A fierce battle is being waged today over the pros and cons of pasteurized milk. But in the early decades of the 20th century, improvements that could bring safer cows’ milk to market couldn’t come fast enough. One of the farms leading the way was located in Avon Township, now known as Rochester Hills. It was owned and managed by Sarah Van Hoosen Jones, a pioneer dairy farmer in Michigan.
It’s a beautiful day in Flint, Michigan. The sky is clear, flowers are in bloom and the volunteer gardeners in the edible flint Demonstration Garden are hard at work. Mike Roose is watering pepper plants in the raised-bed gardens. Scott Poinsett is trimming the garden perimeter, and Garden Manager Ginny Farah is harvesting crops for neighborhood residents. By the time they are done, the community garden will look its best in preparation for the evening’s food garden tour.
An early October sun is setting over the storefronts of Joseph Campau Avenue in Hamtramck. It’s Friday night, and small groups of people filter casually into Peter Dalinowski’s permanent pop-up venue, (revolver). A few guests carry their own bottles of wine as they are seated family-style around candlelit wood block tables. It’s the first seating of the season after a brief summer hiatus, and the anticipation is palpable.
Don’t blink, or you might miss The Grafted Root Eatery, on the edge of the Coach Stop shopping plaza near where South Saginaw Street meets Holly Road in Grand Blanc. Its understated exterior works for owner Michele Matthews, who likens the vibe to a speakeasy and would much prefer a secret knock to intrusive signage.
As sad as I am to see summer go, I am ready for the fall. I love the way the golden light hangs in the trees this time of year, how cozy the foggy mornings are, and the changing colors of the trees. My favorite things about the season, however, are the food (surprise, surprise!) and the many fall flavors. These connect me to happy memories of shared meals and conversation with family and friends.
The fall food that pulls strongest at my heartstrings is the humble and versatile apple. This fruit always conjures up my Grandma Wills and I cannot see a Northern Spy apple without feeling her presence or tasting her “famous” apple pie. The thought of her pie’s perfect flaky crust, warm and gooey apple filling, a dollop of ice cream or a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on top send me back to time spent in her kitchen; one of the reasons I pursued a career in food and agriculture. I’m forever grateful she taught me how to make her perfect pie before she passed so every time I bake and eat it she is there with me.
Apples also bring back memories to my first farm job in Minnesota. Before leaving for the fall, we gleaned apples from a neighboring farm littered with hundreds of decrepit Volvos (I swear it looked like they were farming cars rather than fruit!). The apples we picked became golden sauce after hours of peeling with Beth and her young boys. A slightly more “formal” apple picking experience in New Hampshire made me fall in love with the East Coast and my cohort of dietetic interns. The time in the orchard catalyzed personal and professional relationships that are still strong almost a decade later. These memories are strong examples of why I love food. Not only does it nourishes us physically, but also spiritually; it draws us together and connects us strongly to people and place.
As the weather turns cooler this fall season, I hope you can slow down, open up a cookbook, and share some food and memories with your loved ones. If you want to try your hand at a simple dish, try this delicious apple cake. The recipe comes courtesy of my grandmother, Frances Wills, and is shared with you in love. Note that this cake is best shared as the flavor improves in the presence of good company.
Want to learn more about Michigan apples? Check out this guide from Michiganapples.com
Kelly Wilson, RDN is the SE Michigan Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference and owner of Simple Gifts Farm in Oxford, MI. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s official—2008 is the year of the “staycation.” The convergence of soaring gas prices mixed with our sleepy economy is prompting more of us than ever before to forgo the annual family road trip in favor of a more localized approach to vacationing. Spicer Orchards in Fenton is a weekend oasis for families looking for a local, wholesome outing with healthy souvenirs.
Protect your health and environment by making conscientious food choices. According to the Center for science in the Public interest, “eating healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way” is important to repair our food system. spending some of your food dollars on food produced locally secures our food system by decreasing pollution from long-haul transportation and health scares created by cheap, industrial-scale agriculture. The advantage of knowing where your food comes from, who grows it and how they treat the land, and knowing your money is going right back into your community is significant. The freshest, ripest, best-tasting foods are easy to find right now at your local farmers’ markets and community farms.
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.
SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN – Taste the Local Difference®, Michigan’s local-food marketing agency, and edibleWOW, Southeastern Michigan’s seasonal local food magazine, have announced a new partnership to support the local food economy of Southeast Michigan.
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.