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‘Breakfast on the Farm’ gives public taste of local agriculture

June 30, 2012
By Jenny Lancour , Daily Press

CORNELL - About 1,500 visitors and 100 volunteers are expected to participate in a free breakfast and tours during "Breakfast on the Farm" at a local farm in Delta County next month, according to organizers.

Tickets are now available for the July 28 event made possible by sponsors statewide and organized by the local Michigan State University Extension Service in cooperation with the VanDrese Dairy and Potato Farm in Cornell.

"Breakfast on the Farm" allows the public opportunity to see first-hand where food comes from in a safe and environmentally-responsible manner, said Warren Schauer, agriculture business management educator for the MSU Extension Service of Delta County.

Article Photos

Jenny Lancour | Daily Press
Betty VanDrese is shown with her son, Galen, at the VanDrese family farm in Cornell. The farm will be the site of “Breakfast on the Farm” on July 28. The event allows the public a glimpse of farm operations and where food comes from.

The VanDrese family farm is certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Good Agriculture Practices, also known as GAP-certified. The farm is also verified as a Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program meaning the operations follow environmentally-sound practices, explained Schauer.

Even the farm equipment is run on food-grade oil and grease, said Galen VanDrese, one of 11 children born to Betty VanDrese and her late husband, Carl VanDrese.

Three generations continue to work on the family farm including Betty and her sons Galen, Doug and Wendell. Galen's son, Jason, and Wendell's son, Nick, are the third generation farmers. Some of the other family members operate their own farms.

The VanDrese farm originated in 1914 and was owned by Charles and Emma VanDrese who had 11 children. The small farm was made up of 98 acres including 10 acres of potatoes which were picked by hand. The family also had 20 dairy cows.

In 1952, Carl and Betty VanDrese took over the farm.

Today the farm consists of 700 acres and 100 dairy cows which are milked 16 at a time in the milking parlor. The family plants 100 acres of potatoes which are harvested by modern equipment.

Harvesters, tractors and other farm equipment will be on display during the "Breakfast on the Farm" scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on July 28. Rain or shine, a pancake breakfast including scrambled eggs, potatoes, and sausage will be served under a tent from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event will also include tours of the cow barn and milk parlor, hay rides, various animals, and several agriculture-related displays. Farmers and a veterinarian will be on hand to educate the public and answer questions. Tours end at 2 p.m.

"Jilly the Cow" will be on site and ice cream will be available. Children's activities will include coloring, face-painting and a corn box (similar to a sand box).

The farm is located at 4185 Meadow 24 Lane. To get there from U.S. 2 & 41, take County Road 426 10 miles north to Meadow 24 Lane and follow the signs to the farm.

Free tickets for "Breakfast on the Farm" can be picked up from various locations.

In Delta County, tickets are available at the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, the Delta County Credit Union in Escanaba and Wells, the MSU Extension Office, the U.P. State Fair Office, Greenstone Farm Credit Services, Farmers Market in Escanaba and Gladstone, Gus Asp, Family Inn, First Bank in Escanaba, Gladstone and Garden, Jim's Dari Kreme, Mel's Lawn, Garden and Feed Center, Northern Michigan Bank in Escanaba, Gladstone, and Bark River, and Tractor Supply Company.

In Marquette County, tickets are available at Econo Foods. In Dickinson County, tickets can be picked up from the MSU Extension Office.

For more information about "Breakfast on the Farm" visit or call the MSU Extension Office in Escanaba at (906) 786-3032.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,



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