A Field Trip Remembered: Micheli Farms

remembered from a June 2008 post.

We, along with some fellow homeschoolers, spent a day at Micheli Farms. 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. That is a lot of wheat of which we walked completing around to get to the heart of their wheat processing system.

To give you an idea of the distance we walked, you can see it here (multiply it by eight). We walked past the orchards before we even set eyes on the wheat field.

You know? Little people with short legs sure are slow, but they made some tracks. We were actually towards the head of the pack. There were many other mommies and children behind us. We brought our jogging stroller, but let another mom (pregnant) use it for her child. It handled the terrain quite well. Moms, a good jogging stroller is a worthwhile investment if you plan to be active with your child.

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 (similar to this one) 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 this 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) and not advocating drive-by shooting in the country.

Farmer Mike told us that we probably had some wheat growing in our backyard at home. Sure I thought. When we arrived home, eager for discovery, River ran into our yard and headed towards the tall weeds throughout our yard. Look what he found!

For a moment, the bright idea of making a loaf of bread crossed my mind, but left just as quickly as it arrived.

UPDATE 2009: It’s funny how life changes in one year. I now make all of our loaf bread and can’t wait to share the recipe.

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One Response to “A Field Trip Remembered: Micheli Farms”

  • Comment from Rana

    You all look like you had a great time, and did a lot of walking. I love field trips like this.

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