Meet Dwight Eichelberg: Sweet corn enthusiast who once taught actor Terry Crews

LINDEN, MI — Genesee County residents might know Dwight Eichelberg as the man that has provided them with sweet corn since 1978 at his Linden Road farm spanning 38 acres of the countryside.

But they probably don’t know the 78-year-old used to barefoot jet ski during the 1970s, was an art teacher and taught actor and Flint native Terry Crews at Flint Southwestern Academy in 1986.

Eichelberg helped Crews receive a scholarship to Interlochen Arts Academy and Western Michigan University by submitting his work for scholarships without Crews ever knowing.

Now, Eichelberg is in for a surprise of his own. Crews published a book early in the spring titled “Tough: My Journey to True Power.”

In the book, Crews used the first chapter talking about Eichelberg’s influence on him. However, Eichelberg’s family has kept it a secret from him…until now.

“We initially did not want to tell him about the book until we can get in contact with Terry Crews to have him autograph the book and then send it to my father,” said Annmarie Walker, Eichelberg’s daughter. “We are still hoping to contact Terry. But we hope this article can be a great way to surprise him.”

Crews, who is Black, wrote in the book, “My art teacher in high school was a guy named Mr. Eichelberg. White guy. Very white.”

The actor also wrote that Eichelberg would tell him he was the best artist he’s ever taught and he received very few compliments growing up in Flint until Eichelberg entered his life.

In the art world, according to Crews, he did not believe he would become successful because he did not see any successful Black artists at the Museum of Modern Art or the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

Eichelberg instilled that belief into him.

As a vegetarian, he spends his days working from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. working on his farm to provide sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans along with his special pumpkins.

“I shouldn’t still be doing this, but I’m crazy,” said Eichelberg, who had a second hip replacement in January.

Eichelberg is originally from South Dakota and has three children; Annmarie, Carey and Brent. He lost his wife, Marlene, four months ago to metastatic uterine cancer after more than 56 years of marriage.

“My daughter helps me get through it,” he said.

From July through Halloween, Eichelberg Farm attracts about 400 customers per day. While most businesses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Eichelberg Farm had its best year averaging roughly 600 customers per day.

To start a farm business, Eichelberg has a couple pieces of advice.

“Know what you’re doing and have the work ethic,” he said. “It’s a job most people are not willing to work that hard for.”

Eichelberg’s father, Arnold, was a farmer and died in 1985 at age 65 from a brain tumor. His mother, Leona, will turn 103 years old in October.

His farm is open Sunday through Friday, but closed on Saturdays due to the Christian observance of the Sabbath. On occasion, customers travel from Ann Arbor and Toledo to get a hold of his sweet corn and pumpkins.

Annmarie is a mother of four children and was a registered nurse for 16 years. She now is a photographer and owns a private business, Photography by Annmarie Walker.

Eichelberg doesn’t allow anyone to help him on the farm, but Annmarie would like to see her father scale his workload back.

“I just want him to only sell corn,” she said. “People ultimately come for the corn. Just do the corn, dad.”

Do not be surprised if you see him harvesting corn until he is 100 years old.

For more information on Eichelberg Farm, visit their Facebook page here.

Eichelberg Farm is located at 11154 Linden Road in Linden. The farm’s business hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Friday. The farm is closed on Saturdays.

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Sloan Museum of Discovery set to reopen after $30M renovation

Spymaker Axe Throwing opens first axe throwing business in Genesee County

Michigan’s Best Local Eats: Taco’s Jamay offers tasty tacos, football-sized burritos

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

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