Earthkeeper Farm

Rockford Farm Market celebrates 10th birthday Saturday

June 3, 2010 // 0 Comments

by Cliff and Nancy Hill The first Saturday of June means one thing in Rockford – the annual opening of the City sponsored Rockford Farm Market.  We’ve never missed an opening and this Saturday will be no exception.  We, along with many others, are so “geeked” on our Farm Market that you can find us in attendance on any given Saturday during the Market’s June through October run. The Market is all about quality, variety, abundance, and freshness along with having become a community social gathering place.  Many of the Market’s vendors were present for the first Rockford Farm Market in 2001 and fell in love with the venue, the town, and the people’s of the greater Rockford community. Market customers have come to personally know the local West Michigan farm families that bring a cornucopia of fresh Michigan produce to market each week.  From the powerhouse Visser Farms, to L & L Bull Farm, to Deimer Winter Gardens, to Ter Avest Farm, to Bob Alt Farm, to Krupka’s Blueberry Plantation, to Post Farms, to Earthkeeper Farm, along with others too numerous to mention, all will be returning this season. We frequent them all, filling our signature and colorful hand-woven wicker market basket to bursting.  Freshly picked asparagus, strawberries and blueberries, tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches, cherries, salad greens galore, you get the picture, our mouths are watering already. The Market is not only about produce.  There’s something for everyone including cheeses, jerky, honey, fruit pies, floral bouquets, garden plantings, and freshly baked artisan breads. We subscribe heartily to the “know your farmer, know your food” theory.  Last Saturday, with that in mind, we set out on a field trip to the 20-acre Earthkeeper Farm located near 13-Mile Rd. and Fruit Ridge Avenue.  Fearing we would be conscripted to do some weeding, we planned our surprise visit for late in the afternoon.  We lucked out!  Owner Rachelle Bostwick and 7-month-old son, Liam, had just finished the day’s chores and had time to show us around.  Husband Andrew was in Colorado for the weekend attending the wedding of a close friend. This is Earthkeeper Farm’s third year at the Rockford Market and Andrew and Rachelle are now proud to say that all of the farm’s produce is […]

Couple bet their farm on ‘green’ community

July 9, 2009 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF and NANCY HILL Last summer The Rockford Squire published a series of articles highlighting a cross-section of vendors at the Rockford Farm Market. There were no plans to continue the series this year, but a young couple has recently been awarded a coveted weekly slot at the farm market and theirs is a compelling story. Rachelle and Andrew Bostwick, owners of Earthkeeper Farm, no longer have to rise at 3:00 a.m. Saturday mornings to secure one of four to five stalls set aside for those not holding season-long reservations. Regular status makes life much easier as regulars need only to arrive no later than 7:30 a.m. to set up their stalls. The Bostwicks had the good fortune of replacing a vendor of dog treats who opted not to return this year. (Fear not, dog bones are still available at the Great Harvest Bread Co. stall.) Prior to purchasing their 20-acre farm, the Bostwicks had spent many a growing season working as apprentice farmers in places such as New York and as far away as Mexico and Spain. They did so working under an umbrella organization known as the Cooperative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT). In 2007, it was time to put their training and education into practice on their own newly purchased farm. Most young couples, when purchasing property, look for such things as the square footage of the home, number of bedrooms and baths, and a litany of amenities. Not so, this couple. Rachelle said, “Our number one criteria was the quality and fertility of the soil. So after looking at somewhere between 20 and 30 properties, we found what we were looking for on Fruit Ridge Avenue in Kent City, and embarked on a dream of becoming sustainable organic farmers.” Four of the 12 tillable acres of Earthkeeper Farm are currently in production. The remaining acreage consists of pastures and woodlots. During the growing season, they employ students and, as Rachelle laughingly says, “conscripted in-laws.” The Bostwicks strictly adhere to the principles of sustainable agriculture with a goal of, hopefully, starting the process of being certified as an organic farm in 2010. “Sustainable agriculture refers to the ability of a farm to produce food indefinitely, without causing severe or irreversible […]