This time of year, as fresh greens dwindle to paltry proportions, and our northern Michigan season extension expiration looms, I start looking to my fall self to see what fabulous items I put aside via freezing or fermenting for the impending arctic stretch.
The Northeast Michigan Council of Governments (NEMCOG), based in Gaylord, MI, was established in 1968 as a multi-county organization to pool resources for the assistance of local governments throughout eight counties. The organization has their hand in everything from tourism, transportation, planning & community development, economic development, local government, housing, environment and natural resources, to local foods, just to name a few. By and large, the organization tends to fly under the radar in all the productive work they do that benefits our communities. But make no mistake, NEMCOG has assisted local governments obtain millions of dollars in federal and state grants for vital local projects and services.
Like many of the gems of northeastern Michigan, Stoney Acres Winery is a family legacy of determination and local artistry off the beaten path. Located outside of downtown Alpena, tucked away on a small neighborhood street, the winery has been around since 2003, when Jim and Helen Grochowski and their daughter Amy introduced wines to the public in the tessellated tasting room. Since that time, the shop has expanded to offer candies, hand-dipped truffles made with their wines, Shipwreck sodas made with Michigan sugar, and now a whole new summer farm-to-table experience.
Alpena Municipal Council just voted 5-0 to allow Eric Peterson to host a craft beer festival on September 30th this year at his restaurant, The Fresh Palate, and bar, The Nucleus. The festival will offer different craft beers from 30 breweries and brewpubs, including Austin Brothers Beer Company out of Alpena and Arcadia Ales from Kalamazoo from 3pm-9pm that day.
The city will block off 2nd Avenue in downtown Alpena for the event. There will be live performances from local artists, outdoor games, multiple food vendors including locally sourced options, and an opportunity to mark the occasion with specialty beer glasses and Beer Fest t-shirts. Each brewery will be educating people about the different styles of brews they bring to the fest and go in depth about tastes and aromas and truly inform participants about their craft. Alpena looks forward to this becoming an annual event and having an opportunity to offer more locally sourced items to Michiganders throughout the year.
This is still a developing story. So, mark your calendars for September 30th and keep tabs on www.freshpalategourmet.com/ and our social media for more info.
In 2014, when I moved with my husband and son to my family’s Centennial Farm in Posen, Michigan, I never thought I would have such an extraordinary chance to impact the local food system in the place we call home. From the moment we arrived, other farmers took us in, mentored us, and shared vital information and resources. We knew that if Presque Isle Farm was going to truly succeed in this persnickety and often bitter climate, we had to not only extend our growing season, but continue to partner with others on every level imaginable to vitalize northeastern Michigan’s food system.