Drive due south of Michigan State University’s campus and in 5 short miles you’ll happily find yourself at Swallowtail Farm. This charming diversified fruit, vegetable and flower farm is operated by Anne Rauscher with help from her husband and two children. The 150 year old farmstead was purchased in 2005 and planted with its first fruits (raspberries) in 2006. Over the last 11 years, Anne and David have worked tirelessly to promote healthy land and soil, develop strong community, and grow delicious food. Visiting the farm, these values are on obvious display.
In 2014, Swallowtail Farm began producing preserves. Seeing lots of jams on the market; paired with having recently purchased a soda stream and developed an interest in cocktails. Anne decided to focus on producing fruit syrups from the fruits they grow. Weeks after starting commercial production she saw an announcement calling for entries in the Good Food Awards (a national awards program that recognizes food products that are tasty, authentic and responsibly produced). Swallowtail’s Rhubarb Syrup won a Good Food Award in January 2015 and the following year their Black Currant Syrup was also recognized with a Good Food Award. In 2017, Swallowtail’s Elderflower was a finalist and this week they found out that their Raspberry Syrup is a finalist under consideration for the 2018 Good Food Awards.
Anne and David’s commitment to community can easily be seen in their beautifully renovated Henhouse. This former chicken coop in now home to a beautiful meeting space that has graciously hosted everything from farmer meet-ups to weddings. Housed in the same building as the meeting room is a commercial kitchen where Anne crafts preserves from Swallowtail Farm fruits. These syrups make fabulous additions to soda water, take cocktails to the next level (see recipe below) and are also great in vinegarettes or poured over ice cream or yogurt. If you’re looking to impress your holiday guests, or gift a unique hand-crafted product, find Swallowtail Farm syrups at The Local Grocer (Flint), Argus Farm Stop (Ann Arbor), The Farmers Hand (Detroit), Old Town General Store (Lansing), Phillips Gatehouse Market (St Johns), The Vault Deli (Mason) or at the farm ([email protected]).
In addition to high quality value-added products, Swallowtail Farm also produces flowers, salad mixes and several other crops. Hoophouses are used to extend the growing season so look for greens, salad mixes, and other cool season crops from Swallowtail this winter. You can find Swallowtail Farm produce in the summer at the East Lansing Farmers Market (May-Oct), in the winter at the farm’s Farm Stand (Tuesdays & Thursdays) or via email pre-orders ([email protected]), or during their annual Farm Open House on Sunday December 3, 2017 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. Check out Swallowtail Farm’s Facebook or Instagram feed for more info.
Recipe Courtesy of Anne Rauscher, Swallowtail Farm
1 oz Swallowtail Farm Black Currant syrup
1-1.5 oz gin (such as Bombay Saphire)
Top with tonic water or sparkling water
Serve over ice
Garnish with rosemary sprig or lemon.
Swallowtail Farm is located at: 1633 Hagadorn Rd., Mason, Michigan 48854
Kelly Wilson is the SE MI Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference and Owner of Simple Gifts Farm. After a busy farm season, she is dusting off her running shoes again. If you have favorite trails or routes to share, send your suggestions to [email protected].