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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Buckets of Rain and the greening of Detroit

Buckets of Rain and the greening of Detroit


Glen Arbor Sun

Just try to keep up with local musician and international vegetable grower Chris Skellenger. His nonprofit “Buckets of Rain” (previously called “11 Oaks”) teaches hungry people in Africa how to install gray water bucket irrigation systems in their parched gardens so they can eat vegetables, not just grain. Skellenger also teaches urban gardening techniques to the Guatemalan people who live in shantytowns next to the Guatemala City garbage dump. Now Buckets of Rain is creating urban gardens in Detroit. You can help Buckets of Rain continue to feed the poor in Detroit, in Latin America and in Africa. There is a fundraiser at Boonedocks in Glen Arbor on Sunday, Sept. 9 from 3-6 p.m. that will include extreme gardening demonstrations, music and lots of photos.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Go to "field to plate"

At 'field to plate' search for seasonal availability of fresh produce in your state or region. If your state is not listed, a readily available resource could not be located. We suggest you contact your state Department of Agriculture to ask about local availability of produce.



Michigan
Courtesy of the City of Holland, representative of Lower Peninsula:
http://www.cityofholland.com/Brix?pageID=423
Fruits: http://www.cityofholland.com/Brix?pageID=533
Vegetables: http://www.cityofholland.com/Brix?pageID=535
http://www.pickyourown.org/MIharvestcalendar.htm
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mda/Upick_avail_calendar_173366_7.pdf
Michigan Produce Availability (pdf)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fresh as it gets

Jess Piskor delivered a bushel of greens directly from his garden near Northport to the newly opened Northport Farmers Market Friday morning, and was feeling on top of the world.

“This kale is as fresh as it gets,” said Piskor. “And this is the most meaningful work I’ve ever done,” the 2004 University of Michigan graduate added.

Until recently, Piskor had been working at a popular delicatessen in Ann Arbor where, as he puts it, he “got into food and quality produce.”

“Growing and selling quality produce to your neighbors is about as satisfying as it gets,” he said. “Plus, I’m hoping we can keep my grandfather’s 40-acre farm in the family.”

Most of the farm is leased to cherry farmers. But Piskor’s 1.5-acre garden is keeping him and several of his friends and Ann Arbor “business partners” busy this summer. Farmers markets throughout Leelanau County are also bringing a little cash their way.

The farmers market season in Leelanau County is now well under way, with four of the five operations run by the Leelanau Farmers Market Association opening last week.

New this season is the Northport market, which opened Friday. Conducted outside The Depot next to the Northport Marina, the farm market will be open every Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. through Sept. 18.
The farmers market in Suttons Bay has been open since May 16.

Megan Gregory is the newly-hired “market master” for the Suttons Bay, Leland and Glen Arbor markets, which are open on Saturdays, Thursdays and Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. respectively.

With a marketing degree from the Traverse City campus of Davenport University, Gregory said she’s trying out a few new ideas this year to increase attendance at farmers markets. On Saturday, for example, she invited a local musician to play guitar and sing at the Suttons Bay market for tips.

On July 16, the Leland Farmers Market will host a tour for Learngreatfoods.com, an Illinois-based organization specializing in “agri-culinary” tours. The event will include a visit to the fish market in Leland as well as a local winery.

“The farm markets have been busy so far,” Gregory said, “even though some of the crops appear to be a little bit behind this year.”

Spring crops such as rhubarb and asparagus were still in abundance at local farm markets last week. Strawberries had been delayed by unusually cool weather earlier this spring, however.

“We had a few strawberries Saturday morning at Suttons Bay, but they sold out quickly,” Gregory said. “More of them will be coming in soon, I’m sure.”

The “market master” in Northport is longtime resident George Anderson, while Reuben Chapman heads the Empire market. Gregory, Anderson and Chapman all work for the board of the Leelanau Farmers Market Association, a non-profit organization that came into existence nine years ago through another organization called the Leelanau Agricultural Alliance, with the help of the Michigan State University Extension.

Leelanau County MSU Extension director Rob Sirrine said he believes the farmers markets are off to a good start this year and have a bright future ahead.

“More people are interested in purchasing local food and supporting local farmers,” Sirrine said.

And “local” is what farm markets are all about. Rules promulgated for Leelanau Farmers Markets specify that “all products must be grown or produced locally” with “local” being defined as “within 60 miles of the Leelanau County Farmers Market that the vendor is selling at.”

Vendors pay fees for setting up a stand at farmer’s markets – as little as an introductory fee of $5 for one day, or as much as $250 for a space at all five farm markets for the entire season.

Farmer Karen Drake of Cherry Beach Orchards in Suttons Bay said the farm markets mean a lot to the bottom line for some local farmers.

“We do all five farmers markets,” Drake said, “and, so far, we haven’t seen as many customers as we’d like. We’re hoping more locals will stop by the markets this summer for some really great deals, some really fine products, and to help support local agriculture.”

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Manitou Music Festival

Manitou Music Festival
Enjoy a beautiful summer’s evening at the foot of the Dune Climb in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore this Sunday (July 15) at 7 PM.
The setting is magnificent and the music is even better. The Dune Climb Concert is an annual presentation by the Glen Arbor Art Association and free to the public.
This year’s concert features Detour, a Michigan-based bluegrass band that combines original contemporary bluegrass sounds with great traditional favorite. Detour’s tight focused harmonies, precision instrumentals, and creative melodies will take the audience down a unique bluegrass road have landed the band at #1 on the national bluegrass charts! (scroll down for a video)
The band’s talented line-up features the soaring lead vocals of Missy Armstrong, the championship fiddling of Peter Knupfer, the inventive rhythm lines of Jack Grant on bass, the soulful guitar of Scott Zylstra, the hard driving mandolin and superb song writing of Jeff Rose, and the stellar banjo playing of Kevin Gaugier. Detour has quickly become a standout — “a bluegrass joyride” that the Lansing State Journal acclaims as “perhaps the best bluegrass band Michigan has yet produced.”
There is no charge for the 7:00 p.m. concert; however, a National Park pass is required for parking. Free shuttle busses will provide transportation to overflow parking lots. Bring chairs or blankets to sit on. Some folding chairs are also provided in front of the stage. In the event of rain, the show will go on at the Glen Arbor Town Hall.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hungry?

We are enjoying the wonderful free range chickens in the chicken pot. They are so tender and delicious. I love to slather them with barbecue
sauce and throw carrots and potatoes right in the pot.

Delicious!

You should consider contacting the farm for dibs on beef or pork!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Holy Rosary and A Chicken Dinner

Yesterday, I wandered up to Holy Rosary for their annual chicken dinner. The sky was so blue and cloudless. The colorful tents fluttered. I thought about how my father told me that these chicken dinners were a wonderful tradition. He thought that they were community events that were fading out of fashion.


Everyone was smiling and friendly. Kids were running everywhere. I stood in line and listened to people chat with each other. It would be a terrible thing if parish chicken dinners didn't happen. I was so filled with gratitude that I lived in a place where they were still going on.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ninth annual Michigan Family Farms Conference Set for January 14, 2012 in Battle Creek


August 4, 2011: Register now for the ninth annual Michigan Family Farms Conference on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek. This year’s theme is “Building Your Success with Local Products, Partnerships and Planning”, and the day-long conference is packed with 18 educational sessions to connect family farmers with resources to build their farm’s successful future. More...

The Michigan Family Farms Conference is a forum for beginning, small-scale and culturally diverse farmers to network, learn and build sustainable family farms. It provides a unique opportunity to connect with other growers and great resources and learn about topics important to family farms.

Dan Carmody, President of the Eastern Market Corporation, is this year’s keynote speaker. Eastern Market has been feeding Detroit since 1891 and has grown and evolved with the times, from the boom of the automotive industry to today’s recession. It is still offering fresh produce to Michigan families each Saturday.

Because this is the Michigan Family Farms Conference, we also have a youth track for young farmers which will include educational topics like nutrition, careers in agriculture and natural resources, and the dollars and cents of farming. This track also includes a field trip in the afternoon to Binder Park Zoo.

Early-bird registration is open online and is only $35 per person before December 16, $30 for MIFFS members and $25 for youth. Visit www.miffs.org/mffc or contact MIFFS at (517) 432-0712 or miffs@msu.edu for more information or to register. The registration deadline is January 10, 2012. Some scholarships are available.

Partners and sponsors so far include: Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS), the Farm Research Cooperative, USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), W. K. Kellogg Foundation, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), Michigan State University (MSU), MSU Extension, the Potawatomi Resource, Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council, the C.S. Mott Chair for Sustainable Agriculture, the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Morgan Composting, and the Calhoun Conservation District.

