Just as the sun broke the horizon I arrived to Buchan’s Blueberry Hill–the morning dew still fresh on the acres of blueberry bushes. Ben Buchan rode up on his ATV and Lori Buchan stepped out of the industrial kitchen with a welcoming smile. The pair wasted no time in greeting us and offering a tour of their land.
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.
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.
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.
Keep an eye out for monthly blog posts featuring vendors from the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmer’s Market, written by Market Manager Julianna Lisuk.
Farmer’s Market season has arrived in Northern Michigan! The Sara Hardy Downtown Farmer’s Market began on May 2 with an idyllic Saturday of fresh food and flowers. Customers showed up with their baskets and bags eager to get their hands on the first local produce of the season. Alongside the meat, cheese, bread, and produce vendors were locally grown flower stands overflowing with stunning arrangements, bringing much needed color and life after a cold winter. We recently visited one of our vendors, Petal Pushers, to get a look at where all their beautiful hanging baskets and vegetable plants are grown.
By Tricia Phelps
As we embark on a new year, many people are voicing aspirations of change & resolution for the months ahead. I love food too much to even think about grandiose plans for dieting, but I can’t help feeling lethargic after the past few weeks of excessive food & drink. To break in the New Year, I want to introduce Third Coast Bakery—“The new wave of baking” that will help you avoid unhealthy eating this year, while still satisfying your sweet tooth.
By Bill Palladino
“Since oils have the most aroma and nutrients when they are fresh, cold-pressed and unrefined, it helps to grow and press them locally. But it turns out, some of the crops we don’t even grow anymore close by—even though we could. We’ve lost the knowledge and infrastructure.” – C. Milz
By Tricia Phelps
“The focus for Grand Traverse Culinary Oils is keeping it local.” – W. Koucky
Grand Traverse Culinary Oils, owned by William Koucky of Traverse City, just released bottles of their locally grown, locally produced canola and sunflower oils. The cold-pressed oils are made with non-GMO seed, grown here in northern Michigan.
By Tricia Phelps
Duerksen Turkey Farm is a third-generation farm in Mancelona, Michigan. In the 1940s, Rick Duerksen’s grandmother began raising turkeys, though just enough to sustain the family. As a young boy, he looked forward to the day he would raise turkeys on a farm of his own. Soon after Rick married his wife Sue in 1976, they bought his uncle’s farmland in Mancelona to make that dream come true.