MARKET MONITOR: Owosso Organics

Thursday, August 3, 2017, 7:29 am
By: 
Ann Nichols

Owosso Organics' Richard Bowie at EL Farmers Market

The flowers seem to beckon you into Owosso Organics’ long, narrow booth at the East Lansing Farmers Market. If and when you get past the lisianthus, zinnias and other floral offerings, you’ll find organic herbs, kale, chard, tomatoes, salad mix and more.

Owosso Organics is a family-owned, certified organic vegetable and cut flower farm located four miles west of Owosso, and the “family” includes Richard Bowie, Pooh Stevenson, and their daughters Cody and Taylor.

Bowie and Stevenson started with “a postage-stamp garden at our rental property in 1978 in the East Lansing area while we were finishing our degrees from MSU,” and they have been farming full time since 1999. The Farm has come a long way from that small, backyard garden, and the family now farms over six acres of their 80 acre farm, along with eight greenhouses of over 15,000 square feet.

Photo: Pooh Stevenson

According to Stevenson, the farm has been “certified organic since 1994, and is currently certified with Global Alliance. Our mission,” she adds, includes “providing specialty artisan produce and flowers grown with great care” and “assisting in bridging urban and rural communities together.” In addition to selling at local Farmers Markets and retail outlets, Owosso Organics creates floral arrangements and bouquets for local weddings and events, and offers community supported agriculture (CSA) programs that allow participants to pick up shares of organic produce, or a “Flower Share” with a bouquet weekly from July to September, depending on the growing season.

Photo: Pooh Stevenson

Working an organic farm involves both the pleasures of self-reliance and the pain that comes with intense physical labor. “I like working outside,” says Stevenson, “and I like producing a product that we have total control over and create from start to finish. I don’t like how intense the season is in terms of its physical demands on you; it would be more sustainable if one was able to stretch out the amount of work. We order seeds in late February, start planting in March and work into November, with the very intense period being from June to the first two weeks of October. You can never really punch out.”

This time of the year Bowie, Stevenson, their children and their employees are harvesting every day. Zucchinis and tomatoes need to be harvested every day, and on Saturday, while Stevenson works the booth at the Meridian Farmers Market, Bowie is at the farm harvesting for Sunday’s market in East Lansing.

Photo: Pooh Stevenson

Stevenson says Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are the most intense harvest days. Thursday is flower harvesting day, with picking done from early morning until around 1:00, followed by at least two people working in the barn on bouquets for the rest of the day.

Photo: Pooh Stevenson

Asked what she would cook using the farm’s current harvest, Stevenson (a vegetarian) tells me that she cooks lunch for their employees nearly every day of the week using their own organic produce. A current favorite is steamed onions, garlic and kale, with white beans added once the vegetables are cooked, a little Balsamic vinegar for flavor and maybe a topping of grated cheese or pine nuts. She adds that “there’s always salad, too.”

(We are not surprised).

Owosso Organics products can be found at the Meridian Farmers Market, The East Lansing Farmers Market, Owosso Memorial, the East Lansing Food Coop, Better Health Food Store, The Wrought Iron Grill, Lula’s Cajun Cookhouse, and through their CSA program.

 

The East Lansing Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm in Valley Court, rain or shine. You can read about other vendors in our weekly Market Monitor.

Learn more about Owosso Organics on their website or Facebook page.

This article originally ran on July 28, 2015. It has been edited to bring it up to date.

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