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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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Meet our new Local Food & Events Intern : Maddy Baroli

Event, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Maddy Baroli

maddy 1Maddy is very excited to be our Local Food and Events Intern this summer! She had the chance to work closely with the team at Taste the Local Difference last year when she was serving as an Americorps VISTA for the Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network.

Her favorite vegetable is Okra and she wishes someone in Northern Michigan would start a lentil farm already. When not representing TLD at Certified Local Food Events this summer, she will be working at Light of Day Organics tea farm on M-72, biking, dancing, or hanging out with goats wherever she can.

Stay tuned for more information about Maddy’s work this summer. Contact info@localdifference.org with questions.

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Grillin’ for Food Gatherers: A Picnic with a Purpose

Benefit, Event, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Guest Post, Sara McDonnell, Southeast Michigan

You’re invited to the 29th annual Grillin’ for Food Gatherers, a family-friendly community picnic with a serious mission. Grillin’ benefits Food Gatherers’ work to alleviate hunger where we live. As a Grillin’ guest, you can help your neighbors struggling with food insecurity.

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Get a job with Ownership Potential

Food Trucks, Get Involved, Jobs, Tricia Phelps

Elberta is a beautiful, quiet village nestled between Lake Michigan and Betsie Bay. It sits just a mile down the road from Frankfort, one of northern Michigan’s hottest growing destinations. And this just in — its home to an incredible business opportunity you’ve got to hear about!

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Pets Naturally: Not All Treats Are Created Equal

Andrea Margelis, Find Local Food, Guest Post, Retail, Specialty Producers, Stories, Traverse City

As pet parents, we want to provide our furry family members with their best possible life. When it comes to choosing the best diet for our dogs, we research excessively and get advice from our trusted veterinarians, however, sometimes the treats we purchase lack proper attention when it comes to ingredients. Pet parents tend to grab any box off the shelf at the grocery or pet store without taking the time to read the ingredient label. Many treats contain artificial ingredients and are not fit for human consumption, so why would we feed these to our family members? If you can’t eat them yourself, your dog most likely shouldn’t either.

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Establishing Roots : Local food and intimate dining make Grafted Root a Grand Blanc favorite

Cara Catallo, Dairy, Drinks, Edible WOW, Find Local Food, Southeast Michigan, Stories

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.

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Become a Local Food Enthusiast

Economy, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Tricia Phelps

Did you know that your dollar is multiplied more than three times when you spend it at a local store, than by purchasing at a national chain? Plus, locally grown and produced food packs more of a nutritional punch and it travels fewer miles to your plate, making it better for you and for the planet. We’re just scratching the surface here when it comes to the true value of local food in our community. The benefits range from economics and social connection, to improving health and the environment.

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Martha’s Local Food Adventures Around the Globe

Event, Find Local Food, Guest Post, Martha Ryan, Wine

Travel is in my future for 2018. My food and wine-seeking radar is taking me to a destination that I have only dreamed about: South America. When planning a trip in the spring, I always try to make it a warm get away and going to South America at the end of March is like our September, so it should be warm and sunny. I am taking 14 hardy souls who have also never been to South America. I have actually never been south of the Equator and we will be traveling to almost the South Pole!  

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Locally Inspired Dining: Ann Arbor Restaurant Week’s New Local Focus

Event, Find Local Food, Kelly Wilson, restaurant, Southeast Michigan, TLD Branding

RW logoRestaurant 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

www.annarborrestaurantweek.com.

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.