Monday, June 27, 2011

Traveling at home: A bike ride through farmland

This summer, Matt and I signed up for a farm share through a community-supported agriculture programme. We started receiving our shares from Needle Lane Farms, from Titpon, MI, a couple of weeks ago. I feel fortunate to have access to such a wonderful programme. If you aren't providing yourself with food, knowing where something as basic as where your food comes from can go a long way in envisioning a different future for our neighbourhoods and communities. I truly believe that. So, I wanted to go and check out the farm, to actually see the food that I eat be grown and cared and tended for.

Matthew (different guy) and I decided to bike out to Tipton, which is around thirty miles from Ann Arbor. Matthew is from Tecumseh, which is just on the way to Tipton, and so we decided to see his family and check out the farm on Saturday, and bike back Sunday. On the way there, we of course got sidetracked and ended up in Milan, itself twenty-plus miles from Tecumseh, where we stopped for a beer and a root beer and a grilled cheese sandwich at Original Gravity Brewing Company.

The taps at Original Gravity Brewing Company
We eventually ended up in Tipton, and there met Beverly, my farmer, her partner John, and Zane, an energetic six year old who lives on the farm and helps out. Beverly, who is five months pregnant with her first, said that Needle Lane Farms is a third-generation, seventy acre farm, with all organic, non-GMO produce. Beverly, who graduated from Michigan State University, knew from a very young age that she wanted to take care of the farm, and so recently, she bought it from her father. She showed us around the farm, talked about the various kinds of soil, the plants, and her philosophy. I pick my share up from Morgan & York in Ann Arbor on Tuesday afternoon, and she mentioned that she wakes up at five a.m. that very day to pick the vegetables to make sure that they are as fresh as possible. One thing she said struck me - "When I go to bed at night, I feel really good." I sincerely appreciate her efforts, and could not ask for a more thoughtful person to be responsible, truly responsible, for the food that I eat and feed to others.



Beverly, John, Zane, and Matthew

An important piece


The ride to Milan to Tecumseh and back to Ann Arbor was on the order of seventy-five miles - seventy-five miles of small towns and open farmland and barns and horses and azure sky. For miles at a time, we were the only people on the road; we biked down the middle of the road. We biked through Cone, Britton, Morseville, Clinton, Macon and a bunch of other little towns, quaint and idyllic. It is really nice living in Ann Arbor, where nature and pasture are never too far away.

Barn along the way

Downtown Tecumseh

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