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Ghost House is a small, diversified vegetable farm in Hancock, Michigan, owned by Drew Cramer and Allison Mills. The couple met at a hiking retreat in college and have been chasing their farm dreams together ever since! The acreage features a half-acre field, 100-foot market garden, 80-foot heated hoophouse, their home, and notably, the goat house, nicknamed the Ghost House. With a lot of leg work and the help of their friends, the couple cleaned out the rotting, century-old building to eventually convert it into a cozy space for their goats.
“All white on the outside and with a roof that made shingles and toes curl just looking at the eaves, the Ghost House came with all its mid-century kitchen appliances, stashes of Finnish hymn and math books, a pantry full of tea cups and pans, an evolution of bikes dating back to at least 1965, a busted and locked up Singer sewing machine, and two dozen working copper solar lights. Most of the stuff was moldy. All of it was covered in droppings.
Drew and a few brave friends donned respirators and hefted crowbars, removing all the crud, wall plaster, wiring, mouse-palace furniture, wheelbarrow loads of coyote poop, and as much of the layers and layers of wallpaper as humanly possible. It filled a dumpster. And then some. We accrued a $500 overage fee, but didn’t lose any friends.”
Bringing the property back to life means using regenerative agricultural practices. Regenerative farms focus on healthy soil first, with everything else following second. To bring fresh produce, salad mixes, veggies, and bouquets to the Keweenaw community, Ghost House Farm operates according to a “triple bottom line”:
- financial sustainability. The farm is built to fulfill a need within the community and sustain itself.
- social responsibility. The farm delivers on their promise for healthy, fresh produce to the community in the form of their subscription boxes, at markets, and at the Co-op, but they also give back by donating wholesale produce to Copper Country Senior Meals and the Western UP Food Bank with every $1 donated.
- environmental stewardship. Being a steward for the land recognizes that we are all just visitors here and aims to take care of the land and keep it healthy for years to come.
We recommend checking out Ghost House’s website for more entertaining Ghost Stories - and keeping an eye out for their spinach, arugula, salad mix, radishes, peppers, and more “reliably awesome produce” on our shelves this season at the Keweenaw Co-op!
Photos & Article by Lily Venable