July 23, 2014
“You have fantastic Michigan wines, but Riesling is hitting the target every year.”
~ wine writer Stuart Pigott
With the TC Film Fest yesterday and today’s post, it appears that it’s “me time” on Michigan in Pictures. City of Riesling is a brand new wine event I am working on. It takes place July 26-28 in Traverse City and is focusing the attention of the international wine community on Michigan Rieslings.
The guest of honor for a weekend of celebration of “Planet Riesling” is none other than Stuart Pigott, likely the world’s leading authority on Riesling wine and one of the most entertaining people in the wine biz. He’s a British born wine writer who has lived in the heart of Riesling culture in Germany and dedicated years to changing people’s opinion about Riesling. When I interviewed Stuart he told me, “Riesling’s range goes from bone dry to honey sweet, from feather light to tongue heavy and every single gradation and combination of those things. No other grape variety can do that.”
One of the great things about Riesling is that it does very well in Michigan, which is considered one of the rising new Riesling regions. We have more Riesling in the ground than any other varietal, and plantings are on the rise. In today’s TC Record-Eagle, my friend Bryan Ulbrich of Left Foot Charley called out one factor that I believe is making Michigan Rieslings stand out, what wine aficionados call terroir, the climate & character of the place a wine is grown. “It’s really a transparent grape. It reflects where it was grown more than any other grape variety. You can’t hide the vineyard in this one.”
It’s really the same thing that makes our fruit some of the best in the world – Michigan is a beautiful place to grow things.
Anyway, if you’re interested in attending, there’s a giveaway you can enter until 5 PM today that gives you 2 tickets to the Riesling Oyster Riot on Sunday afternoon, 2 tix for the Night of 100 Rieslings on Sunday and 2 tickets to any one of three sessions at the Salon Riesling symposium on Monday. Details right here!
Trent writes: “We spent the day driving the Old Mission Peninsula … sandy beaches, historical lighthouse and fresh fruit stands … the ‘spine’ of the peninsula is dotted with vineyards that thrive in the temperate climate created by the surrounding lakes … reminded us of the Rhine Valley … beautiful”
July 11, 2014
French colonists from Normandy brought pits that they planted along the Saint Lawrence River and on down into the Great Lakes area. Cherry trees were part of the gardens of French settlers as they established such cities as Detroit, Vincennes, and other midwestern settlements.
Modern day cherry production began in the mid-1800s. Peter Dougherty was a Presbyterian missionary living in northern Michigan. In 1852, he planted cherry trees on Old Mission Peninsula (near Traverse City, Michigan). Much to the surprise of the other farmers and Indians who lived in the area, Dougherty’s cherry trees flourished and soon other residents of the area planted trees. The area proved to be ideal for growing cherries because Lake Michigan tempers Arctic winds in winter and cools the orchards in summer.
The first commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893 on Ridgewood Farm near the site of Dougherty’s original plantings. By the early 1900s, the tart cherry industry was firmly established in the state with orchards not only in the Traverse City area, but all along Lake Michigan from Benton Harbor to Elk Rapids. Soon production surpassed other major crops. The first cherry processing facility, Traverse City Canning Company, was built just south of Traverse City, and the ruby-red fruit was soon shipped to Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee.
…The most famous sweet cherry variety is the Bing cherry; this cherry variety got its name from one of Lewelling’s Chinese workmen. Another sweet cherry variety is the Lambert, which also got its start on Lewelling Farms. The Rainier cherry, a light sweet variety, originated from the cross breeding of the Bing and Van varieties by Dr. Harold W. Fogle at the Washington State University Research Station in Prosser, Washington. The Bing, Lambert and Rainier varieties together account for more than 95 percent of the Northwest sweet cherry production.
Today, the U. S. cherry industry produces more than 650 million pounds of tart and sweet cherries each year. Much of the cherry production is concentrated in Michigan and the Northwest. Michigan grows about 75 percent of the tart cherry crop. Oregon and Washington harvest about 60 percent of the sweet cherry crop. Other states with commercial cherry crops are Utah, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania and California.
