Giving Thanks for the Richness of Michigan

Picture 155Michigan is, economically, the nation’s basket case.

But because of our agricultural diversity, it is incredibly rich in fresh and local food–perhaps not a bread basket, but definitely a healthy food basket. Which–should you ever decide to limit yourself to local ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner–makes it a wonderfully rich state.

Which is just what the friends I share Thanksgiving with and I decided to do.

We came very close to eating all local last year–except for the wine and flour and random oranges. So I suggested we make a concerted effort to buy Michigan this year. With the exception of spices and olive oil and a few items from the vicinity of our out-of-town guest, everything came from MI.

Some of this food is stuff we eat year-round (several of us had a Tantre Farm CSA share this year, Bells Beer is one of the local standards in these parts, and I’ve grown spoiled with Calder’s Dairy butter). Some of this will require some substitutions (while I found local chestnuts last year, I was unable to this year, so will substitute Jerusalem artichoke in the stuffing). And including wine among the local products pushed us to try wines we otherwise wouldn’t have (special thanks to Mary from Everyday Wines, who went out of her way to help me replace the Bowers Harbor Pinot Grigio mr. emptywheel and I tested on Monday night).

Picture 158Among all the other reasons I appreciate Thanksgiving, taking the opportunity to recognize local farmers and food producers is one of them. Even in a time when the state is suffering, they sure exemplify the richness of Michigan.

Here’s what we’ll be eating–all of which should be marked in the map above–along with some of the local shops that stock these products:

Harnois heritage turkey, Whitmore Lake, MI

Michigan bacon, from Sparrow Meat Market

Stock from Ernst Farm chicken, Ann Arbor, MI

Tantre Farm veggies and pumpkin, Chelsea, MI

Needle Lane Farm Jerusalem artichokes, Tipton, MI

Picture 159Shetlers Farm potatoes, Homer, MI

Garden Works Organic Farm onions, Ann Arbor, MI

Kapnick Orchards apples, Britton, MI

Cranberries, Grass Lake, MI from People’s Food Co-Op

Wasem’s Fruit Farm rhubarb, Milan, MI

Zingerman’s Creamery cheese, Ann Arbor, MI

Calder Dairy butter and ice cream, Lincoln Park, MI

Guernsey Dairy milk and cream, Northville, MI

Sunrise Poultry Eggs, Homer, MI

Pioneer Sugar (beet sugar) from “the Thumb,” MI

Westwind Milling Company flour, Linden, MI, from By the Pound

JK Scrumpy’s organic hard cider from Almar Orchards, Flushing MI

Bells Brewery beer, Kalamazoo, MI

Michigan wine from Everyday Wines:

With other home-grown veggies, sage, thyme, home made bread and sourdough starter, and vinegar

I may update this later with pictures–or maybe to proselytize about putting bacon on your turkey. Until then, may you all have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

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