Whether the weather makes us feel like it or not, summer is here! And that means more opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy local food with your friends. Here is a sampling of upcoming “foodie” events happening in Southeast Michigan. Hope to see you there!
This peppery, pleasant edition to the salad bowl originated as a weed in the Mediterranean region. Since Roman times, however, this plant has been widely cultivated and enjoyed in a variety of dishes and preparations. Historically more common in Europe, especially Italy, arugula is growing in popularity in the United States thanks to its fresh, tart, bitter, and peppery flavor.
The expanding collaboration and partnership among growers and producers in southeast Michigan forges a robust and resilient food system. Bløm Meadworks and Fresh Forage intentionally cultivate these connections to grow their local food community. Both businesses place a high priority on sourcing ingredients from Michigan producers while also committing support to their surrounding communities.
Save the date for our upcoming Guide to Local Food Release Parties! We’re so excited about how the Guides turned out this year and can’t wait to share them with you! Follow the Facebook events (linked below) to stay up to date on our Release Party details.
After months of gray skies and storage vegetables, the first spring crops are a welcome relief for the eyes and the palette. An often underappreciated crop is the humble, but delicious, spring radish. An edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family (it’s cousins are broccoli, kale, collards, and cabbage), radishes come in a variety of colors (yay for antioxidants!) and shapes.
Spring has officially sprung! As you shake off the winter haze, now is the perfect time to start planning thinking about where your food is coming from this summer. Which community farmers market will you attend? Will you plant your own garden? Should you join a CSA? There are so many options for accessing local food!
What is related to onions, leeks and lilies, keeps mythical creatures at bay, enhances the flavor of many dishes, and has antimicrobial properties? If you guessed Allium sativum (aka garlic), then you are correct!
Hailing from Central Asia and Northern Iran, records show garlic has been cultivated and used for culinary and medicinal purposes for nearly 5,000 years. There are two subspecies of garlic which all varieties can be categorized into: hardneck or softneck. Hardneck garlic produces a hard central stalk and scape (which can be harvested for a delicious vegetable side dish or pesto). Hardneck garlic tends to be a bit more flavorful and have larger, easier to peel cloves than softneck varieties. Softneck garlic has no hard central stalk, smaller cloves, and is the type we typically see in the grocery store (Note: nearly all garlic in US grocery stores is imported from China).
For me, food has always been a source of connection, a tool to communicate love, and a way to pass on family traditions. Some of my most vivid memories involve shared meals and many dishes are connected to specific loved ones in my mind. For example, my mom is chicken, rice, and carrots, whereas my dad is graham crackers dipped in milk. Apple pie and sharp cheddar cheese bring to mind my grandmother. The foods we made on our first date, kimchi and sauerkraut are my partner. These dishes provide comfort and a reminder to slow down.
Food has always been an important part of my life; however, it wasn’t until I studied abroad in Italy that I really fell in love. We toured a Parmigiano Reggiano facility, learned about Balsamico di Modena on a small family farm, and tasted traditionally cured prosciutto. Specifically, all the foods we encountered were part of a movement to preserve culturally significant foods and their traditional production practices: Slow Food.
Conference season is upon us! With so many food and farming conferences between now and March, it’s often difficult to decide which to attend. If you’re free February 9th, I’d highly recommend attending the Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) 16th annual Michigan Family Farms Conference. This conference provides beginning, small-scale, and culturally diverse farmers a chance to network and learn. At past conferences, I shared conversation with other small-scale farmers, learned new skills from talented presenters, and left energized and motivated for another season of farming.
In the dead of winter, we long for the abundance of summer gardens and farmers markets. While their bounty is hard to outshine, it is amazing to take stock of, and appreciate, how much variety is still available this time of year. Season extending techniques like hoophouses (aka high tunnels) allow us to have fresh tender greens, spinach, and cold sweetened carrots. We’re also able to find a wide range of storage vegetables: cabbage, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, kohlrabi, and more! And don’t forget this month’s crop spotlight: the humble turnip.