Michigan Farm to Freezer keeps produce fresh well after growing season

Peak inside the massive freezer and be greeted by a bounty of fruits and vegetables.

Holding 250,000 pounds of Michigan food, the state-grown produce here was grown months ago. 

"You open a bag of our strawberries today and it smells like July," said Brandon Seng. "It smells just like summer and that's a gift we are here to share with residents in our great state."

Seng leads the charge at the Michigan Farm to Freezer initiative, an effort that started six years ago in Traverse City. Then a year and a half ago, another facility was opened in Detroit. The idea is to help support the $100 billion agriculture industry in Michigan.

A lot of food goes to waste after its picked. The state's growing season is four months long, but that still leaves a lot of the year that food isn't getting picked in the state. Michigan Farm to Freeze helps reduce the amount of time residents aren't fed via Michigan produce.

"We have the opportunity to provide produce year round," said Mark Cir, of Farm to Freezer. "...we don't have a long time to get that crop from the ground to the customer and we are able to provide that for the whole year."

The only additive used in the fruit is citric acid, which keeps apples and peaches from browning. 

"It's the whole fruit, whole vegetable and it's pure Michigan," said Seng.

The literal grass-roots movement was identified by the state's marketing campaign as an initiative that could be fostered and grown with the Eastern Market Corporation. Pure Michigan Business Connect started a conversation between the two groups that led to the Detroit location getting built. 

"What a partnership," said Ryan Michael, who heads Business Connect. "Absolutely what we strive for. And because of that, what sprouted from the idea has become a bounty of business between the groups, keeping hundreds of thousands of pounds of food."