As we enter the fall season and enjoy the abundance of the autumn harvest, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market may be at its peak but the experience of the Market continues year round.
Signing up for a CSA (stands for community supported agriculture) is the best weekly subscription you can get.
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
When a small group of individuals driven by the idea of bringing a farmers market to Les Cheneaux first met, they envisioned a Friday night tourist attraction in the summers, and were able to secure an economic development grant from the Les Cheneaux Community Foundation to jumpstart the market. They didn’t expect such a strong community response that the market could go year-round. The market— now on Sundays— has become a vibrant attraction and business incubator in the Les Cheneaux community. Farmers and makers alike have found the market is a vehicle for expanding sales, fine tuning products, and even launching “bricks and mortar” businesses.
“How’d we end up getting this fancy lettuce? This stuff is good!” exclaimed a Posen High School student walking through the cafeteria line one day.
During this time of year, The Local Grocer is a squash wonderland!
Community can often be a word people just toss around, but when the community literally owns your business, there is no taking it lightly. Oryana Community Co-op was an idea devised on the back porch of a home in Traverse City. It came from a small group of passionate community members looking to start a buying club and have control over where their food came from. That buying club started in 1973, and is now a 10,000 square foot, $17 million-a-year business that still lives by the founding principles of quality, accountability, sustainability, and localism.
The 4th Annual Empire Hops & Harvest Festival in downtown Empire will take place this weekend, October 7th from Noon – 10pm! The festival takes place after an annual harvest of hops, allowing breweries to bring Wet Hopped Beer to the festival, and use greens from the vine which gives the beer a distinctive flavor that you can only enjoy this time of year!
With all the wonderful bounty northern Michigan has to offer, it’s not only easy to eat local, it’s delicious! But why should your plate have all the fun? We love coming up with unique handcrafted cocktails, often with an unexpected twist. We believe a drink’s ingredients are the most important difference between a good drink and amazing drink. Soooo….we decided to take advantage of some of the best ingredients our area has to offer, and showcase them in a weekly cocktail feature.
The Sara Hardy Farmers Market, a well-rounded market that we visit weekly, was the perfect spot to source our farmers market finds for our farm to glass creations. Each week, we visit the market and let the creative juices start flowing. Highlighting the local ingredient in our handcrafted cocktails is always the goal, letting the quality of these products shine.
Here are a few examples of how we’ve incorporated some of these local ingredients into our special drink features:
Strawberries and elder flowers – tequila blanco, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, fresh lemon, house made Loma Farm elder flower cordial, and local strawberry purée
Blueberries – Buchans Blueberry Hill blueberries, roasted, and basil margarita
Watermelon – local Watermelon Agua Fresca
Black raspberries and lavender – local smashed black raspberries and housemade lavender cordial, with bourbon and lemon
Sweet corn – Hall Farm sweet corn muddled with house made chili tequila, agave, and lime
Beets – negroni made with Loma Farm’s beets
Tomato – tequila blanco, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, fresh local tomato water, and a hint of citrus
Squash – local butternut squash and Sleeping Bear Farms maple syrup with fresh lemon and vodka
Our Farmers Market Find Cocktails will be available at The Little Fleet at least through the end of October while the Sara Hardy Farmers Market remains open.
If you’re interested in stepping up your cocktail game at home, check out our “Get Schooled!” Cocktail workshops this fall and winter.
Don’t forget to drink your veggies!
Gary and Allison Jonas are the owners of The Little Fleet. Contact them at email@example.com
“All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves.” – Amelia Barr
I’ve worked in a few kitchens over the years. The work is hot, messy, and involves long hours in close quarters with others. Unless you’re a celebrity chef with a TV show, there is no corner office with a view of the bay. You work in the trenches alongside all of your teammates. Frankly, who would want it any other way? This is food after all!