Looking for the perfect last-minute local gift idea? A cooking class makes a great gift and offers a hands on experience to improve skills in the kitchen, learn something new, and supports local producers throughout northern Michigan. Whether you want to plan a family event or treat your kids to something sweet, these classes offer something for everyone!
The months that produce the most diversity of fruits and vegetables in our dear Mitt include August, September, and October. October almost seems to embody a last-grab month of seasonal bounty before the long hunkered-down winter of root and storage vegetables begins. So what better time of the year to treat yourself to an extraordinarily fresh and local dining experience, paired with some of Michigan’s finest wines at Thunder Bay Winery?
What makes northern Michigan so iconic? One could argue that it’s the 105 miles of “fresh coast” surrounded by countless hiking trails, ski hills, lake life, and the world-renowned Sleeping Bear Dunes. Others would say it’s the dozens of festivals hosted throughout the year including the Cherry Festival, Film Festival, or Polka Festival. Some may say it’s simply the diverse foodie options served by that sweet midwestern hospitality. But, only one thing pairs well with all of these iconic experiences: wine. Rove Estate & Winery in northern Michigan is an absolute staple of all things Traverse City, therefore may be one of the most iconic locations of them all.
Where to eat? If you’re out and about in downtown Frankfort, this is far from an easy choice. There’s the festive atmosphere and promise of pints at Stormcloud Brewing Company, the reliably delicious pub fare at Dinghy’s, and the generously stuffed deli sandwiches at L’Chayim. After a long July day of delivering boxes of our Local Food Guides throughout Benzie county, though, I was ready to really treat myself! My friend and I made our way to the sun dappled back patio of Coho Fine Dining for a few plates of local fare. Right on Main Street, Coho has a relaxed and breezy but refined feel to it. On their about us webpage, the team at Coho states “We love showcasing seasonal food and refuse to compromise on quality in our restaurant. That’s why we source our fresh ingredients from local farmers and producers.”
Travel is in my future for 2018. My food and wine-seeking radar is taking me to a destination that I have only dreamed about: South America. When planning a trip in the spring, I always try to make it a warm get away and going to South America at the end of March is like our September, so it should be warm and sunny. I am taking 14 hardy souls who have also never been to South America. I have actually never been south of the Equator and we will be traveling to almost the South Pole!
Looking for a way to shop local this holiday season? Check out our holiday gift guide and support Michigan producers and growers this season.
The job of a farmer is never done. To do it well, they must think critically and instinctively to determine the vast number of influences a plant may be under at any given time. The work is labor intensive, never just 9-5, and with all the effort and best intentions — mother nature gets the final say. It’s an incredible career, worthy of the utmost respect and this region is lucky enough to have generations of farm families that still tend the land today.
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them…. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motorcar only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”
~ Ernest Hemingway
Some may argue there’s no greater combo than pairing a bucolic bike ride with a glass of wine (or two) when you reach your destination. I’ll do you one (or a few) better….how about biking to a vineyard in northeastern Michigan and being greeted with a cornucopia of wines, a pop-up food bar created by a local chef, and a tour of the almost 15 year old vines with Thunder Bay Winery and vineyard owners? Well, look no further: Tour De Vine with Harborside Cycle and Sport has become an annual event to celebrate just outside of Alpena, in pastoral Ossineke, a place that has become surprisingly fruitful for Michigan grown grapes.
The clocks don’t match exactly, but we know it’s time to unlock the doors when the first eager shoppers of the day are peeking in at the gleaming seafood cases. Our team at Burritt’s has been assembling products, cutting and grinding meat, planning for the day, and straightening up for at least an hour.
Walk into Essence on Main in Clarkston and you’ll find yourself engulfed in a cloud of delicious smells: freshly brewed Bourbon Pecan Torte Coffee, warm organic ginger molasses cookies (shh! The recipe is a secret!), or the grilled buttery goodness of the Turkey Loves Cherry sandwich (hungry yet?).