Left Foot Charley’s Swiss Family Dinner

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Left Foot Charley, located at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, is one of Michigan’s first urban wineries. What makes LFC unique is that they have a collective of 18 growers throughout Northern Michigan. The grapes are transported from the various small-scale vineyards to the winery, where they are  transformed into award-winning wines. Just 1 mile from Downtown Traverse City, Left Foot Charley is bustling with activity and bursting at the seems with grapes during the harvest season. Continue reading

Higher Grounds: Traverse City, MI

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Higher Grounds Trading Co. was envisioned through passion for both social justice and the environment. To this day the company and its owner Chris Treter continue to make strides in supporting & fundraising these very fundamental causes both locally and throughout the world. Chris is originally from Toledo, Ohio and ventured to Vermont to attend graduate school for Organizational Management of Social Change. After graduation in 2001, he travelled to Mexico with a human rights organization where he met coffee farmers struggling for basic human rights. These coffee farmers were also producing high-quality coffee but had no connection to the international market. Chris saw an opportunity to import great coffee using fair-trade practices and help the coffee farmers to earn what they deserved.   Continue reading

Spicy Squash and Brie Nachos with Cranberry Molasses

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Let me guess..The friends, family, co-worker, neighborhood holiday parties are filling your calendar and you’re trying to decide what food to bring. We all want to bring a great dish to the party, but we don’t want to slave over the stove while our friends are laughing and drinking bottles of bubbly in the other room without us! The solution is a dish that you can prep ahead of time, just pop into the oven and serve. Continue reading

Sweet Potato Three Bean Chili

Growth by the Season

I love a bowl of chili when its chilly outside. It warms you up and fills you up, without even trying too hard. I really enjoy trying chili when I’m out at local restaurants because EVERY chili is different. When I do, I waiver between meat or vegetarian chili, and either will do. But when it comes to my own homemade chili, I prefer strictly vegetarian. I’m always adding variety to my homemade chili by changing which vegetables I include or adding and omitting to the variety of beans. It continues to keep each bowl of chili unique. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Dreams

Today I’m driving six hours away from Traverse City to the suburbs of Chicago (where I grew up) for a long weekend with my family. A celebration for the upcoming holiday and a chance to spend some extra quality time with people dear to me. Thanksgiving is so enjoyable for me in large part due to all the family I get to reconnect with, but lets be honest its definitely got something to do with the food as well. My family has requested a repeat of the delicious squash & feta savory muffins I made last year, but I’ll be spending my long drive finalizing plans for another side dish, just in time for the big feast. Continue reading

Duerksen Turkey Farm: Mancelona, MI

I’m having a great time working as an intern for Taste the Local Difference. Over the past few month I’ve been able to dive even further into Northwest Michigan’s local food scene and learn more about the great farmers, retailers and producers we have throughout this region.

I’ve known Sue Duerksen and her husband Rick for about three years now though the various local farmers markets I help to manage. In a recent newsletter and posting on the Taste the Local Difference Blog I was able to interview the Duerksen’s to understand more about their farm and why Duerksen’s turkeys are so highly sought after throughout the region. You’ll find the original article below. Enjoy! Continue reading

NMC’s Culinary Classes

Growth by the Season

I love learning, and whats better than learning in the kitchen? Northern Michigan College holds a variety of Extended Education courses “in the kitchen” throughout the year. NMC’s culinary classes have been rated the region’s Red Hot BEST Award for several years in a row. I attended NMC’s Festival of Foods last year as an introduction to the types of classes and instruction I might receive by signing up for one of NMC’s Culinary Classes. I was so impressed that I signed up and attended two cooking classes in the last few months since my introduction! Continue reading

Butternut Squash Risotto

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I’ll admit it, I have a problem. I’m squash-obsessed. Whether by magic or by nature it seems my family is too. Remember? Even my sweet dog, Chet goes crazy for roasted squash snacks. Last year, my boyfriend’s mother Susan, who is well aware and supportive of my addiction, brought a recipe over for Butternut Squash Risotto. Imagine my delight when she combined the creamy rich risotto with the delectable roasted squash and served it for dinner. Continue reading