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Tastemakers: Higher Grounds Olive Oil/ Archangel Summer Wheat

Rick Coates - June 21st, 2010
Higher Grounds Olive Oil
Chris Treter of Higher Grounds Trading has built his Traverse City based coffee roasting business on using fair trade coffee beans. Treter is on a first name basis with the Mexican and Ethiopian farmers who grow the beans he roasts at his production facility located at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Treter amakes annual pilgrimages to the Central American growing regions to meet with farmers and also to fundraise and raise awareness for various needs in these villages. He has helped to spearhead the Chiapas Water Project since 2005 to assist those who live in Chiapas, Mexico in developing safe drinking water.
Since launching Higher Grounds eight years ago Treter had always planned to offer more than just coffee. He has found his next product line, Palestinian Fair Trade Organic Olive Oil. Released last month, the olive oil is available at specialty shops primarily in the Traverse City area and at Higher Grounds as well as by mail order. The olive oil comes from ancient olive trees from the rich red soil of Palestine. The Palestinian Fair Trade Organization adheres to strict organic farming practices and this cold pressed extra virgin olive oil meets U.S., European and Japanese organic standards. According to Treter, the fact that the olives are pressed immediately after harvest result in a full flavor olive oil that is “fragrant, buttery with hints of pepper and lemon.
This is a great dipping oil, enjoy with fresh local breads; often oils need seasoning enhancements for dipping, not this one. The Higher Grounds Olive Oil is great for sautéing vegetables and other foods. Dust asparagus with olive oil and lightly season with sea salt and toss on the grill. To learn more about the PFTO check out palestinefairtrade.org or for more info on the olive oil go to highergroundstrading.com or ask for it at your favorite specialty foods store. --Rick Coates

Archangel
Summer Wheat

Local cherry farmers are predicting an early cherry harvest this year. An unseasonable warm spring has cherries arriving three weeks ahead of schedule and visitors to this year’s National Cherry Festival will get to enjoy fresh local sweet cherries. To celebrate this good news North Peak Brewing Company has released Archangel Summer Wheat.
Each batch (50 barrels) of Archangel Summer Wheat is made with 2,500 pounds of locally grown cherries, most from Kroupa Farms on the Old Mission Peninsula. North Peak brewers expect to use 18,000 pounds of local cherries throughout the summer.
“It’s just obvious that we should be making this beer,” said Brewmaster Mike Hall. “We’re proud to be able to work with local farmers to blend their fruits into the brewing process. The result is Archangel – a refreshing summer beer that captures the essence of Michigan summer.”
Archangel is traditional style American Wheat with a hint of cherry aroma on the nose. Cherries blend well in beer but there is a delicate balance to keep the beer from having a cherry cough syrup taste. Brewmaster Hall has successfully accomplished this balance, Archangel is clean, crisp and refreshing and a great summer thirst quencher.
This brew pairs nicely with summer salads, grilled salmon with a cherry BBQ glaze and is nice sipping brew for the beach while watching the sunset. Archangel is currently available on tap and will be released in the “stubbie” bottles later this month. For additional information on Archangel as well as other offerings from North Peak Brewing Company go to www.NorthPeakBeer.com. --Rick Coates

 
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