<![CDATA[brothernatureproduce.com - by the fireside with Mrs. Bro Nature]]>Sat, 28 Jan 2023 02:42:31 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Detroit   etikick   at   the   Eastern   Market]]>Mon, 30 Jan 2017 19:37:12 GMThttp://brothernatureproduce.com/by-the-fireside-with-mrs-bro-nature/detroit-etikick-at-the-eastern-marketHey there Mrs. Brother Nature Produce here opening up the conversation about Detroit etikick, and its etikick and not etiquette because well, Detroit is anything but proper or conventional. In order to get along here, if you don’t already know, you are gonna have to do things 'modern standards' might not agree with. Let me give you an example; we’ll start with something simple and work up to the complicated subjects later.

Etikick at the Eastern Market
  1. Don’t be in a rush. Approximately 40,000 people shop at the market on a Saturday, so if you are in that big of a hurry you should stop at one of the grocery stores you probably passed on the way to the market.
  2. For god’s sake don’t park in the vendor parking lots, you know, the ones adjacent to the sheds. There’s no sign that says you shouldn’t, but I’m saying it! First of all we have paid over $1,000 dollars for a stall under the sheds and a place to park. So when we have to stop working to move our vehicles and let you out, yer probably gonna get cussed out and it could have all been avoided if you had simply parked elsewhere.
  3. Don’t expect the Che’ Pierre treatment when you come down here, that mean you gonna get treated like a Detroiter; you gonna get waited on more or less in the order you appeared at the table, people are gonna offer you unprompted advice, and your feet are gonna get rolled over by carts, strollers, and wagons. You’ll be expected to hold the door for people behind you, and most important whether you are paying in cash or tokens a customer is a customer. I better not hear that you pulled that suburban shit by stealing someones parking spot either.
  4. Speakin of louies bring small bills $1s, 5s, 10s, a few 20s depending on who you buy from 50’s & 100’s are pushing it, like I said this ain’t the grocery store.
  5. When yer walking around among thousands of people please, step to the side to chat and catch up with folks, when considering a purchase, or to organize money and bags, it’ll keep the traffic jams down and ease up to the collisions.
  6. Consider making your kids walk; first of all its hard to get through the market with strollers, second they are gonna have to learn how to negotiate crowds eventually think of it as a teachable moment, and third all that walking will make yer kids ready for a nap.
  7. The most important thing is to get to know your vendor/farmer; after all that is why you are braving the cold, heat, or crowds instead of going to the grocery store. You want local products that are actually fresh, that you can ask questions about so you can be exactly sure what you are getting be it cheap in bulk, chemical free, non-gmo, grass fed or whatever. Your vendor/farmer also knows how to pick the perfect product for what you want to do, how to prepare it and preserve it, and what it goes nicely with. As a farmer/vendor myself I say the best part of the market is the relationships with my customers; growing up and old with them from single to married, through pregnancy and toddlers, kids off to college and healthier living priorities. There is a bond between us based on the trust.
Also local folks have banners vendors selling produce from the nearby warehouses don’t. So there you go, the basic manners of the market, and it’s the truth chil.

What do you think would make the Eastern Market better?
<![CDATA[Detroit restaurants can be more than money makers.]]>Sun, 22 Jan 2017 15:49:36 GMThttp://brothernatureproduce.com/by-the-fireside-with-mrs-bro-nature/detroit-restaurants-can-be-more-than-money-makersMy wife Olivia has always said, "there is enough space in Detroit for everyone to have most of what they want if only the city were planned accordingly."  New places are opening and the landscape is changing so much, its easy to look at these bright new bars and restaurants as a measure of progress.  But economic progress is more than stadiums and skyscrapers.
I remember Chung's on Cass and Peterboro, back in the late 80's was one of the only places around the Wayne State area to get something beyond fast food to eat at night.  Now there are so many choices and to be honest, I sell our salad mix to many of these new places, so I see  better options and obviously want to support them.  
Some of these better options do things like purchasing locally grown veg. from Detroit growers and have exciting menus, like La Rondinella.  David Mancini combined Detroit's locally grown produce with Italian dishes you won't see in a cookbook, closed now, but Supinos has this sort of creativity on pizza.  I see places like Craftwork and Mudgie's who are as creative as they are local, tasty and healthier because they are made by hand. And others like Brooklyn Street Local and Astro Coffee, where you look at their wall and see a list of all of the farms and businesses who supply them.  They live and work in Detroit and care about the farms and businesses around them. You might be able to say there are two types of places to eat in Detroit.  Some are for Detroiters and everyone else, while others are just for suburbanites who want to see a game, eat, drink and not wander to far from the Gilbert / Illitch entertainment bubble.  

