Healthy Growing, Healthy Eating… Straight from a farmer’s mouth.

By: Ken Cross | September 19, 2012
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Shopping locally at Farmer’s Markets and buying organic food has become a staple in many Metro Detroit family households. As the mother of two young boys, I try to buy the majority of our meats, vegetables and fruits from local markets and farmers. Through my quest to bring a healthier lifestyle into our home, I had the opportunity to meet a local farmer, Scott Welcer of Welcer Farms. We sat down and he gave me a few tips that not only made me feel good about what I am feeding my family, but also pointed me in the direction of my next venture… a garden of my very own!

Scott Welcer has been an outdoorsman since about birth. You could say it is in his blood. Both of his grandmothers and his mom all had gardens, his grandfather owned a landscaping company and nursery and his father owns a nursery as well. Welcer has never been a stranger to working outside. But it was not until about 10 years ago that he realized his true passion… farming. Since then he has gone on to cultivate a substantial amount of land and is now turning his passion into a profitable business.

Welcer grows a wide array of fruits and vegetables in his gardens. From multiple kinds of berries to heirloom tomatoes to horseradish that came from his great-grandmother; he grows it all. Though not certified organic, he still does not use any pesticides or harmful chemicals and grows all of his food naturally. When he talks about gardening and the practices he uses, you can actually hear the excitement and passion that he has for what he does. He speaks of how we are on the verge of a “food revolution” and that now, more then ever, it is essential to know what kinds of food you are putting into your body.

Recently, Welcer started selling his produce to local restaurants. The Toasted Oak in Novi was his first sale. Selling to an establishment like the Toasted Oak, an eatery that truly values where their food comes from, was a proud moment for him. Not only was he able to make his hobby into a business, but he was able to provide healthy, good food to the public!

Through our conversation, I was also able to get some good tips for shopping at the local farmer’s markets. He advised me that the most important thing to do is to talk to the people selling the food. Ask questions about the food, how it is grown and what practices the farmers use. Welcer was quick to point out that just because a farmer is not certified organic, does not mean they are not doing things the right way. “Almost every farmer loves to talk about their food and how it is grown,” he said. “The key is to ask the right questions.”

Finally, being very interested in starting a garden of my own but a bit overwhelmed by the prospect, I had a lot of questions for Welcer. He gave me a quick rundown on what I could do to start a small but substantial garden. I found his answers helpful and informative. And although it is not the ideal time to start a garden, he did suggest getting my beds built and filled in with compostable dirt and then using my leaves and other yard waste for compost over the winter. He also suggested getting my fall planting done and studying up on my growing techniques over the winter. Apparently, there are many internet tutorials available on backyard gardening… Who knew? Oh the new things you learn everyday!

To follow what Scott is up to, ask him questions about his gardens or tweet him your gardening questions, follow him @welcerfarms on Twitter.

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