Shimek's Farm Stand on M-72 in Leelanau County

Reaping What Farmers Have Sown

Bill Palladino, Find Local Food, Record-Eagle Ag Forum

“Before the reward, there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.” – Ralph Ransom

The abundance of northern Michigan’s many riches is never more apparent than now. The approaching fall demands that farmers set our tables with the literal fruits of their summer’s labor. Visit one of our local farmers markets and be ready for an impressive diversity of locally grown crops.

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Shetler Family Dairy welcomes all, to 16th Annual Event

Event, Find Local Food, Tricia Phelps

Shetler milk became a local staple in northwest Michigan soon after the family began bottling and distributing to retail stores sixteen years ago. George and Sally Shetler raised their five children on the farm in Kalkaska, Michigan which they’ve owned since 1979. Their quality product offerings continue to make the family-run business grow, but its also the way they conduct business that keeps consumers — like me— hooked.

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Just Great Food

Emma Beauchamp, Event, Find Local Food

The idea for the Traverse City Film Festival was first conceived in Amical, a downtown favorite, so it’s only natural that after 12 years of just great movies, food has become a prominent aspect of this film-filled week. The movie venues are curated with the traditional Snowcaps and Milk Duds, as well as handpicked munchies from local businesses, like Grocer’s Daughter’s chocolates in the shape of the State Theatre’s marquee and Greenetown Foods apple chips. TCFF highlights local vendors all of its major parties during the week and has even started a new Food on Film series featuring samples from locals chefs. Food truly brings people together at the festival.

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Exploring Food: Bok Choy

Margaret Sheets

I must say that week six of my share was the best so far. It led me to cook with something brand new that I now love and will include whenever I prepare one of my favorite types of food: Asian cuisine.

I will use any excuse to cook with soy sauce, so when I learned my share contained a vegetable that calls for using it, I was very excited.

That vegetable is bok choy, a type of lettuce I had never heard of before. It’s a Chinese cabbage that tastes slightly more bitter than regular lettuce. It looks very cool: each leaf has its own long stem protruding off its end.

I assumed that I could just throw it in with a salad, like normal lettuce. However, after talking it over with my friends who work at Loma Farm, I realized that bok choy is best eaten stir-fried with some soy sauce. All they had to say was “soy sauce,” and I was sold.

This meal was very easy to prepare. I only had to purchase brown rice; I already had everything else for a Chinese stir fry: bok choy, broccoli, soy sauce and an egg.

I started by warming up some olive oil in the pan. Then I threw in the broccoli, since it would take longer to cook than the bok choy. In a separate pot the brown rice was cooking on its own.

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Once the broccoli began to warm up I tossed in the bok choy and stirred it all together. I waited a few minutes to let the two flavors mingle, then added a few splashes of soy sauce. It sizzled, and the sauce’s sweet aroma filled my kitchen. The bok choy, like any other type of lettuce, shriveled up and turned a dark green.

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So, with the greens looking good and the brown rice ready to go, I added some rice into the pan, letting all the flavors combine. Then I pushed the ingredients to one side of the pan, whisked an egg in a bowl, and poured it into the other side of the pan.

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When the egg started to scramble I stirred it in with the broccoli, bok Choy and brown rice. Then I added a final dose of soy sauce, pouring it in while stirring everything together.

My meal was complete and delicious. I really enjoyed the bok choy because it had a nice, slightly bitter flavor with a bit of crunch from the stem.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s share because it gave me a meal that was quick and simple, yet allowed me to cook with something that was entirely new to me.

In fact, I loved this meal so much that I made it for lunch again the next day. I’m sure that from now on I’ll be enjoying this new dish often.

 

Margaret Sheets is the 2016 events intern at Taste the Local Difference® and she is a senior at Albion College. You can contact her at events@localdifference.org