More than 60 lb of cherry tomatoes!

More than 60 lb of cherry tomatoes!

I can’t believe my time as a Dietetic Intern at the Farm at St. Joe’s is already coming to a close. The past two weeks have been wonderfully busy.  The weather has gone from pleasantly fall-like to blistering hot and back again. The time I’ve spent on the farm has definitely changed my perspective on the weather. Rain and gray skies have gone from being gloomy to givers of life. Ninety degree weather may not be so pleasant for us, but the hoop house tomatoes love it. We picked over 60 pounds of them!

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Tomatoberry tomato

On Monday, the Farm hosted one of its very first education programs with the Green Adventures Camp.The kids learned about the plants and insects that live on the farm. It sounds like there is a lot of interest in educational opportunities for kids at the farm so I am excited to see how the program grows within the next few years. Each child had a chance to try these beautiful tomatoberry tomatoes. The vast majority of kids ate them and seemed to enjoy them. It’s fun to see how children are willing to try a new food when they know the story behind it.

I also had the opportunity help with St. Joseph Mercy Hospital’s ShapeDown program, a weight management program for children and teens. Participants discussed goal setting, tried some healthy snacks, and learned about fun ways to exercise. I shadowed the program’s Registered Dietitian and helped prepare the snacks including apple slices with cinnamon, cherries, and a sample of flavored seltzer water. During a future session, participants will visit the Farm at St. Joe’s, which highlights one of my favorite things about the farm: its integration into the hospital and larger community.

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Farmers market stand

On Wednesday, we attended the weekly farmers’ market along with Green Things Farm and the Eisenhower Center. We handed out samples of cherry tomatoes marinated with herbs and balsamic vinegar for market goers to try. Check out this week’s recipe, and see the recipe tab above for more great ideas!

Marinated Tomatoes with Herbs

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Handing out recipe samples


  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 18 basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 lb cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)


  1. Combine and whisk all ingredients except the tomatoes in a large bowl.
  2. Add the tomatoes and let marinate for at least 3-4 hours. Serve cold.

Overall, I have enjoyed my time at the Farm at St. Joe’s! Thank you Farmer Dan for hosting dietetic interns!

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I am a Dietetic Intern at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. I’m excited that my first rotation is at the Farm at St. Joe’s because it presents such a unique opportunity for future Dietitians to learn about food and health from a food systems perspective. Despite all Dietetic Internships requiring hospital rotations, it’s rare for those rotations to take place on a farm! The title of “Registered Dietitian” often brings to mind a clinician working with individual patients in a hospital setting, but I ultimately hope to work with programs that make it easier for low-income communities to eat healthfully. Given the Farm’s role in the hospital and the greater community, it’s a great fit for my interests.

Sparked by my father’s unstated goal of cooking a dish from every country in the world, I have always loved trying new foods. After I started cooking for myself and shopping at farmers’ markets in college, I realized how difficult it can be to navigate healthy eating and wanted to make it easier for others. Around this time, I really gained an interest in nutrition and sustainable agriculture and wanted to learn more. Since then, I’ve done a lot of projects to promote and support sustainable food so it seems almost silly to have farmed/gardened as little as I have. I’ve grown plenty of windowsill herbs and helped with the School of Public Health’s courtyard garden last summer, but I still have a lot to learn. Trial and error can get you somewhere, but it never hurts to learn from an expert.

I took a brief tour of the farm a year and a half ago in March, but it is wonderful to see everything flourishing and the new accessible hoophouse. I’m looking forward to spending the next two weeks on the farm!

The produce at the farm is finally ready for harvesting. Last week, Dr. Longely and fellow residents harvested basil, red kale and mixed greens.  They then packaged the produce in plastic serving containers.The containers were set out in the lobby at Livingston Family Medicine Center for patients to take home and enjoy for free. The residents distributed 30 containers of mixed greens, 16 containers of basil, and 12 large containers of kale, all in just 2 days! The distribution has been a success so far, and the residents are excited to provide fresh produce to patients in their community. Next, collards, chard and several types of herbs will be ready to harvest and distribute.

