As we enter the fall season and enjoy the abundance of the autumn harvest, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market may be at its peak but the experience of the Market continues year round.
Signing up for a CSA (stands for community supported agriculture) is the best weekly subscription you can get.
On the edge of Ann Arbor, at the Tillian Farm Development Center, dark leafy greens and crisp, flavorful salad mixes are artfully tended by Hannah Rose Webber. A first generation farmer, Hannah is in her third season cultivating crops as The Land Loom. She currently rents 1.5 acres at Tillian where she follows organic practices to produce high quality greens and summer fruits (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.).
Did you know that farmers receive only 17 cents per retail sales dollar (on average) when their food is sold through traditional channels? The remaining 83 cents of this dollar goes to middlemen, distributors, and other players in the food system. Selling direct to consumer (farmers markets, roadside stands, CSA programs, etc.) generates higher margins for farmers (and strengthens consumer’s ties to their food) but can come with its own set of unique challenges and risks: unfavorable weather impacting sales, large time/energy demands, lack of convenience, and seasonality.
Protect your health and environment by making conscientious food choices. According to the Center for science in the Public interest, “eating healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way” is important to repair our food system. spending some of your food dollars on food produced locally secures our food system by decreasing pollution from long-haul transportation and health scares created by cheap, industrial-scale agriculture. The advantage of knowing where your food comes from, who grows it and how they treat the land, and knowing your money is going right back into your community is significant. The freshest, ripest, best-tasting foods are easy to find right now at your local farmers’ markets and community farms.
Are you a market gardener with 1-3 acres of diverse crops? Are you looking for Ark of Taste varieties, historic flavorful heirlooms or open pollinated seeds adapted to the Great Lakes region? Perhaps you are a permaculture course grad in search of perennial veggies or, like me, you grow a diverse homestead garden in addition to a cash crop.
If any of these scenarios apply, you may want to check out Nature and Nurture Seeds.
When she enters the market office on Saturday mornings, Marjorie Johns always brings with her the beautiful scents of bergamot, lavender, and eucalyptus that seem to have permanently embedded themselves into her very being through years of incorporating these essential oils into her handmade soaps. Along with her calming scents she totes her jar of overnight oats complete with clove-laden peach jam at the bottom. She chats with me about her visit to her dad in Indiana and how her chickens are handling the snowy weather.
On a cool spring morning in May, Rena Basch’s biceps are evident as she totes big boxes into the processing kitchen at the Washtenaw Food Hub. Rena may be tiny, but she’s mighty! She’s the driving force behind an innovative, and mostly organic, winter time Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business called Locavorious.
Our Bumble Babies Bites are a People’s Food Co-op favorite- and for good reason! One of the ingredients that make them so irresistible is that we use pure Michigan honey.