The expanding collaboration and partnership among growers and producers in southeast Michigan forges a robust and resilient food system. Bløm Meadworks and Fresh Forage intentionally cultivate these connections to grow their local food community. Both businesses place a high priority on sourcing ingredients from Michigan producers while also committing support to their surrounding communities.
After months of gray skies and storage vegetables, the first spring crops are a welcome relief for the eyes and the palette. An often underappreciated crop is the humble, but delicious, spring radish. An edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family (it’s cousins are broccoli, kale, collards, and cabbage), radishes come in a variety of colors (yay for antioxidants!) and shapes.
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:
Spring has officially sprung! As you shake off the winter haze, now is the perfect time to start planning thinking about where your food is coming from this summer. Which community farmers market will you attend? Will you plant your own garden? Should you join a CSA? There are so many options for accessing local food!
Pollinators may appear small, but they have a massive impact in our ecosystem. These buzzing bees and native pollinators are a necessary, yet often forgotten, component of our food system. When habitat needs are met, these fundamental creatures can produce the fruits we love, and many of the seeds that provide our nourishing foods. We need their help as much as they need ours. Given the significant decline in bee populations, it is a crucial time for farms to create healthy habitats, food, and refuge for our pollinators.
This year, consider what you should add into your daily diet rather than remove. Moving beyond restrictive diets is one of TLD’s top health goals for you in 2019.
Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the US and a national leader in the cultivation of apples, asparagus, blueberries, tart cherries, green beans, dry beans, potatoes and squash. Despite our rich produce production, most Michiganders still do not meet the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables and 32% of our children are overweight or obese.
Fruit and vegetables are the cornerstone of good health and lifelong health patterns are often established in childhood. Exposure to healthy habits at an early age can encourage long term health. One of the best places for this positive exposure to occur is in the school setting. Fortunately, a statewide pilot program, 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms, is supporting schools in infusing more fresh, Michigan grown produce into their menus.
When we look back through the history of festivals, events or gatherings related to farming, food, and harvests – you’ll find that each will have their own version or interpretation of what that celebration represents. From the ancient sacrifices in honor of Greek gods, to our modern-day hometown harvest festivals – you won’t find one occasion quite the same. One contributing factor to those differences, is location. A harvest festival in Spain often highlights grapes, where here in Michigan we celebrate cherries and blueberries. Our geography and local climate largely determine when we hold these events and what they celebrate. Another important piece is the people. Throughout history cultural influences such as religion, art, politics, and business have shaped rituals that find their way into being. As time goes on, activities evolve, disappear, grow, and sometimes become honored by tradition. Many cultures mention in their own ways, the importance of coming together as a group, family or community and the vital social connection these moments bring.These same reasonings can be applied to the MQT Local Food Fest,
You either sink or swim under the grueling demands of a busy professional kitchen. Chad Edwards has been cooking in Gaylord restaurants since age 14, and was the chef for two establishments in the city before turning 21. After years of rigor and practice, Edwards’ was swimming full bore on October 28, 2010, when he opened The Bearded Dogg Lounge. And at this colorful cafe, “you may sit in a booth made from old doors or at the bar crafted from maple flooring from the local nunnery, at a gathering table, in a loveseat, or at any one of several antique dining tables.” You can tell a lot of love and ingenuity has been put into this place. And it’s not just the quirky, hand-hewn seating and masterful plating of food. It’s the flourishing garden in the adjacent field constructed and tended by Chad and his father that accents the menu’s favorites. It’s the fact that Edwards wants to create a line of his own bottled salad dressings and brews the restaurant’s Doggweiser Blonde Ale. It’s the fact that in northeastern Michigan, Chad Edwards is pioneering in an old way of doing things again.
Maddy is very excited to be our Local Food and Events Intern this summer! She had the chance to work closely with the team at Taste the Local Difference last year when she was serving as an Americorps VISTA for the Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network.
Her favorite vegetable is Okra and she wishes someone in Northern Michigan would start a lentil farm already. When not representing TLD at Certified Local Food Events this summer, she will be working at Light of Day Organics tea farm on M-72, biking, dancing, or hanging out with goats wherever she can.
Stay tuned for more information about Maddy’s work this summer. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.