Jim Stuart, founder and CEO of Stuart Family Organics, grew up on his parents’ farm eighteen miles southeast of Ludington, Michigan. One of his earliest memories took place in a hot, dusty, July, wheat field watching his dad fire up a combine. A red Farmall tractor pulled the machine which needed its own motor to power the many belts, chains, grain cylinder, sieve, chaff fan and more—all the separate devices that together in combination gave the combine the name, “combine”. His, dad, shirtless in that merciless sun, pulled a lever to put the combine in gear and opened the motor to its wide open roar.
The machine rattled, jigged, and shook; wheels and sprockets mounted on its rusty humpbacked side spun as his dad guided the tractor into the golden wheat field. Soon a stream of wheat poured into the bin. A fascination with the process and product rooted itself in Jim that day and still exists, manifesting itself in the running of Stuart Family Organics.
Jim’s dad farmed wheat, corn and beef cattle for many years. He sold the wheat and Jim’s mother made bread and cinnamon rolls from “boughten” white flour. Jim has a different spin on that heritage by growing hard red wheat flour and actually using that in his baked goods. Jim has been eating organically and influencing his own family to do so for 25 years. He has made his own bread and other baked goods from his own wheat, working at farming mainly during the summers, teaching English in Scottville, Michigan during the rest of the year.
Now retired from teaching, Jim’s farming is certified organic and is the LLC, Stuart Family Organics. His children, Meranda, Wesley and Kyle in their twenties, have returned home to help with the farm and selling products at farmers’ markets. These products include the Powerhouse Muffins, several variations of tofu cookies, which usually surprise customers with their tastiness, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, hard red whole wheat flour, and the wheat grain or berries from which the flour is grown.