Read local: A new flavor of locavore-ism

Authors, Guest Post, Stories, Traverse City

You already eat, drink, and shop local, right? Today, I invite you to expand your locavore-ism to a new realm: Reading local. Specifically, reading The Orphan Daughter, the story of how two fragile souls – 11-year-old orphan Lucy Ortiz and her aunt, prickly empty- nester Jane McArdle — forge a family in the aftermath of tragedy. Set on Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula, it touches on themes of motherhood, finding home, resilience and forgiveness. Here’s why:

New Local Food Coordinator for Detroit: Nick Jones

Southeast Michigan, Stories

Nick is an adopted Michigander. After growing up in Colorado, Nick discovered a passion for food and farming at Deep Springs College. That passion eventually led him to Detroit, with its urban farms and an energetic food culture.

Before joining Taste the Local Difference, Nick operated the vegetable farm at Food Field for two seasons. His winters were spent flipping eggs on the breakfast grill at Rose’s Fine Food. He remains inspired by the espirit-de-corps of his local food community, and he’s glad to be able to serve farmers and small businesses in his current position.

If not at work, Nick is probably trying to start his 80-year-old Ford tractor. He hopes to keep it running long enough to establish his own farm, just outside of Detroit.

Nick Jones is Taste the Local Difference’s Newest Employee. He is the Local Food Coordinator for Detroit. Contact him at nick@localdifference.org

Find more great stories here.  Get to know the rest of our team here

Slow Traditions

Eat Local, Economy, Environment, farm-to-table, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Health, Kelly Wilson, Stories

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.

Young Professionals of the Upper Peninsula

Alex Palzewicz, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Stories

Where are the young people? It’s a question I have been asked a lot this past year as Upper Peninsula Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference.

To get answers, I turned to an organization called 40 Below in Marquette County. The group was created in 2010 as a way for professionals under the age of 40 to come together through networking and professional development opportunities. The group hosts fun events, puts on conferences and encourages young adults to volunteer in the community. 

Get a Local Tree this Christmas!

Guest Post, Specialty Producers, Stories

The holidays are here and it is time to start the search for your real Christmas tree. The good news is, in Michigan you have several great options to choose from when looking for that perfect tree. Michigan growers produce a wide variety of tree species, in fact, more than any other state. When visiting a choose and cut farm or a retail lot, you may find trees that are soft to the touch like a Frasier Fir, blue in color like a Blue Spruce, or trees that smell like citrus called a Concolor Fir. So, whether you like a fir or a spruce, or and evergreen or citrus smell, we have you covered!

A Farmer’s Diary: Beginning Farmer Institute, Part 2

Eat Local, Environment, Event, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Molly Stepanski, Stories

Our second session with the 2018-19 National Farmers Union’s (NFU) Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) took us into the country’s heart of organic produce, the salad bowl of America, the sunny Salinas Valley, California. Again, we were the last to arrive late at night, and a bit jet-lagged. For the first day of training, we participated in a hands-on learning session, hosted in partnership with the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), an organization dedicated to creating economic opportunity for limited-resource and aspiring organic farmers through land-based education. ALBA creates farming opportunities while providing education and demonstration of organic farming, conservation, and habitat restoration. About 35 farmers operate their small organic farm at ALBA on an annual basis.

 Building the Market for Local Flowers: The Michigan Flower Growers’ Cooperative

Economy, Environment, Erica Bloom, Farmers Markets, Guest Post, Southeast Michigan, Stories

It’s a Wednesday morning at the Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace and the room is fragrant with fresh, cut flowers overflowing in buckets. There’s dahlias from Luella Acres, zinnias from Fresh Cut Detroit, and eucalyptus from Seeley Farms. Now in its second year, the Michigan Flower Growers’ Cooperative is creating a new model for local flower growers to sell to florists and other wholesale buyers.

Edible WOW: The Common Grill is a Royal Success

Drinks, Edible WOW, Find Local Food, Nicole Ray, restaurant, Southeast Michigan, Stories

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.

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.

Sponsor, Exhibit, or Advertise at the 2018 Michigan Good Food Summit

Event, Get Involved, Guest Post, Rachel Kelly, Stories

On behalf of the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University, I’m writing to invite you to sponsor, exhibit or advertise at the 2018 Michigan Good Food Summit on October 22, 2018. This year’s Summit will take place on October 22nd at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Michigan State University.