Corn Days

http://www.leerentz.com/

Corn Days by Mark Smith

Mark got this gorgeous shot on the Leelanau Peninsula. Here’s hoping you get a chance to bite into some delicious Michigan sweet corn! Head over to Downstreamer on Flickr for his latest!

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Fighting for Food Security

Morning Sun by Richard Deming Photography

Morning Sun by Richard Deming Photography

TechCrunch has a feature on a new Google service to help the millions of Americans struggling with food insecurity:

Google today is launching a new suite of resources for people struggling with food insecurity across the U.S. The project includes the launch of a new website “Find Food Support” that connects people to food support resources, including hotlines, SNAP information, and a Google Maps locator tool that points people to their local food banks, food pantries and school meal program pickup locations, among other things.

In an announcement, Google explains how the COVID-19 pandemic fueled a worsening food crisis in the U.S., which led to some 45 million people — or 1 in 7 Americans — experiencing food insecurity at some point during 2020. That figure was up 30% over 2019, the company noted. And of those 45 million people, 15 million were children.

While the pandemic’s impacts are starting to subside as businesses are reopening and in-person activities are resuming, many children will still go hungry during the summer months when school lunch programs become unavailable.

Head over to Google to find food support & be sure to remember your neighbors struggling with food insecurity when you give charitably!

Richard took this photo back in 2010 at the Fulton Street Farm Market in Grand Rapids. See more in his Farmers Markets 2010 gallery on Flickr.

More delicious Michigan food on Michigan in Pictures!

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It’s Asparagus Season in Michigan!

Purple Curl by Mark Smith

Purple Curl by Mark Smith

The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board says that:

The countdown to the kickoff of the 2021 Michigan asparagus season is officially over, as the seasonal favorite will be making its way to retailers across the nation. As a result of unexpected cooler temperatures at the traditional start of the season, the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board (MAAB) has announced that the production area of West-central Michigan began harvesting and packing this week.

“Because asparagus depends on weather, it does tend to be somewhat unpredictable,” explained Jamie Clover Adams, Executive Director of the MAAB. “But as all our Michigan asparagus fans out there will tell you, it is a veggie that is well-worth the wait.”

Mother Nature imposed her own plans for the “normal” Mother’s Day season, with near or below freezing night temperatures delaying the start of the harvest for about a week.

Fresh Michigan asparagus is definitely something I stop for at roadside stands. You can get some great asparagus recipes from the MAAB including the clubhouse leader for my dinner tonight, an Asparagus Bacon & Cheese Tart – YUM!!

Mark took this photo a few years ago & you can see more in his Garden gallery on Flickr.

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2021 Michigan Morel Season is here!

White Morel by Rick Wolanin

White Morel by Rick Wolanin

This week I’ve started to see people posting their finds in the various morel hunting groups I’m in, so it’s time to declare the 2021 season officially underway! Michigan in Pictures has a ton of information about Michigan morels, including hunting tips & how to avoid the mildly toxic false morel.

Rick took this photo back in May of 2014 near Boyne City (home to a bangin’ morel festival) and you can see more in his Morel Mushrooms taken within 5 miles of Boyne City gallery on Flickr.

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Sap Season in Michigan

Maple Sap Harvesting by Davd Marvin

Maple Sap Harvesting by David Marvin

Our recent weather has been perfect for maple sugaring! You can dig into the process at the maple syrup tag on Michigan in Pictures!

Dig into David’s Flickr for more!

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An apple a day … plus bacon

Harvest Time by Jim Sorbie

Harvest Time by Jim Sorbie

Hour Detroit shared a pretty amazing looking recipe from Zingerman’s Roadhouse for Bacon Fried Apple Cobbler that looks pretty darned incredible. I thought I’d share the link here in case anyone wants to join me in a little gratuitous assault on your arteries. Have a great weekend folks!

Jim took the photo back in 2018 on a trip through the U.P. See more in his Orchards, Barns & Farms gallery on Flickr.

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The 2020 Michigan Morel Season is Underway!

