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Tastemakers: Hall‘s sweet corn/ Frankenmuth Brewery

Rick Coates - August 23rd, 2010
Hall’s Sweet Corn
Northern Michigan sweet corn is making the headlines this summer. Scientists released a study earlier this summer attributing the Michigan corn crop to lower summertime temperatures. Climatologists claim that the increase in corn crops in Michigan over the past 60 years increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, resulting in cooler temperatures. In other words, our summer might have been even hotter this year, if it weren’t for all the corn grown in Michigan.
Okay, that is way too much science for something that tastes so good. The sweet corn crop in the region is in full harvest. Last week I was at the Traverse City Farmers’ Market and there was a crowd gathered around Hall’s and their giant trailer full of sweet corn. I asked one person in line about it who said Hall’s is the “best anywhere and I come every Wednesday and Saturday to get it.”
Well, when I loaded up my bag and went to pay, I asked for the secret to their success and the young woman just smiled and said, “It is all in the water, that’s all I am saying.”
Regardless of how they do it, I must admit that Hall’s, grown in the Long Lake area, is among the best sweet corn I have ever tasted. It’s so sweet and tender; I tried it raw and it was fantastic.
There are numerous ways to prepare sweet corn, from the microwave to the grill, along with assorted seasonings to cheeses. But my preference is to grill it in its stalk, lightly butter it, and add just a dash of salt and pepper.
Area farmers report that 2010 is going to be a bumper crop for sweet corn. Many expect to double the amount of corn they had last year, one of the worst growing seasons on record because all of the rain. Based on what I have tasted this summer from a half dozen farms, this is the sweetest the corn has been in years.
You may find Hall’s Sweet Corn at the Traverse City Farmers’ Market or at Hall Farms located at 8118 N. Long Lake Rd. They are open daily from 9 am - 7 pm through mid-September. For more info, call them at 231-946-2985. --Rick Coates

Frankenmuth Brewery
Craft breweries from all corners of the country will be gathering this weekend at the Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival. Among those will be the Frankenmuth Brewery.
Frankenmuth was Michigan’s first brewery, established in 1857, It was originally named the Cass River Brewery before becoming Geyer’s Brothers Brewing Company, and then finally the Frankenmuth Brewing Company.
In 2006 Frankenmuth fell victim to an influx of craft breweries in Michigan and closed its doors. It was brought back to life last summer with the arrival of brewmaster Jeff Coon and a new group of business partners. Currently, their lineup of beers are not available in the bottle, but brewmaster Coon says he hopes that will change by year’s end.
Frankenmuth beers are available on tap and are being served throughout Northern Michigan. The Frankenmuth Pilsner is their flagship brew and is a classic German pilsner. Coon is particularly pleased with their Munich Dunkel, a dark style German lager with a hint of sweetness.
A long-standing slogan for the brewery has been “Frankenmuth Brewery Beer Is Good For You (“Ist Gut Fur Sie”), and according to Coon, “Frankenmuth Brewery believes it is our duty to follow the Bavarian rules of the Reinheitsgebot (The German Purity Law).” This law dates back to the 15th century, specifying the only ingredients in the beer-making process are barley, hops and water.
Frankenmuth Brewery is a big part of the Michigan brewing heritage and with Stroh’s gone for good, it is great to have some brewing nostalgia back in the state. A trip to Frankenmuth is always fun with the Christmas Village and chicken dinners, but be sure to stop in and see the revamped Frankenmuth Brewery; they offer tours and their restaurant and pub is top notch.
But don’t wait for a brewery visit to taste their beers, Coon is bringing five beers with him to the Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival this weekend at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. For info go to and for additional details on the resurgence of the Frankenmuth Brewing Company check out --Rick Coates
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