With summer (finally) under way on the Sunrise Side, the quaint, small town of Alpena is abound with tourists seeking the best local food and libation experiences for that warm weather bucket list. Overlooking the beautiful Thunder Bay of Lake Huron, this city truly provides a warm and friendly port for all that visit. Luckily for the locals, they get to appreciate this city’s burgeoning food scene year-round.
In this second part of our three part series, I’ll detail some of the locals’ favorite haunts, so you can also find the best locally-sourced cuisine during your travels. (See part 1 here.)
One of the best parts about traveling across the Mitt during the summer is discovering new, locally-sourced farmers markets, restaurants, breweries, wineries, and all the events in between! There’s one city in particular that keeps popping up on our radar, and for good reason. Located right on Lake Huron, the “Sanctuary of the Great Lakes,” Alpena offers countless shipwrecks to explore, 100 miles of hiking and biking trails, three Dark Sky Preserve Parks, seven lighthouses in the area to clamber, and over 300,000 acres of fishing and boating opportunities. You’d think it couldn’t get much better.
But with a growing local food scene beckoning growers and producers alike to this area, the cuisine competition is challenging chefs and event planners in the area to up their game and source more locally. We are doing a three part series on Alpena. Here you’ll find the best places to find your locally-sourced grub while you’re visiting this spectacular Lake Huron haunt during the height of the season.
Community can often be a word people just toss around, but when the community literally owns your business, there is no taking it lightly. Oryana Community Co-op was an idea devised on the back porch of a home in Traverse City. It came from a small group of passionate community members looking to start a buying club and have control over where their food came from. That buying club started in 1973, and is now a 10,000 square foot, $17 million-a-year business that still lives by the founding principles of quality, accountability, sustainability, and localism.
Did you know that farmers receive only 17 cents per retail sales dollar (on average) when their food is sold through traditional channels? The remaining 83 cents of this dollar goes to middlemen, distributors, and other players in the food system. Selling direct to consumer (farmers markets, roadside stands, CSA programs, etc.) generates higher margins for farmers (and strengthens consumer’s ties to their food) but can come with its own set of unique challenges and risks: unfavorable weather impacting sales, large time/energy demands, lack of convenience, and seasonality.
The Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market will open its 24th year of community service on Saturday May 20th at the corner of Grand River and Grove Street in the heart of downtown Farmington at the Walter Sundquist pavilion. There is large banner gently swaying from the rafters in the light breezes of early spring that proudly proclaims, “Saturday is market day!”.