WLAA Guest Column: Wildly Ann Arbor Adventures – With Alison Corey

Wildly Delicious Ann Arbor Adventures!

By Alison Corey

As we welcome the hot and humid days of August, our kids become restless, and our creativity short when it comes to ways to keep the kids active, entertained, and engaged. Lucky for us we live in an amazing city with numerous parks and adventures that are right outside our door. A twenty minute drive can take you into the outskirts of town where farms welcome the precocious giggles of children. Or you can stay in the city bouncing from one farmers market to the next.

Throughout the summer my family visits many farms and farmers markets in the area, getting an up close and personal experience with local vendors. When my kids participate in the experience of choosing their produce, meeting the farmers, and walking on the land where their food is grown they are even more excited about experiencing new flavors.

Alison’s Farm to Table Adventure

A great first step is checking out the local Farmers Markets. I give each of my kids a small allowance when we go, allowing them to use it to purchase any fresh produce they like. They are thrilled to make their selections and exchange their money with the farmers. Then we get creative in the kitchen!

With so many farmers markets in the area, you’re sure to find one close to home, or a new to you farmers market by traveling a little outside your neighborhood.

Ann Arbor Farmers Market

315 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI

Wednesday and Saturday 7am-3pm

Westside Farmer Market

2501 Jackson Ave, Ann Arbor

Thursdays, 3pm-7pm

Cobblestone Farm Market

Buhr Park, 2781 Packard Road, Ann Arbor

Tuesday, 4pm-7pm

Pittsfield Township Farmers Market

6201 W. Michigan Ave, Ann Arbor

Thursdays, 2pm-6pm

Ypsilanti Farmers Market

Saturdays, 9am-1pm at 100 Rice St.

Tuesday, 3pm-7pm at 16 S. Washington St.

Dexter Farmers Market

3233 Alpine, Dexter, MI 48130

Tuesday, 2pm-6pm

Saturday, 8am-1pm

Saline Farmers Market

Located in Downtown Saline on S. Ann Arbor Street

Saturday, 8am-12pm

Chelsea Farmers Market

Wednesday, 8am-1pm on the corner of  Main Street and US-12

Saturday, 8am-1pm Downtown at Pamer Commons

Would you like to take the kids on an adventure to a real working farm?

Ann Arbor is surrounded by local farms that welcome visitors. One of my favorites is White Lotus Farms, located at 7217 W. Liberty in Ann Arbor. They are open every Saturday from 9:30-1:30. Once a month they have a kids day with music, and face painting. While you’re there visit with the goats, take a walk through their gardens, and visit the koi pond. They are a certified organic farm and produce delicious produce, cheese, and bread. My son’s favorite are the pea shoots with a French baguette.

We also enjoy venturing out to Berry Hill Farm at 12835 N Territorial Rd in Chelsea. The farm has beautiful rolling hills, so bring a picnic and make a day of it. Check their Facebook page for hours and details on their crop. We also visit Dexter Blueberry Farm at 11025 Beach Rd in Dexter. There are rows and rows of blueberries all within reach for even the littlest of fingers to grabl

When you get home with your raspberries and blueberries, give this light and refreshing raspberry blueberry spinach salad a try.

Raspberry Spinach Salad

Servings: 4

Active Time: 15 minutes

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup fresh raspberries

½ cup fresh blueberries

16 oz fresh spinach leaves

½ cup thinly sliced red onions

½ cup chopped walnuts

Raspberry Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup raspberries

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

½  tsp dijon mustard

¼ tsp salt

⅛ tsp pepper

  1. Place spinach leaves in a bowl. Top with fresh raspberries, blackberries, onion and walnuts.
  2. For the dressing, using your food processor, place raspberries, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and pulse until you reach a smooth consistency.
  3. Serve with dressing on the side, or pour over salad and lightly toss.