For more information, please contact MIFFS at (517) 432-0712 or miffs@msu.edu or visit www.miffs.org/mffc.

###

Founded in 1998, MIFFS is a statewide membership organization (501c3) whose mission is to help small and medium-sized farms operate profitably, produce healthy food for all people and protect the environment for future generations. MIFFS has been effective at establishing successful partnerships among producers, markets and institutions that have created more profitable, environmentally friendly food systems in Michigan.

To learn more, please visit www.miffs.org or call (517) 432-0712.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Free Range Chickens

We stopped by the farm yesterday and picked up 30 chickens. You cannot beat the taste of naturally raised chickens. Dan had been working hard since 5 AM getting the killing and preparing out of the way.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Micro-Loans Available For Small Farmers In Northern Michigan

By Peter Payette
http://ipr.interlochen.org/ipr-news-features/episode/5273


The number of small farms in northern Michigan has shot up in recent years with almost no help from modern capitalism's main weapon: loans.
Banks in Michigan are accustomed to lending money to farmers. But a lot of new farmers are avoiding debt.

Some people think that should change.

Like a lot of the new farmers in the local food movement, Jess Piskor is young, and not from a farming family. He doesn't own any land. But he's excited about growing vegetables, even if his farm looks more like a large garden.

"It's just an acre, a small bit of land, but we're producing a lot of food for a lot of families and it feels really good," he says.

He and business partner Abra Berens started Bare Knuckle Farm this year with their own money. And, fortunately, they were able to use land in Northport that Jess's grandfather owns.

Jess is amazed by the amount of debt some conventional farmers carry.

"That kind of farming requires that kind of investment," he says. "This small scale farming doesn't require that much capital. Anyone can afford this."
 
Still, Jess and Abra plan to borrow $1,000 dollars for next season. They want to help people eat locally year round. And their idea is to encourage people to buy large amounts of potatoes in the fall that can be stored and eaten through the winter.

So the loan will help them plant a lot more seed potatoes next spring.
They also want to create pamphlets with advice about storing potatoes and cooking them.

Abra is a chef and she says learning about food involves more than just sharing recipes.

"How do you get to know that food and know how to work with it," she says.

Farmers like Jess and Abra almost never approach banks or credit unions for a business loan, according to research done by Michigan State University.
Susan Cocciarelli is an economic development specialist, who wrote the report. She says the banks generally loan to commodity farmers that sell to known markets. But the bankers do know about the new trend in agriculture.

"I would say the majority of the people I interviewed had heard about local food suystems and could point out, 'yeah I've seen more farmer's markets,'" she says.

And that can mean missed opportunities. Coccerellie says wait to expand their businesses because they have to save up cash for every new investment. She'd like to see the banks and the people in the local food movement come together.

She calls it: "A financial pathway to scale up food."

Coccerelli says any pathway should also offer help to new farmers learning the trade and developing sound business models.

And that's exactly the goal of a new program based in Traverse City. The Utopia Foundation has started a loan fund that will help a handful of farmers in Leelanau County.

This is how Bare Knuckle Farm hopes to finance next year's potato crop.
In order to borrow money from the Utopia Foundation's fund you have to be part of the borrowing group. It's a group of farmers that meets each month to help each other with their businesses. They also help develop the proposals and advise the foundation about loans.

Utopia Foundation board member Heather Jordan says the group also has to help out a member in a pinch -- that is, if a member of the group is having trouble repaying.

The foundation also uses this group borrowing model to make micro-loans in Guatemala. And leaders say the needs of poor people in Guatemala are not that different from the needs of new farmers in northern Michigan. Both can use financial help and advice about starting or building a business. And Heather Jordan says both may end up moving if they don't get some help.
But farmers aren't lining up for the loan program.

The foundation could make up to five loans this year. And there may not be that many proposals.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Traverse City, Michigan Is A New Foodie Haven

By John Flesher, Associated Press:

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Attention, traveling foodies: Something yummy is happening in the Traverse City area, and it's even grabbed the attention of luminaries such as celebrity chef Mario Batali, who has a summer home on the scenic Leelanau Peninsula just northwest of town.
Long a top Midwestern tourist draw for its lakes, rivers, forests, beaches -- and the orchards that inspire the self-proclaimed moniker "cherry capital of the world" -- the Traverse City area is now home to an increasingly varied and sophisticated culinary culture with a strong emphasis on local ingredients.
The Lake Michigan resort town is awash in award-winning restaurants and wineries, artisan bakeries, dairies and farm markets. Midwest Living magazine recently placed Traverse City second on its list of the region's best "food towns," trailing only Madison, Wis.
The area's food scene "has just exploded" in the past decade, Batali said in a phone interview: "What you're seeing up there is a renaissance, the rise of a gastronomic subculture that makes it a fascinating place to be."
Trattoria Stella restaurant serves Italian fare ranging from crescenza cheese ravioli to veal scaloppine, but the menu also lists information about where the ingredients came from.
Sleeping Bear Farms provided the honey, Shetler Family Dairy the milk and cream. From Land of Goshen came eggs and Italian sausage. Other producers from the Grand Traverse Bay region of northwestern Lower Michigan supplied veggies, ground beef and lamb, maple syrup.
"It's just better when it hasn't traveled thousands of miles to get to your plate," Trattoria Stella proprietor Paul Danielson says.
It helps that Traverse City's Northwestern Michigan College hosts the Great Lakes Culinary Institute, which has trained many of the region's chefs. "I can't go into many of the restaurants around here without seeing what looks like a class reunion," says Fred Laughlin, the director.
Local farms by the hundreds reflect a statewide agricultural diversity second only to California's. Michigan leads the nation in production of tart cherries, blueberries, three types of dry beans and pickling cucumbers while ranking in the top 10 for dozens of other commodities, including apples, asparagus, carrots and potatoes.
And nature cultivates its own jewels. Batali delights in the morel mushrooms that grow wild on damp forest hillsides. So highly prized are the delectable fungi that productive gathering sites are closely guarded secrets.
Want to prepare your own meals while visiting Traverse City? The area has a couple dozen farmers' markets during harvest season, which typically runs from May to October. Or stop by a roadside stand en route to attractions such as Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a half-hour's drive west of town, or Mackinac Island two hours northeast.
Of course, many of us want someone else to cook while we're on vacation. That's where the restaurants come in.
"You can bring home all the cherries and asparagus you want," Batali said, "but if no one is creating sophisticated, specialty dishes with them it can have a sort of state-fair quality." Fortunately, he added, northwestern Michigan has restaurants and chefs whose skills are up to the challenge.
Danielson and his wife Amanda, co-owners of Trattoria Stella, are among many restaurateurs whose arrival in recent years has bolstered the region's culinary credentials. They chose an intriguing location: a building that once housed the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane. Seriously.
Constructed in the late 19th century, the mental institution occupied a grassy, tree-lined 480 acres. The yellow brick buildings are of Victorian Italianate design, and their rooftop turrets are reminiscent of European castles. Nowadays, the complex is a tourist attraction unto itself as it's redeveloped into a village with boutiques, eateries, wine tasting rooms and more.
With the asparagus harvest in full swing, Trattoria Stella's menu on a recent day featured the tender stalks in two appetizers -- one with poached egg and toasted sourdough -- and as a side dish for a Berkshire pork loin entree. Among other choices: fettuccine topped with morels sauteed in garlic butter and salad with pickled local ramps.
"Our suppliers have such an amazing selection of great stuff, we can rewrite the menu every single day," Paul Danielson says.
Plenty of neighboring restaurants are showcasing local ingredients as well.
Hanna's morel mushroom ravioli draws raves. The Cook's House, tiny but popular, wows customers with smoked rabbit salad, walleye and whitefish dishes -- and liberal use of cherries. Eric Patterson, chef and co-owner, apprenticed under the celebrated Andre Rochat in Las Vegas before migrating to northern Michigan. His business partner, Jennifer Blakeslee, is a local native who began working with Patterson at the celebrated Andre's restaurant in Vegas.
Both are among a cluster of quality restaurants in Traverse City's thriving downtown on Grand Traverse Bay. During the summer, sidewalks are busy as tourists sample cherry jams and salsas from vendors such as Cherry Republic and American Spoon or take in a movie at the historic State Theatre, headquarters for an indie film festival headed by Michael Moore.
For simpler fare, try a salad or sandwich at Lake Street Kitchen and Cafe in the Oryana Natural Foods Co-op, where shelves are packed with organic vegetables, fruits and locally produced foods ranging from peanut butter to ice cream. And just about anywhere, you can savor a slice of oven-warm pie oozing tart cherries, northern Michigan's signature fruit.
Dining opportunities abound outside town as well. A few miles east, Aerie Restaurant & Lounge changes menus seasonally as different local produce becomes available. An added bonus: its location on the 17th floor of Grand Traverse Resort, offering spectacular views of the bay and verdant countryside.
To the west, the Leelanau Peninsula is dotted with lakefront tourist villages and restaurants galore. Martha's Leelanau Table, a European-style bistro in Suttons Bay, stuffs its pancakes with northern Michigan blueberries and its frittatas with cheeses from nearby dairies.
Thirsty from all that food? Wineries and breweries have sprung up across Michigan's northlands, and their products are featured on many local restaurant menus. A favorite day trip for tourists is the 18-mile drive to the lighthouse park at the tip of Old Mission Peninsula. Along the way, visit tasting rooms at the likes of Chateau Grand Traverse, Chateau Chantal and Bowers Harbor Vineyards and watch a spectacular sunset. Nice way to work up an appetite for the next meal.
___

