About Nifty Hoops

Farm more seasons. Grow more food.

Nifty Hoops designs, manufactures, and installs hoophouses throughout Michigan and the Midwest.

Nifty Hoops pays attention to what you need to grow. Our structures are designed to help you get your products to market faster. Affordably. Through our experience working closely with four-season growers, our designs maximize important features while minimizing cost. More than just a collection of interchangeable parts; each structure is a system that helps you and your business grow.
Nifty Hoops has a vision for the future of our food system. We want to help our growers become successful and profitable while they do the good hard work of feeding our communities.

Our History

How we got started

Selma Cafe – Nifty Hoops was born out of farm and food system community activism in SE Michigan. In 2008 Jeff McCabe co-founded Selma Cafe and raised $400,000 over a 4 year period by turning his family home into a one meal a week restaurant. Friday mornings at Selma Cafe have been attended by thousands of people from around Michigan, and around the world. Breakfast proceeds were turned into farmer loans specifically to build hoophouses and the hundreds of volunteers who put on the breakfast event came back out again to the farms to assemble the hoophouses in big community barn raising events.

Tilian Farm Development Center was launched in 2010. Jeff applied for and received a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant to start this “farm incubator”. Tilian Farm is a place where starting farmers can develop their own farm businesses without the need to invest in fences, tractors, hoophouses and other major capital expenses. Tilian has graduated many successful farmers in the Ann Arbor area including Green Things Farm and Seeley Farm, both major producers in the Ann Arbor local foods market.

Hoophouse innovation – In 2011, Jeff turned his full attention on hoophouse design, manufacturing and construction. After seeing so many people struggle with difficult to install hoophouse structures, it seemed time for new innovation to make hoophouses both easier to install and more valuable to vegetable growers. Every frame member of a Nifty Hoop is made from Gator Shield tubing and passes through a tube laser to precisely place cut-outs and attachment holes that make the structure simple to install with superior strength and durability. No on-site measuring, marking, cutting and clamping. Nifty Hoops are laser precise, built to last, and proven in the field. Jeff, Phil, and Rodger, as well as a host of other hoophouse assembly experts, see that each structure is assembled quickly and efficiently on your farm. We build hoophouses in one day, so that you can get to the farming.

Supporting our Grower Community – Nifty Hoops backs up its growers with service, an open ear, and educational and networking opportunities. The first annual NiftyCon event in Kalamazoo in February 2016 gathered the vanguard of hoophouse growers for a day of sharing and celebrating the success of our growing farm culture. Nifty Hoops builds your hoophouse in one day, so that you can get growing! Let’s place your farm on the expanding map of Nifty Hoops hoophouse growers.

Some of our work

In 2013 we built a 30’x96′ hoophouse for Anne Rauscher’s Swallowtail Farm in Mason, MI.  Anne has a diversified vegetable farm that focuses on raspberries and value added crops.  Anne says that her hoophouse has allowed her to extend her growing season, add new crops and experiment with hoophouse production of her raspberry crop.  Anne’s hoophouse was partially funded by the NRCS EQIP hoophouse cost share program.

 

In 2016, Zingerman’s Corman Farm wanted to increase tomato production and alleviate the potential crop losses associated with the less than predictable weather in SE Michigan of the last several years.  Hoophouses increase the heat that tomatoes and others of the solanaceae family of plants thrive on.  At the same time, the hoophouse allows the grower to more effectively control watering and insect control.  And the hoophouse is an ideal structure to trellis tomatoes and other vining plants.  This hoophouse features roll-up end walls for easy equipment access to a full 22′ of the 30′ hoophouse width.

In 2016 Plilip Deloria chose the 14′ wide Sidestep hoophouse for his season extension needs at Fiddlehead Farm in Pellston, MI.  The structures can be quickly moved sideways to adjacent plots by removing the poly cover and carrying the frame in 12′ sections.  The structures initially covered his warm weather crops like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant before moving over fall crops planted long before the warm crops had finished producing.  Additional sets of ground posts allow for even more elaborate rotation plans that can add areas planted in cover crops and even perennial crops that only benefit from hoophouse protection during a fraction of the year.

 

Imagine having a completed structure. In one day. For less than the material cost from many other manufacturers.

Some Videos

Time-lapse of a 30’x72′ in one day for Nathan McNett in Hudson, MI

And another! This time, it’s two 14’x124′ SideStep mobile hoops for Hawkins Family Farm of Manchester, IN

Here’s a little bit of a deeper dive into how we attach poly and put the finishing touches on a standing hoop

Finally, just in case you weren’t sure; one of the reasons we do this work is that it’s just so darn fun!

What Our Customers Say

From the moment these gentlemen arrived, they were an inspiration! It is so refreshing to see a group of people so passionate about what they do, so knowledgable about their product and the market, so efficient and hard-working. As I told them, their support and diligence probably saved two years of my husband’s life as a farmer!!!! We cannot recommend this business enough.

Molly Barnes Stepanski

Presque Isle Farm

As we head into our 2nd winter with two 30 x 144 Nifty Hoops, I can confidently state that this product is the best product on the market. My wife and I run Bear Creek Organic Farm in Petoskey, and grow greens 52 weeks a year. Aside from the excellent service, quality workmanship, lightning-fast construction, and savvy grower friendly features, this product stands for itself. Literally. With the horrific weather of the last couple weeks, we were out of town and watching destruction on Facebook. We know 8 local growers who use hoophouses near us, of those 8, 7 farms sustained damage, had poly torn to shreds, or lost their hoophouses entirely, a complete loss. When we returned home, we were relieved to see our hoophouses unfazed, undamaged, and in strong health. Crops are growing wonderfully and customers are happy. When you watch every single neighboring farmer sustain serious damage to their hoophouses, you know you’ve got a superior product. This review is a direct result of our confirmation that this product and it’s skilled builders is superior to the rest, and worth every penny. Well done, Jeff, Neal, and company!!

Brian Bates

Bear Creek Organic Farm

Through an NRCS grant, I purchased a 30′ x 72′ hoophouse from Nifty Hoops. I am so impressed with absolutely everything about Nifty Hoops. Jeff came to my farm to look at my site and give me advice before we had even made an agreement. He quickly organized my build and whipped the house up in no time. Even though some things happened and the team ended up behind schedule and finishing with headlamps after 10:30 at night, everyone was cheerful and truly a joy to work with! Jeff continued to have patience (and fun!) with the whole crew and myself even after working a long day in the drizzling rain. The build was almost like a choreographed ballet! As for the house itself, I’m impressed with all it came standard with. I am so happy with the quality. I can’t wait for the many many many tomatoes that will come out of here in the summers to come.

Maggie Smith

Porcupine Hollow Farm