Countryside Greenhouse is exactly what you might think of when you hear the words “family farm”. Nathaniel, the farm’s owner, grew up a mile down the road from where his family lives now. He has been farming from a very young age. He drove a team of horses at age 7, and was plowing fields by age 12. His father sold off some acres of his land, and then Nathaniel got some land to start his farm. Now, Nathaniel has 6 greenhouses, 8 children, and 27 acres.
At the Greenhouses, they sell potting mix, top soil, compost, hanging plants, plus lots of baby plants, including: varieties of watermelon, eggplant, tomato, tomatillos, cherry tomatoes, cantaloupes and carrots. They start almost all the vegetables grown on the farm in their very own greenhouses. In addition to planting the greenhouse grown baby plants in their fields, they also do some direct seeding. He supplements his market stall with fruits from other farms, butter from Constantine Creamer, and cheese from Walnut Creek in Ohio.
Nathaniel also sells at the Battle Creek, Jackson, and Vicksburg markets. For him, his Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) folks come first. Similar to markets, CSA’s link farmers directly with consumers. Essentially, a consumer buys a “share” of a farm’s harvest before the season begins, and then receives a portion of the crops as they harvested. This provides farmers with much needed early capital, and consumers with a guarantee of fresh vegetables all season long. Currently, the farm is at capacity with 20-25 CSA’s. Each CSA person picks 8 items for their share- which means that a lot of what he grows doesn’t make it to the market.
While their main purpose may be to sustain a family business, they also strive to grow healthy food that will nourish their community. Countryside Greenhouse grows their produce with natural practices. They do not feed GMO grain to any of their animals, and do not give them antibiotics or hormones. They raise grass fed beef, and sell fresh brown eggs.
You can find Countryside Greenhouse at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market under the south side of the pavilion every Saturday.
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