If and when you’re headed out to the Sunshine Silo you can look forward to an exceptionally warm welcome. Also you might consider it is probable you will lose track of time while enjoying the serene atmosphere and great company hanging out with Larrisa Touloupas and Joseph Battistella. We certainly did both of those things as we generally like to spend at least 90 minutes on visits but that amount of time came and went like a log on a river and we found ourselves leaving 2.5 hours later. Our trip out to Sunshine Silo included a tour of the beautiful home built by Larrisa’s Great Grandfather. Larrisa seems to get her adventurous spirit from both her parents who are avid travelers. One of her adventurous endeavors has indeed been the start of the Sunshine Silo business, which both Larrisa and Joseph on many occasions throughout our visit gratefully acknowledged her parents’ great support and good help in accomplishing. Especially on crazy market days when Joseph and Larrisa are out harvesting the last of their products, mama Touloupas plays a key role in making lunch for the all star farmers to get them on the road to the 100-Mile Market on Wednesdays. For all you artists and knickknack lovers you are sure to get captured in all of the art pieces placed around the property that have been gathered from all over the world. I was certainly captivated by them.
In fact, it was also on another traveling adventure that Larrisa and Joseph met and decided to start the Sunshine Silo. From just two small garden plots that Larrisa had started for her family the gardens were producing just a few items for sale at local markets. Now this stellar farming team have acquired so much knowledge and expanded their gardens into fields. They even have a tractor and are finished building their first hoop house. The tractor is definitely Josephs dream toy. Larrisa shared a sweet story about when they first got the tractor. Joseph woke up exhausted. She said she woke up to him saying that he didn’t sleep because he was“so excited about everything the tractor was going to be able to do”. Joseph and Larrisa now feature their products with an exceptional presentation at both the 100-Mile Market and the Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. They also sell items wholesale and are selling their products to 5 different restaurants in Kalamazoo. These two farmers and scholars hit the ground running and this year were nominated by the National Resource Conservation Service as up and coming young farmers in the state of Michigan.
Though they did not win the nomination, their business is certainly worthy of acknowledgement of the many unique facets that I hope you get the opportunity to experience. Larisa is sure to share some of her many medicinal herbs and maybe some berries and Joseph will be sure to offer a delicious veggie or two. I was given the opportunity to try an herb used for numbing the mouth and she was not kidding, I also ate some fabulous raspberries. We wound up at the end of this tour on the front porch of the house. As we relaxed and totally lost track of time, we chatted about some of Larrisa and Josephs plans for Sunshine Silo. Let me tell you, this all star farmer team have so many ideas that they are constantly creating the ground works to set into fruition. Two notable plans that are already in the works to some degree, are their desires to continue diversifying their crops and get some sheep. Meet these enthusiastic and welcoming individuals for yourself while you visit their stall at both markets aforementioned. Maybe you will be as fortunate as I was to spend an afternoon with these cool cats, taste some fresh foods, relax and enjoy some sunshine by their silo.
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