At Rest in Michigan

What does an avid locavore do when on vacation in upstate Michigan? Look for local food of course!  traverse city lake

But then, you might also wonder why I would wind up in Michigan anyway? That was due to our affiliation with the American Chestnut Land Trust. We invited friends to the annual auction last fall and our table outbid competitors for a treasured week’s stay at a lovely house in Northport, overlooking Michigan’s lovely Grand Traverse Bay.

I am happy to report that the local food movement is alive and well here. Did you know, for example, that you can have cherry salad dressing and turkey and cherry salad sandwiches with your local wine, beer or hard cider? Yes, Michigan is the cherry capital of the U.S. and Traverse City is the tart cherry capital of Michigan, with its National Cherry Festival held each July and its millions of tart cherry trees.

However, it was an aversion to shopping that led me to this bench on a pleasant street in Leland Michigan. I had brought a briefcase full of articles that I had intended to read to avoid holding up door frames along the shopping district of this quaint town with nary a chain store to be seen. Local businesses are well-supported here. You can even find local book
stores!

I was fortunate to fiGreg Bowen.michigannd a bookstore that also sold coffee and I found a nice bench on the shady side of the street. First on my list of readings was a publication from the Wallace Center entitled Food Hubs: Solving Local. It highlighted five of the top food hubs in the U.S. To my delight, Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Foods is one of the best. It aggregates food from more than 150 small farms and distributes to food services, grocery stores and high-end restaurants. As I wrapped up my review of the publication, my friend Bernie Fowler, Jr. called to chat about the progress being made at Farming 4 Hunger in Southern Maryland and his efforts to reach out to farmers for building a food hub. Overall, it was a very nice shopping trip indeed!

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