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Illuminate Your Inner Fudgie at Grow Benzie

Event, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Guest Post, Joshua Stoltz, Stories

Two winters ago I spent an entire hour updating my star ratings on Netflix to dial in my preferences.

It was worth my time.  Like driving to the U.P., or rising early to exercise.  At first it seems daunting, but soon you’re saying, “I can’t wait to do THAT again!”

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Growing Knowledge: Michigan State University Student Organic Farm

Find Local Food, Gardening, Get Involved, Kelly Wilson, Southeast Michigan, Stories

The MSU Student Organic Farm (SOF) began as a student project and has grown into a 15-acre, year-round teaching and production farm. The farm is certified organic and utilizes a combination of passive solar greenhouses (hoophouses) and outdoor field production to grow a variety of fresh produce year-round. Production is carried out by the SOF and OFTP (Organic Farmer Training Program) Staff and dedicated students, the SOF farm crew, and wonderful volunteers.  The farm also collaborates with MSU faculty to create learning opportunities for other students at MSU through courses in organic farming, interdisciplinary experiential educational activities, and research opportunities.

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As You Dish: Celebrating Michigan’s Natural Bounty

Andi Pellicci, Event, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Guest Post, Stories

This past week, I overheard two men talking about Turkey Season, which lasts until May 31, 2017. Sportsmen around the state have bagged game and brought it to their kitchens for generations. When we talk about tasting the local difference, it’s important to remember the natural bounty that Michigan gives us.

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Oodles of Strudels: A Whirlwind of Old World Pastries Sweeten Allen Park

Edible WOW, Find Local Food, Guest Post, Rebecca Powers, Southeast Michigan, Specialty Producers, Stories

Rare things happen in the most unremarkable of places. Outside a narrow Downriver building, where gaps in vertical blinds reveal little more than a few windowsill houseplants, only a small sign— Hungarian Strudel Shop—hints at the Old World process within. Inside, just beyond a display case of fresh-baked confections and a framed photograph of Hungary’s ornate parliament building, is a barebones backroom where the morning activity is nothing short of fascinating.


Eating Seasonally Made Easy with Red Haven

Find Local Food, Nina Santucci, Stories

Red Haven Restaurant is owned and operated by Chef Anthony Maiale and his wife Nina Santucci. After 10 years of living and working at top restaurants in great food cities across the country, the couple settled in Nina’s home state of Michigan ready to open their own restaurant. In 2011 they opened the Purple Carrot Food Truck and after a successful first season were able to make the move into a brick and mortar restaurant with the opening of Red Haven.

The food truck and restaurant operate under one simple premise, local first. Nina explains their inspiration, “Living in Michigan we are surrounded by an abundance of fresh food, talented artisans and hundreds of farms, however we were shocked to learn how much of our local harvests end up leaving the state. We wanted to make sure our brands focused on being as local as possible to help keep these great products in our state. This means we not only have access to some of the countries best raw ingredients but we can also help support and grow the local food movement in Michigan.” 10547653_10152172562006300_6265810675384205828_n

Red Haven prides itself on sourcing as close to 100% of its ingredients from local farmers and artisans as possible year round. This includes, but is not limited to their produce, meats, fish, dairy, vinegars, flours, grains, spirits, beers, soda, etc. in a constantly evolving menu. The menus change with the seasons to showcase the best of Michigan in innovative, creative and delicious dishes designed to deliver fresh and bright flavors in a comfortable atmosphere. IMG_5501

To allow the customer to enjoy as many great dishes as possible, the plates are shared amongst the table and served in a paced out fashion to bring a fun and interactive dining experience to all of the guests.

All year the flavors of the season shine bright across each menu. In the winter the dishes are hearty and include the best of winter squash, potatoes, greens and decadent sauces. As spring emerges, you will find dishes featuring the best of the Michigan woods with ingredients such as morel mushrooms, wild leeks, and fiddlehead ferns complimented with farmed asparagus and spring peas. Summer is packed with color from a large array of edible flowers, squash blossoms, stone fruit and lake fish. Fall closes the year with flavorful ingredients such as corn, peppers, end of season tomatoes and autumn squash. They invite you to experience the cuisine of Michigan year round at Red Haven.

Nina Santucci is the co-owner of Red Haven with her chef husband Anthony Maiale. Red Haven restaurant is located at 4480 S. Hagadorn Rd., Okemos, MI 48864. Contact Nancy at

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The Next Generation of the Traditional Farmers Market? Argus Farm Stop, L3C

Find Local Food, Guest Post, Kathy Sample, Retail, Stories

Here in Washtenaw County, we have an active, robust local food movement.  But Census Bureau statistics show some alarming stats on farms.  The average age of a farmer is 58, and new farmers have a tough time getting a foothold in this business.  

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We decided to get involved after seeing a market in Wooster, Ohio called Local Roots, which is open year round and sells product for local farms in an indoor setting.

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Stewards of the Land : Stone Coop Farm is a Quiet Tribute to Sustainability and Reinvention

Cara Catallo, Edible WOW, Find Local Food, Stories

When Joannée DeBruhl’s 21-year insurance industry job fell victim to cuts, she saw a window of opportunity in the form of establishing a church garden. DeBruhl did more than produce 2,000 pounds of vegetables for Gleaners Community Food Bank. She found her calling. DeBruhl dedicated the next year to confirming that and honing her skills at Michigan State University’s Organic Farmer Training Program.


Where’s the (Local) Beef?

Find Local Food, Molly Stepanski, Proteins, Retail, Stories

When I woke up today, the last breakfast I thought I’d be eating was kimchi and a myriad of unique pickled items including, but not limited to: roasted brussel sprouts, rutabaga, beef heart, asparagus, carrots, pork loin, whole smelt, and eggs, just to name a few. But Scott McQuarrie, farmer and owner of the Alpena General Store (AGS), had other ideas. Scott seems to frequently be a man of business innovation, and all things food and farming.


Part Three: Making A Choice for Our Community

Brian Bates, Economy, Farmers Markets, Food Policy, Guest Post, Stories

This is Part Three of a three-part series from farmer Brian Bates of Bear Creek Organic Farm in Petoskey, Michigan. This essay was delivered as part of his keynote address to attendees at the Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network’s annual Farm Route to Prosperity Summit on February 17th of this year.

In parts one and two of the essay, Bates first describes his journey On Becoming A Farmer and then begins to demonstrate the lessons of Scale and Perspective learned from hands-on experience working at large farms in the US and elsewhere.


Part Three: Making a Choice for Our Community

BatesSlide20I think prosperity is defined by a community’s well-being. At Bear Creek, we are invested in our community and hopefully our community in us. We won’t relocate our factory tomorrow, and in the meantime, we shop locally, bank locally, ensure locally, employ locally. We teach others how to grow, and we welcome strangers to our farm.

We celebrate the deliciousness of our food, and we respond precisely to the needs of our community.