Michigan Food & Agriculture

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Area wineries brought home gold from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, earlier this month. Six Northern Michigan wineries placed at the annual event, which is billed as the largest competition of American wines in the world. More than 1,500 wineries competed from 25 states.

Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery was among three area wineries that won double gold, the highest honor in each category. Winemaker Jay Briggs at Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery says the awards are helping to gain attention outside the region.

Cherry Marketing Institute

Sleep has become a prominent health issue in the United States and that’s good news for tart cherry growers. For years, the industry has focused its promotional efforts on the health benefits of tart cherries. Now it’s reaching out to people fighting insomnia.

Sleep problems are such a big deal these days that there’s a hotel in Manhattan that has a sleep program. This fall the cherry industry put on a media event with health and food writers to explain the benefits of tart cherries.

Lots of consumers are smitten with local food, but they're not the only ones. The growing market is also providing an opportunity for less experienced farmers to expand their business and polish their craft.

But they need help, and increasingly it's coming from food hubs, which can also serve as food processing and distribution centers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that there are about 240 of them in more than 40 states plus the District of Columbia.

Potato, Parsnip, Carrot and Swiss Chard Soup

Jan 20, 2014
Recipe and immage appear with special permission by Kristin Celeste Shroeger © 2014

Ingredient List 

  • *Garlic
  • *Olive oil
  • *Fingerling potatoes
  • *Parsnips
  • *Carrots
  • *Rosemary
  • *Beans
  • *White swiss chard

*Farm fresh or local sourced artisan product

Ingredient Note: Any type of bean can be used, kidney beans were on hand and used in this recipe.

Recipe Directions
Slice four cloves garlic. Saute garlic in a large metal soup pot with one tablespoon olive oil over medium low heat for three minutes.

Tart cherry growers are set to make a major decision about their industry’s future. They'll decide whether they’d prefer to sell their fruit on a free market or a controlled one.

Most of the nation's tart cherries are grown between Charlevoix and Hart. Yesterday, in Traverse City, industry leaders urged keeping the controls in place. The system allows some control over the supply of tart cherries to keep prices up. The federal marketing order that allows this is up for renewal which means growers have to vote on it.

Ravioli with Kale and Smoked Butter Sauce

Jan 13, 2014
Recipe and image appear with special permission by Kristin Celeste Shroeger ©2014

Ingredient List

  • Pasta sheet*
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Tuscan kale*
  • Raw walnuts*
  • Smoked butter*
  • Cream*

*Farm fresh or local sourced artisan product

If you (or your children) turn up your nose at brown apple slices, would you prefer fresh-looking ones that have been genetically engineered?

It’s been seven years since America hit the accelerator on corn-based ethanol fuels. Homegrown corn became the centerpiece of a push to find an alternative to foreign oil.

President Bush signed this expansion of the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007, promising it would make us “stronger, cleaner and more secure.”

But, as is so often the case, something that offers great promise on one hand, takes its toll on the other hand. So the view of corn-based ethanol very much depends upon which side of the fence you’re standing on.

Raspberry Raclette Grilled Pork Chop with Raspberry Slaw

Jan 6, 2014
Recipe and image appear with special permission by Kristin Celeste Shroeger © 2014


 Raspberry Reduction Ingredients

  • Homemade vanilla balsamic vinegar
  • Verjus*
  • Raspberry preserves*

Raspberry Slaw Ingredients

Can Urban Farming Brighten Detroit?

Dec 23, 2013

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


French Breakfast Radish Frittata

Dec 23, 2013
Recipe and image appear with special permission by Kristin Celeste Shroeger ©2013

Ingredient List

  • Olive oil*
  • Eggs*
  • Baby red onion*
  • French breakfast radish*
  • Cilantro*
  • Fromage blanc cheese*

*Farm fresh or local sourced artisan product

Recipe Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Turnip and Radish Salad with Chive Vinaigrette

Dec 16, 2013
© 2013 Recipe and image appear with special permission by The Intentional Minimalist.

Editor's note: Kristin Celeste Shroeger creates recipes to inspire farm-to-table cooking with local, seasonal and sustainable produce through her website The Intentional Minimalist. She plans to share a recipe with us each Monday for our Michigan Food & Agriculture section.  

Ingredient List

Over the last decade, women have switched to making much healthier choices at the seafood counter.

First, let's make it clear: fish is healthful food.

But, fish can contain traces of mercury, some fish more than others. And to make sure you don’t consume too much of that toxin, you need to know which fish have heavier loads of mercury.


Because mercury is a toxic contaminant that can cause neurological damage. For women who could have children or who are pregnant, too much mercury could mean developmental problems for their babies.

Farms are in the spotlight on Capitol Hill these days. Or, more to the point, the lack of a new Farm Bill.

The old Farm Bill expired October 1st.

