California has always been a benchmark (at least for me) when it comes to trends within our food and wine industry. The San Francisco Bay area, along with the surrounding wine country often sets many standards that the rest of us adopt, though sometimes a bit later than sooner. On a recent visit to the region with amical Executive Chef Benjamin Hoxie, it wasn’t a real surprise to see that our Grand Traverse region reflects somewhat of a parallel universe, albeit on a minuscule scale.
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.
We all have a stake in our food system and environment. Since 2004, Taste the Local Difference has continued to change the culture around local food by promoting the importance of buying and sourcing locally. Each year, we feature thousands of Michigan farmers, brewers, restaurants, local grocers, and more in our 2 magazine-style annual Guides to Local Food. More than that, we work directly with these businesses to excel and to improve Michigan’s local food economy. Our work aims to get more local food sold.
On Saturday, March 16th, I presented My Local Food Relationship at Northern Michigan University’s TEDx. (Editor’s note: link to video is coming soon!)
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!
Pollinators may appear small, but they have a massive impact in our ecosystem. These buzzing bees and native pollinators are a necessary, yet often forgotten, component of our food system. When habitat needs are met, these fundamental creatures can produce the fruits we love, and many of the seeds that provide our nourishing foods. We need their help as much as they need ours. Given the significant decline in bee populations, it is a crucial time for farms to create healthy habitats, food, and refuge for our pollinators.
What the heck is hydroponics? If this sounds like Greek to you, it is. “Hydroponic” is Greek for “water-cultivation,” and that sums it up well: hydroponics is growing plants in water instead of soil.
What is the big deal with food safety?
It can be rather ‘gut wrenching’ finding out about potentially contaminated food. Over the year’s farmers, growers, retailers and more have had to adapt to new challenges in ensuring products from farms are not only meeting consumers changing market demands, but safeguarding that those products are not contaminated. Through changes in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the state of Michigan, and partnering organizations have developed new strategies to tackle the biggest challenges with pesky microbes and food borne illnesses.
Winter continues to drag on in its unforgiving way, but with each day spring is ever nearer. For you farmers and gardeners out there, now is the time to order your seeds for spring. Not all seeds are created equal, so learn why it’s important to opt for earth-enriching seeds here!