Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Let it Grow
. . . .

Let it Grow

Dianne Conners - August 31st, 2006
When early spring turned unseasonably warm this year, Kingsley area greenhouse farm-er Richard Zenner found himself with thousands of pounds of tomatoes growing faster than weeds after rain. Faster, he feared, than he’d be able to find buyers to purchase them on such unexpected short notice.
Zenner, however, is one of 200 farms now listed in the nonprofit Michigan Land Use Institute’s (MLUI) expanded and updated Taste the Local Difference food guide—which at the height of harvest season this Labor Day weekend links consumers to more than 120 products grown by local farms. The colorful print and searchable Web-based guide lists everything from peaches, sweet corn, and even burgers and brats for the grill, to jams, honey, and maple syrup for brunch or gifts. And the Institute’s www.LocalDifference.org web site clues those who’d rather not cook to more than 70 area restaurants and caterers (as well as stores and lodging facilities) that feature local farm foods.

WHO YOU GONNA CALL?
Via his participation in the guide, Zenner called for help from the MLUI, which also conducts market research and makes connections with food distributors and buyers.
As a result, he was hooked up with Leonardo’s Produce, a Detroit-based produce distributor eager to satisfy increasing demand from area restaurants for locally-grown foods. With this referral, Zenner was able to sell
about 1,200 pounds of tomatoes to a
dozen local restaurants and launch a new business relationship for reaching more customers. In turn, Leonardo’s Produce owner Sam Maniaci is glad to have a quality local product to showcase to the restaurants he serves.
And chefs that Leonardo’s supplies
are “jumping up and down” at the
prospect of receiving more local produce, said Eric Hahn, Leonardo’s Northern Michigan marketing associate, who grew up and lives in Charlevoix.
“The reason why they like it is that they know they are getting a fresh local product and that it is helping the local economy and keeping the money in Northern Michigan,” Hahn said.
In fact the 200 farms listed in the guide—located from Manistee to Mackinac—are up from 160 last year and represent 400 full- and part-time jobs, and more than 28,000 acres of farmland.

WHAT’S INSIDE
In addition to listing farms, this year’s Taste the Local Difference guide points shoppers to specialty food producers who offer locally-grown ingredients. Everyone from household cooks to restaurant chefs can buy award-winning cheeses made with milk from a farm near Cedar; breads made with local honey and dried cherries; and jams, honey spreads, salsas, and even teas made with fruit from the region’s farms. Two chocolatiers even use local cherries, cherry concentrate, wines, and brandies in their delectable products.
You’ll find plenty of cherry farms in Taste the Local Difference, but also much more. The guide shows the region’s great farm diversity, with everything from asparagus to strawberries and eggs, milk, and meat.
The list includes “Community Supported Agriculture” farms, which sell a season’s worth of vegetables and other products to families that pay a full season’s fee in advance. It also includes farms that sell at farm stands, from the simple honor-system table to full-blown, store-like markets. There are farms that specialize in selling to restaurants only, and farms interested in selling to schools.
The guide also points to the region’s successful wine industry, its 17 community farmers markets, and opportunities to help link truly farm-fresh foods to families in need.

Diane Conners coordinates the Michigan Land Use Institute’s Taste the Local Difference campaign.
 
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