Here in Northern Michigan, we have the option – and the luxury – of buying and consuming a cornucopia of raw and processed food products procured right here in the Great Lakes State.
Ponder for a moment the number of people that metro San Diego is home to (about 3 ½ million)…and consider all the locally sourced food and beer they have access to in that big city (hint: it’s A LOT). Next envision that same number of people coming through a tiny village on the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, squeezed in over only three to four months of the year. Now imagine only having one small, burgeoning brewery in that entire town to service all those travelers in that short span of time.
This year marked the 6th Annual Michigan Maple Weekend (March 24th-25th in NE Michigan), although the weather didn’t want to cooperate. There’s a pattern of freezing and thawing once spring hits, which builds up pressure within the trees and causes sap to flow. It was bitterly cold as I walked around 4D Acre Maple to check out their set up.
I personally think it is not only important for us to use as much locally produced food and products as possible, but we also have a responsibility to be good partners with all food businesses in the area. It helps elevate the whole industry in a way that benefits us beyond dollars. Eating local should be looked at as the norm, not the exception.
When we re-opened Harvest in its new location in 2017, we also added a liquor license and one of our first priorities was to source beer and cider from local producers. That led to the idea of having a beer brewed specifically for us. It only made sense that we would take the idea as far as we could by then brewing the beer with local malt and hops. Because of the amazing relationships in the food and brewing community in Traverse City this was not a tall order. Working with Earthen Ales, Great Lakes Malting, and Michigan Hop Alliance we were able to brew a beer that is almost entirely made out of locally sourced ingredients, aptly named Local Shade of Pale. It’s really amazing to think of how far and fast the brewing culture has come in just a few short years. We feel so fortunate to not only enjoy the work of these great folks but also to be able to collaborate with them to create something that exemplifies our common goals.
Q&A with our Partners
Michigan Hop Alliance
Brian Tennis, Founder
Established: Michigan Hop Alliance was started 7 years ago as a way for hop farmers to work together to bring their hops to the brewing community as economically as possible. New Mission Organics was started 13 years ago, and has been growing hops for 10 years. New Mission Organics was the original farm name.
What makes Northern Michigan hops unique and great?
The 45th Parallel has historically been the sweet spot for growing hops, both in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. We have the perfect climate, including soil, water, heat, and day lengths, to be able to grow a world-class product. We are also lucky to be able to work with some of the best farmers in Michigan, and can leverage their knowledge and expertise to our overall farming operation.
What does it mean to you to be involved in brewing a beer for a local restaurant with local brewers and local malt providers with your local hops?
We have been growing hops for nearly a decade, and have sold over a million pounds of hops over the years, but there is still something that is so very special and rewarding as tasting a beer that was made from hops that you had a hand in. To me, that excitement never gets old. These brewers and restaurateurs are not just accounts, but my friends, and I share their passion. My very first commercial sale was to Short’s Brewing Company and was used in a harvest ale called Kind Ale. I still remember the very first time I saw our hopyard name up on the chalkboard in Bellaire and the rush I had from tasting that beer. That proud moment doesn’t leave you.
Great Lakes Malting Company
Jeff Malkiewicz, President & Co-Founder
Established: Great Lakes Malting Company has been crafting great malt from the Great Lakes since 2016, with the mission of producing the finest malts right here in Traverse City and connecting breweries and distilleries to the region with locally-grown and processed ingredients.
Why do you believe in locally sourcing barley?
The answer is two-fold, economic and sustainability. When brewers/distillers use locally grown and processed ingredients, all of that money stays in the community and is re-invested in the community. Also, sourcing locally reduces carbon footprint through reduced transport. Most ingredients that are currently being used by breweries and distilleries come from the Western US/Western Canada and from overseas.
Describe your relationships with local farmers.
One of the things I enjoy most about this opportunity is my interaction with farmers. After all, quality malt starts at the farm. We can’t produce the finest malts without the finest grains! I have spent a lot of time working with farmers and educating them to help ensure their success in growing malting-grade barley. However, farming is not always easy and sometimes difficult conversations take place. This is where mutual trust and respect are critical to maintaining and growing these relationships.
Jamie Kidwell-Brix, Co-Founder/Brewer
Established: Earthen Ales opened its doors in December 2016. Owners Andrew and Jamie started Earthen Ales because they love making beer.They were both brewing before they met each other, and when they met and started brewing together – it got out of control, and Earthen Ales was born!
What makes Northern Michigan beer unique and why is using locally sourced ingredients important to you?
