All The Farm That Is Fit To Print

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

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.