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Celebrate With The Farmer’s Hand As They Turn One!

By: Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers | September 15, 2017
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Do you know where your food is from; I mean really know where it’s from? Where has it been between where it was produced and the store you just bought it from? Who made it? Where are they located? What is their production process? What is their first and last name? That last one is probably the most difficult one to answer, unless you’re shopping at The Farmer’s Hand in Detroit.

Established nearly a year ago, The Farmer’s Hand is the fruit of proprietors Kiki Louya and Rohani Foulkes’ labor. The duo had independently been working with vendors to bring an all-local grocery to Detroit for a time and it wasn’t until their partners kept confusing Louya with Foulkes and vice versa that the two decided to meet up for coffee.

The result of that coffee date was just what Louya and Foulkes had been trying to achieve. The Farmer’s Hand, at its core, is an all-local grocery and cafe where patrons can purchase goods made entirely in Michigan.

Some of the products found at The Farmer’s Hand include fresh fruit and veggies from Tantre Farm in Chelsea, organic soap from Motor City Soap Company, coffee from Hyperion Coffee Company in Ypsilanti, ceramic mugs, vases and more from Atelier Petit in Detroit, honey from The Sand Hill in Munith, wine from Bowers Harbor Winery and beer from Short’s Brewing Co.

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Owners of The Farmer’s Hand Rohani Foulkes and Kiki Louya. Photo courtesy of Kiki Louya.

When The Farmer’s Hand opened Louya and Foulkes had just over 100 food partners. Now, a year later, they’re rounding 150 and constantly finding new vendors to work with.

“We recently added ACRE farm, which is located here in Corktown, plus owned and operated by our friends, Ryan and Hannah,” Louya said. “They are extremely talented farmers, and grow veg for a lot of restaurants in the area…MyThy aka Mighty in the Mitten (check her out on Instagram!) also bakes these incredible Japanese milk breads for us every other week…Bandhu Gardens in Hamtramck, which is a collective of women from Bangladesh who grow food that you will not find on traditional grocery shelves–vegetables like snake gourds and hyacinthe beans.”

Aside from sourcing all of their products from Michigan-based vendors, The Farmer’s Hand also sets itself apart from other grocers by returning 70 cents to its food partners for every dollar it sells — more than three times as much as the national average. This is possible for a couple of reasons.

“For one, we work directly with our food partners, meaning we take the traditional distribution chain out of the equation,” Louya said. “Usually, food has to travel thousands of miles and touch many hands (and pockets) before it reaches your plate. So after being processed and shipped and cycled thru a distributor and sold at the grocery, everyone gets a cut and that leaves the farmer with 17 cents for every dollar sold on average.”

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Photo courtesy of Kiki Louya.

Louya goes on to explain that aside from farmers that get government subsidies for growing commodity crops, like corn and soy, making a living as a farmer is tough due to the long chain of distributors and grocers product must go through. Because The Farmer’s hand only works with local growers, product never travels very far, thus reducing the profit split.

“Giving  more than three times the national average back to small local farmers is also our passion piece, and financially, it works because our cafe is a major revenue stream,” Louya said. “It helps keep the model going strong–it makes up nearly 50 percent of our sales and it ensures that we stay afloat. In fact, the biggest selling item in our whole store by volume is a cup of coffee.”

This month, The Farmer’s Hand is turning one year old and wants to celebrate the occasion with a few other businesses in Detroit. Barber and beauty shop The Bearded Lady, as well as women’s clothing store Mama Coo’s Boutique will be joining The Farmer’s Hand in celebrating their own year anniversary on Sunday, September 17 from 3-6 p.m. Meta Physica Massage will also be in attendance. Enjoy BBQ, giveaways, live music from a DJ, free coffee from aforementioned Hyperion Coffee Company, free ice cream from Reilly Craft Creamery for the first 50 kids, a flower truck from Hamtramck-based florist pot & box, alcoholic tastings, games and more.

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