Here we are already in July, and the temperatures are finally feeling like summer here in the UP. June gave growers a slow start, but now we’ve had day after day of warm weather and the occasional thunderstorm, meaning the diversity at the farmers market is growing and growing.
So, how do I recommend Michiganders beat the summer heat? Play it smooth, smoothie that is.
Have you ever had a shrub? Not the short, green bushes you might be thinking of, but the drinking vinegar? These historical beverages are a refreshingly tart alternative to pop and are very easy to make with whatever produce you have available according to the seasons.
Did you know that your dollar is multiplied more than three times when you spend it at a local store, than by purchasing at a national chain? Plus, locally grown and produced food packs more of a nutritional punch and it travels fewer miles to your plate, making it better for you and for the planet. We’re just scratching the surface here when it comes to the true value of local food in our community. The benefits range from economics and social connection, to improving health and the environment.
Drive due south of Michigan State University’s campus and in 5 short miles you’ll happily find yourself at Swallowtail Farm. This charming diversified fruit, vegetable and flower farm is operated by Anne Rauscher with help from her husband and two children. The 150 year old farmstead was purchased in 2005 and planted with its first fruits (raspberries) in 2006. Over the last 11 years, Anne and David have worked tirelessly to promote healthy land and soil, develop strong community, and grow delicious food. Visiting the farm, these values are on obvious display.
As another summer draws to a close, we pause for a group blessing at the Cultured Ferments brewery for all the season has provided to us. This year has been one of change, growth and happiness, but challenge as well.
Living in Northern Michigan is a luxury and something I took for granted when I moved to Florida and then to Grand Rapids. I missed the peace and quiet, being treated as “Sarah” and not a $ sign, and the community feeling. Mostly, I missed the fresh produce, especially in the summer.
At Cafe Santé, we pride ourselves in using fresh produce, and if we can get it local, we do! The hustle and bustle of farmers going in and out the back door during the summer is crazy! On Saturdays, Chef is usually swinging by the farmers market to see what local foods else he can get.
It’s strawberry season in northern Michigan and we love this bright red beauty. You can snack on them by the quart, top them with whip cream or use them to color up a salad! Strawberries are packed with vitamins, fiber and high-levels of antioxidants and make a great addition to any meal, snack or dessert… even a cocktail!