Joan Donaldson

Correspondent

Joan Donaldson’s latest novel, On Viney’s Mountain represented the State of Tennessee at the 2010 National Book Festival.  The Christian Science Monitor and Mary Jane’s Farm have published her nonfiction. Her book about her family’s organic fruit farm, Wedded to the Land will be released in 2013.

Her farm’s website is: http://www.pleasanthillblueberryfarm.com

Her author website is: http://www.joandonaldson.com

A blueberry bush at Pleasant Hill Farm
Joan Donaldson

Joan Donaldson and her husband own Pleasant Hill Farm in Fennville. She writes about life as an organic farmer. 

Over the years that my husband, John and I have farmed organic fruit, we’ve experimented with introducing various beneficial insects to our crops. Boxes with screens have arrived where thousands of lady bugs’ legs crawled across the wire mesh. 


A wind machine on a Fennville farm
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

The west shoreline of Lake Michigan is known as a windy location, because as air masses travel across the Lake’s open water, there are no structures or forests to create friction that would slow its movement. Yet, like the ancient symbols for theater showing smiling or weeping faces, wind can either work in a farmer’s favor or cause financial losses. 


John Van Voorhees picks chestnuts off of the taller branches
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

Even though I grew up in a mid-size town, on Sunday afternoons my family often drove into the surrounding countryside, where we would buy a gallon of cider from a fruit stand, and then troll the back roads for hickory nut trees. 


The hedge rows on Pleasant Hill Farm
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

Sometimes when driving the back roads of Southwest Michigan, you still see lines of trees or bushes dividing the fields or marching along the borders. Years ago, farmers planted hedge rows not just to mark the boundaries of their land, but also as wind breaks to protect their crops. It was also a shady place to pause when plowing with a team of horses. 

Ann Sharkey inspects her hive on WMUK correspondent Joan Donaldson's organic fruit farm
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

Despite the media’s out-pouring of articles about “colony collapse disorder” and about how pesticides are killing off bees, visitors to my organic blueberry farm often have not connected the dots between bees and fruit. 

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