Interview: Creela Hamlin

Interview: Creela Hamlin

Creela Hamlin may have purchased her first farm just 15 years ago, but she is a family farmer through and through. She and her husband, Matthew Hamlin were both born into agriculture, and are 5th generation family farmers. Practicing traditions passed down from her parents, grandparents and great grandparents, Creela Hamlin was first exposed to farming as a kid—learning to drive the tractor as soon as her feet could touch the pedals. Though the family grows a wide variety of produce today, Seal the Seasons works with them to deliver delicious, locally-grown frozen blueberries across the Great Lakes. Earlier this month, we took the time to catch up with Creela, and briefly discuss how she got started, who her role models are, and the different traditions that she upholds on her farm.

STS: How long have you been farming and how did you get started? How old were you when you first drove a tractor?
CH: My husband and I bought our first blueberry farm over 15 years ago. We both come from farm families that are in their 5th generation. I think I started driving a tractor as soon as I could reach the pedals.

STS: What is your favorite crop to grow and why?
CH: They all are fun in their own way. I love taking things and techniques that work in one crop and applying those ideas to another.

STS: How do you keep your soil healthy year to year? Are there things you do to improve the soil and ecological diversity of the farm? What’s one “extra” practice you do that makes the land better for the next generation?
CH: We perform grid sampling, conducted to capture the diversity of nutrient concentration, at least every 3 years. We then apply fertilizers to meet the needs of growing a healthy crop while not overapplying and wasting valuable nutrients.

STS: Who is your role model in the farming profession and what makes them a leader in the farming community?
CH: My father and my father-in-law are my farming role models. They each farm very differently from each other, so it is awesome to have two unique perspectives. I also have the privilege of working with many amazing growers with my work for Peterson Farms Inc., there are too many inspirations to name just one from that group.

STS: What is the most rewarding part of growing healthy food on the farm?
CH: The most rewarding part for me is watching a crop grow from dormancy in the winter to a delicious and nutritious fruit for all to enjoy.

STS: Do you have any special harvest or post-harvest traditions?
CH: Postharvest we have a great celebration with all that work on the farm—we call it Fall Fiesta. It is a great way to celebrate the season and to show appreciation for all the energy and care that our family and team put into the crop. We also “runaway” with our 3 boys camping for the weekend to regroup and relax.

STS: What’s something that city people misunderstand about farming or running a farm?
CH: That it takes a lot of faith and patience to farm.

STS: What are your favorite dishes to make with your own produce?
CH: Blueberry pie and Blueberry smoothies!

STS: What has been the biggest benefit of working with Seal the Seasons?
CH: We love that they promote Michigan & USA grown produce!Seal the Seasons now offers Creela Hamlin’s blueberries for those of you in the Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Illinois areas. Find them today at a Jewel Osco, Roundy’s, or Mariano’s location near you. Just check the frozen foods section!