Monday, June 2, 2008

Making Wheat at Micheli Farms

[I've moved to Please visit me there!]

We, along with some fellow homeschoolers, spent a day at the Micheli Farm. The site we went to boast 300+ acres (and that is only one of the family farms). “Farmer Mike,” as he is so affectionately called, his wife Mary, and their four children farm this branch of Grandfather Micheli’s farms where they grow prunes (shown in the picture to the left) , peaches, rice, pomegranates, walnuts, and wheat. Our field trip was to learn about how wheat is processed before it leaves the farm where it is grown. The Micheli Farm has 44 dedicated acres to the growing of wheat. For a visual, imagine 44 American football fields of wheat (I missed that picture.). That is a lot of wheat of which we walked completing around to get to the heart of their wheat processing system.

Harvest reaping was just a few days away for this wheat that was planted around Thanksgiving. The end of a long preparation process completed before the seeds were even planted. Soil preparation includes plowing the fields to pass the surface of the soil which allows moisture to better penetrate the ground where the seeds will be planted. Farmers also use plowing to rid the field of weeds. Can you imagine pulling weeds,
by hand, from 44 acres? I have a difficult enough time pulling weeds from my flower bed. The seeds are planted using a drill that drops the seeds and covers them in soil.

A farmer has to really love what he does because growing wheat is alot of HARD work which may explain why wheat farming can be traced, for generations, in one family. Growing wheat is a family tradition. It is said that a wheat farmer is "land and equipment rich, but cash poor." To a wheat farmer, the stalk that Farmer Mike is holding, may be "the icing on the cake" or the "butter on the bread."

The wheat was going to be watered a few more days using a hand built watering system that was powered by a John Deere tractor.
They planted the wheat on a slight incline which allows the water to flow across and over all 44 acres.

Micheli Farm's harvest is used by major food corporations. The next time you open a can of peaches, suck on a prune, crack a walnut, or slice a loaf of bread, you may be enjoying the hard work of a third generation farming family.

In case you're wondering, Farmer Mike is wearing a car racing sweatshirt (Shootout).

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