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Soybeans Give Way to Sunflowers

Roadside farm stand is new cash crop

January 30, 2003 | By Patty Cantrell
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

Brian Confer
  Pam Bosserd

When Pam Bosserd quit her sales job and married field crop farmer Dave Bosserd, she had no idea she soon would be competing with him for work space in the barn and in the field.

Bosserd Farm Market started as an experiment for this young wife and mother. But now the roadside market in front of her Marshall home, near Interstate 94 south of Battle Creek, has taken on a whole business life of its own.

“Every year I keep stealing a little bit more land. I started with one acre, and now we’re up to 40 acres of vegetables, pumpkins, and flowers.”

The amount of land the Bosserds devote to their farm market is growing because of a simple economic fact: The family makes more profit per acre of produce and flowers than it does per acre of soybeans and corn.

Ms. Bosserd is quick to point out that there is a tradeoff. “We make more profit per acre, but there’s also more labor per acre.”

This tradeoff is worth making, she says, “if you really love it like we do and if you want both parents to stay on the farm.”

Making it work is a matter of making it fun and rewarding for everyone, she says. Clean buildings and attractive displays invite passersby, as do family activities, such as a maze cut into a corn field.

But fresh food and real people are the best selling points. “Our average customer wants a relationship with a farmer and to know the food is picked fresh every day.”

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