Broken Shovel Farms

Mike and Robin Barnhouse

Joy, Illinois


Robin and I have been married for 38 years.  We are both multi-generational gardeners.  The summer before we got married we raised a giant garden by our standards then and canned a ton of food so that when we took off for college the next fall we wouldn’t starve.  It’s a good thing we did but we really got sick of green beans.  I swore them off for a while.  Funny how things come around.  We made our way back to gardening and now farming through a long series of events including 4 children, engineering school, and 19+ years of homeschooling our kids, for Robin, 30+ years in manufacturing for me.  Robin says she is ever growing closer to her main goal in life of being Laura Ingalls Wilder, so I guess that means I’m “Farmer Boy”.  
We now garden an acre plus in vegetables, berries, and rhubarb.  Our original apple, peach, and cherry trees continue to produce and we planted another acre of apple and peach trees in 2019 and 2020.  We also keep chickens, geese, American Guinea Hogs, and Romanov Sheep.  In our spare time, we run our coffee roasting business Broken Shovel Coffee and spoil our grandkids as much as possible.
Oh yeah, Broken Shovel?  We purchase an abandoned community building/church from the late 1800 and have converted it into our home.  We didn’t have a “This Old House” budget for replacing the foundation so I dug it by hand and poured a concrete foundation in 4-foot sections  The process wore out a few shovels.  Crazy to some but, no gym memberships were required at the time.