Fat Blossom Farm is a family farm run by Jacob and Liz Quincy. They grow certified organic food and flowers in Allegan on green space that includes agricultural land and over 20 acres of woodlot. They teach workshops on gardening and harvesting wild food and Liz teaches children how to build houses for fairies.
“There’s an author named Tracy Cain” she says, “who wrote this children’s book called Fairy House and she does these kinds of events where it’s all about getting outdoors and connecting with nature and art. So, she has encouraged other people to take the idea and run with it.”
What is a fairy house? Quincy explains that it’s a little structure made of wood, containing small items found in a field or forest, like a patch of moss or a mushroom.
"We use a lot of bark and sticks when building fairy houses, stones and seeds. I like to use seeds and acorns are great. We use them for dishes and put seeds in there to feed the fairies.”
When children attend a fairy house workshop, Quincy leads them out doors to look for and gather materials.
“In terms of fairy house ingredients, when you find a cool rock or a cool feather you will sometimes build your whole house around that, I’ve seen kids do that," she says. "Looking for your own materials is a big part of the fun.”
Liz gathers some of the supplies beforehand and lays them in drying racks in a shed on the farm.
“Moss,” she points out, “a lot of sheet moss that we found in the woods, peeled off of fallen logs. A lot of bark and twigs, and they are spread out on these racks to get the air flow to dry them so we can use them.”
Quincy says children soon learn that a fairy house left out in nature will attract visitors.
“The kids build their houses and when they check on them daily, they will see that interaction with nature and they’ll find crickets in their house or see birds eating the seeds they left for the fairies. I think that observation is good for kids. I tell them that they made such a good house and you respected nature and the animals choose to come to your house and that means they did a good job.”
Liz and her husband Jacob are sometimes asked if they believe in fairies. Jacob has a ready answer about the meaning of magic in nature.
“I’ve been farming, growing for many years now. I still, every time I put a seed in the ground and a week or two later a plant pops up, I’m amazed, I’m blown away, it boggles my mind how that works. So, it’s been something that has always connected with me, you know, the magic of nature. A tomato seed isn’t much bigger than a grain of sand and you put that into the dirt and give it some water, and a few months later you’ve got a plant that is 7 feet tall and has 20 or 30 pounds of fruit on it. That’s an amazing thing.”