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Detroit Area CSAs?

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I am wanting to do more "local" eating, especially since this is the time of year we here in the frozen Mitten can do so without dying of rickets or boredom! Does anyone know about (preferably organic and still taking reservations) CSAs, and also places to buy farm-raised, humanely treated meat from MI farmers? Much of my eating this time of year is super-local--like, from my backyard veggie patch--but I'd like to branch out a bit. I found a couple online, but would be interested in any Chowhound experiences.

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  1. The Ann Arbor Farmer's Market has a number of vendors -- pork, lamb, beef and some of the farmers take orders for chickens. It's all frozen, since the health code requires it. But the meat is flavorful. Come out to the market on a Wednesday (less traffic) or Saturday and chat with them. I' a big fan of the Ernst Farm. http://arborwiki.org/city/Ernst_Farm

      1. re: Markcron

        we joined maple creek farms wekly delivery service last summer and were not that impressed. The quality was fine, but it was pretty expensive and the breadth of produce was limited. We seemed to get a lot of beets, lettuces and greens and a LOT of hot peppers. We did not sign up again this year.

        1. re: berkleygary

          Yea, the price at MCF is high, now $700 for 20 weeks - too much for me.
          Are there any other options?
          My plan is to hit the Farmer's Markets (Pontiac now, then Clarkston whenever it opens).

          1. re: berkleygary

            Gary, If you had split your share with someone...would it have been worth it? What were some of the better items you received weekly? I have never heard of this concept and am very curious. thanks!

            1. re: thatgirl153

              We did split our share - actually 4 ways. Some weeks we would get two strawberries or one potato along with beets and lots of greens. Four way split may be too much of a split, but I don't think we would have beenn more satisfied with a half or full share.

              1. re: berkleygary

                I just joined Maple Creek's CSA and while I haven't gotten a delivery yet, it sounds and looks a lot like my CSAs in California and Colorado, with variations due to climate, and with a comparable price.

                I find a 1/2 share a good size for a couple and a full share for a couple with kids or people who like to cook often and perhaps freeze or can some produce for the winter. I would not recommend going for less than a 1/2 share though.

                Lots of greens and beets is the nature of the beast early in the season though if one is eating local IMHO. You may want to look at their website at www.maplecreekfarm.com where they've posted a member's photos of their weekly shares to give you an idea of the variety and quantity. I found it to be much more diverse than my Colorado CSA, especially in July and August. We didn't get our first bell or hot peppers until almost September there...

                They still have shares according to today's e-mail.

                --Kelly, CSA pusher :-)

        2. I've read good things about Creswick Farms for meat but I've yet to actually order since we moved here. Next month I plan to buy 1/4 of a grassfed bison (buffalo) from AJ's Bison out near Coldwater since I have family nearby and will be in the area. I fell in love with bison in Colorado. You can read more at http://www.michigan.org/travel/detail...

          -Kelly

          2 Replies
          1. re: kellycolorado

            We have just signed up for Tantre Farms CSA from Chelsea Area (Pickup in ann arbor). I have heard good things about it, but have yet to experience it.

            Kelly:
            I am curious about the buffalo you bought. What do they charge for the 1/4 bison, and how is the meat?

            1. re: iaminvisable

              I was all set to move to Ann Arbor initially and read great things about Tantre Farms...

              I'm picking up the meat next month, but I've bought alot of bison in the past. It's quite lean so you need to make sure not to dry it out. I like it best as ground meat and chuck roasts. I find the steaks a bit on the dry side but I could probably do better with practice. I was told that most of the steaks are on the hind quarter so I think I'll get the front quarter which includes the chuck (ground chuck and roasts).

          2. It's pretty late to join most CSA's but there are a few very good organic farmers who sell at the Royal Oak Farm Market on Saturdays.

            Kate and Al are the farmers/vendors I bought from when I lived in the area. They grow many heirloom varieties of tomatoes and have the nicest arugula and salad greens and well...just about everything.

            Also at that market is Topsy Turvey. The raise and sell there own chickens and eggs. Really, really some of the best chickens I've ever had.