Open Sky Organic Farm is a certified organic farm four miles from Cross Village, Michigan. Together, Sam and Susan Sharp produce a variety of flowers, herbs, and vegetables, including garlic, snap peas, and spring mix.
Sam and Susan put their roots down in Northern Michigan years ago because of their love for the land, seasonal changes, and the people. Susan says the pace of life up north just resonated with them. The two of them started farming several years ago while Susan was still teaching. She has since retired, and this is their third year farming their land near Cross Village. The 10-acre piece used to be an old fallow hay field, whose soil had been left stripped and in need of some TLC. Susan and Sam went to work building their soil and bringing life back to the property, and they now have four acres in production.
Mighty Soil Farm is a small organic farm run by Kate Debs and Joe Newman in the Upper Peninsula town of Chatham. They pack a punch on their ¾-acre parcel, where they grow about forty vegetables, including staples like carrots, tomatoes, and salad greens.
This summer, I was the catering manager for Rock River Farm, a flower farm in the central U.P. They are focusing their efforts on flower production, so they don’t need my services in 2019. After being asked a few times if I’m sad they are done catering, here’s the truth: I’m stoked to see farms find their niche. This said, I will be going back next summer in the same way I got started there: as a volunteer who is in it for the beautiful drive, lack of cell service, the company and inspiration they provide.
For me, food has always been a source of connection, a tool to communicate love, and a way to pass on family traditions. Some of my most vivid memories involve shared meals and many dishes are connected to specific loved ones in my mind. For example, my mom is chicken, rice, and carrots, whereas my dad is graham crackers dipped in milk. Apple pie and sharp cheddar cheese bring to mind my grandmother. The foods we made on our first date, kimchi and sauerkraut are my partner. These dishes provide comfort and a reminder to slow down.
Food has always been an important part of my life; however, it wasn’t until I studied abroad in Italy that I really fell in love. We toured a Parmigiano Reggiano facility, learned about Balsamico di Modena on a small family farm, and tasted traditionally cured prosciutto. Specifically, all the foods we encountered were part of a movement to preserve culturally significant foods and their traditional production practices: Slow Food.
The Ann Arbor Farmers Market recently launched a new initiative to make shopping with market vendors easier for you, our chefs and the culinary community! The effort chefs put into into transforming raw farm-fresh ingredients into culinary works of art is immense. Therefore, the market wanted to help culinary professionals by streamlining the local food shopping experience.
When I say the words “county fair,” what comes to mind? For me there is nostalgia that rolls in as I think of my own Menominee County Fair at Shakey Lakes Campground in Stephenson, Michigan. There, I competed in animal showmanship for multiple species, entered crafts and photos, rode my bike like a hooligan, and made endless campfire delicacies like smores and pudgie pies.
RC Organic Farms has been farming at our current location in Macomb County since 1945 when my Grandfather Norvel bought this farm and began Dairy farming. My Father Ron Campau (hence RC) was born here at the farm where he continued Dairy Farming until 1997 a year after he certified the farm to organics and started crop farming.
When I first sat down with Dave Skornia of Lakeside Farm, he was incredibly moved and excited to share his story with us for the 2018 Guide to Local Food. He cares deeply about his farm and homestead and I knew right away we wouldn’t be able to do it complete justice in the yearly publication. This is Dave’s personal story about the history of his homestead, his love for farming, and what he raises and sells on his farm today. His inspiring story expresses his deep passion and dedication to the land, and motivation to help beginning farmers. So I thought, who else to tell the story better than Dave himself?
I am a rhubarb fanatic. I’ll eat it straight from the bush, in a pie, in a cocktail, however I can. Spring rhubarb is such a striking vegetable– those ruby red stalks erupting from the ground topped with their poisonous green foliage (don’t eat those!). Finding these stalks at the farmers market is one of my favorite signs of spring.