About Visser Farms
About our Farming Practices
We deeply care for our farmland. We are not all about yield, but about the quality and vitality of what we bring to the farmer’s market and to your plate. We know that the nutrition in your produce comes from our soil and we work hard to care for this resource. According to the Soil Science of America, “Soils sustain life”. At the most basic level, soil supports and nourishes the plants we eat.
Healthy soil makes for clean, safe water. Soil is a non-renewable resource and taking care of it is essential for our future! Soil organisms are the source of many important medicines used to treat many diseases and healthy soil supports a diverse population of micro-organisms.
We conduct extensive soil testing to properly maintain essential nutrients and soil structure. We use natural fertilizers from spoiled produce and livestock whenever possible. We plant cover crops like rye and sorghum to prevent soil erosion and replenish nutrients when plowed under. We regularly rotate our crops, ensuring the soil is not stressed or stripped of nutrients. We pump water from a pond on site and keep the ditches clear to ensure proper drainage takes place. We pick our produce at the height of ripeness, wash it, and pack it in coolers. Our goal each year is to leave the land better than when we started. We farm 20 acres of muck land in Jenison, where the original farm was established, and over 250 acres in Zeeland.
We strive to only use chemicals when the quality of the crop is threatened by pests or disease. We use biological and natural disease prevention solutions as much as possible. This helps minimize exposure to unnecessary chemicals and to ensure that your produce is healthy, nutritious, and delicious. The appearance may not be perfect but we try hard to balance sustainable production practices with a product that you are proud to bring home to your family. We strongly believe in protecting the resources we have been blessed with. We strive to keep the land and crops we have at their healthiest. Our soil is tested on a regular basis for nutrients. This helps us plant more sustainably by showing us what produce is going to work well in certain areas by helping replenish the ground's nutrients or which ones will harm the soil by taking nutrients its already low on. Knowing what's in our soil helps us rotate our crops in the best way possible so that we can continue getting a good yield while protecting the soil. We also have lots of honey bees on our farm which helps pollinate much of our produce. They also provide the honey that we sell at our markets.
In 1902, Dutch immigrants, Marinus & Maria Staal, settled in Jenison, Michigan on muck land that posesses rich, black soil. They built a homestead and barns and began living their dream with their two children, Cornelius and Catherine.
In the mid -1920's, Casey Visser, of Jenison, came along as a hired hand for Marinus. He fell in love with Marinus' daughter and they married in 1928. Catherine and Casey continued her father's dream and the farm was soon named Visser Farm. They raised ten children and their eldest, Minard, took interest in the business.
In 1953, Minard married Anna Meekhof. They had three children: Douglas, Beverly, and Philip.
In 1970, Minard and Anna purchased our Zeeland location. This allowed the farm to expand greatly by providing room for coolers, washers, storage sheds, and greenhouses, in addition to the muck land in Jenison which provides rich growing conditions for our carrots, radishes, and green onions. In 1992, Anna passed away. Minard remarried Anna's sister, Alice, in 1994. In the summer of 2017, Alice passed away. Minard passed away from leukemia in March of 2019. It's a big adjustment living and working without him here everyday.
Minard's youngest son, Phil, married Cindy Koetsier in 1980. They currently own and manage the farm's operations including our greenhouses. They can be found each week at the Holland Farmers Market. They have seven children: Casey, Andrew, Jo Ellen, Jacob, William, Luke, & Isaac.
We are grateful for the many friends and family that continue to help in the greenhouses, at the farmers markets, in the fields, loading trucks, and so much more. Our hope is to continue the farming legacy that Marinus and Maria started all those years ago when they came to America with a prayer and a dream and a plot of dirt.