Check Out the Tollgate Camp Video!

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Tollgate Farm 4-H Club: January on the Farm

The Club spent the month of January focused on animal science and community service. We completed an activity on beef, learning breeds, anatomy and care.  Also another ultrasound session was held to use the ultrasound to check on the goats (due in March). 

Sorting seeds for our annual seed give away is ongoing. This project gathers seeds from seed companies and distributes them to school and community gardens.

February Club Activities 

  • Our teens will be going on the road again, visiting a commercial sheep farm, Lauwer’s Lamb in Capac, to participate in lambing.
  • Cherry Slurp Time: We will celebrate Michigan cherries for Valentine’s Day
  • Market lamb projects begin 

Interested in joining 4-H? Contact the Tollgate Farm 4-H Club by email, visit their website,or facebook

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Tollgate Farm 4-H Club is Looking Forward to the Arrival of Lambs and Kids!

Now that breeding season has come to a close, we think that we have 4 pregnant sheep and 7 pregnant goats. This was confirmed by a recent activity using a veterinary ultrasound to confirm pregnancies, a unique experience for our youth members. First our teens learned how to use the ultrasound. To reinforce the learning, the teens in turn showed younger members how to use this equipment. We looked for and found heartbeats, spines and movement, Lambing Starts around Jan 13th!!!

This is one of many educational activities that the club makes possible for its youth showmen. 4-H Livestock and Poultry projects provide great opportunities for youth to learn about animal and veterinary science, as well as animal production practices. There are also life skills acquired through these projects. Youth learn goal setting and problem solving, improve communication skills and gain confidence.

Many think that you need to live on a farm to participate in a 4-H Livestock or Poultry project. However, through the Animal Project Leasing program at Tollgate, youth can work hands on with livestock and poultry at Tollgate Farm, learning and growing. Currently there are still a few market lamb and duck projects available to interested youth ages 8 – 19. To learn more about this program, contact: Mary Hutka or visit our website or facebook.

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Parsnip Soup

A delicious and creamy soup that combines the flavors of parsnip and apple. Make an extra large batch and freeze some for a snowy day in a few months.

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Vegetable Hot Pot

This is an amazing winter recipe. Use your favorite vegetables, as long as the overall weight remains the same. Some substituted vegetables may need a little longer cooking time.


Total 2 hours with cooking



30ml / 2 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, roughly chopped
5ml / 1 tsp mild chilli powder
450g / 1lb potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
450g / 1lb celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped
350g / 12oz carrots, roughly chopped
350g / 12oz trimmed leeks, roughly chopped
225g / 8oz / 3 cups brown cap button mushrooms, halved
20ml / 4 tsp plain flour
600ml / 1 pint / 2.5 cups vegetable stock
400g / 14oz can chopped tomatoes
15ml / 1 tbsp tomato puree
30ml / 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
400g / 14oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Topping
225g / 8oz / 2 cups self-raising flour
115g / 4 oz / ½ cup butter
115g / 4 oz / 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
30ml / 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
About 75ml / 5 tbsp milk


Preheat the oven to 180c / 350f. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the garlic and onion and fry over a low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Stir in the chilli powder and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the potatoes, celeriac, carrots, leeks and mushrooms. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more.
Stir in the vegetable stock, then the tomatoes, tomato puree and thyme and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, stirring. Cover and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the topping. Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips, then stir in half the grated cheese, together with the chives and plenty of seasoning. Add just enough milk to bind the dry ingredients and mix quickly to form a soft dough.
Pat out the dough to a round, about 1 inch / 2.5cm thick. Cut it into 12 triangles. Brush with a little milk.
Remove the casserole from the oven and stir in the kidney beans. Overlap the triangles on top, and sprinkle the remaining grated cheddar cheese. Return to the oven, uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until the scone topping is golden brown and cooked through.
Serve at once.

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2019 Fall Farm Sprouts – Celebration of Learning

We brought the fall season to a close with a celebration of learning. Together we shared our favorite memories, visited special animals and places, and chatted and enjoyed stories over food and drink, as humans have done for centuries. Farm Sprouts ground corn and churned cream into butter to spread on cornbread muffins, a tasty treat with a sweet apple cider reward after hiking all around the farm on a scavenger hunt. Books like Sleep Tight, Farm by Eugenie Doyle guided us in saying goodbye to the farm. This fall we investigated how plants and animals prepare for winter and we’ve observed so many changes take place, from the leaves falling, birds migrating, to the farmers putting the equipment and fields to bed. It’s been a season filled with incredible joy, new challenges, discovery, big questions, and the maintaining and building of a community around food, our natural resources, and the land. This November, we are ever so grateful to include each of you as a part of our farm community. We wish you a warm and joyous winter season and look forward to reconnecting in 2020!

“Community is about doing something together that makes belonging matter.” – Brian Solis

Thank you to all who have given to this program over the past four years. We wouldn’t be where we are, making the impact we are, without you.

Good night, farm. See you when the sap begins to flow!

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