Visit our Web Site/ Online Store

If you arrived here from out online store, you can return by clicking right here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Sprang Early

Hi everyone!

I know that most of the country has experienced very unusual weather for this time of the year. We here in Michigan had great Springtime weather the past couple of weeks. So, the flowering trees and plants naturally did their thing and bloomed.

I took a couple of pictures with my phone while checking my mom’s house. They are in Florida for a month so, I stop by just to check things out. (Sorry about the watermarks from my other blog on these pictures. I am still trying to figure out my new phone camera)

2012-03-24 16.20.53

The early spring is causing some serious problems. Here in Michigan, we are one of the largest apple and other fruit producers. And guess what, the fruit trees are starting to bloom! This is way too early for that to happen.

In Michigan, like in many other fruit growing regions, tree fruit and small fruit varieties have been selected over the years to fit the ranges of temperatures suitable to maximize productivity and fruit quality. However, record temperatures like the ones observed on March 21 in west Michigan are turned upside down in the fruit grower’s production calendar.

2012-03-24 16.21.07

2012-03-24 16.21.24

2012-03-24 16.24.32

Blueberries are another huge Michigan crop.

Blueberry growers need to prepare their contingency plans to deal with possible freezing temperatures during the bloom period.

This unusual phenomenon brings a series of challenges for the fruit industry and for all the technical personnel directly associated with fruit production (i.e., agronomists, entomologists, crop consultants, agrochemical suppliers, etc.). Major challenges that we will be dealing with include spring freeze and frost events, lack of pollinators, and early arrival of insect and disease problems.

2012-03-24 16.21.49

2012-03-24 16.22.46

A big problem with the fruit blooming now is that there are no bees and other pollinators around yet.

All major fruit crops in Michigan rely on honey bees for good pollination and fruit quality. But according to Michael G. Hansen, MDARD state apiarist, with such unusual spring, most commercial beekeepers that provide pollination services for Michigan growers are not ready to move their colonies from their overwintering site, Florida and California. This may create problems for all fruit industry. But it may affect most drastically small growers because most of the time beekeepers give priority to large fruit farms over small production units

2012-03-24 16.22.22

So, although it sure is pretty so see all these beautiful blooms so early, this weird weather may have some serious economic consequences to a lot of people. Including us in the price we pay for fruit over the next year.

All the data I quoted here came from MSU extension article. This is the same place that we are getting our Master Gardeners Certification.

If you would like to read more about it, check it out here.

Since Mother Nature is out of our control, we need to just enjoy the beauty we are seeing around us now.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lady, is this thing bugging you?

Whenever possible we go out of our way to use safe, clean, organic and natural methods of weed control and pest control.

For many years now, we have used no herbicides or pesticides or chemical fertilizers on our herbs.

That is not to say that we have never used them. But about 8 years ago we started to eliminate them, and we have not used any at all now for four years.

You can grown fabulous big giant vegetables if you pump your plants and ground full of the right chemicals. But we grow our plants for more than just appearance and we decided that we just are much more comfortable knowing that we are not feeding anyone any chemical additives.

The impact of various chemical treatments on our land and water tables is apparent, and although the effect on our bodies is not so clear and easily defined, one only needs to look at the health of our grandparents generation, and their diets, and compare those with the health of our generation and our diets, to draw some pretty clear parallels.

So, although we havent reached the stage of treehugging yet, we have made a conscious effort in the last few years to grown a more environmentally friendly product.

One of the steps we have taken is to implement Integrated Pest Management to our operation.

On their website, the Environmental Protection Agency describes Integrated Past Management (IPM) as follows:
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices... manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

You can click on the paragraph above and read all about it.


...last week, when we discovered some aphids in the greenhouse, we looked at what would be the most economical and least hazardous way to address that problem.

Knowing that ladybugs (Ladybid Beetles) eat aphids, we called around to the local farm supply stores, to see if any of them sold ladybugs. All of whom acted like we wanted to buy space aliens. One employee of a local feed store even asked "Why in the world would anyone BUY bugs?"

Well, apparantly she doesnt practice IPM.

We started looking online until we found an affordable source of ladybugs. They arrived three days later, and we released them into the greenhouse.

It didn't take them long to start doing their job.

This particular lady, inspired a sign for the greenhouse.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Love Seeing the Fresh Parsley!


Hi everyone!

Everyday we have to check out our herb beds and see what is popping up. A lot of our herbs never really went dormant due to the mild winter we have had. So, we have some life in our beds.

I was out cleaning up the beds a bit and saw all this beautiful green parsley.

IMG_0883 Do you have parsley in your gardens?

We use a lot of parsley around here. And a lot in our herb products.