Check out the photos below of the fresh produce set up in the lobby.

Dr. Longley in the lobby of the Livingston Family Medicine Center with the farm's produce.

Dr. Longley in the lobby of the Livingston Family Medicine Center with the farm’s produce.

Display of the fresh produce, which were  offered free to patients  of Livingston Family Medicine Center

Display of the fresh produce, which were offered free to patients of Livingston Family Medicine Center

St. Joe’s farmers’ market partner, Green Things Farm, is throwing a fundraiser dinner in July. Check it out!

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Green Things Farm is hosting a Farm Dinner Fundraising Series this year! Our next dinner is Saturday, July 12. Dinner #2 in our series is a pig roast! So, come party at the farm and enjoy a delicious farm-fresh meal! We will have live music, lots of pork, and various farm salads all prepared by one of our favorite chefs–Maggie Long from the Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Farm tours start at 5pm

Dinner at 5:30pm

Bring your own seat, a picnic blanket, or a yard game to share!

Suggested donations…
$30 if you pre-order a ticket on eventbright or at the Farmers Market
$35 if you pay at the door
$5 to drink beer from the Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery

Green Things Farm is located at 3825 Nixon Rd, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105. You can find more info here and at greenthingsfarm.com.

Although the farm has only been around for a short period of time, they are making some serious progress.The herbs and vegetables are starting to grow very quickly. The basil plants are even almost ready for harvesting.

The farm also has a new source of water.  In the first month, the residents were carrying buckets of water about 300 feet from a faucet on the side of the building out to the plot. They recently installed a series of hoses and sprinklers this past weekend.  A lawn care company also installed two underground sprinklers within the crops. With the water source being more accessible, the residents will work more on weeding and soon harvesting.  They still have a lot of work to do and can always use volunteers, if you are up for some farming. Check out the pictures of the farm’s progress below!ImageImageImage

Please join us at The Farm at St. Joe’s, in Ann Arbor, from 9-12 in the morning, this Saturday, June 7. You can learn about what we do here at The Farm, and, if you wish, stay to pull a weed or 100. If you need a break from pulling weeds,  you are welcome to stop by and walk around the farm and say hi.

We’ll be doing a big weed pull, spreading mulch, watering, working with tomatoes, and other general farm and garden tasks.  If you’d like to join, please email Dan at bairdz@trinity-health.org with the subject SATURDAY.

The Farm at St. Joe’s is located on the campus of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor. We are accessible by car, #7 and #3 bus, and the Border to Border Trail.

New landscaping has been planted around the accessible hoop house.

New landscaping has been planted around the accessible hoop house.

The Farm at St. Joe’s Brighton is the newest crop in town! Dr. Tom Longley, Dr. Amy Berke and fellow residents from Livingston Family Medicine Center have started a farm at St. Joesph Mercy Brighton.  It is located by the East End Employee Lot near the Cancer Center. The first seedlings were planted Saturday, May 24, 2014 by residents, their families and volunteers. They planted herbs such as, basil, cilantro, rosemary and thyme. They also planted several  types of lettuce, spinach, mammoth sunflowers, broccoli, arugula, peas, bush beans and tomatoes. They will be planting peppers shortly and will need volunteers to come out and help. Check out pictures of the farm below and stay tuned for updates and future events!


Group photo from May 24 seedling planting.
From Left to Right: Dr. Amy Berke , Lupe Longley, Alaina Longley, Sophia Longley, Dr. Renee Brayton, Dr. Robert Brummeler, Dr. Tom Longley, Karen Elliott , Dan Bair.
Behind the camera is Dr. Schultz.


Residents and volunteers working on the 30 by 60 foot plot.


The plot has been tilled and the shed and fence was built by Dr. Longley and Dr. Schultz.


A side view of plot, shed and fence.


Dr. Longley’s daughters prepping the plot.


Residents and volunteers prep the plot for seedlings.


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