Myth: It’s impossible to find local food in the middle of January in Michigan. Reality: it’s easy! In fact, many restaurants participating in the Ann Arbor Restaurant Week, January 13 – 18, are putting local food at the center of the table. See the list of who is going local during restaurant week here, designated by the Taste the Difference® logo.
So, how are restaurants accessing this local produce for Restaurant Week? Many participating restaurants will buy directly from farmers or shop the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Others are turning to a new online ordering system offered by Argus Farm Stop. This platform lists multiple farmers’ availability in one convenient spot allowing for a streamlined ordering process. Orders are then available for easy pick-up at Argus’ Packard location.
Most people are surprised to learn that there is enough variety in Michigan produced ingredients to warrant its place at the table during restaurant week. Thanks in large part to season extension technologies, such as hoop houses (aka high tunnels) and storage crops many produce items are available even past the traditional growing season. Common things you’ll see at your winter farmers market include: cold hardy greens (think spinach, kale and collards), root veggies (beets, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, potatoes), alliums (onions, garlic), cabbage, meat, eggs, dairy products, and bread. Check out this handy guide to find local food available any time of year.
When dining out during Restaurant Week, consider supporting the restaurants that are supporting our local farmers. The rest of the year, check out this database of restaurants around the state that are supporting local.
More info: Ann Arbor Restaurant Week
Kelly Wilson is the Director of Community Partners for Taste the Local Difference. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org