Robin Hills Farm, a 129-acre “eco-destination and recreation farm” along M-52 just north of Chelsea, will reopen in March two years after it closed to the public. To start, it will sell local and Michigan-made drinks–including beer and wine–and snacks inside the Prairie House, its main building. Managing director Adam Kovsky says he hopes to eventually offer fresh sandwiches and salads and to reinstate its popular farm-to-table brunches on select weekends.
Kovsky says Robin Hills closed to “rethink our mission” and how it can best serve the community. From 2015 to 2017 the farm hosted major events, in addition to educational workshops, school field trips, a science camp, and the weekend brunches.
“It was all so much, all at once, that we overextended ourselves,” Kovsky says. So this time they’re “starting small,” he says. He welcomes visitors to walk the three miles of nature trails that wind through the property and then return another day for an educational workshop or special event. He also hopes guests will consider “reserving the space for a special occasion.” (The farm is a for-profit venture.)
“We never went dormant,” Kovsky says–though closed to the public, staff maintained the organic vegetable farm and grounds. Working in partnership with Nate Oswald and Nicole Robidoux of Hay Creek Heritage Farms, they’ll plant some 5,000 seedlings this spring–and bring goats and sheep to the farm. Hay Creek will also distribute its CSA shares at Robin Hills to buyers throughout the summer.
Robin Hills owners Roy and Sheila Xu (pronounced “shoo”), who live in Ann Arbor with their family, purchased the land in 2014.
“Roy’s great-grandfather had a farm in China, so agriculture has always been part of his family,” explains Kovsky, adding that Xu is “dedicated to farming, education, and fostering a sense of community.” The former owner of GreenBright Design Build, Xu also helped design the farm’s structures, which include the Prairie House, two barns, an open-air amphitheater built into the natural slope of the land, and a greenhouse.
The Prairie House features five glass garage doors that open in warm weather onto a large patio overlooking the main pond. “We’ve got wild turkey, deer, sandhill cranes, red-tailed hawks, frogs–and even a resident snapping turtle,” Kovsky says. “We’re excited to get people out here to interact with the space–and to hang out. We will grow organically–no pun intended,” he laughs, “with the support of the community.”
Robin Hills Farm, 20390 M-52, Chelsea, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thurs.-Sat. noon-8 p.m. Closed Sun.-Wed. robinhillsfarm.com