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Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands

farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Molly Stepanski, restaurant

You either sink or swim under the grueling demands of a busy professional kitchen. Chad Edwards has been cooking in Gaylord restaurants since age 14, and was the chef for two establishments in the city before turning 21. After years of rigor and practice, Edwards’ was swimming full bore on October 28, 2010, when he opened The Bearded Dogg Lounge. And at this colorful cafe, “you may sit in a booth made from old doors or at the bar crafted from maple flooring from the local nunnery, at a gathering table, in a loveseat, or at any one of several antique dining tables.” You can tell a lot of love and ingenuity has been put into this place. And it’s not just the quirky, hand-hewn seating and masterful plating of food. It’s the flourishing garden in the adjacent field constructed and tended by Chad and his father that accents the menu’s favorites. It’s the fact that Edwards wants to create a line of his own bottled salad dressings and brews the restaurant’s Doggweiser Blonde Ale. It’s the fact that in northeastern Michigan, Chad Edwards is pioneering in an old way of doing things again.

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Where’s the (Local) Beef?

Find Local Food, Molly Stepanski, Proteins, Retail, Stories

When I woke up today, the last breakfast I thought I’d be eating was kimchi and a myriad of unique pickled items including, but not limited to: roasted brussel sprouts, rutabaga, beef heart, asparagus, carrots, pork loin, whole smelt, and eggs, just to name a few. But Scott McQuarrie, farmer and owner of the Alpena General Store (AGS), had other ideas. Scott seems to frequently be a man of business innovation, and all things food and farming.

Where’s the Local Beef? Beefstock TC

Bill Palladino, Economy, Event, Food Policy, Proteins

Beeftock TC 2013 – By Bill Palladino

Pigstock TC 2013 stretched itself across three days, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in late October. Pigstock hopes to instill in people knowledge of the slaughter. A connection to the beast(s) we tend to consume without understanding whence they came.
Michael Ruhlman described the first part of the slaughter experience during 2012 Pigstock, “The pig was lifted mechanically with a tractor lifter and brought to a bathtub filled with 180°F water, in which the hog was scalded, then removed to a table to have its fur scraped off. It was then relifted so that Christoph could demo the dressing, doing it slowly, showing us all the organs and viscera as they emerged, all of it to be used. When the pig had been sawn and cleaved in two, Christoph cut a strip of backfat from the pig, then cut small pieces of it for us to taste. Warm, chewy but tender, neutral in flavor, succulent. It was kind of like taking communion of the pig.” (Read his entire post from 2012 here.)

Voting for Local Proteins

Economy, Event, Get Involved, Proteins

By Tricia Phelps

There isn’t much more local than mid-term elections.  In that spirit we look this week at how your food purchases are acting as defacto votes for things you bring home in your shopping bag.

Support for local food often highlights the dollars we spend locally, but the other side of the equation also warrants recognition; the dollars spent elsewhere which leave the community without economic benefit. Those dollars aren’t reinvested locally, they’re earned, they’re spent, and they’re gone. With every dollar you spend, you’re asking for more of what you’re purchasing. Your dollar is your voice and your vote

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I was reminded of this at a luncheon with Michael Ruhlman during the recent Pigstock TC events October 22 – 24.  Ruhlman, author and  “cook”, and  Michael Polcyn, author and “chef” were both in town to espouse all things pig.  Ruhlman encouraged attendees to use their dollars with intention. When we spend our hard earned dollars on local beef, pork, or fowl, we’re asking for more of it, but the equation works both ways. Even with dollars spent on the occasional McDonald’s Happy Meal, we’re asking for more: more soda, more chicken nuggets and more cheap plastic toys.

In terms of dollars, an opportunity lies before us in the realm of local proteins. The annual Pigstock event focuses on the versatility of the Mangalista pig along with processing techniques and the craft of charcuterie. But emphasis was also placed on the dollars we haven’t, yet, captured locally. The opportunity to use your dollar to impart change is right in front of you. Every dollar spent is a vote. A chance to say, “I want access to more local proteins,” or “I want to eat local organic produce year-round.” Take the time to notice whether your dollar is communicating the message you truly stand behind.

While there is certainly room to grow in capitalizing on local proteins throughout Northern Michigan, we are grateful to have partners like these who offer us the best in local beef, meats, poultry & fish.  Next time you’re in the market for proteins to feed your family, find one of these TLD purveyors and ask them for their selection of locally grown proteins.

Burritts Fresh Market

Maxbauers Market

Duerksen’s Turkey Farm

Gallagher’s Centennial Farm

Oryana

Oleson’s

Rodger’s Grass Fed

Leelanau Piedmontese

Grain Train Natural Foods Market

Bargy’s Beef