Alison’s City and Park Adventure

If you’re looking for a full day of adventure in Ann Arbor with some delicious stops along the way, give this itinerary a try. It’s perfect for the whole family, couples, and friends alike.

Start the day on the northside of town at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens at 1800 Dixboro Rd. The park opens at 10 am. Take a stroll through the outdoor gardens, and check out the indoor conservatory. If you’re with the kids be sure to check out the Gaffield Children’s Garden where the kids can build with natural materials, play in the sand, walk through a maze, and discover the magical fairy garden. Admission is free, pay for parking.

Next head on over to the Dixboro General Store at 5206 Plymouth Rd. This 180 year old building began as a general merchandise store which was popular due to its location along a narrow dirt road that was the main route between Detroit and Ann Arbor. Today you can find beautiful home decor along with other treasures the kids will enjoy like their penny candy selection.

Need a snack? Head across the street to Moonwinks Cafe at 5151 Plymouth Road serving breakfast, lunch, and espresso. I enjoy their Americano with a touch of almond milk, while my husband enjoys a slice of quiche, and my kids go for a bagel.

Now that you’re refueled, it’s time to really get the adventure going. A short drive to Gallup Park at 3000 Fuller Road brings you to the Huron River where you can rent canoes, kayaks or paddle boats. If you have little ones in tow, a canoe rental or paddle boat rental around the still water is a great option. The kids will enjoy the universal access Centennial Playground, and the fishing pond. If you’re with kids eight and older you can take one of the adventurous trips down the Argo Cascades which begins at the Argo Livery, a short drive from Gallup Park. There are 1.5 hour river trips that take you through stillwaters and cascades.   

After a few hours at Gallup Park, you’re probably ready to refuel. Head into town to Argus Farm Stop at 325 West Liberty where you can pick up some groceries all sourced from local area farms. Be sure to grab a fresh watermelon which is in season this time of year to make my healthy watermelon popsicles which are the perfect treat to help you cool off after an active day.

Watermelon Popsicles

Servings: 4

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Freeze Time: 3 hours


2 cups of watermelon cubed

1 cup strawberries de-stemmed and quartered

2 tbsp of chocolate chips

¼ cup plus 2 tbsp of coconut milk

2 tsp of maple syrup

2 kiwi

  1. Cut and cube watermelon. De-stem and cut strawberries into quarters. Using a food processor or blender, blend the 2 cups of watermelon and one cup of strawberries together until smooth. Pour mixture evenly into four popsicle molds, about ¾ of the way full.
  2. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly among the four molds. Using a popsicle stick gently  push the chocolate chips into the molds, evenly distributing them. You can leave out the chocolate chips or use raisins if you like. I think the chocolate chips look cute and mimic the look of seeds on the watermelon.
  3. Freeze for one hour or until set.
  4. While the first later is freezing mix ¼ cup of coconut milk with 1 tsp maple syrup. I use the full fat coconut milk, but you could use low fat if you choose. The full fat is creamier and tastes amazing, and with such a small amount per popsicle, I say go for the full fat!
  5. After an hour in the freezer check that the first later has set. If so, pour the second layer of coconut milk evenly among the four molds, about 1 tablespoon per mold.
  6. Freeze for one hour or until set.
  7. While the second layer is freezing, cut the outer layer of the kiwi off, and chop into small chunks. Blend with 2 tablespoons of coconut milk, and 1 tsp of maple syrup.
  8. Once the coconut layer is set, pour the kiwi layer on top.
  9. Freeze for one additional hour or until set.

Alison Corey, is a certified health and wellness coach, registered yoga teacher (200 RYT), vegan food blogger, wife of an omnivore, and mother of two picky eaters. Alison helps mixed-diet families find peace in the kitchen with plant-based recipes everyone enjoys. Alison helps her clients eat more veggies and love it while improving their health in the process. First session is FREE. For more delicious whole food plant-based recipes, and to learn more about her work please visit https://www.keepingthepeas.com