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Steve Tennes

Steve Tennes: Agritourism and selling family fun on the farm

Steve Tennes talks with Kirk Heinze on WJR

Written by Mary-Clare Liening

Steve Tennes, owner of the Country Mill in Charlotte, Michigan, doesn’t sell pumpkins, apples, or even apple cider and donuts.  Well, he does, but more importantly, what he sells is family fun.

“We sell an experience for people to come out to the farm, pick pumpkins, pick apples, right from where they’re grown, and really create family memories,” says Tennes.  “To learn about where their food is grown, how it’s grown, and where it comes from.”

Learning is a large part of the overall experience for Tennes.  Also president of the Michigan Farm Marketing and Agritourism Association Board of Directors, Tennes boasts a program at his farm that offers quite an education.

“During the weekdays in September and October, our primary business is school tours,” says Tennes.  “We give the students a really detailed lesson plan that actually correlates with the Michigan science benchmarks that our state requires teachers to teach students.”

Recycling is a large part of the lesson plan at the Country Mill.  On their tour, students and families learn about the sustainable use of materials.

“They understand that nothing goes to waste on a farm; we’re always trying to use everything that comes off of the farm,” says Tennes.  “Even something that we may not want can be a byproduct that animals would love.”

A relatively new association, the Michigan Farm Marketing and Agritourism Association’s main goals are the promotion of farmer-consumer connections, education of members, and governmental affairs.

The Michigan Farm Marketing and Agritourism Association produces directories that are available free of charge at all Michigan Welcome Centers and Farm Bureau Insurance offices, listing the members, what they sell, and their contact information. 

Click on the arrow above to hear Tennes' July 30 Greening of the Great Lakes conversation with Kirk HeinzeGreening of the Great Lakes airs Friday evenings at 7 on News/Talk 760 WJR.

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