A new Farm Bill is more than two years overdue. And so far, congressional leaders have not been inclined to consider passing yet another short-term extension.

Leaders of the House and Senate Agricultural Committees met today, trying to work out differences between their respective bills as they face a deadline of January 1st.

Without a new Farm Bill by that date, trips to the grocery store may bring on serious "sticker shock," especially when you push your cart along the dairy aisle.

Joining us once again to look at the Farm Bill and what might happen if Congress can't pass a new one was Ryan Findlay. He's with the National Legislative Council for the Michigan Farm Bureau. And he was joined by David Schweikhardt, professor in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.

Listen to the full interview above.

Tom Carr

A small, grassroots group is helping feed people in Buckley and Mesick this Thanksgiving, and it all got started when a local pastor got a woman thinking about what she can do to help people.

People lined up in both towns to pick up frozen turkeys, as well as boxes filled with potatoes, stuffing mixes, pie and everything else needed for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Jill Taylor, who started the program with several friends, says the importance of the dinner goes way beyond the food.  

One year ago the Michigan apple harvest, hurt by a late winter warm-up and a spring freeze, was almost nonexistent at 3 million bushels. This fall, the crop is projected to yield a record-setting 30 million bushels, but now there's concern that not enough pickers will be in the orchards.

Toxic Algae Pushes North As Corn Belt Expands

Oct 7, 2013

For years Lake Erie has been the poster child in the Great Lakes for the problem of toxic algae. More recently, though, the problem has been showing up around Lake Michigan. Figuring out the causes of the algal blooms can be tough since watersheds are complex systems but some environmentalists are pointing the finger at corn. It’s a valuable cash crop today and could be a growing part of the farm landscape in the Great Lakes in the years ahead.

Leelanau Vineyard Tries Chemical-Free Spray

Sep 26, 2013

Fruit growers are constantly looking for ways to reduce chemical sprays that control insects and diseases. But they're slow to adopt a new practice until it's proven to work.

A vineyard in Leelanau County is one of the first to try a spray that produces no chemical residue and only pure oxygen as a byproduct.

Like Lightning

Naturally occurring ozone gas is produced when lightning flashes through the air.

Dispute Escalates Over Migrant Housing

Apr 23, 2013

A Benzie County fruit grower isn’t waiting any longer for the Village of Elberta to issue him a permit. Over the weekend he moved a few seasonal workers into a vacant motel he’s been renovating on the edge of the town.

The units passed state inspection to house migrant labor. But they haven’t passed muster with the village.

 Waited Long Enough

Loy Putney has been fighting with the village of Elberta over a permit for more than a year. He alleges the delays are because officials don’t want migrant workers living in town.

It might surprise you to hear that some native fish are doing really well in one of the Great Lakes. For years now, we’ve heard bad news about the lakes. Most of it has to do with invasive species getting into the lakes and wrecking the food web. One writer memorably called it a slow-moving underwater wildfire.The recent swing in the other direction is so dramatic scientists are a bit puzzled and can’t explain what’s happening.

Regime shift?

Asian Carp Or Silverfin?

Mar 21, 2013

One of the strategies to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes is to eat the ones living in the Mississippi River. But finding a market for millions of pound of carp is not a simple matter. It will take more than a name change. We brought a few chefs together at The Great Lakes Culinary Institute to see what they could do with the fish. Hear about that and why harvesting an invasive species isn’t always a wise management strategy.

A judge in Benzie County last week tore into the Village of Elberta for how they’ve handled a dispute over housing for migrant workers. 

The case has dragged on for more than a year. There have even been allegations of racial bias.

Strong Reaction
Loy Putney owns several fruit farms in Benzie and Manistee Counties. Last winter he bought an old motel on the outskirts of Elberta. He wants to convert it to house migrant families.

Local Food Hub Gets State Backing

Dec 3, 2012

A five million dollar project to improve distribution of locally grown products got a nod last week from the state Department of Agriculture. The state will invest $200,000 dollars into a regional food hub organizers hope to build at Traverse City’s former state hospital, the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.

Bear Bacon Anyone?

Nov 9, 2012

Chris Eberhart thinks eating wild game will save the sport of hunting. He hunts all over the world but returns to Clare to hunt whitetail deer every fall. He says traditions that rural communities have long maintained are suddenly becoming exciting again. Eberhart cooks everything from venison to bear bacon to crow pie. He writes books and blogs about wild food.

Feds File Complaints Against Michigan Farms Over Migrant Labor Conditions

Aug 23, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed complaints against two Michigan farms for treating migrant workers inhumanely, including one farm in northern Manistee County.

Darryl Howes farms in Copemish is accused of underpaying workers and providing unsanitary housing and toilets.

The Department of Labor also says migrant housing at Berrybrook Farms in Dowagiac was infested with rodents and insects, and workers didn't have access to refrigerators or hot running water.