The Land: Shakin’ at VanNortwick Farms

July 13, 2016
Tom VanNortwick operates the cherry shaker.

Tom VanNortwick operates the cherry shaker.

This is the fourth feature in our series, The Land, about local agriculture. We are pleased to announce that this series is brought to you by Ludington Beverage, distributors of America beer and part of the western Michigan business community for four generation.

#MasonCountyPeople #TheLand #LudingtonBeverage #RivertonTownship

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

RIVERTON TOWNSHIP — Tom and Janice VanNortwick have been farming here since 1967. They raised four children in their small Anthony Road house and today each of those children, as adults, still help out during harvest season. The main crop on the 200 acre farm is cherries, mostly tart cherries.

The family farms on land that was started four generations ago, by Janice’s grandparents. When Tom got out of the military in the mid-60s he decided to work for the C&O Railroad, which was common for many Mason County men at the time. However, it wasn’t the right job for him and he chose to take up farming, purchasing land next to his in-laws.

Today, his adult children each have their own careers, but still come back and help during harvest. Son Tom is a teacher in Hudsonville, daughter Rachelle Ledger works for Shelby Schools, daughter Renee works for Whitehall Industries and son Todd works for the Lake County Road Commission.

The past few years, Todd has taken the lead on helping shake the cherries and said he will most likely take over the farm when his dad decides its time.

Learn more about VanNortwick Farms here. 

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