Tantre Organic Farm: An Ann Arbor Farmers' Market institution


IMG_3034During this past summer, I have been taking mini-vactions at Tantre Farm, riding my bike the 22ish miles west of Ann Arbor on Fridays to enjoy good food and good company, and contribute work to the farm on Saturdays. My good friend Kate started working out there after she returned from Cuba in the Spring and invited to visit, after which I have been making regular visits. Much less masochistic than it sounds, volunteer working on the farm is more an outdoor experience than hard labor, surrounded by fresh air, an astounding variety of crops, and idyllic rolling hills. Somehow weeding corn, pulling garlic scapes, and collecting endless pints of strawberries isn't so bad there. Quite a variety of characters work there, from Chizo (sp?), the thrice-divorced Buddhist monk from California, to Deb and Richard, the kind and conscientious owners of the farm who welcome me like family everytime I stay there.  The majority of the workers on the farm are twenty-something kids as "interns" that live on the farm and work 6 days a week, looking to learn about organic agriculture and sustainable living. Started about 10 years ago, the farm has slowly added varieties of crops, now at a staggering number. They run a thriving CSA business, or community-supported agriculture, which is basically a "food subscription" where members pay an annual fee (~$600) directly to the farm to collect a bounty of fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs on a weekly basis. This appeals to those who are concerned about the environmental (link to Frontline episode about the destruction of waterways from industrial fertilizer) and social impact (link to a documentary outlining the current polemics on the issue) of industrial food production and shipment, and contributes economically to the local community in a direct way. Besides the CSA, they also pack up their produce into their iconic Tantre truck and "go to market", the Farmers' Market that is, in Chelsea and Ann Arbor where they have a loyal following. The pictures I took should give you a feel of the place; they are of the area around the farm and of the barn dance celebration they were throwing for the departure of one of the interns for a Peace Corps assignment in Kazakhstan.


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