Here in the Upper Peninsula the nights are getting chilly again, which means we all are busy soaking up what’s left summer. Kayaking, hiking, biking and event after event keep us gone from sunrise to sunset – and all that fun can really build up an appetite. This meal is simple, yet will help you regain strength for day after day of fun in the sun!
Every farm visit is unique, but the one common denominator is that you’ll always leave with a deeper appreciation for food and those who work so hard to provide it to us. Luckily for those of you in and around the Central Upper Peninsula, there are tons of opportunities coming up that will get you to the farm!
I apologize for often referring to the fact that the Upper Peninsula (UP), although 30% the land mass of Michigan, contains just 3% of the state’s population. A new comparison I was able to make with the help of the Michigan Brewers Guild Website, is that the UP is home to almost 18% of the breweries that make up our “great beer state.”
Many of us all have that one dish that seemed to make it to the dinner table more often than most. My mom, who worked full time, often deferred to a boxed, rice based, one dish meal. A portion of starch, a packet of seasoning, add in your favorite protein, serve white bread and margarine on the side, and voilà! – dinner.
I’m not throwing shade at my mom’s cooking skills, she was a busy woman, who volunteered often and had three kids, plus, I was the world’s pickiest and most dramatic eater. I distinctly remember a few nights where we sat at the kitchen table for an hour before my parents would become frustrated and set me free.
Years later, not only do I have a much different palette, but I also have friends with kids, and I am truly amazed at how they somehow manage it all! I wonder if they sleep? I don’t even have pets and often fail at feeding myself a proper meal. So, the following recipe is an ode to my super-mom, and all they busy parents out there. I hope it can help you support local and encourage healthy eating while keeping in mind your busy schedules and tight budgets.
In 2017, Tim & Naomi decided to start the Happy Hoppers Organic Rabbit Farm. They both grew up with rabbits so it was a natural fit. Originally, they decided to have rabbits for meat, pelts and compost. Rabbit compost is one of the only fresh composts you can put directly on your garden, without it burning your plants. Also, it’s high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which makes it perfect for great growth!
I’ll admit, I have a lot to learn about the Western Upper Penisula’s local food system. My connections there have been growing and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people. They are the ones clearing a path and leading the way in both research and action.
Alex, our Upper Peninsula Local Food Coordinator recently spoke at the Northern Michigan University’s TedX on March 16th with a story called My Local Food Relationship.(Editor’s note: link to video is coming soon!)
This recipe is an ode to my life in Seattle. Folding dumplings was one of the most therapeutic tasks from my kitchen time there. Mostly, it was a task we completed after a busy brunch service on Saturday, which signified that your day was approaching an end, which after the insanity that is the first 8 hours of Saturday Brunch in Seattle, is always a feeling of relief.
This summer, I was the catering manager for Rock River Farm, a flower farm in the central U.P. They are focusing their efforts on flower production, so they don’t need my services in 2019. After being asked a few times if I’m sad they are done catering, here’s the truth: I’m stoked to see farms find their niche. This said, I will be going back next summer in the same way I got started there: as a volunteer who is in it for the beautiful drive, lack of cell service, the company and inspiration they provide.
As December speeds by, we rush to ready ourselves for the holidays. Once the new year arrives, our growers and producers will jump right into planning and preparing for the 2019 season. I myself am already dreaming of summer harvests. With preparation approaching, this month seemed like a great opportunity to introduce a new resource to Upper Peninsula Farmers: Landen Tetil, the new Produce Safety Technician for the UP region.