Over the years, the Michigan Farmers Hall of Fame has inducted hundreds of agricultural growers. This month, a couple from Grand Junction will join the ranks.
Dennis and Shelly Hartmann of True Blue Farms were among the six farming families honored at this year’s ceremony, Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds, according to Jen Rice, a member of the Hall of Fame board of directors.
For more than 30 years, Dennis and Shelly Hartmann have been involved in the agricultural industry, according to Rice. They currently own 368 acres of blueberries and rent an additional 130 acres at their farm in Van Buren County. Their blueberry operation, known as True Blue Farms, was established in 1990. They have formed 10 subsidiary companies in the years since, one of which being the Blueberry Store in South Haven.
“The Hartmann’s operation is vertically organized, encompassing the entire supply chain – planting, growing, processing, packaging, freezing, and distribution to wholesalers and retail stores like Walmart – as well as equipment design and maintenance,” Rice said. “They are also involved in producing blueberry products for their retail store and catalog sales. True Blue Farms is now one of the largest growers in North America, producing and marketing millions of pounds of premium quality blueberries annually.”
In addition to keeping track of their agricultural business, the Hartmanns have been active Farm Bureau members for 30 years.
A third-generation blueberry farmer, Dennis has been an industry advisor and leader on multiple farm operations, including planning, budgeting, and processing. Shelly was a contributor the book “Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneurial Soul,” featured as a guest speaker for the e-Women Conference in Dallas, and has been featured on the cover of Chicago City Women.
The Michigan Farmers Hall of Fame was founded in 1982 by Bill Aukerman, with its annual induction ceremony held during the Prairieville Farm Days for the next 28 years. In 2015, with the assistance of Harry & Sharon Pratley and the Fredonia Grange #1713, a board of directors was established and the hall of fame moved to its current home at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds in Marshall.