It’s time to dust off your ridiculously large scissors and enjoy the grand opening festivities. We’re talking about all the ribbon cutting ceremonies happening around us. Everywhere you look you’ll find a “Coming Soon” sign. The once deserted strip malls are coming back to life in a big way.
Exciting stuff is happening right here in Michigan! You’ve seen people camped out for Black Friday specials, but on April 29 people took their place in line at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in East Lansing. The store gave away a bag filled with $50 in healthy groceries to the first 250 people in the door. This is Fresh Thyme’s first store in Michigan, with three more stores opening in the Detroit Metro area this summer. Be on the lookout for Northville (pictured in this article), Troy, and Rochester Hills locations. It really is like an indoor farmers market, stocked with fresh produce and organic & natural foods. They even have a bakery, meat department, and a specialty department for vitamins and body care products. The coolest part of each location is that most of their food is locally grown, so you can shop local AND support local farmers – jackpot!
For only being in their 2nd year of operation, Fresh Thyme is traveling at light speeds. Fourteen stores are already open in the Midwest and 13 more are scheduled to open this year. They show no plans of slowing down either. Given their current rate of expansion, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more stores popping up in areas like Plymouth and Ann Arbor.
Many restaurants are following the same principles, serving up dishes prepared with fresh foods from local farms. Check out this article that highlights one area restaurant serving food grown in the Detroit Metro area: http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/DetroitFoodLoop-012615.aspx.
There is also a growing trend in urban agriculture. The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative in Detroit provides community programs and training to help the local community create and maintain urban farmland through to production, giving them the necessary tools and experience needed to understand the full urban farming cycle. Not only does this allow them to learn from an experienced staff, but the participants also get to keep all crops produced and will have the option to sell at a local grocer, farmers market, or keep to feed their family! Imagine the possibilities for Michigan, when these new farmers have the potential for greater income by selling their produce at Fresh Thyme, and vice-versa…learn more about MUFI here: http://www.miufi.org/
Lessons from our staff:
I’m a self-proclaimed “picky eater”. When I was young we didn’t have a lot of fresh foods in the house. A few years ago I decided that I would use a section of my postage-stamp backyard to grow green beans. I actually didn’t even like green beans. My goal was to grow them (in honor of my grandpa who dedicated a huge portion of his yard for growing green beans) and then give them to neighbors. When it was time to pick them I figured I should taste them before giving them out, just to make sure they weren’t totally disgusting. After one bite, I felt like my whole life was a lie! They were the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted (I know, I need to get out more). It’s like canned green beans and fresh green beans aren’t even the same food. Nothing beats eating something that was picked from a garden that very same day.
So you can imagine what an entire meal tastes like that has been prepared with the freshest ingredients. By shopping local you get all the fresh stuff – and at really great prices too!
Fresh Thyme will be showing their military support this weekend with free samples and giveaways! We can’t wait for their new stores to open – who wants to keep us company in line?
Find a location near you at: http://www.freshthyme.com