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Leelanau Peninsula

by Chicago Magazine

Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula—a relatively narrow outcropping just north of Traverse City, with its collection of lakeside towns, farms, beaches, and rolling hills—was a fairly well-kept secret until a few years ago. That’s when Mario Batali, the New York-based celebrity chef who has a summer home in Northport, started promoting the farm-to-table restaurants, cafés, shops, and farmers’ markets like only a TV personality can. The buzz is deserved and the peninsula’s towns are thriving on the attention. Connecting them all is M-22, a gorgeous stretch of road that follows Lake Michigan.


Head up M-22 north of Traverse City, where the road winds along the shores of Grand Traverse Bay and Suttons Bay. You’ll soon see signs for Ciccone Vineyard (10343 E. Hilltop Rd.; 231-271-5553), a local winery also known for the winemaker’s world-famous daughter: Madonna. Not long after, you’ll encounter Black Star Farms (10844 E. Revold Rd.; 231-944-1270), a gorgeous agriculture estate and winery. Park your car and walk around the property, which includes a stately inn, horse stables, tasting rooms, and a distillery. It will be the first of many moments when the Leelanau Peninsula reminds you of Northern California. Stop for lunch at The Hearth and Vine Café (231-944-1297; entrées from $10); the kitchen makes a fine wood-fired pizza.
A few miles north on M-22, Suttons Bay (see “Hot Hood,” below) is one of the more popular destinations on the peninsula for its walkable central area and boutique shopping. Continue inland on M-204 toward the town of Lake Leelanau, a gold mine for fresh produce. Local farmers set up humble stands on both sides of M-204. These typically operate on the honor system—look for a basket and leave what you think you owe.
Stay on M-22 as you leave Suttons Bay, and the road will lead to the adorable tiny town of Omena. Just steps from the water, the tasting room at Leelanau Cellars (5019 N. West Bay Shore Dr.; 231-386-5201) has a wall of windows overlooking Grand Traverse Bay. While there—or at any Michigan winery, for that matter—pay special attention to the rieslings, chardonnays, and other whites, since the region’s short growing season favors white varietals over reds. Across the street from the tasting room is another treasure: Tamarack Gallery (5039 N. West Bay Shore Dr.; 231-386-5529), a decades-old shop that represents more than 60 artists from around the country.
M-22 rolls and winds for another five miles before reaching the rustic town of Northport. If you get there early enough, grab your coffee and an old-fashioned doughnut or cinnamon twist at Barb’s Bakery (112 N. Mill St.; 231-386-5851) before they’re gone. The town offers a wealth of outdoor activities: Wander by the Northport Farmers’ Market at the marina, hike the dunes of Cathead Bay, walk along Christmas Cove, jump in the lake at any of the quaint beaches, and visit the historic Grand Traverse Lighthouse.
For a casual lunch or dinner, head south to Fischer’s Happy Hour Tavern (7100 N. Manitou Tr., 231-386-9923; entrées from $11), on a section of M-22 that runs along the western edge of the peninsula and through some of its most breathtaking vistas. Fischer’s has the cozy ambiance of a backwoods lodge and serves great no-frills classics: fried chicken, fried mushrooms, fried cauliflower, and some nonbattered items like burgers and fish. During the dinner rush, expect a considerable wait—but don’t leave. Get a drink at the bar and sip it on the restaurant’s porch.
Continuing south from Northport, M-22 cuts through gorgeous rolling hills, orchards, and forests before reaching the town of Leland. In a perfect world, your trip would include at least one of the following: the Leland Wine & Food Festival (June 9); the town’s Fourth of July parade, which oozes small-town Michigan charm; or a boat or fishing trip with one of the local charters, such as Manitou Island Transit (231-256-9061; day trips $20 to $35).
You can certainly squeeze in an afternoon stroll through Fishtown, a bygone fishing village where shops and charters still operate out of weathered shacks. Head to Carlson’s (205 River St.; 231-256-9801) for the day’s fresh catch, as well as smoked chub and whitefish (the adventurous will love the fish sausage). If you’re looking for a sit-down meal, locals will direct you to the 80-year-old Bluebird (102 River St., 231-256-9081; entrées from $16) and suggest that you order the whitefish or perch. The restaurant at The Riverside Inn (302 E. River St., 231-256-9971; entrées from $21) is great for something more formal.
South of Leland and inland a bit, Maple City is home to two restaurants where area chefs are known to dine on their day off: La Bécasse (9001 S. Dunns Farm Rd., 231-334-3944; entrées from $24) and Funistrada (4566 W. MacFarlane Rd., 231-334-3900; entrées from $25). But the biggest attraction is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a breathtaking stretch of sugar-sand dunes, beaches, and cliffs.
Watch the sun go down over Lake Michigan from the dining room at Blu (5705 S. Lake St., 231-334-2530; entrées from $25) in nearby Glen Arbor. This town feels livelier than most, especially when weekend crowds come to shop and sit outside at the restaurants and bars. At some point, pop into the Cherry Republic (6026 Lake St.; 800-206-6949), a store that pays homage to the county that “grows more cherries than any other county in the country” by—you guessed it—selling cherries, food with cherries, and trinkets involving cherries.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

National Cherry Festival Happenings

Traverse City Events: The 2012 Traverse City National Cherry Festival will be filled with live music, special entertainment events, parades and fireworks! Here's a line-up to help you plan your Traverse City National Cherry Festival week of fun!

Traverse City National Cherry Festival Kicks-Off with Air Show

July 7 and 8, 2012 12:45 p.m.
Traverse City's 86th Annual National Cherry Festival opens with the anticipated Festival Air Shows on Saturday, July 7 and Sunday, July 8 2012. Pilots will fly over West Grand Traverse Bay, in perfect position for crowds at the Festival Open Space in Traverse City to watch.

Bay Side Music Stage - The Bihlman Brothers

July 7, 2012 8:00 p.m.
Four-times Emmy Award winners and graduates of Musicians Institute of Technology. They have backed, recorded, or appeared with Trey Anastasio (phish), Ted Nugent, BB King, Pink, Ray Charles, Dido, Hank Williams Jr.,ZZ Top, Buddy Guy, Kenny Olsen (Kid Rock), John Echols (Love), Jack Tempchin (Eagles), Robert Bradley, Tim Pierce (everybody!), and legendary Chicago Blues man Son Seals.

Bay Side Music Stage - Pop Evil, Finding Clyde and Wayland

July 8, 2012 8:00 p.m.
Known for their love of University of Michigan’s ‘Big House’ Football Stadium through their hit single ‘In the Big House’, Pop Evil will rock the Festival’s Bay Side Stage. ‘Since re-releasing their first record in 2008, Pop Evil has developed their following the hard way. They have toured the US continuously since their first release, playing nearly 400 shows in two years and only taking time off to record their new album, War of Angels.

Heroes' Day Concert

July 9, 2012 1:30 p.m.
The NMC Concert Band and the Cherry Capitol Men's Chorus will perform on the Lay's Potato Chip Cherry Blast Stage. This free concert features American music as a tribute to Veterans, active duty and reserve military personnel and first responders.

National Writers Series - An Evening with Janet Evanovich

July 9, 2012 7:00 p.m.
The National Cherry Festival and The National Writer Series have teamed up to bring author Janet Evanovich to Traverse City this summer! See Janet speak at the City Opera House.

Lay's Cherry Blast Free Stage - The Corvairs

July 9, 2012 8:00 p.m.
Traverse City local band, The Corvairs!

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians Pow Wow

July 10, 2012 12:00 p.m.
The National Cherry Festival will celebrate the heritage of the region with a Native American Pow Wow Dance, presented by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Come and see the colorful display of dance and drumming from days gone by and taste Native American cuisine.