Yellow Morel (Morchella esculenta) by J Sommer

Yellow Morel (Morchella esculenta) by J Sommer

The online mushroom groups I’m in are already filling up with photos of happy people & their hauls of a popular Michigan springtime delicacy – morel mushrooms! The Michigan Department of Natural Resources  offers a Morel Mushroom Hunting page that features information about morels & morel identification, hunting tips, recipes, and also a map of the large burn sites in forested areas are ideal for morel mushroom hunting, especially in burned areas where jack, white or red pine once grew. Grassy and other non forest areas are not as likely to produce morels:

May is morel month in Michigan, but the actual fruiting period is from late April until mid-June, depending on where you are and what species you are hunting. Contrary to common belief, morels are not confined to the northern part of the state – some of the best picking is in southern Michigan.

MOREL HUNTING TIPS

  • Make your first several mushroom hunts, whether for morels or other edible mushroom species, with someone who knows mushrooms.
  • Buy or download a mushroom guide. A good guidebook is “The Mushroom Hunter’s Field Guide” by Alexander H. Smith, recognized as America’s foremost authority on mushroom identification, and Nancy Smith Weber. There also is a very good mushroom identification booklet available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.
  • Be prepared to cover a lot of ground and to experience disappointments when searching for morels. Some spots yield mushrooms year after year, while others skip several seasons between crops.
  • Don’t expect to find morels easily if you are new to the pastime. Because they blend into their background of last fall’s leaves and dead grass, they are hard to see even if you are looking right at them. Your “eye” for morels will sharpen with practice, and you will need to retrain it every spring.
  • Most important of all – know what you are eating! You will need to know the difference between a “true” morel and the “false morels,” such as beefsteak mushrooms, which are poisonous. (See morel identification information.)
  • For more information on morel mushroom hunting in Michigan, visit Pure Michigan or Midwest American Mycological Information.

J Sommer took this photo back in May of 2017 near Saginaw. See this photo and more in their Fungi gallery on Flickr.

There is a bunch more information about morels at the morel tag on Michigan in Pictures.

Morel Time: 2018 Edition

Twin Morels worth a zoom, photo by Mark Smith

Mark took this photo back in May of 2015, but I’m hearing from friends in Leelanau that morels are starting to pop. We’ve had some great rain over the last few days all around Michigan and the temps are about right for morel magic!

View Mark’s photo background bigilicious and see more in Mark’s slideshow.

There’s more morels action in the Michigan in Pictures Morel tag and some great tips in this Morel Madness feature on my Leelanau.com website.

More spring wallpaper for your computer too!

#strawbpocalypse2017: Strawberry Season in Michigan

#strawbpocalypse2017, photo by Emily Bingham

Michigan strawberries are starting to roll into farm markets, stores, roadside stands, and people’s gardens. Here’s a few Michigan strawberry facts from the Michigan Department of Agriculture:

  • In 2009, Michigan produced 43,000 tons of fresh strawberries and 3,000 tons of processed strawberries, generating $6.6 million
  • Most of the fresh Michigan strawberries are picked by consumers at “u-pick” operations around the state
  • Strawberries contain 80 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C
  • They are an excellent source of potassium, which can help control blood pressure and fight strokes
  • They are an excellent source of fiber, which help reduce total cholesterol levels

You can check out this feature on Michigan strawberries at Absolute Michigan for links to U-Pick farms and more.

Emily didn’t have to go far to pick these – she grew them and says they are SO EASY! View the photo bigger and follow her on Instagram at e_bing.

More Michigan strawberries on Michigan in Pictures.

 

Learn a traditional skill at the Crosshatch Skill Swap

The not so elusive Sourdough loaves, photo by Dan Bruell

Hey folks, let me tell you about a cool thing that I’m involved with, the second annual Crosshatch Skill Swap at Earthwork Farm on Saturday, June 3rd. It’s a full day of hands-on workshops, followed by a dinner and live music. It takes place at Earthwork Farm near Lake City and offers 16 workshops in four areas:

  • The Green World – wayfinding & orienteering, seed saving, beekeeping, and an herb walk
  • Real Home Ec – farmer cheese, Kombucha, making mead, and bread baking
  • Tinkering – bike repair, tailoring, spoon carving, and a topic to be named later
  • Art – songwriting, singing harmony, using natural dies, and screenprinting

After the dinner, there are FOUR musical treats. The first is a waltz hour featuring amazing string players with knowledgeable waltzers to help you learn a bonus skill – waltzing followed by a concert in the barn host Seth Bernard, Gifts or Creatures, and Heavy Color. Camping is included if you so desire, and there’s a video below with my friend Brad outlining the day. Click for tickets and more information!

View the photo background big and see more in Dan’s Foods slideshow.