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Living and Growing HistoryPrint

Food & Farming | October 9, 2009 | By Glenn Puit

A piece of pure farming history will be on display this Sunday, Oct. 11, in the Williamsburg area.

The Samels’ Heritage Center is an 80-acre, pioneer farm on Skegemog Point Road, located two miles north of M-72. On Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can soak up the special history of the farm as part of a free “Farm Festival” day at the pioneer farm.

The event is free and features homemade cider, homemade ice cream, a blacksmith, a team of horses, a tour of historic farming equipment, and a presentation on Indian relics found on the farm.

The farm, upon first view, offers a beautiful expanse of fields and forest, an old farmhouse, an L-shaped barn, and farming equipment dating back a century. Inside the barn are farming tools from yesteryear, including wooden beam plows, steel frame plows and walking cultivators. There’s an old thrashing machine on site and even a hog-scalding device.

The farm, said event co-organizer Warren Studley, is a cherished Northern Michigan asset.

“It’s a look back in history,” Studley said. “I think it’s a look back in time and a reminder that all our ancestors, at some time or another, were farmers, and either us, our grandparents or great-grandparents, have at some point had a direct relationship with farms.”

Beyond the history, Sunday’s festival reminds that it’s important to support your local farms and buy local produce. Together, we can continue to make sure that farming remains viable for families in Northern Michigan for decades to come, and we can rely on the local produce they grow to help each one of us live healthier, happier, and more productive lives.

Glenn Puit is a policy specialist for the Michigan Land Use Institute. Reach him at glenn@mlui.org.