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Celebrate the Kick-off of Asparagus Season in Empire

Bailey Samp, Event, farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Food Waste, Get Involved

Did you know that May is National Asparagus month? If you are anything like me, you can’t wait for the first asparagus spears to start nudging their way through the soil. It is one of the first Spring vegetables to be harvested and a kick-off to the growing season in Northern Michigan.

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Local Shade of Pale

Drinks, farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Simon Joseph, Specialty Producers, Traverse City

Food Philosophy
I personally think it is not only important for us to use as much locally produced food and products as possible, but we also have a responsibility to be good partners with all food businesses in the area. It helps elevate the whole industry in a way that benefits us beyond dollars. Eating local should be looked at as the norm, not the exception.

Drink Local
When we re-opened Harvest in its new location in 2017, we also added a liquor license and one of our first priorities was to source beer and cider from local producers. That led to the idea of having a beer brewed specifically for us. It only made sense that we would take the idea as far as we could by then brewing the beer with local malt and hops. Because of the amazing relationships in the food and brewing community in Traverse City this was not a tall order. Working with Earthen Ales, Great Lakes Malting, and Michigan Hop Alliance we were able to brew a beer that is almost entirely made out of locally sourced ingredients, aptly named Local Shade of Pale. It’s really amazing to think of how far and fast the brewing culture has come in just a few short years. We feel so fortunate to not only enjoy the work of these great folks but also to be able to collaborate with them to create something that exemplifies our common goals.

Q&A with our Partners
Michigan Hop Alliance
Brian Tennis, FounderBrian Tennis Michigan Hop Alliance

Established: Michigan Hop Alliance was started 7 years ago as a way for hop farmers to work together to bring their hops to the brewing community as economically as possible. New Mission Organics was started 13 years ago, and has been growing hops for 10 years. New Mission Organics was the original farm name.

What makes Northern Michigan hops unique and great?
The 45th Parallel has historically been the sweet spot for growing hops, both in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. We have the perfect climate, including soil, water, heat, and day lengths, to be able to grow a world-class product. We are also lucky to be able to work with some of the best farmers in Michigan, and can leverage their knowledge and expertise to our overall farming operation.  

What does it mean to you to be involved in brewing a beer for a local restaurant with local brewers and local malt providers with your local hops?
We have been growing hops for nearly a decade, and have sold over a million pounds of hops over the years, but there is still something that is so very special and rewarding as tasting a beer that was made from hops that you had a hand in. To me, that excitement never gets old. These brewers and restaurateurs are not just accounts, but my friends, and I share their passion. My very first commercial sale was to Short’s Brewing Company and was used in a harvest ale called Kind Ale. I still remember the very first time I saw our hopyard name up on the chalkboard in Bellaire and the rush I had from tasting that beer. That proud moment doesn’t leave you.

Great Lakes Malting Company
Jeff Malkiewicz, President & Co-Founder

TLD.GLMC-8Established: Great Lakes Malting Company has been crafting great malt from the Great Lakes since 2016, with the mission of producing the finest malts right here in Traverse City and connecting breweries and distilleries to the region with locally-grown and processed ingredients.

Why do you believe in locally sourcing barley?
The answer is two-fold, economic and sustainability. When brewers/distillers use locally grown and processed ingredients, all of that money stays in the community and is re-invested in the community. Also, sourcing locally reduces carbon footprint through reduced transport. Most ingredients that are currently being used by breweries and distilleries come from the Western US/Western Canada and from overseas.

Describe your relationships with local farmers.
One of the things I enjoy most about this opportunity is my interaction with farmers. After all, quality malt starts at the farm. We can’t produce the finest malts without the finest grains! I have spent a lot of time working with farmers and educating them to help ensure their success in growing malting-grade barley. However, farming is not always easy and sometimes difficult conversations take place. This is where mutual trust and respect are critical to maintaining and growing these relationships.

Earthen Ales
Jamie Kidwell-Brix, Co-Founder/Brewer

earthenales brew dayEstablished: Earthen Ales opened its doors in December 2016. Owners Andrew and Jamie started Earthen Ales because they love making beer.They were both brewing before they met each other, and when they met and started brewing together – it got out of control, and Earthen Ales was born!