Some places are getting it right but I also see places coming up short. Its Detroit in 2017 and you only have one or two African Americans working in the back washing dishes.  I see places using the words "local," but the only thing local is its location; all the ingredients come from Sysco, EDS or Gordon Foods. And can we have more casual eateries something besides the coney islands or pricey small plates suburban enclaves? Coming from a family of chefs, I know better.  You can tell when pies are machine produced, when soups, cookies and other baked goods are made from the vat mixes that come in buckets from corporations and not from local farms.  Even Donna Love from Love Pies (who is legally blind) will complain how some of their pie competition is all factory made and lacks flavor.  Also, after decades in Detroit, I know that a place that hires a diverse staff has a more diverse clientele. They have better atmosphere and are less likely to see crime inside and out in the parking lot.  The diversity of staff, locally grown product and unique menus are all things that improve a bottom line.

 In Corktown there are examples of people that run their food businesses with cooperation in mind. I thought it strange that Even Phil Cooley (who my radical friends swear is an arch-demon of gentrification) showed up at my farm years ago with Charles (former owner of Let Petit Zinc). He was helping him with supply logistics and even assisted him with permitting to get his place legal and open.  After that, I don't see competition in the same way I used to.  By supporting this ecosystem of local food businesses, many are supporting long term neighborhood development.  Since our city focuses so much on downtown, small businesses have more of an opportunity / responsibility to create long lasting change in their own backyards. Plus with Trump, Snyder and their appointees, some of the worst people ever to hold positions of power, now in control, our dollars might be the only lever of power we have left.
-Greg from Brother Nature

<![CDATA[7  Reasons  why  you  should  be  buying  from bro  nature...]]>Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:04:27 GMThttp://brothernatureproduce.com/by-the-fireside-with-mrs-bro-nature/7-reasons-why-you-should-be-buying-from-bro-nature

                                   Brother Nature Produce has the best salad on the market

  1. Our salad is actually fresh. Less than 12 hours old and hasn't been sitting on a truck for several days traveling across the country.
  2. Better than organic growing practices. Organic farmers are allowed to use some 'natural pesticides.' We use crop rotation, row covers, free ranging chickens, ducks and toads. We manage our soil fertility by making our own compost and foliar feeds, not using petroleum based fertilizers.
  3. Diverse flavor. You can't get flavors like this at the grocery store or from a produce truck because big food producers foremost concern is storage life, not taste. We include 5-12 different types of field greens for flavor and texture and color. Never boring and is intrinsically mild or hot and spicy all on its own without dressing.
  4. Nutrient dense. The arugula, purslane, sorrel, pea tips and mustard type greens are nutrient dense super foods high in A, C, K, and B vitamins, calcium, iron, dietary fiber.
  5. Smaller ecological footprint and shorter food miles. Grown 2 miles away. We use our own seed and replant it. Our farm diverts hundreds of yards of wood chips, leaves, and brew waste from the waste stream and turn it into compost every year.
  6. Its good value for your money. The standard organic plastic box of salad at the store is not in a  compost-able bag like ours is, there's is only 5 ounces in that box whereas ours is 8 ounces for just $5 and are actually fresh. This simplifies logistics and sanitary conditions.
  7. Supporting our small local business creates a more stable economy and adds to food security. Keep money circulating in your community like we do. when you buy from us we in turn buy local and employ our neighbors. The future of food is millions of 10 acres or less micro farms and smallholdings, like ours, that will cooperate and feed the world's billions.
<![CDATA[January 18th, 2017]]>Wed, 18 Jan 2017 05:00:00 GMThttp://brothernatureproduce.com/by-the-fireside-with-mrs-bro-nature/january-18th-2017                              What Has Farming Done For Detroit, or For Those in                                                                          Politics, Why the City NEEDS to SUPPORT Urban Farming?

