During the year of 2014 a 40-acre parcel of land in Blue Lake Township, Michigan was secured for agricultural use. Some label such 21st Century ventures as ‘gentlemen farms’, ‘hobby farms’ or ‘small holdings’.
Blue Lake Hops and Gardens is a bit different. From these 40 acres, a diverse agricultural crop is yielded with the intention of being more than self-sufficient.
Most evident are the multiple 18-foot high trellises on which the multiple varieties of Humulus Lupulus grow. Tall stands of ALPHAROMA, SORACHI ACE AND COLUMBIA hops. It had been more than 100 years since the State of Michigan had commercial hops growing efforts. With the popularity of both craft brewing and the movement towards local farm to table efforts, Blue Lake Hops became one of the early 21st Century efforts to make it possible for Michigan to again have "local brews".
Our very first growing effort was using the natural culturing method of growing of Lentinula Edodes on logs. This East Asian native is more commonly known as SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS. From spring through fall nature provides the basic climate for Shiitake growth. Our efforts each year increases the availability of fresh naturally grown mushrooms at West Michigan farmers markets.
Under long-term development is a colorful "cutting garden". Pleasing to the eye, roadside gardens designed to have blooms for all three of the growing seasons in West Michigan are a community delight. Each season the addition of different native and imported plantings are made in an effort to prove what will thrive in the typically poor soils of Blue Lake Township. Planning includes allowing the seasonal blooms to be commercially available.
Annually the forested portion of the property is harvested of 'dead and down' wood. The forest is of both hard and soft woods and both types are gathered, split and offered for sale. As additional land is needed for crop production, live trees are also culled as needed for the expansion. This wood is either used as growing mediums for crops or offered as logs for saw mill purposes.