Did you know that, among our state’s many notable agricultural distinctions, Michigan is home to one of the small handful of meat-exclusive community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms scattered across the United States?
When I first sat down with Dave Skornia of Lakeside Farm, he was incredibly moved and excited to share his story with us for the 2018 Guide to Local Food. He cares deeply about his farm and homestead and I knew right away we wouldn’t be able to do it complete justice in the yearly publication. This is Dave’s personal story about the history of his homestead, his love for farming, and what he raises and sells on his farm today. His inspiring story expresses his deep passion and dedication to the land, and motivation to help beginning farmers. So I thought, who else to tell the story better than Dave himself?
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.
By Tricia Phelps
Duerksen Turkey Farm is a third-generation farm in Mancelona, Michigan. In the 1940s, Rick Duerksen’s grandmother began raising turkeys, though just enough to sustain the family. As a young boy, he looked forward to the day he would raise turkeys on a farm of his own. Soon after Rick married his wife Sue in 1976, they bought his uncle’s farmland in Mancelona to make that dream come true.
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
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.