The Van Agtmael family has been proudly farming in Hart, Michigan for one hundred years. Begun by Joe Van Agtmael as 60 acres of cattle, potatoes and asparagus, the farm today is 600 acres of cherries and apples and, the lone holdover, asparagus.
Joe’s grandson, Mike runs the farm today and transitioned the family into tree fruit as a way to take advantage of excellent growing sites and shifting markets. Mike’s education in the apple business was one of extremes, as he first planted Northern Spy, the consummate pie apple, and HoneyCrisp, the world’s most popular apple for fresh eating. Growing HoneyCrisp also taught Mike that putting extra effort into growing difficult but great tasting fruit was not only rewarding financially, but also an opportunity to see his hard work pay off in the faces of satisfied consumers. That harmonious balance of challenge and reward is what drew the family to join Next Big Thing, as well as help in the growing and marketing of SweeTango brand apples.
Working together with others in his industry has always been an important part of Mike’s career. He served on the Michigan Cherry Committee for three terms, one as Chairman. Mike has also served on the Cherry Marketing Institute Board, as well as his local school and fire boards.