Our Mint Heritage
The rich heritage of the Mint City is rooted deep in the soil of the St. Johns community. Agricultural opportunity planted the seeds for the treasured celebration and traditions we hold today.
planting a legacy
In the flat prairies of Michigan’s lower peninsula, St. Johns was made for mint. The area's rich, dark soil - and the dedication of the hardworking farming community - presented the opportunity to plant a legacy.
In the 19th century, mint farming was taking Michigan by storm, spreading northeast from the St. Joseph and Kalamazoo regions. By the mid-1800s, mint production in Michigan had skyrocketed, rivaling New York as the national leader in mint supply.
a tenacious spirit
Michigan's climate, like much of the Great Lakes region, forced mint farmers to take extra measures to protect their crop from excessive wind and harsh winters. They introduced organic soil, or muck, to their fields, creating richer earth with greater water-holding capacity and better protection for the sensitive plants. The farmers' hard work and ingenuity led to a better-protected crop and significantly increased the yield of mint fields.
By the turn of the century, 90% of the world’s supply of mint oil came from the region reaching from St. Johns to the southwest corner of the state.
from the ground up
The unique concentration of mint farms in St. Johns and the surrounding Clinton County lead to St. Johns being dubbed "Mint City USA." The Mint Festival, held each year in August, is an opportunity to honor the legacy of hardworking mint farming families, celebrate our vibrant community, and of course, enjoy a good 'ol scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
The Mint Festival Royalty exploring Irrer's Mint Farm, August 2021