See what's happening at Tollgate this month!

MSU Tollgate Farm May 2017

Create Your Own Attractive Container Planting

Evenings in the Garden
May 25 - 6:30 - 8:30 pm

It's a container-gardening party! At this Evenings in the Garden program held in Tollgate's historic barn, we will find out everything we need to know to successfully design and plant up a container. Mary Gerstenberger, MSU Macomb County Consumer Horticulture Coordinator, will lead us in the evening's activities. Join in the fun, and take home a gift for yourself or a loved one.

Advance Registration Required
For more information on this and future classes, and to register:
Tollgate Evenings in the Garden
Deadline Extended to Apply for Tollgate Teen Stewards!

Are you 15 - 19 years old and looking for an awesome way to spend part of your summer? The deadline to apply for the 2017 Tollgate Teen Stewards Program has been extended to May 26!

Join us for Tollgate Farm's Teen Leadership Stewards Program. Gain practical experience and serve your community, while exploring natural resources and agriculture education. Join us to make a positive difference in the lives of our young campers while making new friends on the farm.

For more information, go to MSU Tollgate Farm website:
MSU Tollgate Farm

or click here to register:
Teen Stewards Volunteer Program
Registration is Now Open for "Teaching Science Outdoors" at Tollgate
Are you an elementary school teacher interested in incorporating best practices for teaching science outdoors? The W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) is pleased to announce that Teaching Science Outdoors (TSO) will be offered at Tollgate July 24 - 27, 2017. This program brings elementary teachers to the farm for an unforgettable workshop that allows them to practice science in a variety of outdoor habitats. Next Generation Science Standards and technology are incorporated throughout the experience. Teachers develop skills to adapt existing science curriculum for the outdoor classroom and build a network of resources.

For more information and application, go to:
Teaching Science Outdoors at Tollgate
The Season Opening of Tollgate Farmers Market is Right Around the Corner

Starting May 31st, the Tollgate Farmers Market will bring the bounties of local farms to the public every Wednesday from 4:30 - 6:30 pm in our new pavillion! You'll find seasonal produce grown on site by our sustainable agriculture apprentices, as well as by the Tollgate 4-H club! Honey, baked goods, and more can be found on your way home from work. Bring the kids after school!

For more information, or if you or someone you know is interested in becoming a vendor, please visit:
Tollgate Farmers Market
Spring Plant Sale
Saturday, June 3
9 am - 2 pm

Tollgate's annual Spring Plant Sale is just a few weeks away. Discover Michigan-hardy sun and shade perennials, shrubs, native seedlings, and discounted day lilies for sale.  Reasonable pricing! Find Michigan natives to attract hummingbirds, butterflies and pollinators. Volunteer Master Gardeners will be available to answer questions and assist you with your selections. Plant sale revenues go exclusively towards caring for the Tollgate Gardens. Come to the plant sale early for a great selection of wonderful plants! 

You can view a flyer of the plant sale online at: 
Tollgate Plant Sale Flyer
Now Registering for Fall Farm Sprouts Preschool Program

The fall season is a busy and exciting time at MSU Tollgate Farm. Join in on the harvest! How does food end up on your table? We'll press apple cider, harvest fruits and vegetables, explore animal science topics, and much more. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) activities are integrated into the program to support inquiry-based investigations, as well as Spanish as a Foreign Language.

Please visit our website for more information!

Tollgate Farm Sprouts Program
Tollgate Farm News

Earth Day
For the seventh consecutive year, Tollgate teamed up with the City of Novi to conduct the City's celebration of Earth Day on Saturday, April 22.  We usually have many attendees for these events.  This year the group responded to the beautiful weather and turned out in droves.  The determined group focused on the woods. Led by Conservation Steward volunteer and Tollgate staff member extraordinaire, Rosina Newton, the volunteers worked to rid the woods of the garlic mustard scourge.  Earth Day attendees were in good spirits, had a lot of fun and managed to pull a lot of plants.  

Fine-feathered Friends Report

We have been checking our many bird boxes in the back fields recently.  Bluebirds, swallows, and wrens have taken up residence in several of the boxes.  The first new family of geese has been sighted on the pond (great).  Herons, ducks, and even a swan are all joining the geese in an aquatic get-together.  Roy Prentice, Farm Manager, even saw a loon who briefly stopped by to check out the pond.

