Wandering through Willow Farm
Harvest Hosts is a unique RV membership program with a large network of available hosts. So far, 4356+ locations have opened their hearts and their homes and/or businesses to members of the Harvest Hosts RVing community. Through this program, members receive overnight accommodations with no camping fees in unique and peaceful places across North America. In return, members must make a purchase to support the small business that hosts them. Of these Hosts, Willow Farm in Homer, Michigan, is particularly special. Here, you can learn all about this farm’s history, its operations today, its origins within the Harvest Hosts community, and what future visitors can expect to experience.
Willow Farm’s owners, Tom and Candy, are first generation farmers who had no previous background in farming when they purchased the farm close to forty years ago. They were raising grassfed beef before grassfed beef was even cool. Kyle works as a second generation farmer and the farm manager now.
In 2011, Kyle Brisendane and her family discovered the future Willow Farm. The previous owners used and abused the land with harmful practices, like chemicals. Now Kyle, her husband, Josh, and her parents, Tom and Candy, are working hard to heal the farmland through land management tactics like regenerative farming.
What is regenerative farming? According to Regeneration International, regenerative farming ,“describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity.” Thanks to these practices, the once-barren fields are now covered in lush, green foliage and are blooming with life.
The Business Today
Today, Willow Farm is thriving in every way imaginable. They sell high-quality meats, eggs, honey, animal products, like wool, lotions, essential oils, and more in their on-site store. Kyle takes great pride in offering fresh meats raised with the most humane methods and, not-so-coincidentally, the most environmentally-friendly methods, as well.
Kyle’s passion for regenerative agriculture is abundantly clear, not only on her farm, but in her words, saying “I want to raise good food that’s good for you. To educate the customer on the difference good food can make in your life. To leave the earth better than I found it. And to teach others to care for the land in the same way. The farm I run was abused for many years before we bought it. Now we are seeking to regenerate the land. And with that regeneration comes healthier soils (to grow food that’s even more nutrient-dense), more wildlife, and more resilience to the whirlwind that Mother Nature throws at us. That is my ‘why’. To grow good food that’s good for you.”
Joining Harvest Hosts
Willow Farm joined the Harvest Hosts program in spring of 2020. They had been considering adding glamping options to their farm, so hosting RVers was a natural first step in that direction. Since then, members from all over the country have visited. Kyle not only enjoys the company, but also enjoys the opportunity to educate her visitors about where food comes from and why quality matters. We have a great insider tip that there’s an Amish bakery right around the corner from the farm with excellent baked goods!
Willow Farm is an incredible Michigan location, perfectly displaying the excellence of the Harvest Hosts experience. Be sure to stop by on your way to or from Detroit or anytime you are passing through the region.
Have you visited Willow Farm? Would you like to visit one day? Do you have any other hosts you would like to recommend for a feature? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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