Did you know that The American Cranberry is native to Michigan? While we are not the national leader in growing this fruit, our sandy soil, access to water and climate make them part of our fruit belt with major future growing potential. When you follow the seasons to guide your meals and menu planning, it is no surprise that the cranberry is part of our nation’s traditions.
The days are getting shorter and the smell of drying leaves and woodsmoke is in the air. Fall is here and that means it’s back to school for Michigan’s 1.5 million public school students. For many of us, back to school conjures up a variety of images and smells: freshly sharpened pencils, crisp notebooks, new backpacks, and the infamous mystery meals served in the cafeteria. For many of Michigan’s students, however, the school year also brings with it the tantalizing smells and flavors of locally sourced, and carefully prepared, food.
With all the wonderful bounty northern Michigan has to offer, it’s not only easy to eat local, it’s delicious! But why should your plate have all the fun? We love coming up with unique handcrafted cocktails, often with an unexpected twist. We believe a drink’s ingredients are the most important difference between a good drink and amazing drink. Soooo….we decided to take advantage of some of the best ingredients our area has to offer, and showcase them in a weekly cocktail feature.
The Sara Hardy Farmers Market, a well-rounded market that we visit weekly, was the perfect spot to source our farmers market finds for our farm to glass creations. Each week, we visit the market and let the creative juices start flowing. Highlighting the local ingredient in our handcrafted cocktails is always the goal, letting the quality of these products shine.
Here are a few examples of how we’ve incorporated some of these local ingredients into our special drink features:
Strawberries and elder flowers – tequila blanco, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, fresh lemon, house made Loma Farm elder flower cordial, and local strawberry purée
Blueberries – Buchans Blueberry Hill blueberries, roasted, and basil margarita
Watermelon – local Watermelon Agua Fresca
Black raspberries and lavender – local smashed black raspberries and housemade lavender cordial, with bourbon and lemon
Sweet corn – Hall Farm sweet corn muddled with house made chili tequila, agave, and lime
Beets – negroni made with Loma Farm’s beets
Tomato – tequila blanco, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, fresh local tomato water, and a hint of citrus
Squash – local butternut squash and Sleeping Bear Farms maple syrup with fresh lemon and vodka
Our Farmers Market Find Cocktails will be available at The Little Fleet at least through the end of October while the Sara Hardy Farmers Market remains open.
If you’re interested in stepping up your cocktail game at home, check out our “Get Schooled!” Cocktail workshops this fall and winter.
Don’t forget to drink your veggies!
Gary and Allison Jonas are the owners of The Little Fleet. Contact them at email@example.com
This is Grain Train‘s second year of partnering with Crosshatch to provide micro-loans for local farmers or food related businesses. We’re quite honored to be a part of this program. Good food/local food has been our mantra for the entire existence of the Grain Train Natural Foods Co-op.
Over the last year, Taste the Local Difference® has added a lot of new territory to our service area. For the first time ever we are including all of northern Michigan’s food & farming community– both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. That’s why we’ve nearly double the size of our newest publication, the 13th edition of our annual Guide to Local Food.
You can find The Guide to Local Food in Northern Michigan for FREE at select locations throughout the region. The guide is an important community resource, so let us know if you need a copy by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by one of the sites listed below!
Grand Traverse County:
Traverse City Visitor’s Bureau, Traverse City Chamber, BLK MRKT, Right Brain Brewery, Grand Traverse Distillery, Rare Bird Brewery, Tom’s Food Market, Oleson’s Food Stores, Oryana Natural Foods Market, The Grand Traverse Resort, Evergreen Market, Burritt’s Fresh Market, The Little Fleet, Benjamin Twiggs, Chateau Grand Traverse Winery, Harvest Restaurant, Workshop Brewery, Inside Out Gallery, Third Coast Chocolate, The Cheese Lady, Acoustic Mead, Taproot Cider House, Pleasanton Bakery, Higher Grounds Coffee, Mission Table Restaurant, Jolly Pumpkin, Chateau Chantal Winery, Tastes of Black Star Farms, Gallagher’s Farm Market, The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, West Bay Beach, Bayshore Resort, Park Place, Cambria, Country Inn & Suites, Comfort Inn, Best Western, Hotel Indigo, Mitchell Creek Inn, Hampton Inn, Great Wolf Lodge, Parkshore Resort, Pinestead Reef Resort, Grand Beach Resort Hotel, Tamarack Lodge Resort, Pointes North Resort, Cherry Tree Inn & Suites
Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association, 9 Bean Rows Cafe, 9 Bean Rows Bakery, Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, MSU Hort Station in Suttons Bay, Art’s Tavern, Cherry Republic, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Visitors Center, Northport CVB, The Redhead’s Cafe, Tandem Ciders, Suttons Bay Bikes, Mawby, Green Bird Cellars, Anderson’s Glen Arbor Market, Black Star Farms, Good Harbor Grill, The Homestead, Idyll Farms, Blustone Vineyards
Emmet, Charlevoix, Antrim & Kalkaska Counties
Petoskey Area Chamber of Commerce, Petoskey Cheese, Grain Train, Grain Train Neighborhood Market, American Spoon Cafe, Coveyou Scenic Farm Market, Maple Moon Winery, Petoskey Library, Guntzviller Vegetable and Berry Farm, Stafford’s Perry Hotel, Staffords Bay View Inn, Stafford’s Pier, Stafford’s Weathervane, Friske’s Farm Market, Roast and Toast, Julienne Tomatoes, Shetler’s Family Dairy, Kalkaska Health Dept, NW Michigan Health Dept, Charlevoix Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, King Orchards, Charlevoix Country Club, Short’s Brewing Company
Benzie, Manistee, Wexford & Missaukee Counties
Grow Benzie, Elberto’s Taqueria, Market Basket, Wee Bee Jammin’, St. Ambrose Cellars, Port City Organics Real Food Market, Benzie Visitors Bureau, Frankfort Visitors Bureau, Stormcloud Brewing Company, Crystal Mountain Resort, Oliver Art Center, Harbor Lights Resort, The Hotel Frankfort
The Upper Peninsula
Marquette Food Co-op, MSU Extension
Cheboygan Brewing Company, Northeast Michigan Council of Governments
If you’d like to carry the Guide to Local Food and you don’t already please contact us at email@example.com!