The agricultural diversity of the region and access to fresh, clean water makes northern Michigan a great place to make beer. The abundance of ingredients and resources in the area have led to strong and creative food and beverage community; we love being a piece of that community, and hope we’ll contribute to making it even stronger. We used to work in the sustainability field in our former day jobs, and we’ve carried this mindset into brewing. We brew beer with a sense of place, and we’re inspired by the place we live. What better way to showcase this then working with ingredients that are native to this place.
What does it mean to you to be involved in brewing a beer for a local restaurant with local hops providers and local malt providers?
Brewing beer for a restaurant like Harvest is a new extension of our community. We’re excited that Harvest embraces the use of local ingredients daily and wanted to explore this further by collaborating on a beer with us. It’s great to align with other businesses on similar values and ideas. Harvest was excited and inspired by the diversity of new hops in the region, and was particularly excited about using a new varietal called Green Bastard – we’d never used this hop before. And guess what, we like making beer and trying new things too!
Local Shade of Pale is available on-tap at Harvest, Traverse City, as of April 5th.
Photo Credits: Just In Time Hospitality and Brian Tennis of Michigan Hop Alliance
What’s in your refrigerator? Is there some healthy produce, maybe jam from the farmer’s market, and that questionable container of leftovers? At Nature & Nurture Farm, the fridge has a different role. Look inside and you will find glass jars, paper envelopes and bags, full of organic and rare heirloom seeds.
Ann Arbor Seed Company is a small farm, growing quality vegetable and flower seeds since 2012. We operate less than an acre, just outside of the city. You would be amazed at how much seed production we can squeeze out of our small piece of land. The small scale keeps us close to the crops so we can give them the attention they deserve.
Twenty five years ago, Karen Golden moved to Highland, Michigan with her young family. Looking for a way to feed her family healthful food, Karen began gardening and has never looked back. Fast forward to 2018 and Karen has turned her gardening passion into a thriving transplant production business: Michigan Heirlooms.
When was the last time you truly appreciated the milk in your fridge? Do you know where it comes from and how the cows were treated? Sure, milk is good on cereal and with chocolate chip cookies, but what about all of the other great things it can be become?
This week, I stocked up on all sorts of delicious dairy from Michigan Dairy Farms, specifically Calder Dairy and Guernsey Dairy. Calder Dairy of Lincoln Park, MI has been around since 1946. To this day they still deliver straight to people’s home. Guernsey Dairy of Northville, MI is committed to providing the same great products that they have since 1940. Both of these local milk producers provide a wide array of products perfect for drinking or creating with.
I bought heavy whipping cream, buttermilk, natural milk (creamline or non-homogenized). From there, I marveled at the possibilities that can be done with these ingredients.
I didn’t get a chance to make it, but Butter is also super easy to make. Check out this fun video from my favorite Test Kitchen Manager at Bon Appetit magazine on how to make cultured butter.
Sure, mascarpone, ricotta, and butter can all easily be bought. But there is a sense of satisfaction that comes with making it yourself. Plus, when you make your own, you can often save money in doing so. Making 2 cups of Mascarpone cost me $3.50 — I’ve seen it between $3-8.50 per cup!
Here’s how I made Mascarpone cheese:
Mascarpone is a super rich soft cheese, often used in tiramisu and cheesecake recipes. It is made out of only two ingredients, heavy whipping cream and a citric acid, like lemon juice.
I slowly brought 2 cups of heavy cream to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and kept it there for about 3 minutes. Then, I added 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. I kept it at 180 for another 3 minutes. Turned off the heat and stepped away for 30 minutes.
I lined a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and carefully poured the cream mixture into the bowl and let it strain overnight.
Voila! Mascarpone cheese. I didn’t have the patience to make tiramisu before trying it, so I slathered it on toast with some homemade raspberry jam. (Is my millennial showing?)
What are you planning on making?
Emma Beauchamp is the Communications Manager for TLD. She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and cooking for other people. Contact her at email@example.com
Canton, Michigan boasts a rare Italian culinary treasure: Mama Mucci’s Pasta. For the past 29 years, Mama Mucci’s has been crafting high-quality, rolled pastas for choosy chefs around the country.
“You can’t make syrup just anywhere. It requires all the seasons to prompt the trees to give their sweet nectar! The long nights of Winter eventually give way to Spring, and then the hustle and bustle of the syrup season brings sweet reward.”
Join me this month as we’ll take a look into the lives of two maple syrup farmers, Margo and Allen Ammons, as they share their love for syrup making, the joy of being outside in the woods, and the anticipation of the season.