Hey Listeners, Patti Armbrister filled in for me this summer and did this interview when I couldn’t make it so it’s little different.
This is Patti Armbrister the guest host, I have not hosted before but I am doing it. We are sharing some time with Rohani.
So go ahead and introduce and tell us a little bit about yourself.
Rohani: I am Rohani Foulkes I am co founder of the Farmer’s Hand which is a primarily local, meaning Michigan Grown, Michigan Made Gourmet Market and take out counter called the Farmer’s Hand which is located in Detroit and State of Michigan.
Patti: Wow! Exciting! I am actually from Michigan! From a rural community between Detroit and Chicago out on farm I was raised. That’s fantastic in Michigan you can grow almost anything!
Rohani: That’s surprising to me, as I am obviously not native to the area. I am intrigued to find out that we have such a big agricultural industry here in Michigan
Patti: I think that and tourism are probably your top ones right?
Rohani: Yeah, I believe so. Yeah.
Patti: So where did you come from and how did you end up in Detroit?
Rohani: I am originally from Australia, and my business partner was born and raised in Detroit, we have been in multiple cities here in America, overseas also. My husband is originally from Detroit. I met my business partner here in Detroit at a time when we were both looking to open a very similarly thought out local market in the city of Detroit and yeah, that’s kind of what led us to the Farmer’s Hand and beginning that adventure together.
Patti: That’s great! I’ll bet that’s exciting working with someone with the same interests.
Rohani: Clarify that questions there are so many parts to it.
Patti: Maybe through a day?
Rohani: For the market side of things, there’s also a restaurant we recently opened on the same block something new we do logistically day to day.
The market side of things on delivery days we get big flushes of beautiful local produce coming and it’s just great to interact with local farmers and see all that produce come in and then watch it walk out the door after its been harvested not so long ago with customers who are just supporting this ecosystem that exists here around the world in terms of eating local food and supporting local farmers.
Patti: I love to hang out with farmers really and find out what they’re doing and what they’re growing. That’s fantastic!
Then making the connection from the food to the consumer is just grand!
My personal first garden?
Oh Yes, I guess my first garden would have been back in Australia. My mother introduced me to gardening at a very young age, and I got into it later in life on a bigger, grander scale. I grew up in a very temperate climate back in Australia where you can grow things, pretty much year round and by things I mean most every thing year round like
My mom often had a paw paw tree in the garden
all different kinds of citrus, seeing that kind of food, I’ve always been interested in food.
so seeing that cycle of food growing and harvested and prepared is really intriguing to me.
I later went on to have my own small gardens in homes that I have lived in over the years but then after moving to Michigan my husband and I owned a 10 acre farm for a short period. I farmed a small lot of that land for our own purposes and for sharing with friends and family.
We had a dozen chickens that we reared on the property and a couple of children who were very into that as well. Yeah! I have a bit of experience with farming along side the business as well.
Rohani: I think it’s very important to raise children preferable at a young age as to where our food comes from, what it looks like, how it grows. I think it can help to excite them at a young age and also to introduce and educate them about growing and how important it is to eat healthy food in the back yard
Sure and get them eating at young age and get them to enjoy it it becomes part of the life habit
Rohani: It’s been a little bit, we opened a second business attached to the market, that is in its very very early days, also renovated and moved into a new home here in the city.
and how the sun hits my garden during the course of a day and trying to get settled into my new house. I haven’t grown a huge amount this year.
In previous years I have always been addicted to tomatoes. I am always shocked at the poor quality of tomatoes here in Michigan during most part of the year, due to lack of access and local growing.
So throughout the course of the season here, I try to grow a lot of night shades particularly especially tomatoes
IDK if it’s an innate passion for them or excitement for them but I tend to grow them very well. Lots of success with them. I always have my soil tested through the Michigan State Extension program here in Michigan. I think that is probably pretty helpful as well.
Rohani: I do, so I always wait for the results when they come back, they are a little tricky to read but there are always hotlines you can call into and yeah, I do my own composting. I have found compost tea to be incredibly beneficial to my garden over the years as long as you are keeping the right balance.
I will look to organic supplements if I feel my garden needs a little bit of a boost in the spring of the fall. Aside from that, I try to keep it to itself. I try not to fuss. Something my mother taught me many years ago, most people feel their gardens are imperfect if things don’t look well trimmed. A garden doesn’t necessarily need to look pretty to produce really beautiful fruit, fruits of your labor, it can look kind of scraggly and still do a good job so I try not to fuss too much.
Rohani: I think three’s something about being mentally grounded too lit’s not just pristine manicured gardening it’s looking a little bit wild and untouched, to me, it feels good, natural calming in a way.
Patti: You feel part of it What’s your favorite variety of tomato?
Rohani: Too hard to identify. Love green ones, chutney
I love paste tomatoes when they come in, that’s something I’ve learned here in Michigan!
the need to can and
different tomatoes has cropped up around the world
through access online shopping
we’ve always had access to
anything your want to do different or try new
first year in our new property
give ourself some time to figure out
I think next year I have a combination of raised beds and in the ground so I might do more raised gardening next year.
I’m finding some of my summer squash aren’t doing so good directly sown into the ground
I think it might help to be able to control with soil a little bit more
a IDK if tis soil as been taken care of needs a little bit of love in the years go come.
Do a little bit of composting and feed the soil up a bit so I can direct so in the years to come.
In the garden? My least favorite activity? I find garden pretty therapeutic. Even if it’s the tedium of it
my least favorite thing to see is when fall is coming to an end and winter is coming and everything is starting to die, and I think the clean up in the spring can be difficult
When spring hits its really fun to go out
I like to buy from my local farmers
its alway stop see what they started new this year
I like to flip through seed catalogs I hear e a number of them through each years, something to look forward to spring
secession plants that year
farmers market start off
its nice to see
in terms of things I can put tin ground
special moment to share with
being able to share that with someone else especially my kids
really had to learn my environment
a lot of extension agents round country will provide in
request a little packet
soil off from a bunch of places
not familiar with this growing landscape of the course of a decade I’e only been here for 5-6 years
soil and growing conditions
foundation to seeing you up successfully
I would say in all honesty my hands
there are certainly tools for weeding
or killing the
tilling the ground?
twine dig up and dig out
use my hands as much as possible.
Me Too , I just love using my hands
I have worn gloves
I feel like I have more control for obvious
what was the main tool that you brought with you?
From Australia for gardening?
I didn’t bring and physical tools with me much because it went into a shipping container.
I’ll stick with something tomatoes
given how much I love tomatoes
something along the lines of a panzenella salad
many people stick tomatoes in the fridge
I don’t like to put tomatoes in the fridge
I believe they deteriorate the flavor of them and it tends to halt the ripening of them.
there is something to a fresh tomato vs a tomato that comes out of the fridge
I always keep them on my counter top, I think they taste a lot better
there are a great deal of websites
IDK about favorite but I think my go to would beRareSeeds I find a lot of helpful info there
otherwise just searching generally for companion planting
I do a lot of companion planting but I forget so I do a lot of google research of what kinds of herbs are beneficial to different fruits and vegetables
RareSeeds to me
Patti: that’s good
I love companion planting as I let more stuff go to seed I start to let them decide what to do, I have some plants that move to a different location and I think oh I guess that’s where you need to be
I tend to do that often, better for a bit to kind of see what works best
I think in terms of books
I have quite a number of books
not too long ago I was given