Spring Emerges at The Farm at St. Joe's

We can’t wait to grow seedlings in our new propagation house!

Happy Spring and social solidarity through spacial distancing! It’s been a whirlwind, but despite the uncertainty swirling around us, there is so much spring goodness coming our way. We have a hoop house full of greens that are being harvested and we will be giving this life-giving food to our front-line colleagues and to our community partners. We are determined to find safe ways to continue to provide healthy nutritious food to our community members and support our local farmers!

Fun Farm Updates!

Salad greens harvest – March 23, 2020

Now on to the business…

The Farm at St. Joe’s current priorities are:

  1. Doing our part to contain any spread and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 —both physically and mentally— for staff, volunteers, and community members.  
  2. Planning how The Farm will safely provide nourishing food from local farms that will be essential this season.

This is how the Farm Share Program will be providing safe access to healthy food:

  1. Curbside pick up – Wednesday-Friday (schedule TBD).
  2. Using single-use packaging (brown bags instead of boxes).
  3. Strict sanitation of surfaces protocol is in place throughout The Farm.
  4. Staff who handle produce and food-contact surfaces practice strict hand washing and hospital health assessment standards.

In the meantime, on behalf of our entire Farm team, we are truly appreciative of all of you and we are working hard to keep the essential service of providing nutrious food to Farm Share members and the community at large.

We still have spots open to join this season, please register HERE.

Questions we’ve been getting:

What is The Farm Doing To Stay Safe?

To keep our workplace healthy, we are following stringent precautionary measures like frequent hand washing, sterilizing our work environments, use of gloves, and social distancing.

Can I Come Volunteer?

At this time, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are not accepting volunteers at The Farm. As this changes, we will let you know.

I’m Struggling To Access Food Right Now. Where Can I Go?

If anyone finds themselves in need of emergency food resources, they can dial 2-1-1 to connect to United Way’s 211 call center. The operator will be able to provide info on the nearest food distribution location.

Can I Donate? Where? How?

Yes! We are working hard to provide food and assistance to food insecure families. Please consider donating – https://stjoesfarm.org/donate/

I’ve Got Another Question!

Send us an email at  FarmShare@stjoeshealth.org or call us at (734) 712-0501. We’re in and out of the office, so please feel free to leave a message. We will get back with you. Thank you for your patience!

How to help the hospital during this challenging time?

Community Donation of Needed Supplies for St. Joe’s Ann Arbor

In response, the hospital has organized a Donation Center at the Towsley Building, on the campus of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. The following unopened (click here) items can be dropped off.

Hours for donations will be 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. seven days a week (Hours may change due to availability of staffing). Read more.

Farmers Market Closed

Dear Friends,

To protect the health and well-being of our community, the St Joe’s Farmers Market will be closed until further notice.

As we all slow down and step back from physical contact with one another, let us lean in and connect emotionally with one another. Please reach out if you are in need physically or emotionally. You can reach me at Amanda.Sweetman@stjoeshealth.org.

Poodle sitting at computer desk.
Everyone is helping right now.

Community Resources: check out the Washtenaw County COVID-19 Essential Services Update page(https://www.washtenaw.org/3100/COVID-19-Essential-Service-Updates). There is a comprehensive list of resources for things like food, housing, utility support etc.


With love,

Amanda and the Farm Team

Volunteers needed!

Hi Everyone,

It may not feel like it yet, but spring is right around the corner! We’re gearing up for a big year at the Farm and we need your help!

We were awarded almost $25,000 to refresh the handicap accessible hoop house by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation! We are so excited to be able to offer even more innovative ways for patients to receive care in our beautiful space!

To get started we need to remove the existing raised beds, so bring your muscles and your friends and we’ll get this project off on the right track.

February dates:

February 8 9am-12pm

February 15 9am-12pm

Sign up HERE or email FarmVolunteers@stjoeshealth.org with questions.

Register today for the 2020 Farm Share!

Get farm-fresh produce this year by participating in the St Joe’s Farm Share program! Register before Jan 31st to lock in the 2019 prices!


Learn more about the program here.

A spring share

The 2020 Farm Share Program will have:

Three 12 week seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall)

There are two membership types: Whole and Half

We offer subsidized shares to families who are experiencing food insecurity. Learn more here.

We will work with 8 partner farms and are on track to generate $150,000 of revenue for those small, sustainable growers.

