Sunday, November 2, 2008

Help Save the Oldest Mint Farm in the U.S. from Foreclosure

Even if the box above is black - click to view.

Please support
Crosby Mint Farms
1250 East Parks Road
St. Johns, MI 48879

15 miles north of Lansing is a mint (spearmint and peppermint) farm which has been in the Crosby family for 4 generations.

They are literally about to "lose the farm."

"That oil is our hope," says Jim Crosby, who co-owns the St. Johns farm his great-grandfather founded in 1912. "In each bottle is all my hope, my dreams and my prayers." Crosby and his sister, also a co-owner, aim to sell 70,000 bottles of mint oil by Saturday to pay a $348,000 debt.

The bottles of mint are $5 a piece. The shipping is free if you purchase $30 or more. Can someone you know use some spearmint or peppermint?

YOU can make a difference.
Let's spread the word quickly!

How to help:
1. Head to and buy some spearmint or peppermint oil and grab some recipes. ($5 a bottle - free shipping on orders over $30.)
2. Spread the word through e-mail...
3. Or, through video above -
4. Or, though the Facebook Group - Save a 96 year old Michigan Mint Farm
5. Or, blog about it.

Here is the Detroit Free Press article, dated Oct. 30, 2008:
Family hustles to sell enough mint oil to save farm business

Jim Crosby's voice chokes with emotion when he talks about the oldest mint farm in the country, a 140-acre patch of fragrant green about 15 miles north of Lansing that's been in Crosby's family for four generations.

He and his sister Linette Crosby, who co-owns the property in St. Johns, are desperately trying to sell 70,000 bottles of farm-distilled peppermint and spearmint oil by Saturday.

If they don't raise $348,000 by then, their lender has the right to confiscate the oil and their farm equipment, effectively ending the family business.

"That oil is our hope," Jim Crosby said Wednesday. "In each bottle is all my hope, my dreams and my prayers."

A month ago, the duo sent an e-mail to about 1,000 former customers, telling them of the situation and asking them to buy oil and forward the message.

More than 7,000 orders have poured into the farm's Web site, High traffic has slowed the site at times.

Crosby is fervently hoping that potential buyers will have patience -- and that his bank, Greenstone Farm Credit of Lansing, will have mercy, extending the deadline for raising the money.

Jim Schiller, Greenstone's chief executive officer, said Wednesday that his company has no plans to show up at the farm on Saturday, saying, "These things take a few days."

If Greenstone has to confiscate farm equipment, Schiller said, "It's terrible. ... It hurts us."

Jim Crosby said that his financial troubles began in 2005 when his father died. A few months later, Jim Crosby's uncle, who farmed an adjacent parcel of 140 acres, suffered a stroke while harvesting.

Jim Crosby, 42, was left alone to run his farm and his uncle's. His sister, 48, moved back to the family home to help.

Now the pair are doing everything they can to save the farm that their great-grandfather founded in 1912. They still have some fields planted 80 years ago by their grandfather.

Ephraim Smith, a retired California State University-Fresno history professor, confirmed Wednesday that the mint still on the Crosby farm is the oldest in the country. The farm is likely the oldest continuously operating mint farm in the country as well, according to Smith, who produced a documentary on America's mint farmers.

"In the 1920s and '30s, one-third of all the world's mint oil came from that part of Michigan," he said.

The Crosby family and volunteers plan to spend Friday at the farm, preparing Internet orders for shipping and selling from the farm store at 1250 East Parks Road.

On Saturday, Jim Crosby plans to sell his oils at the Lansing farmer's market.

Lee Purdy, who uses Crosby's mint oil to cure headaches and sells farm-baked bread at a nearby booth, said all the farmers at the market are pulling for the Crosby family.

"They fully intend to pay their debt," Purdy, 49, of Argentine said Wednesday. "They're just looking for a little more time. Well, there's a whole nation of people in that frame of mind."

November 1st Update from the Crosby Farm's site:

Please Note: We are experiencing a higher than usual volume of traffic. Thank you for your patience while loading our site! 59,343 [down from 70,000] and calculating totals ...! If you have called to place an order or have an inquiry, please know we are returning calls now...thank you for your support!
An update on our situation will be available soon.

We are overwhelmed by the support and love displayed through orders, phone calls and mail. November 1st is here and we will continue to accept orders!
The orders will assist in demonstrating to our lender that we DO have a valued product and rich mint heritage.

Today, the inventory is no longer protected, but we will continue to offer it to you...we are determined to make our goal and let YOU appreciate this essential oil and not the bank!

Christmas Update: here

Please support
Crosby Mint Farms
1250 East Parks Road
St. Johns, MI 48879
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