2015 Distinguished Service Award

Fred and Linda Koeningshof

K & K Farms is located in Coloma, Michigan. It is currently owned by Fred and Linda Koenigshof. In the early 1900’s the farm was started by Erich Kerlikowske, Fred’s grandfather. In the 1940’s Fred’s parents, Richard and Marion Koenigshof, joined the business. The crops that are currently grown are red and black raspberries, blackberries, currants, peaches, nectarines, apples, plums, pears, and pumpkins. In 1987, Linda and her mother-in-law Marion started participating in Chicago area Farmers’ Markets. Initially, they went to just two markets and now participate in five markets.

The farm is MAEAP certified for its cropping system and also participates with Michigan State University in an irrigation monitoring program and in spotted wing drosophila studies. Innovative growing systems such as high density fruit tree plantings, high tunnel raspberry production, and rotating arm trellis systems are used in the farming practices. K & K Farms will be participating in a combined research study with Michigan State University and Penn State University, studying different types of plastic that can be used on high tunnels. Horticulture classes from Michigan State University also have spring field trips to K & K Farms to experience innovative cultural practices first hand.

Fred is past president of the Michigan State Horticultural Society and the Great Lakes Expo, and he is the current president of the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association. He is also a MACMA board member and member of the newly formed Michigan Tree Fruit Commission. He is chairman of the Hagar Township planning commission and chairman of the Hagar Township zoning board of appeals. Fred and Linda and their family are members of Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ in St. Joseph, MI. Fred is past president of the congregation and Linda has been teaching Sunday school there for more than twenty years.

K & K Farms is involved with the Chicago- based Good Food Project. The farm donates berries and apples for fruit tastings that are conducted in Chicago schools. This non-profit organization is dedicated to introducing school children to the wonderful taste of fresh fruit and learning to make healthy eating choices. Fred and Linda are both on the board of directors as advisors to this organization.

Fred and Linda have been married for 37 years and have three grown children. Erich, Amy, and Emily grew up working on the farm and going to the farmers’ markets in the Chicago area. Erich and his wife Liliam live nearby and Erich helps on the farm when he is home. He is an over-the-road semi-truck driver. Amy is a veterinarian and teaches in the small animal emergency and critical care department at Michigan State University. Emily is a pharmacist and works at Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall, Michigan.

The Michigan State Horticultural Society is pleased to present the Distinguished Service Award to Fred and Linda Koeningshof.

Matt McCallum

Matt grew up working summers on the family farm, McCallum’s Orchard located 20 minutes north of Port Huron in Jeddo. The 160-acre fruit, vegetable and farm market operation combined direct sales with some wholesale accounts. Matt graduated from Chelsea High School in 1983 and joined the Army right after graduation. He served with the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina for three years notching 64 parachute jumps and attaining the rank of Sergeant. His fourth year was served with the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey, Korea. After his service he attended the University of Michigan in 1987-88 and then transferred to Michigan State University where he graduated with a degree in journalism and ag economics in 1990.

After graduation Matt married his wife, Julie, who he met while working at MSU’s student newspaper - The State News. They soon found employment at the Battle Creek Enquirer. They also purchased 50% of McCallum’s Orchard from his Uncle Chuck and went into partnership with his father and United Methodist minister, Marvin.

In 1991, Matt met Barry Brand who owned the Great Lakes Fruit Growers News and the Great Lakes Vegetable Growers News. The two began talking about working out a deal to sell the magazines and in 1993 the McCallum's quit their jobs and moved to Sparta to purchase the magazines from Brand.

In an effort to appeal to a national audience, “Great Lakes” was taken out of the names of the papers and they were changed to The Fruit Growers News and The Vegetable Growers News in 1999. In 2000, they purchased Spudman, the oldest potato magazine in the nation. Fresh Cut was purchased in 2005 to help take advantage of the value-added products coming from the produce industry. That magazine was recently rebranded as Produce Processing to adapt to the changing value-added produce category. More recently, Matt purchased Greenhouse Produce News and Lawn & Garden Retailer to round out the specialty agriculture division.

The company has now publishes 14 magazines and also diversified into the sports markets with Coach and Athletic Director and Winning Hoops magazines, and then into the specialty gift markets with Gift Shop, Party & Paper Retailer, Museums & More and Stationery Trends. The company now has 42 employees spread over 7 states.

Matt has been on the board of directors of the Michigan Vegetable Council for nearly 20 years. He has served as chairman of the MVC Scholarship Committee the past 3 years. While also serving on the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association, he was able to get that organization’s annual meeting to co-host with the Great Lakes Vegetable Growers and Farm Market Conference in Grand Rapids, held in January of 1999. Matt was the recipient of NAFDMA’s Outstanding Leadership Award in 2000.

For his strong commitment to serve the needs of industry stakeholders, Matt McCallum is being recognized by the Michigan State Horticultural Society with its Distinguished Service Award.