When I say the words “county fair,” what comes to mind? For me there is nostalgia that rolls in as I think of my own Menominee County Fair at Shakey Lakes Campground in Stephenson, Michigan. There, I competed in animal showmanship for multiple species, entered crafts and photos, rode my bike like a hooligan, and made endless campfire delicacies like smores and pudgie pies.
I can not believe the month of May has come and gone. I have a sinking suspicion that this long Upper Peninsula winter caused us all to feel the anxiety that is lost time. I moved out to the farm (Rock River Farm) in Chatham on May 9th and the anxiousness of a late spring caused me to jump into work right away. The greenhouse was full, the kitchen in disarray, and snow was still standing in some places – but somehow, collectively working towards the challenge that was catching up (a quest to regain our lost time), we were able to cross task after task off the list. May 26th marked our first day of the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market as well as our own farm’s first catering of the season. Now that the dust has settled from our crazy weekend, I think we all are able to see how much we have accomplished these past few weeks – and we are stoked. We’ll never get that lost time back, but we catch up, we relax, reflect, and we get inspired to do more.
I remember how excited I was to first see the ocean when I was younger. It was an experience that I had been missing out on my whole life, something others write about in poetic ways. When I finally got the chance to make it to the eastern shore and see the ocean – the moment was a bit flat. Although it’s beauty was undeniable, I didn’t find myself as moved as I had anticipated. It didn’t feel any more epic than my day to day life around The Great Lakes. I guess that must have been it; although unique and breathtaking in its own way, the ocean experience had been damped by my relationship with Lake Superior.
In the United States, we waste 40% of food produced, and an alarming 90% of that goes to the landfill, where it emits methane gas which is a mere 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. If that statistic doesn’t do anything for you, then how about that the average American spends about $1,500 a year on food they are just going to throw away.
I am not sure what I was thinking when I asked the owners of Belgiumtown Bar & Restaurant if I could host a locally sourced Chef Dinner in the dead of the UP winter. Part of me liked the idea of the challenge, but the goal was also to highlight the local food in our area and how we can better utilize products being grown by our neighbors.
Michigan winters, particularly those here in the UP region, don’t allow for much production. Even those individuals who have been able to bridge the gap with season extension find themselves unable to do much in the blistering months of January and February. So, what are our local farmers up to at times like these? Catching up on the Netflix binging they missed? Creating sleep patterns that almost replicate those of hibernation? Read books by the fire, hot chocolate in hand?
Excuse me if my writing feels a bit exhausted, walking fifteen miles uphill in two feet of snow, just to get wi-fi for this post has drained me.
Gottcha! It’s hard not to joke, but I am happy to report that I am actually warm in my home, with indoor plumbing and all. Although, we do have a generator because when the power goes out it is often for days, and my closest ‘neighbors’ (besides a plethora of deer camps) are over two miles away.
Greetings, my name is Alexandria Palzewicz, and I am beyond excited to be the new UP Local Food Coordinator! Besides a recent two-year excursion in Seattle, I have lived in the UP my whole life.
Maybe you have similar memories of running around a Christmas tree farm searching the place for the perfect tree, your tree. Every year I look forward to the hunt and to the fresh scent of a real tree in our home. But recently I’ve started to wonder about the sustainability of cutting down millions of trees across the U.S. each year. What about reduce, reuse, recycling? What is better for the environment, a plastic tree or a real one? I decided to look for myself.