“This is Ingham County’s best-kept secret,” said Stephanie Schafer, owner of Jem-Lot Dairy in Westphalia, Michigan.
Shawhaven Farm in the midst of its 10th annual lamb festival this month. This event will continue on April 20, 27, and the 28. The festival is expected to draw close to 3,000 people in April.
The event will have face painting, balloon animals and wool products for sale.
The farm, at 1826 Rolfe Road, Mason, is expecting around 80 more lambs. They currently have 18 twins, nine triples, and seven singles.
All ages enjoy the festival, according to Doug and Tami Shaw, owners of Shawhaven Farm.
In the fall, they have a pumpkin patch, corn maze, haunted house, hayride and escape rooms. Each escape room has a different theme including farmhouse escape, a chemical lab and Grandma’s Attic. If you escape, you win a free large pizza from Fat Boys Pizza in Holt.
Shawhaven also has Goat & Giggle Yoga open to beginners April 20 and May 18.
“It used to be that everybody’s grandparent had a farm and now it’s not like that,” said Tami Shaw. “People need to get out and see the animals and learn about them. It’s very important people learn where their food comes from and plus just the different variety of animals.”
During a past Shawhaven Halloween event, Tami Shaw recalls a girl asking to pet a llama when actually the animal was a ram.
That was the moment the Shaws knew they needed to open the farm up so children could learn about the animals.
Shawhaven Farm is on the spot where Doug Shaw’s family started farming in 1947. Doug Shaw purchased Shawhaven in 1980. Now the Shaws focus on agro-tourism and maple syrup production.
Doug Shaw was exposed to the maple syrup industry through a family friend when he was young. Doug joined Future Farmers of America in high school and in recent years took up maple syrup production again.
Schafer believes in the importance of teaching the process of maple syrup production.
“There are buckets that are hung up throughout these woods,” said Schafer. “These guys have to go around every day and dump them, then they have to boil them down. There is a lot of work that goes into maple syrup.”
Doug Shaw has around 200 taps in trees this year. It takes around 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
The Schafer family of Jem-Lot Dairy have known the Shaws for years. Farmers in the area typically know others in the business and form connections.
“We need help to support each other because who else is out there to do it?” said Doug Shaw.
Allison Schafer, daughter of Leroy and Stephanie Schafer, is a senior at Michigan State University majoring in agribusiness management. Schafer is a member of the MSU Dairy Club and plans on working at the North Star cooperative this summer.