  1. It has never abandoned the city unlike many other things such as department stores, manufacturing, music production, and the movie industry...
  2. It creates community in a lasting way. For people that try to organize in the city it is hard to get people to commit; they only come to the first neighborhood meeting, someone new might poke their head in at church on Sunday never to be seen again but as long as the garden is there people come by and engage, often bringing family and friends. Farmers are also outside all day working and being vigilant, which helps to make the neighborhood safer for everyone.
  3. It has and can employ the supposed unemployable. Are we really going to continue to throw away thousands of people because of the unspoken rule that ‘once past the age of 50 they are too old to do anything’ or because they have been to prison or due to their disability? I hear the city say that it is not profitable to let urban farmers buy the land they have been farming or wish to farm but who is making money when citizens’ tax dollars go to a multi-millionaire so he can build a stadium for a sport that most Detroiters don’t play or watch let alone pay money to go see? And who makes money when developers buy property, don’t pay the taxes and don’t actually develop the property or even keep it from further deterioration? Politicians, who are you trying to make money for? Are you trying to get money to provide better city services to people, that must surely be the most tolerant populace in America, or ‘job creators’ that might employ you after you get finished politicing?
  4. It has given an all too often helpless people power. People could not control the street lights or police response time or pension funds or whether or not their employer chooses to move their jobs out of the state or the country or whether or not they would receive aid from the government but they could grow their own food and beautify their own corner of the world which has improved quality of life here and made things bare-able.
  5. It diversifies the city’s money making portfolio. Detroit is trying to increase tourism and with urban agriculture tourists can (arguably) have the best of the city attractions as well as agricultural delights such as petting zoos, pick your own produce, hayrides, mazes, spooky farmsteads, and cider mills. But these money making endeavors can only happen when the city legislatively embraces farming. And I am not talking about agribusiness like Hantz farm; which is nothing more than a land grab, I am talking about micro farms of 1 acre, 2 acres not 3 square miles that butt right up against houses and employ less people than you have fingers and toes.
  6. It saves the city money. Everyone knows that empty land loses money; not only is no one paying taxes on the land but no one is making an income from the land and furthermore B&L and Brilar or whomever it is these days, has to be paid to cut it. Even though most farmers are not going to bring in millions whatever they pay in property taxes and income taxes will be more than what the city treasurer is getting right now. The city is damn near speculating itself to death,  but definitely into a real estate bubble quick to burst.
  7. It has brought Detroit into the 21st century. Farming is so old its new again and documentarians, tv networks, non fiction authors, work clothes apparel makers, international news reporters from all over the world, urban planning scholars from every continent, garden supply retailers, and national seed companies all realize the value of urban farming in Detroit and yet farmers get no such love from the city lawmakers itself.

In conclusion I have said all this to say that the people of Detroit, who have been holding it down all these years need to be lifted up right alongside ‘new Detroit’. If everyone really wants to see Detroit ‘come back’ then we must make economic moves with an eye to the future, not the past. The past was department stores that moved out, manufactures that left the country and downsized, convenient stores that found it too inconvenient to stay, and people that packed up like war was coming. The future is hundreds of small and lean businesses providing for the needs of the community first and foremost, but there is also plenty of room for investor funded stadiums and entertainment districts. By not selling land adjacent to adjacent lots or to farmers so that you can ‘hold it’ for a potential developer who ‘wants it all’ you are holding back development your damn self. Because while you wait for a big box store to come swallow up 4 blocks at a time, big box stores like Walmart, Sam’s club, and Kohl’s are closing up stores and unless 10s of thousands of suburbanites move back to the city there is no logical reason why they should abandon stores in more populated areas for depopulated ones.
Who wants to move to Detroit like it is now? Urban farmers, that’s who. Let us urban farmers be the backbone that puts people back to work, feeds the people actually fresh chemical free food, and connects person to person so that strangers become neighbors. I am not saying let everyone do whatever they want-that is why we have zoning and ordinances; I am saying make logical regulations in a timely manner and enforce them equally so that we all can have the things we need and want instead of fighting over tiny plots of land when there are acres and acres of empty land. Life doesn’t have to be like this. Urban farmers don’t demand tax breaks or regulations to be waved just for us; we want first dibs on the land we have been caring for, a hoop houses for health type program wherein people that do not have the money to buy all the lots they wish to have can work off the money buy selling produce directly to the community that are in at farmer’s markets, liquor stores, and grocery stores, drainage fee free metered access of hydrants and last but not least an end to repeated blight tickets. Come on! Detroit is sitting on prime agricultural land at an important international trade juncture; the original deed to my house refers to the plat as Thompson Farm, that land begs to be worked. It’s the truth chil’.
and for anybody that thinks my solutions are too far fetched I am waiting to hear what yours are.