Hooking up with four stellar Marquette locals this past June, we pedaled Southeast of town route scouting what turned out to be an ideal mix of path, gravel, and pavement for the inaugural Marquette Culinary Ride. Arriving at our destination, Seeds and Spores Family Farm, the Farm Crew was just finishing lunch, gearing-up for an afternoon of pepper planting.
And then it happened. One of the Crew Members rolls up to the
farm on her yellow bicycle. Now, it is unusual to see bicycles on the back forty, miles away from paved roads, let alone people using them for transportation. At Seeds and Spores however, two wheels are as integral to operations as the tractor. I watched in adoration that afternoon as farmers on bicycles went about daily chores, ebbing and flowing amidst greenhouses and hen houses; pig pens and rows upon rows of beyond organic produce. Leanne mentioned too that one of the kids was looking forward to taking a repair class at Revolutions, a youth oriented bicycle shop in Marquette and also the beneficiary of this ride. Maintaining the family fleet is all in a day’s work for these farmers.
Leanne and Jeff Hatfield, and their three children Niikah, Aleut, and Rubin, live off-grid on an adjacent lot and have been building this utopia of a farm for the past 14 years. Jeff admitted that the magnitude of projects was a getting a bit out of hand (I hear this from most farmers), however, from the Farm Store and Apothecary to the granary and seedling greenhouse, each venture seemed to be in ship shape. The farm buzzed with life as we explored like curious kids the shiitake logs in Mushroom Land, the quarters of Jack the Boar, and the newly renovated storefront. If diversity is essential to the success of small farming these days, the Hatfields are hammering it in to the ground.
It was exactly two years ago that Seeds and Spores endured a devastating fire that burned their 1940’s barn structure and everything in it to the ground. As if farming isn’t tough enough! Seeds and Spores had a vivacious comeback though, and they continue to work hard to bring eco-farming awareness to their community. Check out their CSA membership, some of the farmers that have influenced them below, and join us for a ride out to Seeds and Spores in September.
Quick bites: An informal interview with Jeff Hatfield.
Favorite farm chore?
Beer, wine or martini?
Eggs & toast
Favorite farm tool?
Cake or pie?
Farmers that have inspired you:
Eliott Coleman, John Jeavons, Joel Salatin, Alan Savory
Favorite music to listen to in the out in the field?
How many bikes do you own?
Best work experience?