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NoMi Snack Board: Upgrade Your Grazing Game

Want to upgrade your summer snacking? You can’t do much better than local food, and it’s easy to bring a Northern Michigan grazing board together using Taste the Local Difference’s resources. 

Taste the Local Difference (TLD) not only publishes a yearly Local Food Guide, but we also have an online directory that can help you find local ingredients, brands and markets by type, county, or even by keyword search. Sourcing snack board ingredients from my area was simple using the online directory as a tool. 

When building my board, I found inspiration from the Cheese By Number method, where you add your different elements (cheese, meat, etc.) one at a time. Essentially, it’s like the best edible version of a jigsaw puzzle. Add in TLD’s Find Food and Farms to source your local ingredients, and you have an easy way to build an impressive snacking station. 

Here’s the different components to my board: 

THE CHEESE 

Boss Mouse Marinated Feta

This cheese from Boss Mouse is not only delicious and the perfect amount of bite to add to its next-door tomatoes, but it also comes in a Mason jar (yay, sustainable and reusable packaging!)

Saltless Sea Creamery ‘The Riveter’

According to Saltless Sea’s website, this cheese is their “take on Italian Caciovello.” Creamy but semi-firm, the ‘Riveter’ was great on its own, but also a perfect complement to so many other elements on our board.

THE PROTEINS 

Northern Naturals Whitefish Pâté 

Smoky, light, and with just enough whitefish flavor to enjoy but not overwhelm, this whitefish pâté from Northern Naturals was great with the produce and the crunch on the plate.

Conant’s Maplehurst Farms Elk Summer Sausage

One thing I love about the TLD directory is that it is keyword searchable! I found Conant’s Maplehurst Farms by searching for ‘summer sausage.’ 

Not only did I find an elk farm that sells it, but I was able to visit the farm in my sourcing, and meet Frosty the Elk (see below for the adorableness)! Connecting with your food sources is an experience that can often only be done locally, and by communicating with your local producers. Conant’s Maplehurst Farms was a great source of information, and I not only learned about elk farming, but a few things about the production of lamb, as well. I left with some fantastic summer sausage, a rack of lamb, and some new information about the proteins available in our area. 

THE PRODUCE

Lakeview Hill Farm Cherry Tomatoes

Lakeview Hill Farm grows beautiful tomatoes, and I got some of the first of the season to pair with my Boss Mouse marinated feta. Local tomatoes are a sigh of relief after a long winter of their canned counterparts.

Norconk Farm Asparagus

Another great resource in the TLD directory is the Farmers Markets section! I found this amazing asparagus at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market.  Norconk Farms, a vendor there, is also in the directory here

Foraged Fiddleheads 

Part of being in Northern Michigan is knowing or being someone who has a great connection with the land and its resources. My fiddleheads were a gift from such a someone, but you can also source them via Earthy Delights. My fiddleheads were blanched before being added to my board. 

THE CRUNCH 

Third Coast Bakery Multigrain Crackers

It’s fairly easy to avoid gluten and other allergens when planning for a snack board like this, as you can change any of the moving parts. Avoiding gluten, dairy or soy specifically is even easier when you have Third Coast bakery around the corner. They make crunchy, earthy, salt-forward multigrain crackers that make you say “Gluten? Who needs it?”

Great Lakes Chip Company Sea Salt, Pepper and Onion Chips

Great Lakes Potato Chips are a great counterbalance to elements like the pâté and offer up a crowd-pleasing alternative to a cracker, plus they fit in the unique empty spots on our board that are difficult to fill.

THE DIP

Six Lugs Cherry Garlic Preserves 

The sweet/savory balance of these preserves from Six Lugs was so delicious when paired with the acidity of the tomatoes. Don’t forgo a spreader — you don’t want to struggle with adding this to all the elements of your board!

THE GARNISH 

Full Moon Microgreens Rambo Radish Micros

I love seeing a pop of purple on my plate! These rambo radish microgreens were fun to make into small ‘bouquets’ to garnish with, and they add a subtle pepper note to any bite. I found these micros at the Sara Hardy market. 

TLC Farms Genovese Basil 

This greenhouse-grown basil from TLC Farms ain’t messing around. With some leaves as big as my hand, I decided to tear and strategically place bits of basil to add an herbaceous note to my board.

THE BOARD 

G3 Studios Michigan Cutting Board 

All of my Northern Michigan snack board ingredients found a great home on my G3 Studios Michigan Cutting Board. 

Let us know what you like to put on your cheese boards!

Claire Butler is the Communications and Outreach Intern for Taste the Local Difference. She is a current culinary student at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute. Contact her at claire@localdifference.org

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