Kyle took to farming early, when she was 4 she kept asking for sheep. We had cows, horses, chickens, cats, dogs and the occasional pig, though, I knew nothing about caring for sheep, so I said no. Repeatedly. Finally, in what I thought was a brilliant bit of parenting, I told her if she could save enough to buy 2 sheep with her own money, we could get sheep. I figured where is a 4 year old going to get several hundred dollars? She’d lose interest and that would be the end of wanting sheep. One year later, she had a shoe box full of loose change and wrinkled $1s and $5s that we traded for sheep. The next year, she was showing her sheep at our county fair against the adults because she was too young to join 4-H.
Fast forward a few years, Kyle was off to England for 3 years to get her degree at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, England. When she graduated, we promoted her to farm manager and she’s been fine tuning our 92 acre grass-based farm, Willow Farm LLC, in southwest Michigan ever since.
She opened an on-farm store where we sell our grass fed beef, lamb and free range eggs along with wonderful wooly things from our sheep. We have our own bedding line, hand-spun yarn, hand knit sweaters, other knitted things and craft items.
Somewhere along the way, she added a Masters Degree from Colorado State University in Integrated Resource Management and organizes classes, open houses, Shearing Day and our upcoming 1st anniversary of our shop’s opening with a Fall Festival.
The shop is open Fridays from 1 to 5 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm or give us a call at 517-542-0192 to set up a time that works for you. We sell our lamb by the half, beef by the eighth and eggs by the dozen.
Join us the first Saturday of the month, November through April, for tea. We always have a selection of home baked goodies and keep the kettle hot for friends and neighbors.
In the future, we’d like to add bees and honey, maple syrup, more classes, glamping, pigs — our list is endless.
Tom, Candy, and Kyle Brisendine are the owners of Willow Farm, LLC. Learn more at their website www.willowfarmwool.com