Michigan Food & Agriculture

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Michigan health officials are trying to educate parents that are skeptical of vaccines, encouraging them to immunize their kids. But it’s not working in Grand Traverse County, where more and more parents are opting out of vaccinations. Plus, a dietician helps people cook healthier food.


Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, a U.S. soldier was injured in a training exercise and discharged from the army. Then he found an unusual way to cope with his depression and serve his country: beekeeping.

 


Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

U.S. cherry farmers filed a legal case against the country of Turkey on Tuesday. They say Turkey subsidizes their cherries so much that they can sell some products for half the price of domestic ones.

Boskydel Vineyard Facebook

Bernie Rink of Boskydel Vineyard died at 92 last night.

His youngest son Andy Rink says his dad started making wine in his basement in the 50s before starting his commercial operation around a decade later.

Andy says his parents decided to go commercial because they needed something to occupy their sons and make them better men.

“He would tell customers at the winery that he put his five sons to work to put them to bed tired at night,” says Andy.

Warm temperatures help cherry crop

Jun 19, 2018
Peter Payette

After a slow start to the growing season, cherry farmers are gearing up for the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City starting June 30.  Cherries are some of the first crops to bloom in Michigan, and officials say early spring weather can significantly impact their growth.

Extra deer hunt in Alpena County next month

Dec 21, 2017
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

State officials are holding a special deer hunt in Alpena County in early January. It’s an effort to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis in northeastern Lower Michigan.

 Chad Stewart with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says hunters can shoot antlerless deer only – and can only hunt on private land.

Petoskey News-Review

Petoskey might make it easier to park a food truck in town.

Right now, food truck owners have to seek temporary permits to operate on private land in the city or as part of a public event.

Food truck owner Aaron Marx says the policy is confusing and doesn’t reflect the city’s culture.

Max Johnston

The Bear Claw Cafe in Copemish is full of bears. Don’t worry, the bears are only decorative. But they are a part of a unique diner whose owner wants you to look at the animal differently.

Sam Corden

The Crystal Café in Benzonia has been a popular breakfast spot for 20 years. The café serves standard diner fare like corned beef hash, but also get creative – with dishes like Hawaiian omelets and bread pudding French toast.

"The Table of Knowledge" is a group of mostly old-timers who gather every morning at The Front Porch Cafe for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.
Dan Wanschura

It’s five o’clock in the morning on Main Street in Ellsworth, and it seems like most of the village is sleeping. It’s quiet and dark outside, but there is a light on outside The Front Porch Cafe.

Inside, Brenda Powers is getting ready for another day.


Sam Corden

Listeners have been recommending diners across northern Michigan, from Grand Marais to Beaver Island, during IPR’s series Order Up. IPR took the advice of one caller and visited Randy’s Diner in Traverse City – with him. 

Jack Alexander delivers a meal to Beverly Stevens at her home in Traverse City. Jack has been volunteering for Meals on Wheels for two years.
Janine Weisman

It can be tough for homebound seniors to get nutritious meals. Meals on Wheels of Northwest Michigan distributes meals in the region to help those seniors remain in their homes. The service is operated by Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency.

Sam Corden

For the most part, Kritters is your typical local diner. They specialize in pulled pork sandwiches and generously sized hamburgers, and they’re a popular local breakfast spot.

But on Thursday nights, Kritters attracts bikers from all over northern Michigan.

Sam Corden

The new owners of a popular hangout in Baldwin are stepping into some very big shoes. Edie Mitchell, the previous long-time owner of Edie’s Log Bar, was a well-known character in town.

Sam Corden

The owners of Bob’s Country Kitchen in Irons know that when your diner is out in the middle of nowhere, making fresh food from scratch is key. But sometimes, the thing that keeps your customers coming back has nothing to do with the food at all.

Morgan Springer

In Traverse City’s East Bay, on the busy hotel strip on U.S. 31, is Don’s Drive In. The pink and turquoise restaurant is known for its burgers and shakes and the fact that it’s kind of old school.

Aaron Selbig

As you pull into Mancelona, the highway narrows, following alongside railroad tracks and past a couple of abandoned warehouses. And then, there it is – a red, white and blue chicken, the unofficial mascot of the Iron Skillet.

Nora Boydell

People who want backyard chickens in Michigan have the option to do it part-time through a business called Rent-A-Chicken. Leslie Suitor and her husband operate the business in Traverse City.

"I love telling kids that chickens are the closest living relative to the T-Rex," Suitor says, "and you can see the gears start turning and the kids [say], 'Well, oh my gosh, I’ve got a dinosaur in the backyard. This might be really cool after all.'"

Order Up: digging into northern Michigan's diners

Jun 30, 2017
Aaron Selbig

Most towns Up North have a local diner – a place everyone knows about, where you can get a simple meal and a strong cup of coffee at a reasonable price.

But diners are more than just a place to eat. You can see the history of a town slowly unfold over generations of conversations in a diner.

Mike Nygren, owner of the Iron Skillet in Mancelona, gets satisfaction out of that.

“To me, having a business in a small town is all about being part of the community,” says Nygren. “It’s not just about us making money; it’s about helping the community grow.”

State officials want hunters to shoot more deer in northeastern lower Michigan.

Infected deer in the area spread a disease called bovine tuberculosis. It can kill cows, and it can be passed to people through unpasteurized dairy products.

Raclette cheese wheels age in the cellar of Leelanau Cheese Company in Suttons Bay. The company was recently awarded a Super Gold award at the World Cheese Awards in Spain.
Dan Wanschura

Anne and John Hoyt own Leelanau Cheese Company in Suttons Bay. Leelanau Cheese is famous for it’s raclette.

“When people ask what it tastes like, I often say it’s between a gouda and a gruyere,” says Anne.

 

Garlic sits ready to be judged in advance of the Third Annual Crosshatch Garlic Auction.
Dan Wanschura

Michigan has a lot of festivals. There’s a tulip festival, a cherry festival, an apple festival, we even have an asparagus festival.

Recently, I came across a sort of garlic festival that happens in Elk Rapids. 

 


NORTHWEST MICHIGAN HORTICULTURE RESEARCH CENTER

The tart cherry harvest has begun in northern Michigan. The cherry crop is large this year, but growers are dealing with rising numbers of spotted wing drosophila as they harvest.

Drosophila is a tiny insect that originally came from Asia. The bugs have found a home in Michigan in recent years, and their numbers have been growing.

Nikki Rothwell is coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center. She’s been studying spotted wing drosophila.

Jim Nugent says growers are spraying a lot more this year.

Fruit growers cut their losses after hail storm

Jul 12, 2016
Nikki Rothwell

Last Friday’s hail storm left some fruit growers with severely damaged trees. Apples and cherries took a beating in parts of Leelanau and Antrim counties.

Nikki Rothwell, coordinator at Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center, visited orchards on Monday to assess the damage.

"The hail damage really made a lot of marks on the apples," Rothwell says. "So there’s a lot of bruising, but then I do see some areas where the flesh is actually torn."

John Larson is the owner of one of Traverse City's newest restaurants, Mama Lu's.
Dan Wanschura

When chef John Larson and his family moved from Chicago to Traverse City last spring, he soon realized that getting a table at a downtown restaurant was a bit difficult at times.

"There weren't enough restaurants," says Larson. "I noticed every single place was on a two-hour wait during the summer months."

That was good news for the entrepreneur from Chicago. 

Just over a year later, Mama Lu's is now open for business just in time for the busy summer months in Traverse City.

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