Owners: Amie and Mark Sanford
Season: Late May-Early October, 20 weeks (also did a 10 week share season)
Pick-up: Thursday at Westside Farmers Market in Ann Arbor, Thursday through Saturday at the farm, Friday at Saline Farmers Market
Cost: $600 for full share, $325 for half share
Cost per week: $30/week (full share), $16.25/week (half share)
Growing practice: Certified naturally grown. “Our fields have been in hay for over ten years with no chemicals or pesticides used on them. Our poultry is pasture fed with no hormones or antibiotics.”
Note: Two Creeks Organics has a farmstand at the farm in Manchester, and sells honey and free-range eggs all year. They have pastured chickens, and will have some ducks, and turkeys for sale.
A second career for both of them, Amie and Mark Sanford have been running the Two Creeks Organics CSA since 2007. Mark grew up on a farm and had dreamed about getting back to that kind of life. When he suffered a career-changing accident, it seemed like the right time to buy property for an organic farm. Of their 20 acres near Manchester, about 4 or 5 are under cultivation for the CSA, and they just put in about an acre of new fruit trees.
The Sanfords got their start with some mentoring help from other local farmers. Amie Sanford says “Tim and Robin Leonard of Garden Patch said ‘you should do a CSA, you need a website and you need to hook up with LocalHarvest.org.’” And that “when we met Patricia and Ken Huling of Valley Family Farm at the market, we kind of joined forces with them. Last spring we were going to do some hoops for our row covers and Ken got the metal and my husband bent them, put on the covers and set them up. They’re getting older, so there’s a few things we can do to help them out. When Ken goes to E &R Seed (in Indiana) for seed potatoes, he picks up seed for us.”
Sanford enthuses about those potatoes from E&R Seed “They have the Irish Cobbler potatoes and they are the most awesome potatoes. You have to watch them because they can get the blight that happened during the Irish potato famine. But they are just delicious.” Another member favorite from the CSA was the sweet potatoes they grew for the first time last year - Beauregard, a northern hardy variety.
In addition to the produce CSA, Amie Sanford says “we’re starting to have a lot call for our chickens. We do about 150 at a time, regular Cornish Rocks for meat chickens. We have three chicken tractors, so about 50 go in each, and we have a small brooder tractor that we put the chicks in. The chicken tractors are pastured on grass and moved every day. We have to have something to protect them (the chickens) because we have a lot of coyotes. We feed them all natural grain and have them processed by a licensed Amish family.”
They offer a “Chicken CSA” - six ready-to-cook whole chickens in June, August and October come in a full share for $315. That’s about $17.50 per chicken. And Two Creeks offers a half share on chickens as well - three three birds in each month of June, August and October for $158.
As a contribution to the community the Sanfords donate two full CSA shares to the Community Resource Center in Manchester, their local food bank. That started last year when they had an excess of eggs. Amie Sanford offered them to the food bank and the director was delighted because she had a client who needed non-meat protein. When Sanford mentioned that they also had extra vegetables she learned that the Community Resource Center didn’t get fresh produce very often and needed more supply. After Sanford’s offer of a donation of fresh produce too, the food bank applied for and got a grant to purchase a commercial refrigerator. When I asked Sanford what made them interested in the work of the food bank she said simply “We like to be able to help out.”
In mid-February, Amie Sanford says she’s itching to get into the greenhouse to get the seeds planted, but that it will be a couple of weeks still before she can get started. But if they get that hoophouse they applied for through the USDA grant program, they’ll be experimenting with extra early produce next year.