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Eating Like a Local in Alpena, Part 1 of 3

One of the best parts about traveling across the Mitt during the summer is discovering new, locally-sourced farmers markets, restaurants, breweries, wineries, and all the events in between! There’s one city in particular that keeps popping up on our radar, and for good reason. Located right on Lake Huron, the “Sanctuary of the Great Lakes,” Alpena offers countless shipwrecks to explore, 100 miles of hiking and biking trails, three Dark Sky Preserve Parks, seven lighthouses in the area to clamber, and over 300,000 acres of fishing and boating opportunities. You’d think it couldn’t get much better.

But with a growing local food scene beckoning growers and producers alike to this area, the cuisine competition is challenging chefs and event planners in the area to up their game and source more locally. We are doing a three part series on Alpena. Here you’ll find the best places to find your locally-sourced grub while you’re visiting this spectacular Lake Huron haunt during the height of the season.  

Top Five Locally-Sourced Food Venues in Alpena:

1.Looking for the perfect sweet or savory breakfast? As You Wish Gourmet Eatery in the heart of downtown has crepes (need we say more?), and a savory sweet potato and kale breakfast bowl that hits the spot (it’s good with or without the gravy). Their sushi is also spectacular!

2. You can now find the Hungry Hippie year-round in the Alpena Mall, and during the summer in the “Hippie Dome” on State Street. As far as we can tell, the more places to grab their delightfully-named, amazingly-delicious tacos, bowls, wraps, or smoothies, the better. (And the macarons by Get Baked – Get. The. Macarons.)

3. Featuring 32 delectable flavors of hand-dipped ice cream (made with Michigan milk), coffee roasted on-site, and handmade candies, North Country Candy and Gifts is a family run business that is a necessary stop for any traveler on the Sunrise Side.

4. Renting a cabin in the northeast for the weekend and need to stock your fridge? Don’t miss the Alpena Farmers Market. They move out to Mich-e-ke-wis Park June 1st, and have everything from pasture-raised pork, beef, and lamb, to eggs, to certified organic produce, to goat milk beauty products, and baked goods galore. The Market also hosts local food cooking demos most weekends with area chefs. There’s often live music and it’s right on the beach by the newly installed Splash Park. (keep the kids cooled off, and get your groceries, y’all!)

5. And for the first time in its history, the Sunrise Side Wine and Food Festival on July 20th in Harrisville will be a Certified Local Food Event! This annual celebration highlights Michigan-made wines, beers, and ciders. But this year, all the food trucks and restaurants will be sourcing at least 20% of their ingredients from local growers and producers, and making this a Zero Waste Initiative!

Stay tuned for another Top Five Locally-Sourced Food Venues of Eating Like a Local in Alpena in our July and August newsletters.

Molly Stepanski is the Local Food Coordinator for Northeast Michigan. She enjoys digging, planting, and hiking in the dirt, cooking up her own recipes, drinking farmhouse cider, and eating lots of fresh, seasonal produce (and anything deep-fried, in accordance with her southern heritage). She owns and operates Presque Isle Farm with her family and is a founding member of the Huron Shores Local Food Coalition. Contact her at [email protected].

Photos Courtesy of : Allison Modrzynski, Florence Stibitz, North Country Candy & Gifts

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