Beets Help Beat High Blood Pressure, Improve Blood Vessel Health


Fun Facts

Beets are an incredible vegetable! Both the roots and greens can be eaten and both are unbeatably nutritious. Beets come in all shapes and sizes. Did you know that the traditional red beet is not the only variety available? Heirloom varieties can be golden yellow, white, pink and white ringed, and even oblong shaped! They belong to the family Amaranthaceae, and are related to other leafy vegetables such as swiss chard, amaranth, spinach, and quinoa. The wild ancestral origin of beets is believed to be sea beets, which have been alive for thousands of years. Some of the earliest records of sugar beet domestication are thought to be traced back to both the ancient Egyptian Empire and the Roman Empire. Ancient Assyrian texts have also described cultivation of beets in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. You may not be aware of this but, once harvested, the entirety of the beet plant can be consumed, including the stems and leaves. [1]

Nutrition Information

These colorful root vegetables contain phytonutrients called betalains that give beets their rich red or yellow color. Betalains have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification effects in the body. Beets are also a source of dietary nitrate, which increases production of nitric oxide in the body and helps to lower blood pressure and improve the health of blood vessels.

One cup of raw beets provides about 35% of your recommended daily value of folate, and are also a good source of manganese, fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. [1]

Growing Season /Storage Tips

  • In Michigan, fresh beets are generally available from July to October but they can be grown, harvested and/or stored well into the winter.
  • Choose small to medium sized beets. Pick beets with fresh, unwilted greens.  Avoid beets with spots, bruises, or soft areas which may indicate spoilage.
  • Do not wash beets before storing. Put beets in a plastic bag and wrap it tightly around the beets to get rid of air. Beets will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Cooked beets may be frozen.

Request Beets in Your Salad at St. Joe’s Market Cafe

In Michigan, fresh beets are generally available from July to October but they can be grown, harvested and/or stored well into the winter. They come in a variety of colors, and they can be prepared in a variety of ways – roasted, steamed, pickled, juiced, boiled or eaten raw on salads or with dips. And be sure to use those greens, which are delicious braised or raw in salads! [2]


[1] The Farm at St Joe’s Ann Arbor – https://stjoesfarm.org/veggie-pages/beets/

[2] Cultivate Michigan – https://www.cultivatemichigan.org/featured-foods/foods/beets

Register NOW for the Summer Farm Share

Eat well all summer by registering for the St Joe’s Farm Share program! Get a box of fresh, local produce every week or every other week! This program is convenient, fun, and a great way to support local farmers.

Summer: July 3-Sept 18 Get the best of the hot weather crops: blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, corn, and melons! 

Summer Full

Summer Half

A summer share

We’re hiring!

We are so excited to announce that we are hiring two new people!

Farm Operations Manager: Responsible for vegetable production; manages interns and volunteers; assists with education and outreach. Learn more and apply here.

Farm Program Manager: Responsible for the Farm Share program; Produce to Patients program; evaluation and reporting. Learn more and apply here.

Michigan Spring Wheat Berry Salad

Check out this hearty, spring salad made specially for this week’s farm share by Megan, the owner of Macon Creek Malt. The wheat berries are from her!

Fun Fact: people confuse me and Megan all of the time. Can you tell who is who?



  • 1 C whole wheat berries
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 T (white) balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 C thinly sliced radishes
  • 2 C chopped spinach
  • 1 C pea shoots

Additional toppings

  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas); walnuts etc
  • dried cranberries, cherries, raisins etc
  • feta, soft cheeses

Prepare Wheat Berries

  • Soak 1 Cup of whole wheat berries in 3 cups water in fridge overnight. Drain.
  • Cook soaked wheat berries in 3 fresh cups water and 1 tsp salt for 35-40 minutes. Bring water to boil, then lower temperature to simmer.
  • Drain and cool

Prepare dressing

  • Combine 1 tsp salt, 1.2 tsp pepper, garlic, red onion, lemon juice, a balsamic vinegar. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Add olive oil, whisk together

Prepare Salad

  • Combine spinach, radishes, pea shoots and other toppings as desired.


  • Toss wheat berries, dressing and salad.

April Updates

Hi Everyone,

The sun is finally shining! Our tomato seedlings are getting big and I’m feeling plumb tuckered out by the time I get home. Must mean spring is here!

A few farm announcements:

1. April 3rd is the last day to register for the Spring and Season Passes for the St. Joe’s Farm Share. (register today, click the farm share tab at the top of this page!)

2. There will be no Farmers Market until further notice. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to clone myself, so until we are able to hire someone to replace Lauren, I will need to be working on the Farm Share on Wednesdays. I apologize!

3. Please join us in supporting the Best Buddies Friendship Walk on April 13th. This group works to end social isolation for people with disabilities. Learn more here.

4. The Farm is being recognized as a 2019 Harkin Wellness Designee. Learn more about this program here. I will be in Iowa tomorrow to accept the award.

5. Check out this great article in Health Progress: “How the Farm at St. Joe’s Transforms Its Health System” by Rob Casalou. 

How the Farm at St. Joes Transforms Its Health System-a

Illustration by Larry Moore (I love this!!)