Ann Arbor, Michigan. THE greatest college town in the world. Not that I am biased or anything (GO BLUE!). If you have visited the area or followed college football, then you will be familiar with the University of Michigan campus. There are bars, of course, from The Brown Jug to Rick’s, The Diag, the campus center full of students on their way to class, and let’s not forget the religious experience that is football Saturday and 110,000 fans clad in Maize and Blue.
Or, maybe you are a little more grown up, perhaps a professional. Then you may be more familiar with Downtown Ann Arbor. If so, then you have likely seen the shopping on Main Street, browsed the bookshelves at Literati, or ordered a sandwich at Zingerman’s. Today, however, I am going to take you outside of the busy campus and downtown areas of Ann Arbor to the West side, the less traveled part of the city that feels worlds away.
Zen can be defined as a state of calm attentiveness in
which one’s actions are guided by intuition
rather than by conscious effort.
During the warm months, typically May-September, White Lotus Farms is open to the public on Saturdays. You take Liberty Street far West until it turns into a dirt road. Some kind of magic happens as you hit this stretch of dirt road. You leave the busy city behind you and feel a sense of calm in your surroundings. Then, you will see White Lotus Farms. This is an organic farm that is managed with Buddhist principles. In fact, there is one weekend each year when the farm is completely closed so that White Lotus Farms employees can attend a Buddhist retreat. This effort to connect with these principles is evident as you step onto the property.
The spot that I like to visit first is the koi pond. I feel like this helps me set whatever remaining stress aside, and fully connect with the moment. The koi fish are beautiful, my favorites being the ghostly white ones. As you sit on the wooden deck and admire the fish, you can hear the sounds of a small waterfall feature in the back of the pond. Then once I feel fully relaxed, I wander through the ornamental blooms. Depending on the time of year, you may see orange-red poppies, bright pink peonies, bold purple alliums, or a rainbow of gladiolas.
The biggest crowd of people you will find will likely be near the goat pens. They have a variety of milking goats, including American LaManchas and Nigerian Dwarves. There is nothing more adorable than watching newborn baby nigerian dwarf goats bleet and play with each other. If you are lucky, you may even get to witness the staff bottle feed the babies. I would also recommend taking a moment to appreciate the facial expressions of the other people as they watch the goats. You will see children gazing upon the goats in wonder and even grown men laugh openly at the antics of the playful goats. It is really a gift to be among this pure sense of joy.
Then, once you have had your fill and can tear yourself away from the goat spectacle, you can visit the farm cart. Each year, the goods offered here get better and better. You can choose among organic produce, like greens, sprouts, berries, and rhubarb. White Lotus Farms also bakes fresh bread. My favorites are the cranberry walnut and olive loaves. They have free samples of the bread and of their artisan cheeses, so you can decide on your favorites before you buy. If you arrive at the farm cart early enough, you can also enjoy “Ohs”, which are the farm’s version of a cronut. I don’t know how they make these little miracle treats, but they are worth the trip alone.
Finally, around noon, White Lotus Farms offers lunch. Make sure to bring a picnic blanket so you can spread out in the grass. You can order fresh baked pizzas, each week offering new varieties. The pizzas are made with the fresh artisan mozzarella and chevre, the organic pea shoots, honey, olive oil, and more. Sometimes the pizzas look like little works of art, almost too good to eat…almost.
The White Lotus Farms farm cart season is brief, however this only makes it all the more special. I am hesitant to even tell others about this place because I don’t want to spoil the magic! However, this place is too good not to share. Buddha said
Peace comes from within,
do not seek it without
This is probably true, however visiting the serene White Lotus Farms sure doesn’t hurt.
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Leah Little has a full time job as a social worker, and has managed to travel the world while wearing beautiful clothes by knowing how to score deals in travel and fashion. Learn more about her journey here. Join the Leah Little Travel and Fashion tribe by entering your email to subscribe to be the first to learn new ways to enjoy the best in travel and fashion for less. Say hi and send her a message! Contact