Louise Earl Butcher: Quality & Community in West Michigan

Annaliese Brown, Eat Local, Find Local Food, Grand Rapids, Retail, Specialty Producers

The vast majority of chicken we purchase and consume in the United States is from a breed known as the Cornish Cross. The hybrid was first developed after World War II, carefully selected for the trait that has come to define it — its phenomenal rate of growth. Most Cornish Cross birds we eat are slaughtered at five to seven weeks of age. This rapid growth rate, combined with the disproportionate amount of white meat the bird produces, is precisely why the Cornish Cross is so ubiquitous. It dominates grocery store coolers, restaurant menus, and poultry barns across the country. 

Despite the economic advantages of the Cornish Cross, a butcher shop in Grand Rapids is working to bring customers something different. Husband-and-wife team Matt Smith and Cyndi Esch opened Louise Earl Butcher in January of 2012. Louise Earl is a full-service butcher shop that sells grass-fed and finished beef, heritage pork, and pastured lamb and chicken, alongside a variety of dry goods and specialty products. Smith and Esch are lifelong residents of Grand Rapids that first met working in the food and beverage industry in the 90’s, and have spent their time since building a community around food. 

Edson Farms: 40 Years devoted to Local Food in Traverse City

Emma Beauchamp, Find Local Food, Retail, Stories, Traverse City

For the last 40 years, Edson Farms Natural Food Store has served Traverse City’s natural food needs. Now the store is bigger than ever with their recent expansion project. Their increased deli and local produce section contributes to their mission of supporting their community.

“With the expansion of product offerings and a more navigable store, we are a more viable option for shoppers looking for healthy food and quality supplements,” said Jessica Edson, owner of Edson Farms. “We are better able to serve the growing number of people in Traverse City looking for a full service health food store.”

Zilke Farm Kitchen Serves Up Home-Cooked Meals in Milan

Eat Local, Erica Bloom, Find Local Food, Retail, Southeast Michigan

Long-time Milan, Michigan farmers, Vicki and Tom Zilke, know how to grow good food. Turns out, they also know how to cook. Since June 2018 when Zilke Farm Kitchen opened for business, Vicki has been creating simple home-cooked meal kits and prepared food in Milan’s new retail space.

Tom's Food Markets highlighting local food

Thank You For Shopping at Tom’s!

Eat Local, Emma Beauchamp, Find Local Food, Retail

Walking through one of the six Tom’s Food Markets locations in Northwest Michigan, you will find the produce section is piled high with best of the season. During the harvest season, displays are piled high with sweet corn, pints of sweet cherries, bushels of Bardenhagen Farms apples, and local squashes. However, Tom’s Food Markets is proudly dedicated to supporting local producers all year long, not just during the peak of summer.

Tom’s Food Markets: More than Just a Market

Emma Beauchamp, Find Local Food, Retail, Stories, Traverse City

In 1946, Tom and Eva Deering founded Deering’s Market on 11th St in Traverse City. Originally, it served as a small corner market specializing in meat products near downtown. Fifteen years later, in 1961, Tom’s Food Market’s first full sized grocery store was built on the west side of town. Since then, Tom’s Food Markets has grown into six full size grocery stores throughout the region. Despite their expansion, Tom’s has continued its focus on supporting the Traverse City area community.

Looking Ahead to the Growing Season

Alex Palzewicz, Find Local Food, Retail

Michigan winters, particularly those here in the UP region, don’t allow for much production. Even those individuals who have been able to bridge the gap with season extension find themselves unable to do much in the blistering months of January and February. So, what are our local farmers up to at times like these? Catching up on the Netflix binging they missed? Creating sleep patterns that almost replicate those of hibernation? Read books by the fire, hot chocolate in hand?

Pets Naturally: Not All Treats Are Created Equal

Andrea Margelis, Find Local Food, Guest Post, Retail, Specialty Producers, Stories, Traverse City

As pet parents, we want to provide our furry family members with their best possible life. When it comes to choosing the best diet for our dogs, we research excessively and get advice from our trusted veterinarians, however, sometimes the treats we purchase lack proper attention when it comes to ingredients. Pet parents tend to grab any box off the shelf at the grocery or pet store without taking the time to read the ingredient label. Many treats contain artificial ingredients and are not fit for human consumption, so why would we feed these to our family members? If you can’t eat them yourself, your dog most likely shouldn’t either.

Oryana: National Co-op Month

Event, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Retail, Tricia Phelps

Community can often be a word people just toss around, but when the community literally owns your business, there is no taking it lightly. Oryana Community Co-op was an idea devised on the back porch of a home in Traverse City. It came from a small group of passionate community members looking to start a buying club and have control over where their food came from. That buying club started in 1973, and is now a 10,000 square foot, $17 million-a-year business that still lives by the founding principles of quality, accountability, sustainability, and localism.