HEAT!! Teen Event

July 10, 2012 8:00 p.m.
The 2012 Heat event is offered this year on Tuesday, July 10th from 8:00pm – 11:00pm and will be located near the volleyball courts in the center of the National Cherry Festival. Entertainment features music through Northern D.J. Connection, and the hands-on opportunity to participate in firefighter agility tests and driving simulators, home escape obstacle course, and a “distracted driving” simulator. There will also be big prize giveaways from Rockstar, Volcom and 2nd Level Goods. Attendees must be between the ages of 16 to 20 and admission is FREE!

Lay's Cherry Blast Free Stage - LoCash Cowboys

July 10, 2012
LoCash Cowboys have criss-crossed the country, honing their craft on stages large and small, developing one of the most dynamic live shows in any genre of music. Along the way, they had sold more than 60,000 copies of their homemade CD, shared bills with artists including Charlie Daniels and ZZ Top and performed at halftime of NBA and U.S. Olympic team basketball games.

Cherryland Band Classic - MACBDA Preliminary Finals

July 11, 2012 6:00 p.m.
For the first time, the National Cherry Festival will host the Mid-American Competiting Band Directors Association Preliminary Finals during this year's National Cherry Festival. Come see Sound of Sun Prairie, Renegade Regiment, Shadow Armada and more!

Bay Side Music Stage - Joe Diffie and Jerrod Niemann

July 11, 2012
Since he first topped the charts in 1990 with Home, Joe Diffie has remained on a steady course, staying true to his Oklahoma roots and delivering hit after hit totaling twelve #1’s, twenty top 10’s and four gold and platinum albums. When you attend a Joe Diffie concert, you’re not waiting for him to sing his hit - you’re waiting for him to sing your hit. Whether it’s Ships That Don’t Come In, Pickup Man, John Deere Green, or If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets), Joe’s music always makes you remember where you were the first time you heard it.
Adding to the amazing music of Joe Diffie on Country Night: Jerrod Niemann! Niemann’s compositions reflect an adherence to the adage “Write what you know.” With hits like his lead No. 1 single, Lover, Lover or his lighthearted barroom anthem One More Drinkin’ Song, which climbed into the Top 15 on country radio, Jerrod will have you singing along in no time!

Touchstone Energy Junior Royale Parade

July 12, 2012 6:30 p.m.
See one of America's only Kids Parades, the Touchstone Energy Junior Royale Parade features the National Cherry Festival Prince and Princess court representing our 27 local Elementary schools. Come see clowns, marching bands, floats, and much more! This years theme is "America the Beautiful", celebrating the Sleeping Bear Sand Dune's designation as "America's Most Beautiful Place". The parade is approximately two hours.

Bay Side Music Stage - Blue Oyster Cult

July 12, 2012 8:00 p.m.
Blue Öyster Cult (often abbreviated BÖC) is an American rock band from Long Island, New York, best known for such classic rock songs as "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Burnin' for You", and "Godzilla". Since the release of their self-titled debut album in 1972, the band has sold over 24 million albums worldwide, including 7 million in the United States alone. The band's music videos, especially "Burnin' for You", received heavy rotation on MTV when the music television network premiered in 1981, cementing the band's contribution to the development and success of the music video in modern pop culture.

Afterglow with Rocker Mitch Ryder

July 12, 2012 11:00 p.m.
Rolling Stone Magazine has cited Mitch Ryder as one of the five most influential rock and roll singers to ever come from Detroit and has also published a special collectors issue entitled, “The Five Hundred Greatest Songs of All Time” which includes Mitch Ryder’s “Devil With the Blue Dress / Good Golly Miss Molly”; which was cut during his short sting with the ever changing back-up group The Detroit Wheels. If you are interested in witnessing a genuine legend perform join us for an afterglow party with Mitch Ryder at the Inside Out Gallery.

Cherryland Band Classic - MACBDA Championship Finals

July 13, 2012
The Cherryland Band Classic will again host the Mid-American Competiting Band Directors Association Championships during the 86th National Cherry Festival! Come see first hand the hard work of bands from throughout the midwest compete for the title of MACBDA Champion!

Queen's Coronation Ball and Royale Auction

July 13, 2012
Join us and meet the four candidates competing to be the 2011/2012 National Cherry Queen. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with hors d'ouevres, cash bar, and live and silent auctions benefiting the Queen's Scholarship Program. Program will get underway at 8:00 p.m. with the crowning of the 2011/2012 Queen at 9:00 p.m.

Bay Side Music Stage - Grand Funk Railroad

July 13, 2012 8:00 p.m.
Originally from Flint, Michigan, Grand Funk Railroad is an American rock band that made its name in the 1970's, selling out concert venues throughout the country. Since then the group still tours from coast to coast and was recently voted into the Michigan Legends Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 for several of their recordings. With songs out such as "We're an American Band" and "Some Kind of Wonderful" Grand Funk Railroad is always guaranteed to put on a fun and eventful concert.

Afterglow with Rocker Dick Wagner

July 13, 2012 11:00 p.m.
Dick Wagner’s songs and lead guitar have been featured on more than 200 renowned albums, garnering more than 35 Platinum and Gold records, BMI songwriter awards, Emmys, and numerous prestigious international awards. More than forty years after launching his storied and dynamic career, hit songwriter, guitar virtuoso, producer and arranger, Dick Wagner, remains a brilliant, prolific and vibrant force in American music. Whether rock, blues, country, jazz or spiritual, Wagner’s songs continue to detail the essence of life. His guitar playing continues to inspire guitarists worldwide, and his production values recall the era of great songs with great melodies and universally accessible lyrics.

DTE Energy Cherry Royale Parade

July 14, 2012 11:15 a.m.
Join us in kicking off the 86th National Cherry Festival's final day with the DTE Energy Cherry Royale Parade! Enjoy royalty, marching bands, Prince and Princess floats, clowns, specialty entries and much more! Wheelchair access on the corner of 6th and Union Street.

Cherry Idol Finals

July 14, 2012
Cherry Idol finalists returned to the Bay Side Music Stage to compete for the 2012 Cherry Idol title!

Bay Side Music Stage - Here Come The Mummies

July 14, 2012
Here Come the Mummies will bring their "Terrifying Funk from Beyond the Grave" and are looking forward to a party atmosphere in Traverse City on Saturday, July 14th! Enjoy Festival fireworks and great funk!

Festival Fireworks Finale Over West Grand Traverse Bay

July 14, 2012 10:30 p.m.
It's a Fireworks Finale in grand style over West Grand Traverse Bay closing out the 2012 National Cherry Festival! Fireworks can be viewed along the south end of West Grand Traverse Bay near the Festival Open Space Park, Clinch Park Marina, Bryant and West End beaches.

 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cherry Festival-Traverse City

The Cherry Festival

The Grand Traverse region, known for its world-record tart cherry harvest, bursts with visitors eager to savor the flavor of cherries tucked into everything imaginable. Each day Festival goers find cherry delights along with parades, family and kids events and entertainment. In all, there are more than 150 events along the shores of Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay. The Festival has been named in USA Todays top ten festivals for several years running.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Polka Fest in Cedar

The The 2012 Cedar Polka Fest will be held July 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th, 2012. Highlights include a parade on Saturday at noon, softball tournament, a polka mass and (of course) polka under the big, big tent with the big names of polka. More details as we have them!
Polka!Thursday, July 5, 2012The annual Cedar Polka Festival begins with the flag raising ceremony at 5:00 p.m. Music and dancing begins immediately after the ceremony. Music TBA.
Friday, July 6, 2012Sidewalk Chalk Art at 10 am, meet at the Town Hall. Music and dancing beings at 2 pm.
Saturday, July 7, 2012Polka Fest Parade beings at noon at the Solon Twp. Hall. All participants should be at the Solon Twp. Hall by 11:30 am sharp.
Music and dancing begins at 2 pm and runs until 1 am.
Sunday, July 8, 2012Polka Mass celebrated with Bishop Cooney begins at 11 am under the tent. Music and dancing resumes at 1 pm.
Admissions-per person
  • Thursday & Sunday $5.00
  • Fri & Sat $10.00
  • 3 Day Pass $20.00
  • (Ages 13 thru 20) 1/2 price when accompanied by parent
  • (Ages 12 & Under) Free when accompanied by parent
For Info Phone: (231) 228-3378 or email cedarchamber@gmail.com.
The photo is Polka Dancing in Krakow by beastiekeith. Check out the Library of Congress Local Legacies and the Leelanau.com/map Cedar Polka Fest location

