Maple Creek Farm
(community supported agriculture) provides certified organic
vegetables, fruits and herbs to its members via weekly drop-offs at 24
scattered sites in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties. It is now accepting memberships for the 2007 growing season.
Co-owner Michelle Lutz describes CSAs as "a relationship between the farmer and the people who are eating that farm’s food." Members are essentially buying a share of the farm and thus, its crops.
Maple Creek grows about 40 different crops ranging from apples to zucchini on their 80-acre farm located in St. Clair County. Members pick up a box filled with in-season crops each week from their designated drop-site from mid-June through October.
Last year, 750 individual shares were purchased that ultimately fed approximately1,200 people in Metro Detroit because, as Lutz explains, "shares are often shared." She estimates that Maple Creek moved 50 tons of produce a week in 2006.
The CSA provides food to several area restaurants, including three of the twelve at The Henry Ford. Lutz says, "They are a great example. If they can do it within such a large operation, so can other businesses, like hospitals." Royal Oak’s Inn Season, Sweet Lorraine’s and Clarkston Union also purchase produce from Maple Creek.
Food grown at Maple Creek is typically consumed within an 80-mile radius of the farm. In contrast, Lutz explains that food travels, on average, 1,300-1,500 miles from where it is grown to where it is sold to a consumer. She says, "There’s a lot less fuel dollars spent to support local food," and believes that local sustainable agriculture can be part of Michigan’s economic revival.
There are two CSAs in the Ann Arbor area as well. For more information on CSAs or to locate one, visit the national CSA registry.
Source: Michelle Lutz, Maple Creek FarmWriter: Kelli B. KavanaughImage of Michelle Lutz courtesy of Maple Creek Farm