Aug. 13 2014 12:00 AM

To find low-cost produce on the cheap, get rural


Lansing’s rural areas are filled with farmers who grow too much for their own consumption. The result is the “ditch stand,” a place where freshly harvested goodies are positioned for people to pick up as they pass by. Some farmers simply ask for a donation for their efforts while others just give it away. One thing you can count on is that most of the farmers will come out to say hello, boast about their growing practices, and tell you what they plan on harvesting next — valuable intelligence for future trips.

Mid-summer through mid-fall is prime ditch stand season. Half of the fun is finding them yourself, but some general hot-spots for ditch stands tend to be south of Lansing around Holt, Mason and Charlotte; east of Lansing toward Williamston; north around DeWitt; and west around the Grand Ledge area. Be sure to get off the main drag for the best results. A trip down College Road frequently results in giant zucchini. A country home west of DeWitt on Herbison Road near Wacousta Road is churning out delicious cucumbers. There are also a lot of farmers producing fresh eggs south of Lansing. Though the eggs are generally not free, they are significantly cheaper than you can find in-store.

We live in a beautiful area filled with places you would never expect, dotted along the way with some of the best produce you maybe never thought to look for. Have fun exploring — you never know what you may find out there.