TRAVERSE CITY – Taste the Local Difference®, Michigan’s local-food branding and marketing program, is adding Washtenaw County to its service area.
The National Cherry Festival has been a catalyst of activity for Northern Michigan summers for 89 years. Visitors and locals alike are able to enjoy parades, rides, and countless events within the festival that hype up the vibrancy of our already bustling bayside city. This year, keeping in the theme of “Preserving the Tradition”, the National Cherry Festival wanted to amp up their involvement with what this festival is all about – local agriculture.
We’re giving away a chance to have fun and learn. That’s right, you heard me! You have a chance to attend a free class of your choice with ISLAND’s Preservation Station (Blanche- for short) thanks to TLD. A class with Blanche will teach you the basics about food preservation, get you excited about preserving food in your own kitchen, and to top it off you’ll get to take home some tasty eats to enjoy next week or a few months from now.
**This column originally appeared in the July 11, 2015, edition of the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
When people ask me if the Local Food Movement is just a trend, my answer is no, it’s here to stay and this is just the beginning.
Evergreen Market is well known for being a local food marketplace, specializing in Michigan-made products. Fresh produce, local honey, beer and wine—you name it. In fact, Evergreen’s ready-made items are also a specialty. They produce a wide variety of easy weeknight meals and ready-to-go lunch offerings, even fresh baked pies for dessert!
Traverse City is known as the Cherry Capital of the World. And even before the National Cherry Festival became an official national celebration in 1931, we’ve been celebrating this history. As a part of the new “Farm to Festival” initiative, Taste the Local Difference has been working in coordination with the National Cherry Festival to bring focus back to our area’s local agriculture.
It’s strawberry season in northern Michigan and we love this bright red beauty. You can snack on them by the quart, top them with whip cream or use them to color up a salad! Strawberries are packed with vitamins, fiber and high-levels of antioxidants and make a great addition to any meal, snack or dessert… even a cocktail!
Taste the Local Difference is excited to announce we are now the Leasing and Program Managers of the Grand Traverse Food Innovation Hub, a new facility comprised of 12,000 square feet of modern food manufacturing and production spaces available for lease at below market rates.
Boyne City has been making waves in their commitment to local food in recent years, with a booming year-round farmers market and the opening of The Grain Train’s second location. Now, with this spring’s opening of Northern Table, they can boast a serious farm-to-table restaurant as well! In true farm-to-table spirit, Northern Table offers a full seasonally-rotating menu as well as daily features based on local ingredient availability.
Harry Norconk is weighing asparagus when I arrive at Norconk Farms. Asparagus season is in full swing and he doesn’t have time to sit and chat, so instead we hop onto an RTV and drive out to the fields to pick up crates of freshly harvested asparagus. Driving around the farm we pass acres of asparagus stalks popping up out of the ground waiting to be harvested. Out in the field workers ride along the rows snapping spear after spear out of the ground and sorting into crates to be washed, weighed and packed.