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jobs and mid-sized farms

Cherry Capitol Foods

What do California and Michigan have in common besides thousands of miles of coastline? I would argue that as the 2 most agriculturally diverse states we are both poised to create jobs and opportunities around an often overlooked and neglected market sector, namely farming. Elanor Starmer blogs that "the midsized family farms that used to dominate U.S. agriculture are disappearing, and with them, the jobs they once brought on and off the farm. That's largely a consequence of the fact that over the last few decades, the number of companies that buy food from farmers, process it, and distribute it to consumers has shrunk while the size of the few left has grown dramatically" If you replace California with Michigan and SF Bay Area with GT Bay Area the similarities are uncanny.
So, how can you help? One way is to "buy local" whenever you can. The Michigan Land Use Institute has a great program, "Spend 10 Local Dollars" and the resources to help. Check it out and let's help build more of those mid-sized farms that are crucial to our health and well being, economic growth, and food safety. Take the pledge!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Raw Food Diet--Health for Pets

From Raw Food Diet

Nutrition is finally being recognized as a legitimate treatment modality in mainstream medicine. Many of our modern medical complaints can be directly linked to our poor eating habits; cancer, heart disease, hypertension and adult onset diabetes to name the more prominent concerns. Our society has become dependant on processed foods that are loaded with preservatives to extend their shelf life. Our dogs are no less affected by this lifestyle trend than we are. Our dogs are developing the same health problems we have. Because our dogs generational turnover is shorter than ours, we can see our future in our dogs' health today.
Commercially prepared dog food is a relatively new concept. Processed pet food has only been available a mere few decades. How did our dogs survive so many centuries without it? They ate the same home grown and home cooked meals our forbears did.

If you knew what was in the high priced and over-hyped product you faithfully feed your dog you would be appalled. Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Naural Health for Dogs and Cats (Rodale) gives a detailed description of the pet food process. The meat source can include diseased carcasses that are declared unfit for human consumption by the USDA. A percentage of indigestible body parts, such as feathers, beaks and bills is allowed to be included. Hormones and antibiotics that have been fed and injected into these meat animals to promote greater muscle development are passed on to our pets. This meat meal is then cooked down thus denaturing the protein and destroying most of the nutritive content remaining. Cooking also destroys the vitamins and enzymes which must then be replaced. Fat becomes rancid, so preservatives are added to prolong the shelf life of the food. The cheaper foods are more grain than meat. Read your label, a meat source should be one of the first two ingredients listed. Dyes are added to make the food appear more palatable to our eyes. I could go on and on, read Dr. Pitcairn's book.

I first became nutritionally aware in nursing school. We learned of all the diseases that can result from a deficient diet, but the concept of optimizing our health through diet had not quite caught on. My mother is a health food enthusiast, she began preaching good nutrition before it became the politically correct thing to do. She introduced me to Dr. Pitcairn through his column in Prevention magazine. I bought his book about twelve years ago and fed my dogs his fresh food recipes for several months, then fell off the wagon and fed it sporadically. I tried to feed a "natural" commercial food preserved with vitamins E and C. The dogs did reasonably well, although one dog was definitively diagnosed as hypothyroid, and another had a deteriorating coat with dark skin pigmentation. According to MSU he had normal (though low end) thyroid levels. My vet agreed to try thyroid supplementation and my dog slowly began to grow new coat. I then switched to a new commercial food made with human consumption quality ingredients and preserved with tocopherols (vitamin E). He also received an oil supplement containing the essential fatty acids and zinc. His coat improved even more.

Chris Lynch (Westwind) sparked a new determination to feed fresh food after I heard her presentation on alternative medicine at the Boston National in 1995. The recipe for a 20-25# dog, based on Pat McKay's (Reigning Cats and Dogs) follows:


1/2 cup raw meat (ground poultry, beef, lamb, organ meats)
1/2 cup raw pureed vegetables (variety!)
1/4 cup cooked whole grains
1 teaspoon bonemeal powder (double for puppies and pregnancy)
1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid powder with bioflavinoids (vitamin C)
1/4 teaspoon kelp powder
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic (not powder)
1 teaspoon oil mixture (2 teaspoons with poutlry)

Oil mixture:
11 oz. canola oil (cold pressed)
2 oz. wheat germ oil
2 oz. flax oil
Keep refridgerated in an opaque container.


I spoke with Chris at the Chicago National (1997) and she told me that Pat McKay has refined the recipe. She now eliminates the grains and increases the meat and vegetables proportionately, and only adds the oil if poultry is fed.

The meat must be fed RAW. Many people are squeamish at the idea, but we must realize that our dogs digestive systems are radically different from ours. They are carnivores, their digestive tracts are much shorter and their stomach acids much stronger. Dogs should be fed raw bones (cooked bones will splinter). The vegetables must be pureed or they will come out looking pretty much the same way they did going in. Wild canines get their vegetable matter by eating the digested intestinal contents of their vegetarian prey. Variety is essential to deliver the correct mix of vitamins and minerals.

I now feed Dr. Billinghurst's evolutionary or biologically appropriate raw food diet (AKA as the BARF diet). It consists mainly of raw meaty bones (approximately 50% bone/50% meat) and pulped vegetables and fruits mixed with organ meats (liver, heart and kidneys), yoghurt, garlic and whole raw eggs. Supplements are added to supply the essential fatty acids. These oil supplements consist of cod liver oil (source of vitamin A), fish body oil and/or flax seed oil or ground flax seed meal (sources of omega 3 EFA's), olive oil, and oil of evening primrose (only once a week). Other supplements include vitamins C and E, alfalfa powder, kelp powder, brewers yeast (source of vitamin B's) and apple cider vinegar. The dogs are fed their meat/veggie patties every third day and are fed whole raw meaty bones (chicken backs, necks and wings, turkey necks, pork and lamb neck bones) the other two days. The first advantage to feeding raw meaty bones that I was able to witness was sparkling clean white teeth and fresh breath within a week of starting the diet.

A fresh food diet can be more costly, but if you search for bargains or know someone that raises their own meat animals it does not need to be prohibitive. I know I am paying much less in vet bills as my dogs are in vibrant good health. Their coats are lush and glossy; the fur feels supple and alive, not dead and dry. If a dog is in less than optimal condition it will show in his coat first as the body will sacrifice skin and coat to preserve the more vital organs. Be aware too that skin and coat will look worse when you first begin feeding a fresh food diet as the skin functions as an excretory organ and slowly purges the body of accumulated toxins. Be also aware that you will not have an overnight improvement, it will take several weeks to complete the detoxification process and several months to grow a completely new coat. You should, however, see an immediate improvement in your dog's vitality and zest for life.

Diet is one of the most important things we can change to maximize our dogs health. Our dogs have additional requirements, such as free exercise with room to race and leap and turn to properly condition all of the muscle groups. My fenced back yard is large enough to allow my dogs room to run with many natural obstacles and a gentle slope to build strong muscles. The older dogs are less inclined to exercise themselves so they are walked several times a week. Fresh untainted water is becoming a luxury as our ground water becomes increasingly contaminated. The role injectable vaccines has played in stressing our dogs immune systems and the rising incidence of autoimmune disorders is becoming more recognized. It is frightening how we abuse our puppies immature immune systems by injecting them with multiple watered down diseases.

Indeed, many of the things we currently do to protect our dogs health may be compromising their ability to successfully fight off infection or infestation. Germs and parasites are opportunists, weaker animals are more likely to be affected. By routinely poisoning our animals internally and externally, we are weakening our pets' overall health and positively inviting the pests to take over. I see an occasional flea from time to time, but I have not been overrun with fleas in years. I do not bomb the house or spray my dogs. Flea combing the cats is the only direct approach I take to undermine the fleas. Carpets are ideal breeding grounds for fleas, so I stick with wood, linoleum and ceramic floors. I do use a monthly heartworm preventative, but am uneasy about poisoning my dogs on a monthly basis.

