California has always been a benchmark (at least for me) when it comes to trends within our food and wine industry. The San Francisco Bay area, along with the surrounding wine country often sets many standards that the rest of us adopt, though sometimes a bit later than sooner. On a recent visit to the region with amical Executive Chef Benjamin Hoxie, it wasn’t a real surprise to see that our Grand Traverse region reflects somewhat of a parallel universe, albeit on a minuscule scale.
Michigan has long been an epicenter of Amish settlement, with the first establishments dating back to 1895. Today, Michigan’s Amish population numbers approximately 11,000, with the state’s 86 church districts strewn over 35 communities across the state. One of the oldest of these settlements is in Mio, Oscoda County. Remnants of Mio’s logging industry left this land perforated by stumps. But, the original Amish community at Mio was founded in 1900 by Ohioan pioneers that used this to their advantage. According to historian David Luthy, “Few, if any settlements grew as rapidly as did the one in Oscoda County.” Luthy say this is because “local land agents attracted both Old Order Amish and more progressive Amish-Mennonites” to a region flushed with land available for $2-5/acre.
I’ll admit, I have a lot to learn about the Western Upper Penisula’s local food system. My connections there have been growing and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people. They are the ones clearing a path and leading the way in both research and action.
Maple syrup is Michigan’s “liquid gold.” It takes 40 gallons of sap from sugar maples to boil down to 1 gallon of syrup. Michigan ranks in the Top 10 in Maple Syrup Production in the United States. Check our favorite ways to incorporate maple syrup into our diets here.
The expanding collaboration and partnership among growers and producers in southeast Michigan forges a robust and resilient food system. Bløm Meadworks and Fresh Forage intentionally cultivate these connections to grow their local food community. Both businesses place a high priority on sourcing ingredients from Michigan producers while also committing support to their surrounding communities.
Save the date for our upcoming Guide to Local Food Release Parties! We’re so excited about how the Guides turned out this year and can’t wait to share them with you! Follow the Facebook events (linked below) to stay up to date on our Release Party details.
Recent headlines are buzzing with great news for grocery shoppers in Detroit. We love our farmers markets, but we also need brick and mortar shops with staple ingredients, open throughout the week. Luckily, locals are stepping up to expand the options for healthful and delicious food in the city.
After months of gray skies and storage vegetables, the first spring crops are a welcome relief for the eyes and the palette. An often underappreciated crop is the humble, but delicious, spring radish. An edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family (it’s cousins are broccoli, kale, collards, and cabbage), radishes come in a variety of colors (yay for antioxidants!) and shapes.
Microgreens are young greens that are full of color, have an intense aromatic flavor, and come in many varieties. From spicy, sweet, and bitter, there is a microgreen for everyone!
And, did you know these vibrant and delicate greens are packed full of vitamins? They contain nutrients at a concentrated level, which means more vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant levels then mature greens like kale and arugula.
You already eat, drink, and shop local, right? Today, I invite you to expand your locavore-ism to a new realm: Reading local. Specifically, reading The Orphan Daughter, the story of how two fragile souls – 11-year-old orphan Lucy Ortiz and her aunt, prickly empty- nester Jane McArdle — forge a family in the aftermath of tragedy. Set on Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula, it touches on themes of motherhood, finding home, resilience and forgiveness. Here’s why: