The job of a farmer is never done. To do it well, they must think critically and instinctively to determine the vast number of influences a plant may be under at any given time. The work is labor intensive, never just 9-5, and with all the effort and best intentions — mother nature gets the final say. It’s an incredible career, worthy of the utmost respect and this region is lucky enough to have generations of farm families that still tend the land today.
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them…. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motorcar only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”
~ Ernest Hemingway
Some may argue there’s no greater combo than pairing a bucolic bike ride with a glass of wine (or two) when you reach your destination. I’ll do you one (or a few) better….how about biking to a vineyard in northeastern Michigan and being greeted with a cornucopia of wines, a pop-up food bar created by a local chef, and a tour of the almost 15 year old vines with Thunder Bay Winery and vineyard owners? Well, look no further: Tour De Vine with Harborside Cycle and Sport has become an annual event to celebrate just outside of Alpena, in pastoral Ossineke, a place that has become surprisingly fruitful for Michigan grown grapes.
Like many of the gems of northeastern Michigan, Stoney Acres Winery is a family legacy of determination and local artistry off the beaten path. Located outside of downtown Alpena, tucked away on a small neighborhood street, the winery has been around since 2003, when Jim and Helen Grochowski and their daughter Amy introduced wines to the public in the tessellated tasting room. Since that time, the shop has expanded to offer candies, hand-dipped truffles made with their wines, Shipwreck sodas made with Michigan sugar, and now a whole new summer farm-to-table experience.
Total disclosure: I have never made risotto before, but I saw a recipe for Butternut Squash, Leek, and Basil Risotto from Bon Appetit magazine and had to make it.
THIS Saturday marks the last weekend in June and one of our favorite events of the summer– The Traverse City Wine & Art Festival. The day is quickly approaching, and all of us at TLD are really looking forward it. We can’t wait to sip on the incredible wines of leelanau county, and even more, enjoy them paired with some amazing food.