I am not sure what I was thinking when I asked the owners of Belgiumtown Bar & Restaurant if I could host a locally sourced Chef Dinner in the dead of the UP winter. Part of me liked the idea of the challenge, but the goal was also to highlight the local food in our area and how we can better utilize products being grown by our neighbors.
I moved up from Chicago to Traverse City in the spring of 2017, bringing with me the desire to connect to the local landscape and growing community as much as possible. I found a good fit when first interviewing with Simon Joseph, Chef/Owner of Just In Time Hospitality, listening to his description of the noodles they use at Gaijin. The foundation of any ramen shop is its noodles, and beyond the homework done on the technique, what stood out to me was the commitment to using 100% non-GMO, local wheats from Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties.
Restaurant Week is back in Ann Arbor, January 14 – 19, 2018. This semi-annual event celebrates the incredible Ann Arbor dining scene and allows patrons to experience the wide range of dining options across the city. New this year, Ann Arbor Restaurant Week has partnered with Taste the Local Difference and area farmers to bring Michigan produce to the table in January. Search for the Taste the Local Difference logo to identify restaurants that are making an extra effort to source locally.
For the most up to date list of participating restaurants, menus and more visit
Kelly Wilson, is a farmer, registered dietitian, and TLD’s SE Michigan Local Food Coordinator. In 2018, she is looking forward to running her first ultramarathon and hiking in Big Bend National Park.
It’s already snowed here in the U.P. a handful of times. The farmers markets have closed down until next year or retreated inside, but that doesn’t mean the season for eating locally has ended. It is possible to enjoy local food year-round, even in the U.P. The Marq, a restaurant and bar in Marquette, is a working testament.
Breakaway Cafe just celebrated its first birthday, and as any parents of new babies would tell you – I’m exhausted. But as those same parents would tell you – I wouldn’t trade it for the world.