Farm History

My parents (Mike and Mary Listwak) bought the farm after my father served his country in WWII.  They raised Black Angus Beef Cattle and my mother was an avid gardener.  Every morning at dawn she would work the garden and late summer and fall she would can the harvest which we ate during the winter months.

After my fathers death in 1981 my brother Stephen Listwak continued to farm the land.  He raised beef and grew hay and corn.

In 1992 my husband Dale Kinney and I bought the farm from my mother.  Dale was raised on a dairy farm in Brown City.   His father sold the dairy herd when milk prices hit bottom.   My brother continued to farm our farm while we slowly took over farming the land one field at a time.  My brother at the same time bought one of my parents other farms and farms that land still today.

Dale and I have a great interest in organic farming so we started our organic farming practices approximately 10years before we applied for and received our Organic Certification in 2007.

The farm has many buildings.  The original old barn has fallen down although my father built a block gambrel roof building in the 40’s.  We have been restoring this building to use as the space where we clean, sort and distribute our CSA members harvest.

The farm has ponds, swamps, trails and woodlands.  It was once covered with majestic White Pine trees, although lumber barons between 1850 and 1870 removed the trees and the only evidence that remains are few stumps.

Lumber baron Henry H. Crapo was also an owner of the farm while he was the Governor of Michigan in 1866. I suspect the large swamp on the farm was where they gathered the logs before floating them down a creek and onto the Flint River.

In 1871 the farm was burned by a massive fire that took most of Michigan’s Thumb. It was the first national disaster that Red Cross had helped with. From that time on it became farm land; although only half of the land was cultivated. The rest was allowed to grow back into woodland providing habitat for many creatures; the remaining is where our beef pasture, potatoes, grains and our CSA gardens grow.

Dale, Jacob, and Marian