About our Farming Practices

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Our practices are sustainable and our farm conscientiously cared for.  We deeply care for our farmland and about the quality of what we sell.  We are not all about yield, but about the quality and vitality of what we bring to the farmer’s market and to your plate.  We know that the nutrition in your produce comes from the soil and we work hard to care for this resource.  According to the Soil Science of America, “Soils Sustain Life”.  At the most basic level, soil supports and nourishes the plants we eat.

Healthy soils are vital to the quality of our drinking water.  All water is filtered by soil.  Healthy soil makes for clean, safe water.  Soil is a “non-renewable” resource and taking care of it is essential for our future!  Soil micro-organisms are extremely important. Soil organisms are the source of many important medicines used to treat many diseases of today and tomorrow.  Healthy soil supports a diverse population of micro-organisms.

We do extensive soil testing in an effort to properly maintain essential nutrients and soil structure. We also use nutrient sources that are safe and support the vitality of the soil.

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A note about chemical use:

While we don’t claim to be organic, we do strive to only use chemicals when the quality of the crop is threatened.  This helps minimize exposure to unnecessary chemicals and to ensure that your produce is healthy and nutritious and delicious.  The appearance may not be perfect but we try hard to balance sustainable production practices with a product that you are proud to bring home to your family.

We plant cover crops like rye in the fall to prevent soil erosion and replenish nutrients into the soil when plowed under.  We regularly rotate our crops, ensuring the soil is not stressed or stripped of nutrients.  We pump water from a pond on site and keep the ditches clear to ensure proper drainage takes place. We pick our produce at the height of ripeness, wash it, and pack it carefully in coolers.  We farm over 150 acres in Zeeland and 20 acres of muck land in Jenison.

Our grandpa is a testament to hard work ethic, faithfulness, and has a passion for doing what he loves.

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Our History

Our story begins in 1902 when Marinus and Maria Staal immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands and purchased our farmland in Jenison.  The land posesses rich, black soil that is excellent for growing our carrots, radishes, & green onions.  This plot of muck land (Bauer Road & 20th Avenue) was where it all began.  Marinus and Maria built a homestead, barns, and began living their dream with their two children, Cornelius and Catherine. 

In the mid 1920's, Casey Visser, of Jenison, came along as a hired farm hand for Marinus.  As old songs and love stories go, he fell in love with the farmer's daughter, Catherine, and they married in 1928.  Catherine and Casey continued her father's dream and the farm was soon named Visser Farm.  They raised ten children but their eldest, Minard, took interest in the business and continued on with his father, until 1992, when Casey passed away.  

 

In 1953, Minard married Anna Meekhof.  In April of 1956, a category F5 tornado ripped through Jenison and took their home with it, damaging much of the land and crops as well. After a lot of hard work and prayer, Minard and Anna rebuilt their home, the business and continued raising their three children: Douglas, Beverly, and Philip.

In 1970, Minard and Anna purchased our location in Zeeland, Michigan, where our coolers, washers, storage sheds, and greenhouses are situated.  This allowed the farm to expand greatly.  The home in Jenison was sold, but 20 acres of the land was kept, allowing us to continue farming the valuable resource of muck land.  Minard's youngest son, Phil, married Cindy Koetsier in 1980 and they continue the farm today with their seven children: Casey, Andrew, Jacob, Jo Ellen, William, Luke, & Isaac.  Case married Megan Schripsema in 2010 and they have 1 daughter, Anna.  In 2011, Jo Ellen married Rob Havenaar and they reside in the Kalamazoo area.  Our family is growing and changing but we all enjoy working on the farm in different capacities.

 

At 85 years old, Minard still enjoys working in the fields on the tractor and overseeing things as much as possible.  Our grandpa is a testament to hard work ethic, faithfulness, and has a passion for doing what he loves.  

We are grateful for the many friends and family that continue to help in the greenhouses, at the farmers markets, in the fields, loading trucks, and so much more.  Our hope is to continue the farming legacy that Marinus and Maria started all those years ago when they came to Michigan with a prayer and a dream and a plot of dirt.  

Young Phil Visser-1960's.

photo of young visser