2018 Tour Information

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

For more information, or to reserve your spot on the Horse Progress Days’ 2018 Tour.

Call: 989-386-9082, or send payment to: HPD Tour, 9484 S. Rogers Ave. Clare MI 48617
Tour Cost is $85.

Today’s tour stop schedule is an aggressive one. Be sure to arrive on time and pay attention to your guide as you make your way around to these interesting stops in and around the vicinity of the Alvin Yoder farm in Clare, but most of all, have fun. .

Country Side Dinners
Samuel and Frieda Stutzman
The noon meal today will be served Amish style by folks who are accustomed to preparing and serving food. Sam and Frieda and their 2 girls and 3 boys serve meals in their kitchen an average of 3 times a week all year round. They also support a lawn furniture shop across the road that is owned Frieda’s parents Dan and Lydia Yoder. In fact, the last time Horse Progress Days was held in Clare, it was Dan and Lydia who prepared the noon meal. So while most of the time spent working by these families is not on the farm, there are 40 acres of land to care for too. Country Side Dinners (your meal will be a noontime dinner, not lunch) offers three different kinds of meats to choose from; ham, meatloaf and chicken, you will be served two. They offer 4 different vegetables; sweet corn, peas, green beans, and mixed veggies. You will be served two. The salad choices are tossed salad, cole slaw, or chow mien salad, you get one of those, and dessert will be pie. Now, no worries, you won’t have to make any of the food decisions yourself, they will be made ahead of time for you. Just be sure to bring your appetite with you and as you sit down to the meal dig in like a farmer who would be filling his tank for an afternoon of hard work.

Yoder Produce Farm
Joseph and Verba Yoder
Produce farming has now been installed into the cultures and livelihoods of Amish Horse Farmers in all of the communities where Horse Progress Days is held. Some, like Pennsylvania and Ohio, have grown it into a major part of local economies. In Clare, Michigan, site of the 2018 event, it is catching on. As you drive from the town of Clare to the event, you will pass a new structure, built for a produce auction. Joseph Yoder, our produce farmer on today’s tour serves on the board of the three year old auction. Produce growing is fairly new for this family, but they have jumped in, it seems, with “both feet.” They grow 6 acres of produce on their farm. Half of that acreage is in pumpkins and the other half grows things like peppers, onions, and watermelon. There is a 34 x 96 foot greenhouse for growing tomatoes. Tomatoes grown in the greenhouse can begin to be harvested as early as the first week in June and as late as the 3rd week in October. There is also a 20 x 96 foot greenhouse for growing flowers. Most, if not all, of the things grown on the farm are sold through the auction. While the rest of the farm is organic, so far the produce and flower programs are not. Take a look around; ask questions if you think of any, you may learn something new!

Shady Maple Farm and Dover Road Furniture
The William and Mattie Byler
This stop was on the tour in 2012, the last time Horse Progress Days was held in Clare. Now everyone is six years older and as you might imagine, some things have changed. William Byler sold out in April of 2017 and turned the dairy farming over to one of his sons. Then in August he and his wife opened a new furniture store where they retail furniture built mostly in Holmes County Ohio. They call their store Dover Road Furniture. Take a look around the store and the farm to see what you might learn about farming and selling furniture! And be sure to ask about the Purple Martins.

Meadowview Kitchens
Ervin Byler Family
Across the road from the William Byler farm is the kitchen shop of son Ervin. This shop was on the tour stop schedule 6 years ago as well. In the intervening years, business has picked up. You’ll find it interesting as you check out the kinds of materials that are being used to build kitchens these days. What kind of wood is most popular? Are there other materials besides wood that are being requested and/or manufactured into Meadowview kitchens? Today you will gain an appreciation for entrepreneurialism as you see it manifested in the Byler family. Ervin is the son of William who lives right across the road and his twin brother Mervin runs a buggy shop you will be visiting today too.

