This summer marks the 20th anniversary of a Southeastern Michigan favorite with a loyal follow – ing: the Common Grill in Chelsea. Before the doors opened on Main Street in July 1991, “ I estimated that we could appeal to a 10-mile radius,” says owner and Executive Chef Craig Common. Chelsea was a bit sleepier than it is today, and the Purple Rose Theater—which eventually grew to draw people to the town from around the country—had just been launched by actor Jeff Daniels in February of that year. It was Daniels’ father, Bob Daniels, owner of Chelsea Lumber, who approached Common about starting a restaurant for the theater crowd.
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?
Lydia Gutierrez works.
She works as president of Hacienda Mexican Foods in Detroit. She works as a stellar community leader in, and as a fervent ambassador of, southwest Detroit. And she works a room she passes through, embracing her employees like family as she asks about their weekend, genuinely interested.
Located near the intersection of three major highways and just over the rise from a sprawling shopping mall, there is a 160-acre oasis of rolling hills, green pastures and unbroken swaths of woodland: the Michigan State University Tollgate Education Center and Farm. “It is the last piece of farm history in the city of Novi,” says Farm Manager Roy Prentice.
FOR EXCLUSIVE RELEASE Contact: Stephanie Willette
May 9, 2018 Phone: (734) 794-6255
edibleWOW Magazine and Taste The Local Difference
Present Cooking Demo Series at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market
Ann Arbor Chefs Focus on Products Fresh from the Farmers that Come to the Market
Ann Arbor, MI – The third Wednesday of each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting in May and running through October, is sure to be a crowd pleaser at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market (315 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104). In partnership, edible Wow magazine and Taste the Local Difference have created a cooking demo series that focuses on the products that local farmers bring to the market.
A fierce battle is being waged today over the pros and cons of pasteurized milk. But in the early decades of the 20th century, improvements that could bring safer cows’ milk to market couldn’t come fast enough. One of the farms leading the way was located in Avon Township, now known as Rochester Hills. It was owned and managed by Sarah Van Hoosen Jones, a pioneer dairy farmer in Michigan.
It’s a beautiful day in Flint, Michigan. The sky is clear, flowers are in bloom and the volunteer gardeners in the edible flint Demonstration Garden are hard at work. Mike Roose is watering pepper plants in the raised-bed gardens. Scott Poinsett is trimming the garden perimeter, and Garden Manager Ginny Farah is harvesting crops for neighborhood residents. By the time they are done, the community garden will look its best in preparation for the evening’s food garden tour.
An early October sun is setting over the storefronts of Joseph Campau Avenue in Hamtramck. It’s Friday night, and small groups of people filter casually into Peter Dalinowski’s permanent pop-up venue, (revolver). A few guests carry their own bottles of wine as they are seated family-style around candlelit wood block tables. It’s the first seating of the season after a brief summer hiatus, and the anticipation is palpable.
Don’t blink, or you might miss The Grafted Root Eatery, on the edge of the Coach Stop shopping plaza near where South Saginaw Street meets Holly Road in Grand Blanc. Its understated exterior works for owner Michele Matthews, who likens the vibe to a speakeasy and would much prefer a secret knock to intrusive signage.
As sad as I am to see summer go, I am ready for the fall. I love the way the golden light hangs in the trees this time of year, how cozy the foggy mornings are, and the changing colors of the trees. My favorite things about the season, however, are the food (surprise, surprise!) and the many fall flavors. These connect me to happy memories of shared meals and conversation with family and friends.
The fall food that pulls strongest at my heartstrings is the humble and versatile apple. This fruit always conjures up my Grandma Wills and I cannot see a Northern Spy apple without feeling her presence or tasting her “famous” apple pie. The thought of her pie’s perfect flaky crust, warm and gooey apple filling, a dollop of ice cream or a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on top send me back to time spent in her kitchen; one of the reasons I pursued a career in food and agriculture. I’m forever grateful she taught me how to make her perfect pie before she passed so every time I bake and eat it she is there with me.
Apples also bring back memories to my first farm job in Minnesota. Before leaving for the fall, we gleaned apples from a neighboring farm littered with hundreds of decrepit Volvos (I swear it looked like they were farming cars rather than fruit!). The apples we picked became golden sauce after hours of peeling with Beth and her young boys. A slightly more “formal” apple picking experience in New Hampshire made me fall in love with the East Coast and my cohort of dietetic interns. The time in the orchard catalyzed personal and professional relationships that are still strong almost a decade later. These memories are strong examples of why I love food. Not only does it nourishes us physically, but also spiritually; it draws us together and connects us strongly to people and place.
As the weather turns cooler this fall season, I hope you can slow down, open up a cookbook, and share some food and memories with your loved ones. If you want to try your hand at a simple dish, try this delicious apple cake. The recipe comes courtesy of my grandmother, Frances Wills, and is shared with you in love. Note that this cake is best shared as the flavor improves in the presence of good company.
Want to learn more about Michigan apples? Check out this guide from Michiganapples.com
Kelly Wilson, RDN is the SE Michigan Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference and owner of Simple Gifts Farm in Oxford, MI. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org