The Upper Peninsula is home to over 49,000 cattle, beefing up dinner plates with close to sixteen million pounds of meat. And while your average eater might scarf down a hamburger without pause, it’s worth noting where your food actually comes from.
Our ABC 10 Reporter, Rick Tarsitano, headed out to a farm in Cornell to meet one of the families who help feed the U.P.
In a population of over 313 million people, only 1 percent of the U.S. stake their claim as farmers.
George Terrien did just that in 1950 when he planted his family tree on a 160-acre plot and began farming with his wife and three daughters.
“Potatoes and dairy at first, and then after 20 years she wanted to quit milking cows. So, I put beef in and I sold the cows. I went to work harnessing them here and raising beef. It was a good farm, so I wanted it to stay in the family if it could,” explained Terrien.
“He was happy about today,” his wife Cecilia interjected.
“It’s still a good farm,” Terrien beamed.
He’s happy because not only did the farm stay in the family, but now his daughter and the son he never had get the chance to share their 27 years of experience in raising Limousin beef on their ancestor’s hallowed grounds.
“I enjoy sharing and teaching and explaining; giving people a sense of how it works, why we do what we do, how you do it, and what it involves,” remarked Barb Guindon, George’s daughter and co-owner of Guindon Farms.
It’s all part of the Marquette Food Co-op’s series of Farm Tours that help connect customers to the farmers that are producing their food locally. The Guindon’s opened the doors to nearly everything on their farm for all to see, including their kitchen.
When you sit down to eat, thinking about where your food came from is probably the last thing on your mind. But, after experiencing a farm tour like they have at the Guindon’s, it’s hard to ignore the people, the time, and the effort that goes into each meal.
“There are people who are starting to not just say, ‘Oh, let’s go look at a farm,’ but where they feel in a way, ‘Let’s go look at our farm, where our beef comes from.’ They felt a lot of not just loyalty, but a lot of connection to what’s happening here because that’s what they’re feeding their families,” said Kathryn O’Donnell of the Marquette Food Co-op.
Matt and Barb have worked tirelessly over the years to provide healthy food to countless communities. They became organically certified by the OCIA in 2009 and have utilized natural practices for close to eight years. It’s a task that requires a lot of energy and attention detail, but the Guindons make time for the place they love.
“I guess the land becomes a part of you. It’s hard to explain. But, if you’re a farmer and you really like farming, it’s not just an asset that you own. It’s a part of you,” Barb noted.
A pair of tours are slated for this Sunday at Seeds and Spores in Beaver Grove, and Ever Yielding Acres in Skandia. If you’d like to find out more about the tours or look at their schedule down the road, head to www.marquettefood.coop/events/farm-tours.