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PHOTO RELEASE: MDARD Director Gary McDowell Celebrates Michigan Agritourism Month by Visiting Gull Meadow Farms, Texas Corners Brewing Company, Schultz Fruitridge Orchards & Shades of Lavender Farm
October 13, 2022
Agritourism Month recognizes agritourism's economic and social benefits to Michigan’s farms and communities.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell celebrated Michigan's Agritourism Month and the Great Lakes Apple Crunch Celebration by visiting Gull Meadow Farms, Texas Corners Brewing Company, Schultz Fruitridge Orchards and Shades of Lavender Farm. Throughout 2022, McDowell is traveling across the state, meeting with food and agricultural businesses as they advance during Michigan's economic recovery and revitalization.
Governor Whitmer recently proclaimed October to be Michigan Agritourism Month. October is a special time to acknowledge and experience the vast, integrated network of family farmers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers who produce a safe and nutritious food supply and provide fun and unique farm experiences. Agritourism offers farmers a path to diversification of their businesses to include value-added products and activities, which helps them better withstand things like poor weather conditions and market fluctuations.
"Michigan is a food and agriculture powerhouse, which of course includes our strong agritourism sector," said Director McDowell. "I'm thrilled to be celebrating Agritourism Month with some great family-owned small businesses. There is nothing like visiting a local farm to pick fresh, crisp Michigan apples or taking a hayride out to the pumpkin patch to find that perfect pumpkin and don't forget the cider and donuts or a fresh-baked pie to take home!"
Gull Meadow Farms was founded by Julius Wendzel in 1949 and has continued to expand and develop new ways to help families create lasting memories each year. The farm is located south of Grand Rapids and focuses on providing family fun for West Michigan during the fall and holiday seasons. Gull Meadow Farms includes an apple orchard, pumpkin patch, petting farm, delicious donuts, award-winning cider, and fresh baked goods.
Texas Corners Brewing Company is a family-owned and operated, farm-to-table style restaurant located just outside of Kalamazoo in Texas Township. They proudly proclaim that craft beer deserves craft food! Texas Corners Brewing Company’s menu features fresh, made from scratch options available nowhere else. Beer and cider selections are 100% crafted in-house. They include familiar beer styles, hard cider made from apples grown in our family's orchards, and experimental small batch brews.
Schultz Fruitridge Orchards is a third-generation family farm located in the rolling hills of Mattawan. The farm grows a wide variety of fruits and vegetables; in the fall, they sell fresh donuts and apple cider. Schultz offers many u-pick fruit opportunities. Picking fresh fruit is one of the best ways to learn where fruit comes from and the chance to learn more about homegrown produce.
Shades of Lavender Farm has more than 1,800 lavender plants in over 11 varieties and five acres of white pine. The farm handcrafts all its products in small batches on-site and distills lavender essential oil.
Throughout 2022, Director McDowell is meeting with Michigan's food and agricultural businesses to focus on how they can continue to thrive in Michigan's new economy and how best MDARD can assist their continuous development.