The body's ability to protect us and our dogs is amazing. We should do all we can to assist it and as little as possible to hinder it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Michigan fruit growers face record losses in 2012

by Absolute Michigan

Michigan farmers are now reaping the unpleasant harvest of our strange "Summer in March." The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the United States Department of Agriculture puts the 2012 losses for apples, asparagus, blueberries, sweet & tart cherries, peaches and juice grapes in Michigan at $223.5 million. That's 62% of these commodities' 5-year average combined value of $359.6 million.
In the Detroit News feature, Michigan Farm Bureau commodity specialist Ken Nye explains:
"This is the worst that Michigan has experienced in the past 50 years at least," Nye said. "I don't know how far you'd have to go back to find something similar."
Michigan produces three-fourths of the nation's tart cherries, used primarily in pies and other food products, and 20 percent of its sweet cherries, a popular table fruit. It ranks third nationally in apple production, behind Washington and New York.
The state is no stranger to spring cold snaps, and experts say orchards remain vulnerable throughout May. The tart cherry crop was a near-total loss a decade ago. What sets this year apart is not just the severity of the damage but the variety of fruits affected.
"We've had freezes before, but you'd always have something come through OK," said David Rabe, who grows apples, tart cherries, peaches and asparagus in Oceana County. "This year, just about everything's devastated. Asparagus might be the only crop we can harvest."
The numbers are pretty devastating:
  • Apples: 90 percent loss, $110 million
  • Blueberries: 10 percent loss, $15 million
  • Juice Grapes: 85 percent loss, $18 million
  • Peaches: 95 percent loss, $14 million
  • Sweet Cherries: 80 percent loss, $15 million
  • Tart Cherries: 90 percent loss, $50 million
  • Asparagus: 10 percent loss, $1.5 million

Friday, June 22, 2012

Northern Michigan Attractions: Follow Mario Batali in Leelanau County

http://www.mynorth.com/My-North/August-2011/Northern-Michigan-Attractions-Follow-Mario-Batali-in-Leelanau-County/

Northern Michigan Attractions: Given its rich variety of fresh local produce, dairy, meat and wine coupled with a landscape marked by dunes, Lake Michigan vistas and vineyards, it's no wonder Mario Batali chose Leelanau County as the location of his summer escapes from New York City. The world-famous foodie visited Northern Michigan for the first time just 10 years ago and kept coming back year after year. While all Northern Michigan enthusiasts, understand the draw of this magical Michigan landscape, it is affirming to see this superstar chef raving about Northern Michigan through just about every social media site possible.
Check out this blog about the chef's travels through Leelanau County and then why not cook like Mario Batali as well? Here is a delicious sweet summer recipe from our neighbor, Mario Batali.
Bon appetit!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Supporting Local Food and Farms

No Farms No Food

The message is simple and couldn't be more clear—America's farms and ranches provide an unparalleled abundance of fresh, healthy and local food, but they are rapidly disappearing.

Ninety-one percent of America’s fruit and seventy-eight percent of our vegetables are grown near metro regions, where they are in the path of development. And America has been losing more than an acre of farmland every minute. That's why supporting local food and farms is more important than ever!

Check out the American Farmland Trust link above for ideas and actions to save your local farmers.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Some thoughts on seasonal fruit!

from the Sustainable Table:

An important part of buying local is making an effort to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season in your area. Although today's global marketplace allows us to buy foods grown virtually anywhere in the world all year round, these options are not the most sustainable.

By purchasing local foods in-season, you eliminate the environmental damage caused by shipping foods thousands of miles, your food dollar goes directly to the farmer, and your family will be able to enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Buying seasonal produce also provides an exciting opportunity to try new foods and to experiment with seasonal recipes. And it simply tastes better!

Even if you don't want to change any of your eating habits, you can at least make sure to buy local produce when it's available, rather than purchase the same type of food from 3000 miles away!

For an added challenge, try to eat most foods only when they are in season, or can seasonal food in order to eat and enjoy it all year round.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Local Foods Movement in Northern Michigan: The Traverse Magazine Story

Posted by Elizabeth Edwards

I've lived in Northern Michigan long enough to know that there was a period in the early 1980's when our restaurant scene was going to go the way of so many other cities: from small, cozy mom n' pop restaurants to a smother lode of chain restaurants. But as Jeff Smith chronicles in his story "Local Foods All-Stars" in the May issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine, a man named Justin Rashid planted a seed--so to speak--that would eventually save our region from becoming a Kentucky-fried Anywhere USA and set it on the path of national recognition for our local food scene. What Rashid did was complemented by three decades of roll-up-you-sleeves work by other local food visionaries.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Country Lore: Online Seed Exchange

By Colleen Vanderlinden

Starting a new garden can be expensive, even if you start from seeds. Online seed exchanges are a perfect solution. For less than $5 for postage and bubble wrap, I’ve received more seeds than I can plant in a season.
The best online seed exchange I’ve found is the iVillage GardenWeb Seed Exchange. It has many gardeners from the United States and Canada. Often exchangers offer seed for nothing more than postage, and give extra surprises in the packages they send.
If money is tight, but you have dreams of a lush, bloom-filled garden, give a seed exchange a try.
Colleen Vanderlinden
Harper Woods, Michigan

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sleeping Bear Dune Events: Free Summer Programs at Sleeping Bear Dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes Events:

Get to know the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as well as a Park Ranger at the variety of free educational programs and events offered this summer at Sleeping Bear Dunes, beginning June 10 and ending September 3, 2012. Each evening, there will be two programs to chose from, one held at the Platte River Campground Amphitheater, and one at the D.H. Day Campground Amphitheater. Program topics include early local farm life, star gazing, wildlife, shipwrecks, and guided bike tours, and each begins at 8:00 p.m. Best of all, the program attendance is not limited to those staying at the campground- they are open and free to everyone who loves Northern Michigan.

In addition to the 8:00 p.m. programs, the summer schedule will include the popular “Heroes of the Storm” program every day at 3:00 p.m. at the Maritime Museum in Glen Haven. Park Rangers recruit the assistance of young audience members to serve as U.S. Life Saving Service surfmen to recreate a shipwreck rescue on land. They haul lines and use replicas of historic equipment in an effort to save Raggedy Ann and Andy from their sinking vessel.

There will also be late morning and afternoon hikes with Park Rangers to see first-hand the Sleeping Bear Dunes natural and historic features. These hikes provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy the park while learning about its resources from a knowledgeable guide.

Park Ranger-guided bicycle tours will also continue this year. Enjoy riding the backroads south of Empire while learning about the invasive species that impact this special landscape. Starting on June 21, the first ever Park Ranger-led bike programs begin on the new Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail from Glen Arbor to the Dune Climb.

Programs will not take place on August 10-11 because all staff will be at the Port Oneida Fair; a celebration of rural life, skills and crafts. Mark your calendars to attend the Fair, the park’s largest special event of the summer!
To attend these programs and events, meet at the location indicated in the program description. Make sure you have purchased your summer Park Entrance Pass and have prominently displayed it in your vehicle! Make group reservations or ask questions by calling 231.326.5135

Monday, June 11, 2012

What’s my carbon footprint?

By Alison Baenen
Greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide emissions, fossil fuels . . . unless you're an environmental policy wonk, an earth activist or an ecosexual (a new breed of online singles looking for sustainably committed partners -- seriously!), it's hard to keep all of today's green-minded jargon straight.

Carbon footprint -- a phrase that has become as ubiquitous in pop culture as "LOL" -- has a simple definition, but for the everyday person, understanding its parts takes some digging.
In short, our individual carbon footprint equals the amount of carbon dioxide we give off. You're giving some off right now just by exhaling, but what concerns environmentalists are the emissions we release indirectly.

Heating your home, driving a car and even buying a carpet (more on that later) all contribute to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Of course, some carbon dioxide in the air is natural -- and necessary, since trees and plants absorb it and use it for photosynthesis.

But climatologists are concerned that we're producing too much of it. The result is that carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is trapping heat from the sun and sending it back to Earth, resulting in global warming.
It's a big problem, but there are ways to reduce your own carbon emissions (carbon footprint sounds much cooler, right?), thus helping decrease global warming. Here are five easy ways to step lightly:

1.
Change your bulbs.

Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). They last longer, use less energy and will save you money.

2.
Take a walk.

Drive less, bike more. Your bod -- and the globe -- will thank you.

3.
Warm up your windows.
Adding a layer of insulation to your windows will keep warmth in and heating costs down.

4.
Reduce waste.
Cut down on what you throw away, and use reusable goods whenever possible. If you can, compost your food. Reducing household waste and putting energy back into the earth means less trash in landfills and more land to plant carbon dioxide-absorbing trees.

5. Go for small.


When it comes to rugs in your home, smaller ones require less energy to make. Perfect for your smaller footprint!


Friday, June 8, 2012

North Central Michigan College to offer workshops for farmers, gardeners

By Petoskey News

PETOSKEY — North Central Michigan College will offer workshops for farmers and gardeners on Wednesdays in June, July and August. The workshops are part of the college's Growing Our Future Farm and Garden Series and are presented by Corporate and Community Education at North Central.

Farmers, gardeners, food producers, sellers and people interested in healthy local food production are invited to the workshops to learn and share ideas.
The summer series includes workshops on garden planning and planting for the long-term from 6-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 13. Weed identification and management will take place from 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, July 18, and using cover crops in the garden will take place from 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 22. All workshops will be held at the Petoskey Community Victory Garden on Sheridan Street.

In addition, Michigan's cottage foods law will be the topic of discussion from 6-9 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 1, in room 143 of North Central's main administration and classroom building.

