I sat down with Jesse Huff of Radio Results Network, one of our main sponsors, to discuss this year’s MQT Local Food Fest. After casual greetings, he started off with, “Wow, year three!” I hadn’t really thought about it, but it’s crazy to think about how things have worked out. A simple conversation about getting NMU Hospitality Management together for an event of some kind has spiraled into an annual farm-to-table celebration, honoring and connecting links throughout the Upper Peninsula’s local food system, from farmers to eaters and everyone in-between.
Here in the Upper Peninsula the nights are getting chilly again, which means we all are busy soaking up what’s left summer. Kayaking, hiking, biking and event after event keep us gone from sunrise to sunset – and all that fun can really build up an appetite. This meal is simple, yet will help you regain strength for day after day of fun in the sun!
Every farm visit is unique, but the one common denominator is that you’ll always leave with a deeper appreciation for food and those who work so hard to provide it to us. Luckily for those of you in and around the Central Upper Peninsula, there are tons of opportunities coming up that will get you to the farm!
Here we are already in July, and the temperatures are finally feeling like summer here in the UP. June gave growers a slow start, but now we’ve had day after day of warm weather and the occasional thunderstorm, meaning the diversity at the farmers market is growing and growing.
So, how do I recommend Michiganders beat the summer heat? Play it smooth, smoothie that is.
I apologize for often referring to the fact that the Upper Peninsula (UP), although 30% the land mass of Michigan, contains just 3% of the state’s population. A new comparison I was able to make with the help of the Michigan Brewers Guild Website, is that the UP is home to almost 18% of the breweries that make up our “great beer state.”
Many of us all have that one dish that seemed to make it to the dinner table more often than most. My mom, who worked full time, often deferred to a boxed, rice based, one dish meal. A portion of starch, a packet of seasoning, add in your favorite protein, serve white bread and margarine on the side, and voilà! – dinner.
I’m not throwing shade at my mom’s cooking skills, she was a busy woman, who volunteered often and had three kids, plus, I was the world’s pickiest and most dramatic eater. I distinctly remember a few nights where we sat at the kitchen table for an hour before my parents would become frustrated and set me free.
Years later, not only do I have a much different palette, but I also have friends with kids, and I am truly amazed at how they somehow manage it all! I wonder if they sleep? I don’t even have pets and often fail at feeding myself a proper meal. So, the following recipe is an ode to my super-mom, and all they busy parents out there. I hope it can help you support local and encourage healthy eating while keeping in mind your busy schedules and tight budgets.
In 2017, Tim & Naomi decided to start the Happy Hoppers Organic Rabbit Farm. They both grew up with rabbits so it was a natural fit. Originally, they decided to have rabbits for meat, pelts and compost. Rabbit compost is one of the only fresh composts you can put directly on your garden, without it burning your plants. Also, it’s high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which makes it perfect for great growth!
I’ll admit, I have a lot to learn about the Western Upper Penisula’s local food system. My connections there have been growing and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people. They are the ones clearing a path and leading the way in both research and action.
Maple syrup is Michigan’s “liquid gold.” It takes 40 gallons of sap from sugar maples to boil down to 1 gallon of syrup. Michigan ranks in the Top 10 in Maple Syrup Production in the United States. Check our favorite ways to incorporate maple syrup into our diets here.
Alex, our Upper Peninsula Local Food Coordinator recently spoke at the Northern Michigan University’s TedX on March 16th with a story called My Local Food Relationship.(Editor’s note: link to video is coming soon!)