Zingerman's Roadhouse Chef Alex Young is expanding the scope of his culinary offerings in the Ann Arbor area with the purchase of Hoey Farm on Island Lake Road in Dexter Township this week.
The 27-acre property, located at 8540 Island Lake Road and 8474 Island Lake Road, will be used as part of an ambitious undertaking for Young's Cornman Farms, an 18-acre farm that grows more than 130 varieties of vegetables, and is home to a selection of livestock raised for meat at the Roadhouse restaurant.
The property includes a 1834 Greek Revival style house and barn, which Young said will be restored to their original design.
"I'm really pleased with the purchase of the Hoey Family Farm," Young said. "After we complete all the restoration work, it provides us a great vehicle for school tours, dinners on the farm, and other partnerships with the community."
Young said he plans to add a dairy parlor on the farm to produce fresh milk and goat cheese for the Roadhouse. In addition a 2-acre edible garden will be added for fresh produce.
"The farm needs a lot of work," he said. "We will spend this entire year fixing it up and hopefully we will open for tours by 2013."
Once the restoration is complete, Young said he will approach the Dexter Township Board of Trustees for permission to host dinners on the property.
"I'm hoping we can work together to turn this farm into a destination location for Dexter," Young said. "It's so important to teach people — especially younger children — where their food comes from."
The farm will operate as a separate entity from the neighboring , owned by Burton Hoey.
"The rumors that we purchased and will take over management of Jenny's Farm Market are not true," Young said.
Safety and health issues at Jenny's came under heavy criticism in 2011 after an employee was .
"I'm grateful that we were able to work out a deal with the Hoey Family to purchase the adjoining farm. It was a lot of money, and now begins the task of paying it back," Young said.