July 12, 2024 Donate

Business, Saline

Home grown in Saline: Country Bumpkin’s Pumpkins and More

Saline’s William Rogers made good use of the $1,000 Plant Systems SAE grant awarded to him by Bob Evans Restaurants.

Rogers, a member of the Saline FFA Chapter in the SWWC (Southwest Washtenaw Consortium) at Saline High School, along with his friend Henry Schriender have used the grant funding to help them successfully start two pumpkin and gourd wagons in Saline on US-12 and Saline-Milan Road. They also participated in the recent Pumpkin Palooza in Dundee.

To get to this point, last fall they planted a cover crop and this past spring, they tilled up the ground and then planted the pumpkins.

To learn more, the Sun Times News connected with Rogers’ mother, Mandy, who is proud of what the two Saline High School students have done. She said it took a lot of hard manual work planting the seeds by hand and watering and weeding.

The grant helped pay for seeds, fertilizer, hoses, sprinklers, tools and advertising signs. They still have money left over from the grant to buy seeds for next year. As an FFA member, Rogers submitted an application to compete for the grant and was picked out of over 1,000 applications this past year.

“By starting this business it has helped the boys to stay organized with a planting and harvest schedule. Communication with each other is the key and they are learning to do that,” Mandy said.

Henry Schriender and William Rogers. photo courtesy Mandy Rogers

The SAE grants are designed to help FFA members create or expand Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects, a requirement that all FFA members must complete. An SAE requires FFA members to create and operate an agriculture related business, work at an agriculture-related business or conduct an agricultural research experience. Upon completion, FFA members must submit a comprehensive report regarding their career development experience.

Taking their venture public has been a great experience for them, including participating in the Pumpkin Palooza, which was a lot of fun for them.

Mandy said “It made them feel proud of their business.”

She said they had a cut out sign of a farmer and the younger kids loved putting their face into the sign and sold orange, black and white pumpkins, and gourds. They also got to talk to some other farmers who raised pumpkins for the largest pumpkin contest and will strive to enter their own large pumpkin next year.

So if you’re interested in supporting this home grown business, then check them out at their two wagons in the Saline Area selling their pumpkins, which they will continue to do through Halloween.

photo courtesy of Mandy Rogers