Local farmer, farm receive state awards.

December 10, 2018

Local farmer, farm receive state awards.

Mark Mayer of Arbre Farms in Walkerville received the 2018 Master Farmer Associate Award, and Golden Stock Farms of Mears received the 2018 Master Farmer Award by the Michigan Vegetable Council.

“This award is presented annually to an individual or business actively supporting the vegetable production industry in Michigan,” states a press release from the MVC regarding Mayer’s award. “It recognizes leadership roles in industry and community organizations and support of vegetable crop research.

“This award is presented annually to an individual or farm business actively engaged in vegetable production in Michigan,” states the press released regarding Golden Stock. “It recognizes well-managed and innovative farming practices, as well as leadership roles in industry and community organizations and support of vegetable crop research.”

The awards were presented during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo in the Ambassador Ballroom at the Amway Hotel in Grand Rapids last week.

Mayer is the director of field operations at Walkerville’s Arbre Farms, which is a processor of frozen vegetables and cherries. Prior to Arbre Farms, Mayer worked at Central Produce Sales.

“As for the vegetable season, Mark works with all crops that come through the facility, starting with asparagus, then peas, next green beans, many squashes, and finally carrots. It is widely known that green beans are Mark’s specialty. He has the ability to help growers figure out why a crop of green beans is doing poorly and often can help improve the yield for that season.

“Mark spends his days working with growers to help get the different crops to the plant at Arbre Farms. He will often go out and do field scouting, looking for disease and insect problems. Being in the industry for a long time, Mark has established working relationships with many, none more important than those with MSU Extension. Currently, Mark trades information back and forth with Ben Werling who is the current extension vegetable crop educator in the area.”

“Golden Stock Farms has been in operation in Mears since 1932. Primarily a dairy farm for many years, but has transitioned to vegetables over time. In fact, this is the 50th year of farming asparagus for Golden Stock Farms.

“Golden Stock Farms is the largest grower for Todd Greiner Farms. Todd appreciates his relationship with Golden Stock Farms and says that he can expect: ‘quantity with quality.’

“Golden Stock used to grow 28 million pounds for processing, but now grows 8-10 million pounds for processing and 10-12 million pounds for fresh market. This change was due to Michigan now having the infrastructure to support fresh market asparagus.

“John Bakker, the executive director for the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, says that Golden Stock Farms is known for its dedicated service and leadership in the industry. Family members have been actively involved and held leadership roles in many agricultural groups here in Michigan, including the Agricultural Marketing and Bargaining Board, the Michigan Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Association, and the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board.

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