What makes Northern Michigan beer unique and why is using locally sourced ingredients important to you?
The agricultural diversity of the region and access to fresh, clean water makes northern Michigan a great place to make beer. The abundance of ingredients and resources in the area have led to strong and creative food and beverage community; we love being a piece of that community, and hope we’ll contribute to making it even stronger. We used to work in the sustainability field in our former day jobs, and we’ve carried this mindset into brewing. We brew beer with a sense of place, and we’re inspired by the place we live. What better way to showcase this then working with ingredients that are native to this place.

What does it mean to you to be involved in brewing a beer for a local restaurant with local hops providers and local malt providers?
Brewing beer for a restaurant like Harvest is a new extension of our community. We’re excited that Harvest embraces the use of local ingredients daily and wanted to explore this further by collaborating on a beer with us. It’s great to align with other businesses on similar values and ideas. Harvest was excited and inspired by the diversity of new hops in the region, and was particularly excited about using a new varietal called Green Bastard – we’d never used this hop before. And guess what, we like making beer and trying new things too!

Local Shade of Pale is available on-tap at Harvest, Traverse City, as of April 5th.

Harvest

Simon Joseph is the Owner/Managing Partner/Executive Chef of Roaming HarvestHarvestGaijinAlley’s Market . 

Photo Credits: Just In Time Hospitality and Brian Tennis of Michigan Hop Alliance

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Agro-Tourism Rises to Challenges

Andrew Schudlich, Economy, farm-to-table, Farmers Markets, Guest Post, Record-Eagle Ag Forum, Stories

Walk through any Leelanau County or Traverse City farmers market and it’s hard to miss how much things have grown. For the past 15 years, these markets and farm stands have been the source of produce and locally produced products for our business, Epicure Catering & Cherry Basket Farm.

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Taste the Local Difference this Thanksgiving

Event, farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Holiday, Kelly Wilson, Recipes, Thanksgiving

My favorite holiday is, easily, Thanksgiving. I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and farmer and food has always been an expression of love in my world. A holiday centered on seasonally inspired meals shared with loved ones gives me all the feels. To help you savor the full flavor of the season, without sacrificing health, I wanted to share some of my favorite locally inspired recipes. I hope you create many special memories while eating these dishes! 

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Beyond the Pasty

farm-to-table, Kelly Wilson, Learn More, Recipes

Rutabaga (also called swede) is a Brassica family (think kale, cabbage, turnips, broccoli, etc.) root vegetable commonly known to Michiganders as a pasty ingredient. Beyond the pasty, this humble cabbage and turnip cross shines in many dishes and packs a nutritional punch.

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An Excuse to Indulge: Local Harvest Restaurant Series Supports Local Farm-to-School Programming!

Bailey Samp, Benefit, Event, farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Press Release, The Local Dish

After winding down from a jam-packed summer of Certified Local Food Events, we are preparing for an exciting new fall event that highlights the Grand Traverse Region, and its enthusiasm for locally grown food!

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Brewery Wants Patrons to Drink Local, Think Global

farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Katie Powers, Southeast Michigan, Specialty Producers

Oxford brewery, HomeGrown, has joined an increasing number of businesses turning to their own backyard for ingredients. The locally-sourced movement has taken off – in the US and around the world – and “locavores” aim to develop more self-reliant and resilient food networks and improve local economies by buying from nearby producers. In both the brewing and dining components of the business, HomeGrown predominantly sources local supplies.

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Alcona is A-Bubbling

Event, farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Molly Stepanski, Specialty Producers

There’s a new Certified Local Food Event coming your way in Alcona County this month. On September 30, Farm to Fork Alcona 2017 is hosting a natural fermentation workshop and dinner at Logger’s Trace-Springport Golf Course in Harrisville, beginning at 2pm. Farm to Fork Alcona 2017 is an initiative that is part of Inspiration Alcona, a nonprofit arts and culture organization promoting the friendly rural beauty of Alcona. This initiative is working to help Alcona County become home to the farm-to- fork movement.

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NEMCOG Heads to the Farm

Event, farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Molly Stepanski, Stories

The Northeast Michigan Council of Governments (NEMCOG), based in Gaylord, MI, was established in 1968 as a multi-county organization to pool resources for the assistance of local governments throughout eight counties. The organization has their hand in everything from tourism, transportation, planning & community development, economic development, local government, housing, environment and natural resources, to local foods, just to name a few. By and large, the organization tends to fly under the radar in all the productive work they do that benefits our communities. But make no mistake, NEMCOG has assisted local governments obtain millions of dollars in federal and state grants for vital local projects and services.