Rolling acres of cherry trees blanketed in snow might lead you to believe that Northern Michigan farmers are enjoying a much-deserved rest this time of year. In reality, winter is when much of the behind-the-scenes work gets done.
“While the winter months are less hectic, we are still humming along with our planning!” explain first-generation farmers Sarah and Phil Hallstedt of their cold-weather schedule at Hallstedt Homestead Cherries.
In addition to chores like fixing up their antique tractors and cleaning the barn on their Northport cherry farm, the Hallstedts make plans for their popular u-pick flower garden. Snowy days can find Sarah perusing seed catalogs and looking at her current inventory of seeds to complete any needed flower orders. She enjoys trying new varieties in terms of colors, shapes, and sizes in the flower garden, and will start flower seeds inside in March. By May, Sarah typically has about 60 trays of flowers — and a few veggies — started.
Last year, she planted a few thousand sunflower seeds of a dozen varieties, and can’t wait to up her game this season. “You can never have too many sunflowers!” Sarah says.