By Lisa Carolin
Two Chelsea High School graduates have just opened a restaurant together on Jackson Road west of Ann Arbor. It’s called Fresh Forage, and offers locally sourced ingredients and ethically raised meats.
“Many restaurants throw around ‘farm to table’ these days, but we live it,” said Andrew Sereno, who co-owns Fresh Forage with Samuel Boyce. “It’s not just a phrase for us. Our menu is dynamic and changes with the seasons so we are always offering what is available locally.”
Sereno is the general manager and Boyce is the executive chef.
“We act in concert on everything,” said Sereno. “Fresh Forage is faster than fast food with the highest quality locally-sourced ingredients that can be obtained. We work with local farms, including our own, to offer as many local ingredients as can be sourced.”
Boyce and Sereno say the restaurant offers good food for people who want to be eating fresh, healthy food but don’t have the time to make it themselves. They want customers who appreciate good, locally sourced foods at fast speeds.
The restaurant’s slogan is “Farm to Table, Fast!”
“There’s something for everybody at Fresh Forage,” said Sereno. “The craft your own bowl concept allows for a million different combinations. Our menu is allergen-friendly, and there are plenty of meat options, plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. It’s whatever you want it to be. Plus, the sauces are amazing!”
They also boast that their restaurant is filled with art by Chelsea artists.
The co-owners graduated from Chelsea High School together in 2006. Boyce attended Michigan State University and Sereno attended the University of Michigan. When they reconvened at a friend’s wedding, they both had families and the desire to start a restaurant.
Boyce has worked in many roles in the food industry over the past 12 years. His family owns Boyce Farm, which is located just north of Chelsea on North Territorial Road, and supplies a lot of the restaurant’s produce.
Boyce and Sereno appreciate their upbringings in Chelsea and say that growing up surrounded by nature inspired the restaurant’s menu.
They are proud to say that they’ve already achieved zero post-consumer waste, meaning that everything they serve is compostable. It’s composted at Tuthill Farms, but in the future, they will be using their own facility for composting.
They grow their own micro greens at the restaurant as well as 70 different crops at their farm.
“Next steps are setting up high-tech greenhouses and mushroom houses to achieve more year-round crop production,” said Sereno. “Our overarching goal is to change the relationship between farms, restaurants, and consumers to respect how food is grown and what is actually available here in Michigan, thus reducing our overall carbon footprint and achieving full-circle sustainability.”
They hope to encourage farmers to grow “real food crops” by providing a guaranteed outlet.
Fresh Forage is located at 5060 Jackson Road, Suite A. For more information, go to https://www.freshforage.com/.