberries, elderflowers and ginger grown on Mud Lake Farm are used in the St. Steve'sbrand
sodas and cordials. Photos: Mud Lake Farm
almost entirely on beneficial insects like
ladybugs and lacewings for pest control.
The marshy land had once been
used as a cow pasture.
" It floods constantly, which
for the elderflowers is great, "
Kris Van Haitsma said. While
Steve's background is in business
management, Kris has a background
as an environmental chemist, and
she was the first to note the many
wild elder bushes. She said there are
roughly 1,000 wild elder bushes on
the property. In more recent years,
the family has propagated the plants
by taking cuttings, and even planting
nursery-raised elderberries.
" We pick the flowers, and then what we
don't pick turn into berries, " Steve said.
Although some people grow
elderberries as a crop, the elderflowers
themselves also have a strong
flavor, and the Van Haitsmas began
experimenting with making cordials
or syrups from the flowers.
" There was just a lot of playing around
with things, " she said. Inspiration hit
during a trip to Wales, where they
sampled what was essentially an
elderflower soda - something they hadn't
commercially selling cordials, or
syrups, from wild elderflowers found
around the property, and in 2016, it
began canning its first sodas based
on the cordial. The two hit upon a
brand name, " St. Steve's " based on
some longtime banter between the
two of them, during which Steve Van
Haitsma will often refer to himself,
tongue-in-cheek, as a saint.
For the canning operation, they are
able to use equipment at a winery in
nearby Grand Rapids. The Michigan
State University Product Center also
assisted in developing the products.
A year and a half ago, they began
producing a ginger soda - 11 percent
of the ginger used in that soda is grown
at Mud Lake Farm. Since that time,
they've also started experimenting with
other flavors including root beer.
" It's really taken off, " Kris said
during the tour. " It doesn't really
interfere with growing the lettuce at
all. " VGN
Timeline
2000 - Steve and Kris Van
Haitsma move to his family
property south of Hudsonville,
Michigan, which had previously
been used as a cow pasture.
2005 - The couple begins
growing produce for a
community supported
agriculture program.
2006 - They form a limited
liability corporation for Mud
Lake Farm, and are eventually
approached about growing for
local restaurants.
2014 - Mud Lake Farm
licenses and begins selling
cordials, or syrups, from wild
elderflowers found around the
property.
2016 - Mud Lake Farm cans
its first sodas based on the
cordial.
2017 - The group begins to
can ginger soda.
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March 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2019

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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
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