10431 Mayflower Road
Milladore, WI 54454
Mike and Deb Hansen have been farming their land for nine years. These 80 acres in central Wisconsin are home to Gifts from the Good Earth.
Most days the whole family pitches in to get the chores done, but Mike is responsible for keeping everything running and marketing the products, while Deb is in charge of the ever-important bookwork. Son Ben, 13, raises pigs, Jacob, 11, helps Dad with chores, and Mariah, 7, unloads baby chicks when they arrive on the farm. Otherwise, Mariah is just cute.
The Hansens produce a variety of organic meat and poultry, including grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork, and pasture-raised chicken and turkey. For 2004, they managed 20 pigs, 70 beefers, 4,000 chickens, and 1,000 turkeys, and these numbers seem to keep growing every season. Thankfully, Hannah, the plush coat German Shepard, is around to keep the animals in line! And among other kitty companions are a calico named PJ, four yellow cats who all go by Chubby, and one called Cindy Loo Hoo.
Why is growing organic a priority for you?
Ive never done it any other way. Organic production started for me in 1982 when I raised my first garden. I was at the garden store looking at the Miracle-Gro and couldnt bring myself to understand why anyone would put an unknown chemical on the plant that they were going to eat. It just never made sense to me. I also strongly believe that our animals deserve the best environment we can possible give them. They are paying the ultimate price for our survival and thus we treat them with the utmost respect.
Whats your favorite part of being an organic farmer?
I never have to apologize for anything!
Why should people buy organic products instead of other options?
You are what you eat. Plus, by supporting the small-scale family operations, you are helping to protect the rural environment that everyone says we need to protect. After 14 years as a community planner, I can tell you with assurance that the best way to keep farmland farmed is to develop sustainable and profitable farms. No farmer will sell their land for development if they are making a sustainable living. We all love to farm. Thats why we do it. As long as we have a comfortable income, were not selling.
What makes your farms special?
Our farm is diverse, comfortable, safe, friendly, healthy and joyous. We love what we do and we think that our customers can see that in our animals and taste that in our products. We strive to improve the environment that sustains us and all we do. One of the tenets of our farms business plan is integrity. As I mentioned above, I dont feel the need to apologize for anything we do. We strive for the best in all we do, whether its animal care or the shipping of our products.
Where can consumers get your products?
We invite customers to come to the farm to pick up our meats. People can also order products through our website. We currently have one outlet in Barrington, IL called Ecosystem Resources International. They can be reached at (847) 381-7058.
For more information about Gifts from the Good Earth, visit www.goodearthfarms.com or call (888) 941-4343 toll-free.