Parsley (Petroselinum hortense)

Garden parsley is a bright green hairless herbaceous plant in temperate climates, an annual herb in sub-tropical and tropical areas.

Parsley grows best in moist, well drained soil, with full sun. However, the parsley I showed you in the picture is in a rather shaded area. In a good sunny day, it may get only 3-4 hours of sun at the most. So, I guess we are breaking the “sun” rules a bit in our herb bed.

Parsley has many cultivars such as:

Leaf parsley

Parsley plant, Crispum Group

In cultivation, Parsley is subdivided into several cultivar groups depending on the form of the plant, which is related to its end use. These are often treated as botanical varieties but are cultivated selections, not of natural botanical origin.

The two main groups of parsley used as herbs are curly leaf (i,e) (P. crispum Crispum Group; syn. P. crispum var. crispum) and Italian, or flat leaf (P. crispum Neapolitanum Group; syn. P. crispum var. neapolitanum); of these, the Neapolitanum Group more closely resembles the natural wild species. Flat-leaved parsley is preferred by some as it easier to cultivate, being more tolerant of both rain and sunshine, and has a stronger flavor (though this is disputed]), while curly leaf parsley is preferred by others because of its more decorative appearance in garnishing. The produce code for parsley is 4899. A third type, sometimes grown in southern Italy, has thick, celery-like leaf stems.


Root parsley

Root parsley

Another type of parsley is grown as a root vegetable, the Hamburg root parsley (P. crispum Radicosum Group, syn. P. crispum var. tuberosum). This type of parsley produces much thicker roots than types cultivated for their leaves. Although seldom used in Britain and the United States, root parsley is very common in central and eastern European cuisine, where it is used in soups and stews.

Even though root parsley looks similar to the parsnip, it tastes quite different. Parsnips are among the closest relatives of parsley in the family Apiaceae, but the similarity of the names is a coincidence, parsnip meaning "forked turnip"; it is not closely related to real turnips.

Companion plant

Parsley is widely used as a companion plant in gardens. Like many other members of the carrot family (umbellifes), it attracts predatory insects, including wasps and predatory flies to gardens, which then tend to protect plants nearby. For example, they are especially useful for protecting tomato plants as the wasps that kill tomato hornworms also eat nectar from parsley. It offers protection even in its first year as the strong scent of the parsley leaves appear to mingle with the tomato scent and confuses the tomato moth


Parsley is used all around the world as an essential herb. In the culinary world it is used in everything from meat, fish and chicken dishes to soups, stews and salads.

And of course parsley is a big part of the European Bouquet Garni. we have been work on creating a Bouquet Garni to sell at the markets. The hardest part we are dealing with is the proper packaging. I think packaging is always are biggest stumbling block for our products. But, we think this would be a great item for us to sell because it will give the customers all the different herbs at one time without them having to buy them individually. So, folks, we are working on this!

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

151 kJ (36 kcal)

- Sugars
0.9 g

0.8 g

Thiamine (vit. B1)
0.1 mg (9%)

Niacin (vit. B3)
1.3 mg (9%)

Vitamin B6
0.1 mg (8%)

Vitamin C
133.0 mg (160%)

138.0 mg (14%)

50.0 mg (14%)

554 mg (12%)


6.3 g

- Dietary fibre
3.3 g

3.0 g

Riboflavin (vit. B2)
0.2 mg (17%)

Pantothenic acid (B5)0.4 mg (8%)

Folate (vit. B9)
152 μg (38%)

Vitamin K
1640.0 μg (1562%)

6.2 mg (48%)

58.0 mg (8%)

1.1 mg (12%)

Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults


Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Greenhouse

Hi everyone!

I thought you might actually like to see the greenhouse at Roosevelt High School that we are always talking about and were you will find us quite often.


This greenhouse is behind the high school. And I mean immediately behind it.


This side is right along the street. You see those metal racks on the side of the building? During the warmer months you will see those racks filled with hanging flowers for sale.


All kinds of watering and plant hanging systems.


Hanging plants are starting to pop up already.


Potting and work stations.

So, that is a peek into one of our favorite places! If you are a avid gardener, isn’t this like a candy store? A place to play all year long!

Tonight (March 1) Troy will be giving a presentation at Roosevelt High School at 6:30 pm until 8:00 pm on “How to grow herbs”.

There will also be a tour of the greenhouse. This is part of a 3 part series. On March 15, Troy will be presenting “Harvesting and preserving herbs” and on March 29 he will talk about “Using herbs”. Lots of fun info!

In the other two nights of presentation there will also include a tour of the Hydroponics and the Tilapia farm.

If you get a chance and live locally, hope to see you there!