Maybe you have similar memories of running around a Christmas tree farm searching the place for the perfect tree, your tree. Every year I look forward to the hunt and to the fresh scent of a real tree in our home. But recently I’ve started to wonder about the sustainability of cutting down millions of trees across the U.S. each year. What about reduce, reuse, recycling? What is better for the environment, a plastic tree or a real one? I decided to look for myself.
Looking for a way to shop local this holiday season? Check out our holiday gift guide and support Michigan producers and growers this season.
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.
Crisp apples, pumpkins, fresh cut flowers, and rainbow carrots are a few items that crowded the gym of seven elementary schools this month. Also included were guest chickens, various educational activities, smoothie bikes, and pumpkin soup samples. Students purchased flowers for their mothers, pumpkins for Halloween, and loved sampling kohlrabi and pea shoots from 9 Bean Rows Farmstead & CSA.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!