Maple Syrup Wrap-up
Thanks to the wonderful work of the maple syrup crew, we had another good year in the Tollgate woods.  This year's efforts produced over 80 gallons of syrup!  The season culminated in a luncheon on April 29th hosted by the Tollgate maple syrup tappers.  In addition to pancakes, bacon, and lots of Tollgate syrup, volunteers were able to purchase syrup.  At the end of the event, the entire 2017 product was sold.  It was a great year!  Thanks to all who made it happen.

Bee Class is in Full Swing
Every year for nearly ten years, the Southeast Michigan Beekeeping Association (SEMBA) in cooperation with MSU Tollgate, has been holding its beginning and advanced bee schools at Tollgate. These schools are extremely popular.  Again this year, the beginning class is full, hosting 40 students.  All between April and September, students obtain hive kits, assemble the kits during class, install the finished bee hives at Tollgate, establish a colony of bees, and spend the summer learning how to care for their new charges. It is great that SEMBA and Tollgate are helping novice beekeepers get a great start on a very worthwhile avocation.

Plant Sale's a-Coming
See the article above about the Tollgate Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, June 3!

See you soon around the farm!

Roy Prentice, Tollgate Farm Manager

Sadly, on April 26 Tollgate lost a friend. Webster, part of the draft horse team of Noah and Webster, succumbed to the infirmities of old age.

Webster came to Tollgate from Greenfield village a little over ten years ago. He was a willing puller and a great envoy for Tollgate. Webster was a wonderful example of the sheer size and horse power needed for farming before the coming of tractors. The image here is of Webster in his younger days - Noah and Webster when they were still at Greenfield Village. Web is the handsome fellow on the left. He had a good life at Tollgate. He will be missed.
Lots of Babies!

We have so many new arrivals at Tollgate! Two calves, five lambs, and nine kids have been born at Tollgate this spring so far. All are healthy and doing well. Five kids have already been sold as pets and have new homes outside of Tollgate.
The newest babies are an as-yet unnamed calf that was born Sunday, May 21, and Dennis the lamb, born Tuesday, May 16.

Featured baby: Pascal was born Sunday morning, April 25, to Tallulah the cow. Mom and baby are happy and healthy. Pascal is an Angus/Maine Anjou bull calf. He will be a 4-H project this year. Mama Tallulah is super-protective so if you go take a peek, respect her space and back away if she seems unhappy!

Welcome to all the new spring babies at Tollgate!
Tollgate Farm 4-H Club Updates

Preparations are underway for the Oakland County Fair. The club members enter a wide range of projects in art, foods, photography, sewing, needlework, woodworking, & plants. Additionally Club members will be taking several dairy goats, two market lambs and a prospect calf to fair.  

We have goats to milk. So, to encourage Club members to become proficient in milking, the MILK PAIL CHALLENGE has been issued. Club members that can successfully milk out a doe during club chores get bragging rights. To sweeten the deal, they also get a gift card for a Dairy Queen frozen treat.

Preparations are underway for farm stand sales. We have begun preparing beds and planting vegetables. A few additional batches of goat milk soap have been made so we have more lemon, lavender, and green apple soaps available.

Tollgate Farmer's Market
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Tollgate Farm, Pavilion
Starting May 31st

As always, Tollgate Farm 4-H Club is accepting new members, age 5 - 19. Adult Volunteers are also welcome to help guide the kids through their projects. For more information see the links below:
This month's 4-H Newsletter is here!

Oakland County 4-H Connections is a monthly newsletter for 4-H members, families, and the general community with news and information about 4-H Youth Development activities in Oakland County.

Oakland County 4-H Connections May newsletter
Tollgate Volunteer Opportunities

There are many fun and friendly opportunities to contribute to Tollgate! Join us in the gardens; help with community events, special projects, maple sugaring, or educational programming.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

If you are interested, send us your name, email address, telephone number, and area(s) of interest. As opportunities arise, you'll be contacted. Thank you!
or visit:
Tollgate Volunteer Page
Rent the Tollgate Conference Center

The MSU Tollgate Conference Center, historic barn, and Americana boardroom are available for your next business meeting, bridal or baby shower, or private luncheon. Our event catering staff are available to meet all of your needs.
To learn more about hosting your event at Tollgate, please visit:
MSU Tollgate Conference Center

MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center offers programs throughout the year designed to allow adults and children to experience learning hands-on, explore the joys of gardening and the natural world, appreciate and promote locally grown food, and build community. 
MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center
28115 Meadowbrook Rd.
Novi, MI 48377
MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Programs and materials are open to all, without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, height, weight, disability,political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital, family or veteran status.