For more information or to register for these workshops, call (231) 348-6705

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

BBQ & Brew Fest returns to Glen Arbor

by Glen Arbor Sun

Kick off summer in the Most Beautiful Place in America. After a one-year hiatus, the fourth annual Glen Arbor BBQ and Brew Festival will be held on June 16 from noon – 6 p.m. in Glen Arbor, in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This year the event will be in the center of town, on the corner of Lake Street and M‐22, just a block away from beautiful Lake Michigan.
Admission for the event is $15, which includes two drink tickets that may be redeemed for samples of local and regional microbrews. This year the event will have more breweries than ever: Bell’s Brewery, Founders Brewing Co., Arcadia Ales, Jolly Pumpkin, Right Brain Brewery, Schmohz Brewery, Mount Pleasant Brewing Co., Cheboygan Brewing Co. and Dark Horse Brewing Co. Each will be on hand with brewery representatives to tell you all about their ice cold craft beers.
To balance out your brew, the event will also feature six restaurants, each providing traditional or unique BBQ fare. Serving up BBQ will be these local favorites: Cherry Republic, Art’s Tavern, Western Ave. Grill, Bear Paw Pizza & Market, McCahill’s Crossing and Foothills Café. Traditional and unique BBQ samples will be served, and range in price from $1 to $5 each (cash only).
For those who prefer the BBQ without the brew, there will also be local, alcohol‐free beverages on hand from Great Lakes Tea and Spice, Northwoods Soda, Cherry Republic and Bay Lavender. This is a family‐ friendly event, and admission is free for kids 12 and under.
Live music will be provided throughout the entire event by the Traverse City based band, Erratixz. They’ll be rocking M‐22 with 80s and rock classics.
The event will follow on the heels of the Glen Arbor Solstice 5K and Half Marathon, taking place on the morning of the 16th. The half marathon will take runners around picturesque Big Glen Lake, and back into downtown Glen Arbor. Come watch racers cross the finish line, then head over to the fest for the post‐race party! More information about the race can be found at enduranceevolution.com.
The Gold sponsors for this year’s event are Leelanau Vacation Rentals, Art’s Tavern, Northwoods Hardware, Gordon Food Service, G.J.’s Rentals, Boonedocks and North Coast Design. For a complete list of the 27 event sponsors and more information, please visit bbqandbrewfest.com.
To purchase tickets to the BBQ and Brew Festival in advance, please visit bit.ly/bbqtickets.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

By Howard Lovy

The fall colors are past their peak, the sounds of summer festivals a distant echo, the taillights of the last tourist's car only a faint red as it travels south of M-22. Once again, Leelanau County is left to those who live here year round.
For some businesses in Michigan's peninsula-within-a-peninsula, now is a time for hibernation, to live off summer's earnings through the winter ahead.
J.T. "Chip" Hoagland, chairman of the Leelanau County Economic Development Corp., is having none of that.
There is work to be done to create an economy that keeps people working long after the snowbirds have flown south. And he has one word of advice: "charcuterie."
The word refers to a method of preserving and presenting pork — or, as Hoagland likes to call pigs, "local proteins," since he hopes to build on Leelanau County's growing reputation as a foodie's heaven. He just wrapped up a celebration of local proteins he called "Pigstock," where local chefs were introduced to local pork.
So what does this have to do with creating jobs in Leelanau County? It's about extracting more business and employment out of existing strengths and local conditions, as opposed to attracting entirely new industries.
Another of those strengths, simply put, is people — more of them. In the last census period, two parts of the state saw growth: West Michigan and northwest lower Michigan. It's also a population whose level of education rivals that of Washtenaw and Oakland counties.
Aside from tourism, Leelanau County's economy is built upon farming. While northern Michigan cherries are widely known, their season has come and gone. Pigs keep giving year round.
Hoagland pictures a test kitchen and restaurant incubator — much like the high-tech business incubators in Oakland and Washtenaw counties — where startup restaurants can work with local farmers to get their businesses off the ground.
The numbers seem to back up Hoagland's pigs-for-jobs strategy. According to a report produced by the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments "accommodation and food services" represented about one in six total jobs available in Leelanau County as of 2009. And, increasingly, these jobs are no longer seasonal only.
"It's really interesting how many restaurants are in the county and the fact that most of those stay open year round," said Matt McCauley, director of regional planning for the council of governments.
Like Hoagland, McCauley credits the local-food movement for a restaurant boom that is not so dependent on tourist season.
"Leelanau County is truly a leader in a resurgence around agriculture," McCauley said. "Because of the wineries, hops farms, all sorts of burgeoning agriculture and value-added activity, all sorts of people are choosing to locate here to be part of that."
By "value-added," he means businesses such as Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, which not only uses local cherries but also turns them into chocolates, jam and other products that then are shipped around the world.
In addition, McCauley said, "The restaurants in the region — and we're getting more and more notoriety as a foodie destination — are choosing and actually seeking out local products for their menu items."
Hoagland uses the example of Bare Knuckle Farms, near Northport at the tip of Michigan's pinkie. The farm is run by two young business partners who met while attending the University of Michigan and wanted to test what they learned about linking a restaurant to a specific piece of land.
Bare Knuckle is small, as are other farms run by transplanted farmers in the local food movement. But McCauley and Hoagland both see the county's future in them.
Indeed, according to a recent Michigan Agri-Business Association report, agriculture represents a $70 billion piece of the state's economy and has been the most significant contributor to economic growth in Michigan in the past decade. It's also an industry, the association said, that's struggling to find enough people to fill jobs, "From high-level, technologically advanced professional jobs to managers to field workers who can help with harvest and milk cows."
Businesspeople such as the ones behind Bare Knuckle Farms embody what McCauley calls Leelanau County's increasingly educated "human capital." The county ranks third in the state in the percentage of the population with bachelor's degrees or higher — behind Oakland and Washtenaw. Those two counties have knowledge-based economies, for the most part.
"That same thing is happening in Leelanau County, but just at a smaller scale," McCauley said. With more workers choosing, out of necessity, to be self-employed, it is easy to live in Leelanau while telecommuting for a company in Chicago or New York, he said.
Still, what is happening now with local food is building for the future. The present still looks like a recession. The unemployment rate might be down to 7.7 percent, the lowest since 2008. But as the Leelanau Enterprise newspaper points out in an editorial, the local economy "is feeding off a solitary diet of tourism — and is now suffering from a lack of diversity."
Which brings up baabaazuzu, the next stop on any tour of Leelanau County's possible future — one that looks beyond the county's borders. The Lake Leelanau-based clothing company received the first-ever loan given out by the Leelanau County Economic Development Corp. — $25,000 in 2008 and 2009. That helped push baabaazuzu from a small operation in which clothing was cut by hand to a more automated manufacturing site whose products are sold at more than 900 retailers worldwide.
Baabaazuzu co-owner Kevin Burns said the county previously never pursued manufacturing, choosing purely agriculture. Baabaazuzu rests on the only plot of land in the county designated for industrial use. Burns credits the loan — which baabaazuzu since has paid back — for funding the equipment the company needed to grow.
Baabaazuzu has no intention of moving out of the county as it grows. As Burns says, you can't beat a commute that involves only one stop sign.
"We like the idea that we can produce in Leelanau County," he said. "We like the idea that we're from Michigan. People are cheering for us."
And, said co-owner Sue Burns, baabaazuzu has no need to move because Leelanau County has a pool of talented workers — especially off-season.
Baabaazuzu consistently has grown 30 percent to 40 percent every year, the owners said, except for last year — growth was 10 percent.
So, how can Leelanau County produce baabaazuzus?
"We're fortunate in that we produce a unique product that is not dependent on summer trade," Sue Burns said. "We don't get a lot of foot traffic; we sell our products out of Leelanau County. We're not dependent on this one little nucleus. I would encourage that.
"Whatever you're going to produce, how can you make it sell outside of this region?"
Just as baabaazuzu and Cherry Republic are successful because their products are in niche markets and can be sold around the world, local small farmers and restaurants have found success because they can sell locally.
Although Leelanau County is beginning to feel its way toward an economy not based on tourism only, these disparate attempts at adaptation are only in the beginning stages.
McCauley, who is also involved in a 10-county regional partnership known as the Grand Vision, sees hope because there is strength in numbers. An educated workforce with ambitious, innovative ideas is seeding the entire region.
"We remain a growing part of this state, and, as a result, a lot of economic opportunity is going on," McCauley said. "And population growth remains a true force behind all economic growth in this region."

Eight Reasons to Eat Local Foods

 
Eating local foods is better for you, for the environment, and (most importantly) for your taste buds. Here are the top eight big, umbrella-style reasons you might want to consider eating more local foods.

1. Local Foods Are Fresher (and Taste Better)

Local food is fresher and tastes better than food that been trucked or flown in from thousands of miles away. Think you can't taste the difference between lettuce picked yesterday and lettuce picked last week, factory-washed, and sealed in plastic? You can.
And fresh food? It lasts longer too.