Read on for more, and if you want to read about how some cherry farmers think that Federal cherry policy is leaving dollars in the orchards, head over to this Bridge Magazine article on how USDA cherry policy impacts Michigan cherry farmers.
July 8, 2014
May 19, 2014
In addition to Michigan in Pictures, I run the website Leelanau.com. The most common question this time of year over there is “When will cherry blossoms be out?” Although this year has been slow going, I was out and about yesterday and caught some of the first blooms of the season. Click that link to see them on Leelanau.com and also a pile of morels!
Visit Traverse City’s cherry blossom section says that the blossoms on the trees last on average of four to five days, but because different parts of the region bloom at different times, it’s a safe bet you can see blossoms for one to two weeks on average if you make the rounds.
November 12, 2013
The Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council says that Michigan has 2,650 acres devoted to wine grapes, making Michigan the fifth state in wine grape production in the nation. Our vineyard area has doubled in the past decade, and Michigan’s 101 commercial wineries produce over 1.3 million gallons of wine annually, good for 13th in wine production. Wine touring & wineries are attracting over 2 million visitors annually, and the chief way our state tells the story of our wines & wineries is through Michigan Wine Country Magazine.
The folks at the Wine Council are seeking your help in telling that story through the Michigan Wine Country Photo Contest. Entry runs through November 26th and you can enter 1-10 photos of Michigan vineyards, wine, wineries or tasting rooms for a shot at the 2014 cover of Michigan Wine Country and one of two grand prize wine touring packages! Click that link for all the details.
Much more Michigan wine on Michigan in Pictures!
October 25, 2013
If you’re still in the market for pumpkins, check out this listing of Michigan pumpkin patches, hayrides & corn mazes.
More pumpkin info on Michigan in Pictures!
September 23, 2013
A Brief History of the Kawkawlin River from the Kawkawlin Watershed Property Owner Association says that the native name for Kawkawlin was U GUH KON NING or ‘place of pike fish’. They add that the Saginaw Treaty of 1819 was negotiated by Lewis Cass with the Chippewa Indians and opened the lands of Saginaw Valley to settlers for $1.25 per acre and have lots more history & information at the link above.
Many more rivers on Michigan in Pictures.
August 27, 2013
The Detroit Free Press writes that Michigan apples are back – and in a big way.
This year’s harvest could be one of the largest Michigan has ever seen, the Michigan Apple Committee said Friday after the U.S. Apple Association released its estimate for Michigan’s 2013 apple crop. The 30-million-bushel projection was welcome news after last year’s wacky spring weather devastated 90% of the overall apple crop, which yielded just 2.7 million bushels. The state averages about 20 million bushels a year, the committee said.
“Our growers, packers and shippers are already moving Michigan apples into the marketplace and are thrilled with the estimates for this year’s crop,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, who was in attendance at the USApple announcement in Chicago. “There’s a lot of buzz around the estimate here in Chicago and in our state.”
The Apple Committee said a crop like this year’s could pump as much as $900 million into the state’s economy, and industry experts say perfect weather conditions are to thank.
Good news for everyone who was left cider-less and apple-less last fall! Read on at the Freep and get lots more about Michigan’s largest fruit crop from the Michigan Apple Committee or their Facebook page.
Last year I used a photo Sergei took of the Wolf River apple (Michigan’s largest) on a post about our smallest crop ever, so it’s fitting to return to celebrate! Check his photo out background bigtacular and see more in his apple slideshow.
More apples on Michigan in Pictures.
July 29, 2013
“To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind.”
On July 29, 1958, President Dwight D Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act that established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration aka NASA. While I don’t think that we’ve seen quite the advances we expected after making it to the moon in just over a decade, NASA has evolved into a science agency that is engaged in an incredible range of operations from theoretical research (warp drive is my current favorite) to monitoring our planet, solar system and the visible universe (measuring Northern Lights and roving Mars) to a permanent presence in space (I watched NASA TV live from the International Space Station this morning) and plans for a manned Mars mission.
More space on Michigan in Pictures!