Farms

444. Sawmill Creek Farms – November 9, 2019 – Richmond, MI

November2019SawmillCreek1 (2)November2019SawmillCreek2 (2)Sawmill Creek Farms, I’m so happy to have been introduced to you!!!

The Richmond-based family-run farm breeds livestock and sells the resulting wares at a shop on the farm premises. A coworker brought the farm to my attention, raving about how great tasting the meat was, how reasonable the prices were, and how well treated the animals appeared to be.

Her high praises had me intrigued. Scoping out Sawmill Creek Farms’ website, I read about the husband-and-wife duo, Sarah and Nick, who run the farm and their philosophy of raising livestock humanely, livestock fed on grain and hay grown on the farm and without antibiotics or hormones added to their diet, as well as the farm’s use of an USDA-inspected processing facility to process the animals into meat and its holding of a retail food license.

Liking what I saw on that website,  I knew a visit to Sawmill Creek Farms was in order. So on a sunny Saturday in early November (just two days before that snowstorm that dumped mega inches on us!), I jaunted out to Richmond.

Perched at the edge of Memphis Ridge Road, Sawmill Creek Farms’ shop was easy to spot as I approached it. It was a welcoming sight with its neat red exterior with white shutters and trim and its cheery fall displays of hay bales, pumpkins, and potted mums.

Stepping inside the shop, I was greeted by Sarah and a visiting customer who was chatting with her. One of Sarah’s two young boys bounced about on a couch in the corner, playing and watching TV.

Sarah explained how each of the white freezers inside the shop was labelled with the different cuts of meat it held. She handed me price lists showing the current costs of the cuts of meat offered as well as a sheet explaining six available meat bundles. She mentioned that depending on the current availability, some of the products offered might not be available at that time.

I was so excited to mine those freezers! They were filled with all manner of cuts of beef, chicken, and pork, plus sausages and bologna. The cuts available ranged from chicken breasts to bacon to beef fajita meat to various types of roasts to various types of steaks to pork chops . . ..

From this dizzying array, I selected: seven pounds of ground beef; two whole chickens; a beef rump roast; and a packet of pork country ribs. I got all of this (plus a Sawmill Creek Farms reusable shopping bag, which I received for free for spending a certain amount) for around $80, which I found to be quite reasonable. My haul is shown in the photo above.

While Sarah was ringing up my order, we chatted about the farm. She confirmed that the animals are allowed to roam the Sawmill Creek Farms pastures during their lives there and are so beloved by her and her family that a few have been taken out of eligibility for processing and designated pets (which she said her husband jokingly refers to as “hay-burners”). I told her how happy I was to find a place that raised meat ethically, how I am an unabashed meat eater but that it’s important to me to buy meat for my home cooking that comes from animals that have had a good life and how such meat can be hard to find.

I really enjoyed chatting with Sarah and getting to shop at her family’s store. I have also enjoyed getting into the Sawmill Creek Farms wares! Since my visit about three weeks ago, I have roasted one of the whole chickens I purchased and cooked two of the pounds of ground hamburger meat I bought (incorporating one into chili and the other into tacos), and all of the meat has tasted most delicious. In my book, Sawmill Creek Farms is emphatically a keeper.

If you are a meat eater and live in the area, I encourage you to check this farm out! Knowing where your meat comes from is most definitely a good feeling.

76320 Memphis Ridge Rd.

Richmond, MI 48062

(Closed Sundays and Mondays)

www.sawmillcreekfarmsllc.com

155. Parks and Rec Diner (for Melo Farms Pop-Up Dinner) – December 10, 2015 – Detroit, MI

20151210_18202120151210_191746On December 10, I visited the tiny, cutesy-nostalgic Parks and Rec Diner in downtown Detroit, but I wasn’t there to scarf down some biscuits and gravy or some of its other scrumptious-sounding breakfast fare. I was there for a very special dinner – a pop-up dinner to benefit an awesome local farm, Melo Farms! It is a Yale-based pig farm run by a husband-and-wife team who raises a heirloom breed one hundred percent the humane way: truly free-range, organic, grass-fed, and treated with compassion. Melo Farms has been holding monthly pop-up dinners hosted by different chefs and at different venues in the Detroit area to help raise money for a new tractor. December’s dinner was crafted by the young and talented Chef Larissa Pope, who had us dining on five courses featuring various components of Melo Farms’ pork, including:

-A mixed greens salad with rich and crispy jowl bacon, a fried egg, pomegranate seeds, and a bacon fat and apple cider vinaigrette!

-Pork pâté (my first experience with pâté!) arranged in a lovely plating with a cranberry Cumberland sauce, pickled mustard seeds, and toasted brioche!

-Tender and juicy pork loin with potato gratin, foraged mushrooms and pork jus!

Both seatings of the dinner – we went to the earlier one – were sold out, but given the size of Parks and Rec, ours was a small, intimate-feeling affair. The five-course meal was inventive and delicious, and it felt great to support a farm that is doing the good work and raising its animals well.

To learn more about Melo Farms (which sells its cuts of pork every Saturday at Eastern Market) and to get on its mailing list to become aware of future pop-up dinners, check out its site: www.melofarms.com

and to scope out Parks and Rec’s menu (which looks delicious in its own right), head over here: www.parksandrecdiner.com

Parks and Rec is located in the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Building, right next to Republic, at:

1942 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48226