2. Local Foods Are Seasonal (and Taste Better)

It must be said: Deprivation leads to greater appreciation. When does a cozy room feel best? When you've come in from out of the freezing cold. Fresh corn in season tastes best when you haven't eaten any in 9 or 10 months--long enough for its taste to be a slightly blurred memory that is suddenly awakened with that first bite of the season. Eating locally means eating seasonally, with all the deprivation and resulting pleasure that accompanies it.

3. Local Foods Usually Have Less Environmental Impact

Those thousands of miles some food is shipped? That leads to a big carbon footprint for a little bunch of herbs. Look for farmers who follow organic and sustainable growing practices and energy use to minimize your food's environmental impact.

4. Local Foods Preserve Green Space & Farmland

The environmental question of where you food comes from is bigger than its "carbon footprint." By buying foods grown and raised closer to where you live, you help maintain farmland and green space in your area.

5. Local Foods Promote Food Safety

The fewer steps there are between your food's source and your table the less chance there is of contamination. Also, when you know where your food comes from and who grows it, you know a lot more about that food. During the e. coli outbreak in spinach in 2006 I knew the spinach in my refrigerator was safe because I knew it was grown in Yolo County by a farmer I knew, and, as importantly, that it didn't come from Salinas County where the outbreak was. (The knowledge would have worked in reverse too: if the outbreak had been in Yolo County instead, I would have known to throw that bunch of greens and scrub down the fridge!)

6. Local Foods Support Your Local Economy

Money spent with local farmers, growers, and artisans and locally-owned purveyors and restaurants all stays close to home, working to build your local economy instead of being handed over to a corporation in another city, state, or country. Since the food moves through fewer hands, more of the money you spend tends to get to the people growing it.
To make the biggest local economic impact with your food budget, seek out producers who pay their workers a fair wage and practice social justice in their business.

7. Local Foods Promote Variety

Local foods create greater variety of foods available. Farmers who run community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs), sell at farmers' markets, and provide local restaurants have the demand and the support for raising more types of produce and livestock. Think Brandywines, Early Girls, and Lemon Boys instead of "tomatoes."

8. Local Foods Create Community

Knowing where your food is from connects you to the people who raise and grow it. Instead of having a single relationship--to a big supermarket--you develop smaller connections to more food sources: vendors at the farmers' market, the local cheese shop, your favorite butcher, the co-op that sells local eggs, a local café that roasts coffee.
Eating locally? It connects you to a larger world.

Monday, June 4, 2012

After the leaves leave, Leelanau County works to build economy less dependent on tourism

By Howard Lovy


The fall colors are past their peak, the sounds of summer festivals a distant echo, the taillights of the last tourist's car only a faint red as it travels south of M-22. Once again, Leelanau County is left to those who live here year round.
For some businesses in Michigan's peninsula-within-a-peninsula, now is a time for hibernation, to live off summer's earnings through the winter ahead.
J.T. "Chip" Hoagland, chairman of the Leelanau County Economic Development Corp., is having none of that.
There is work to be done to create an economy that keeps people working long after the snowbirds have flown south. And he has one word of advice: "charcuterie."
The word refers to a method of preserving and presenting pork — or, as Hoagland likes to call pigs, "local proteins," since he hopes to build on Leelanau County's growing reputation as a foodie's heaven. He just wrapped up a celebration of local proteins he called "Pigstock," where local chefs were introduced to local pork.
So what does this have to do with creating jobs in Leelanau County? It's about extracting more business and employment out of existing strengths and local conditions, as opposed to attracting entirely new industries.
Another of those strengths, simply put, is people — more of them. In the last census period, two parts of the state saw growth: West Michigan and northwest lower Michigan. It's also a population whose level of education rivals that of Washtenaw and Oakland counties.
Aside from tourism, Leelanau County's economy is built upon farming. While northern Michigan cherries are widely known, their season has come and gone. Pigs keep giving year round.
Hoagland pictures a test kitchen and restaurant incubator — much like the high-tech business incubators in Oakland and Washtenaw counties — where startup restaurants can work with local farmers to get their businesses off the ground.
The numbers seem to back up Hoagland's pigs-for-jobs strategy. According to a report produced by the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments "accommodation and food services" represented about one in six total jobs available in Leelanau County as of 2009. And, increasingly, these jobs are no longer seasonal only.
"It's really interesting how many restaurants are in the county and the fact that most of those stay open year round," said Matt McCauley, director of regional planning for the council of governments.
Like Hoagland, McCauley credits the local-food movement for a restaurant boom that is not so dependent on tourist season.
"Leelanau County is truly a leader in a resurgence around agriculture," McCauley said. "Because of the wineries, hops farms, all sorts of burgeoning agriculture and value-added activity, all sorts of people are choosing to locate here to be part of that."
By "value-added," he means businesses such as Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, which not only uses local cherries but also turns them into chocolates, jam and other products that then are shipped around the world.
In addition, McCauley said, "The restaurants in the region — and we're getting more and more notoriety as a foodie destination — are choosing and actually seeking out local products for their menu items."
Hoagland uses the example of Bare Knuckle Farms, near Northport at the tip of Michigan's pinkie. The farm is run by two young business partners who met while attending the University of Michigan and wanted to test what they learned about linking a restaurant to a specific piece of land.
Bare Knuckle is small, as are other farms run by transplanted farmers in the local food movement. But McCauley and Hoagland both see the county's future in them.
Indeed, according to a recent Michigan Agri-Business Association report, agriculture represents a $70 billion piece of the state's economy and has been the most significant contributor to economic growth in Michigan in the past decade. It's also an industry, the association said, that's struggling to find enough people to fill jobs, "From high-level, technologically advanced professional jobs to managers to field workers who can help with harvest and milk cows."
Businesspeople such as the ones behind Bare Knuckle Farms embody what McCauley calls Leelanau County's increasingly educated "human capital." The county ranks third in the state in the percentage of the population with bachelor's degrees or higher — behind Oakland and Washtenaw. Those two counties have knowledge-based economies, for the most part.
"That same thing is happening in Leelanau County, but just at a smaller scale," McCauley said. With more workers choosing, out of necessity, to be self-employed, it is easy to live in Leelanau while telecommuting for a company in Chicago or New York, he said.
Still, what is happening now with local food is building for the future. The present still looks like a recession. The unemployment rate might be down to 7.7 percent, the lowest since 2008. But as the Leelanau Enterprise newspaper points out in an editorial, the local economy "is feeding off a solitary diet of tourism — and is now suffering from a lack of diversity."
Which brings up baabaazuzu, the next stop on any tour of Leelanau County's possible future — one that looks beyond the county's borders. The Lake Leelanau-based clothing company received the first-ever loan given out by the Leelanau County Economic Development Corp. — $25,000 in 2008 and 2009. That helped push baabaazuzu from a small operation in which clothing was cut by hand to a more automated manufacturing site whose products are sold at more than 900 retailers worldwide.
Baabaazuzu co-owner Kevin Burns said the county previously never pursued manufacturing, choosing purely agriculture. Baabaazuzu rests on the only plot of land in the county designated for industrial use. Burns credits the loan — which baabaazuzu since has paid back — for funding the equipment the company needed to grow.
Baabaazuzu has no intention of moving out of the county as it grows. As Burns says, you can't beat a commute that involves only one stop sign.
"We like the idea that we can produce in Leelanau County," he said. "We like the idea that we're from Michigan. People are cheering for us."
And, said co-owner Sue Burns, baabaazuzu has no need to move because Leelanau County has a pool of talented workers — especially off-season.
Baabaazuzu consistently has grown 30 percent to 40 percent every year, the owners said, except for last year — growth was 10 percent.
So, how can Leelanau County produce baabaazuzus?
"We're fortunate in that we produce a unique product that is not dependent on summer trade," Sue Burns said. "We don't get a lot of foot traffic; we sell our products out of Leelanau County. We're not dependent on this one little nucleus. I would encourage that.
"Whatever you're going to produce, how can you make it sell outside of this region?"
Just as baabaazuzu and Cherry Republic are successful because their products are in niche markets and can be sold around the world, local small farmers and restaurants have found success because they can sell locally.
Although Leelanau County is beginning to feel its way toward an economy not based on tourism only, these disparate attempts at adaptation are only in the beginning stages.
McCauley, who is also involved in a 10-county regional partnership known as the Grand Vision, sees hope because there is strength in numbers. An educated workforce with ambitious, innovative ideas is seeding the entire region.
"We remain a growing part of this state, and, as a result, a lot of economic opportunity is going on," McCauley said. "And population growth remains a true force behind all economic growth in this region."