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Michigan Vegetable Farmer

Jason Ruhlig

“…to make sure the finest quality goes to our consumers…”

Jason Ruhlig
Vegetable Farmer

Name: Jason Ruhlig
Location: Carleton, Michigan
Years farming: This farm was started in 1970 by my parents.
My family: In addition to my parents, I have a brother and two sisters, all of whom are involved in the farm. We each have specific duties and responsibilities that match up with our interests. This helps us to not step on each other’s toes but also to make sure each area is properly covered. Christine manages the office and takes care of everything from payroll to answering the phone. Rob is the sales manager and Tammy is in charge of packing and quality control. I am the crew manager and am in charge of making sure each days' harvest is picked.
How I came to be a farmer: I grew up here, where I learned the responsibilities and the value of hard work.
The best thing about being a farmer: The best thing about being a farmer is the lifestyle and getting to be your own boss. For each of my family members and myself we love being able to supply our state with healthy, fresh, and safe vegetables.
My personal philosophy on farming: What we do and how we do it takes a lot of time, but it’s very rewarding because it allows us to market a superior product. We’re proud of that.

Vegetable Production in Michigan and the United States
  • Michigan grows 174,700 acres of vegetable crops (seventh nationally) with a farm gate value of $347 million (2007 Census of Agriculture).
  • Michigan is the largest producing state of cucumbers for pickling and potatoes for chipping. The state grows over 30,000 acres of each of these crops.
  • Michigan also ranks first in the nation in the production of asparagus for processing (about 10,000 acres) and squash (about 7,500 acres).
  • Michigan ranks in the top four states for the following vegetable crops: Asparagus (fresh and processed), carrots (fresh and processed), celery (fresh and processed), cucumbers (fresh and processed), green beans (processed), pumpkins, radishes, squash (fresh and processed), potatoes (processed for chips), and tomatoes (processed).
  • Most of Michigan’s vegetable production is located in counties in the lower two-thirds of the state’s Lower Peninsula.
  • Vegetable crop harvest starts with asparagus in May and continues well into October with a number of crops including carrots, cabbage, potatoes, onions, pumpkins and squash.
  • Vegetable growers in Michigan use a number of sustainable practices including soil testing, field scouting for insect pests and crop diseases, and use of cover crops to control erosion and add nutrients.

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