Once a working dairy farm, Eight Maples Farm is now quite the picturesque small vegetable and plant farm. With a beautiful old red barn, a greenhouse, and two high-tunnels, this farm is lovely and practical all in one. The owner and his family purchased the farm and land around four years ago, and started selling at the market three years ago. I met Dan at his home and he took me on a tour of his produce and his unique plants on an out-of-the-ordinary cold May day. He told me about his hobby growing specialty plants and named his favorites and best sellers, begonias and elephant ears. He sells his potted plants, dish gardens, and fairy gardens at the May Mart each year and at the farmers' market, along with the produce he and his wife grow on their farm. He took me into his two high tunnels, already full of tomatoes and peppers. He showed me his 500+ watermelons planted under black plastic and told me that they are pretty popular at the market each year. In his greenhouse, which he built once they purchased the farm, there was barely room to walk around all the exotic and beautiful plants of many types and varieties. His greenhouse stays full of his plants and flowers all winter long, where Dan has to tend and care for them. In his backyard you will find fruiting pear and apple trees, and just beyond his home are rows and rows of
corn and peas, already sprouting this season. In the distance you can see some cows on the farm, which belong to his son-in-law, who Dan said was the one originally interested in farming.
As well as selling at the famers' market, Dan also sells his produce along the side of Route 53 in Portage, where he's originally from. He will sometimes be at the market on Wednesdays, but he normally watches his grandson during the week, so Saturday is his typical market day.
I asked Dan how he got into farming, and like the majority of the farmers interviewed, his response was about it being a hobby, especially the unique plants he grows. He doesn't typically make a profit from selling his plants, and it's a year-round job maintaining them, but he does it because he enjoys it.
|Tomatoes in high tunnel|
Products sold at market:
Plants--a plethora of varieties
|Pear and apple trees|