Byler Buggy shop
Mervin Byler
Horses and horse equipment figure into the story of the Byler families who landed here in this part of Michigan when they moved from Dover Delaware in 1990. All of them like horses, but it was Mervin who started his working days shoeing them before he gave that up to become a full time buggy maker. From 2006 to 2012 he did both before opting for the privilege to work from home full time in the shop. At least 80% of the buggies built here in this shop are used in the local community, but Byler buggies have also been shipped to New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. It is interesting to note that not many Amish buggy shops do all of their own work these days, instead buying parts from each other wherever it makes the most sense. For example, Mervin buys hydraulic brakes from Burkholder Buggy Parts in Millersburg Ohio and disc brakes from Carriage Machine in Bird In Hand, Pennsylvania. He has recently begun subbing out the buggy tops too since he can’t quite seem to keep up. He must be making good buggies; he has a year and a half waiting list. He makes the undercarriage and does the painting and his daughter does the upholstery. There is one full time employee, Mervin’s brother Raymond. This will be an interesting stop. This is the third leg of Byler enterprises that you will visit today.

EM Cores/TH Manufacturing
Meet Edward Byler, the manager of the Michigan side of this company that is headquartered in Berlin, Ohio and owned by Jeff Tomski. Today you will learn a little bit about how sand is used to make cores for cast iron parts. The parts that are made here might be for trains, manhole covers, gas meters, or bearings. Edward says sometimes he doesn’t even know what some of the parts they are making are for! Today you will be shown how a mold is put together using sand and a binding material. If you ever wondered about how things are made, today you will come one step closer to knowing. In recent years much foundry work has left the country. Today you can be grateful to learn that not all of this kind of work has left. Isn’t it great to see this kind of important work being carried on by competent and earnest people. Learn all you can today, these kinds of opportunities don’t come around too often.

Morgan Composting/Dairy Doo
Back in 1996 Brad Morgan and his father Dale were milking cows, a lot of them. They had a problem getting rid of all their manure. So they started composting it and now they are buying manure from dairy farmers all over the state to compost for their potting soil, compost, and fertilizer customers. And they have a worm farm which collects the castings (manure) from earthworms to use for growing healthy plants. Words like microbiology, holding capacity for water and nutrients, aeration for roots, solid soil biology, and many other good, organic words permeate the descriptions of the products they sell. Imagine, collecting manure from 6 million chickens for composting! Imagine how an operation such as this fits with the God-given cycle of using animal waste to replace man made synthetic soil amendments for growing things. Learn all you can about compost and vermicular agriculture today when you visit this interesting place, and if you want to learn more check the seminar schedule for Horse Progress Days and sit in on what will prove to be a very interesting and informative time with Brad Morgan, one of the founders of Morgan composting.

Colonville Country Store
This popular little store is back on the tour schedule for 2018. It was also included in the 2012 tour and it is a worthwhile stop. Things are pretty much the same as 6 years ago; propane, groceries, household goods, hunting, fishing, and trapping supplies, Muck Boots, and a few farming supplies, says Dan Hochstetler who runs the store with the help of his wife Ida Mae and a few good employees. There is one new thing that has made its way into the store; bee keeping supplies. Dan’s sales philosophy is, keep pricing in line, stock the shelves well, carry items your customers need and want, and create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and you will be happy with the results. It seems to be working. There’s a good chance you won’t have enough time to really shop like you would want to today before it will be time to get back on the bus. No worries, this store is just down the road from the Alvin Yoder Farm, site of Horse Progress Days 2018. Stop back on your way out on Saturday afternoon after the event is over or slip over any time if you can’t find enough to hold your interest at Horse Progress Days! (which is, of course, unlikely)

Luthy Metal Sales
Roofing, siding, and metal trim pieces are the staples of this company. Beautiful stuff, durable and practical; It’s made from steel coming mostly out of Indiana. This, like the TH Foundry on today’s tour is also a domestically sourced company. The steel comes in great big rolls, each 43 inches wide and wrapped in 5000 foot lengths. That’s almost a mile in length! Only four coils fit onto one semi -trailer. A lot of the roll form steel that comes to this company is made into barn siding, regular size barns, and mini barns, and some is made into standing seam roofing. Another service to the building industry is the manufacture, from the same steel coils, of specialty trim pieces. Providing jobs and supporting the building/shelter industry is what this company does, and judging from the respect and admiration communicated by the local planners of Horse Progress Days, does it well.

IandJ

Carlisle Inn