When you think about the fresh fruits and vegetables you serve your family, what means the most to you? Is it their health and the assurance that the foods we consume were grown safely and in an organic environment, free of harmful pesticides?
That was surely on the mind of our owner, Mary Emmett, when she began to transition Plymouth Orchards and Cider Mill to a fully organic farm. The process began as early as 2013 and today, the farm is certified organic. We grow small grains and fruits and – at our neighboring Gateway Farms – we grow organic vegetables. This was a truly important goal – though not one without challenges.
The Emmett family still resides here on the farm land. Knowing her grandchildren and children were growing up here, and that visitors flock in every fall to spend time with their own families on the property, going organic wasn’t a difficult decision for Mary to make. Organic farming meant years of transitioning, learning how to grow crops, and safely protect them from insects or animals, so they might thrive without harmful pesticides. it meant composting and working on rejuvenating and managing the soil along with leaf testing. And those first few years were an experiment to say the least, according to Emmett.
But the results have all been worth it. Not only do we grow organic fruits, rye and asparagus right here on the farm, we partner with Gateway Farms, our sister farm across the road, to grow additional organic vegetables.
And the dedication to a healthy future continues on at the farm. In early 2018, we added solar electric panels to the property. With a small grant from Michigan State University, we’re able to capture and use solar power to manage nearly all we do on the farm. The solar electric panels are expected to cover more than 70 percent of our energy needs for the Cider Mill Building.