By Executive Editor Chris Hardman
EACH YEAR we ask our readers to identify who the leaders are in our region’s local food scene. We’re looking for people or businesses who are committed to providing or sourcing local products. And we are looking for farmers who provide excellent produce while growing sustainably. We also ask our readers to nominate a food-related non-profit that is working to solve the problems of food insecurity, hunger and food access. This year, for the first time, we have added a category for favorite farmer’s market.
Last year’s edibleWOW Local Heroes
So click here and nominate your local heroes in the categories of chef/restaurant, food-related non-profit, food artisan, beverage artisan, farmer’s market and farm/farmer. We will announce the award winners in our spring issue and recognize them at an event in the summer. To see our past winners, simply click on the Local Heroes tab.
By Executive Editor
ORCHARDS are friendly places. That is part of their appeal—in addition to fresh donuts and cider. I spent last Sunday afternoon at Porters Orchard in Goodrich exploring the corn maze, looking at farm animals and taste-testing product. Although Porters is known for their apples and award-wining cider, they also have U-Pick raspberries and blackberries. I’d never picked raspberries there before, so I was excited to try their berries.
Porters is a causal place, which is one of the reasons I chose to go there. The unmarked raspberry patch I went to lines the road the tractor uses for hayrides. The raspberries were delicious, firm and plentiful. After finding several small bugs and an occasional ant, I suggested to my daughter that Porters raspberries are grown organically.
When I stumbled upon a very large black and yellow spider—which looked like something that belongs in the jungle—I was sure that we had indeed found organic raspberries. At $10 for 4 pints, I was thrilled.
When I spoke to owner Dee Porter she confirmed that no pesticides or herbicides are used on their raspberries, and we marveled at the size the of the spider I found. Its Latin name is Argiope aurantia,and it lives throughout the United States. According to the Ohio DNR, the yellow garden spider is not agressive and poses no threat to humans.
Dee also told me about the history of the orchard that was founded in 1919 by her husband’s grandfather, Raymond Walter Porter. She talked about the farms’ series of expansions including a cider press in 1939, an expanded farm market and donut shop in 1976 and a bakery in 1997.
Products from Porter’s Orchard can also be found at the Davison Farmers Market and the Flint Farmers’ market.
By Executive Editor Chris Hardman
GOOD NEWS FROM the world of Michigan apples–this year’s harvest is expected to be above average for an estimated total of 24 million bushels. Because Michigan is the third largest apple producing state in the country, we always monitor the apple crop closely. After all, more than 850 small family farms count on the crop for their livelihood.
For the local food devotee, apples are the perfect food. You can eat them nearly all year long, starting in August through June. How is that possible with our long, drawn-out winter? The answer is controlled atmosphere storage. By keeping apples in an environment where oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen levels are controlled–along with temperature and humidity–apples can be stored for nearly a year with almost no loss of quality.
With this many apples available year-round it’s easy to eat only Michigan-grown apples. Fortunately here in southeast Michigan we have plenty of orchards to keep us supplied with Galas, Reds and Braeburns. See our list below for some of the U-Pick farms in our area.
Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill Brookwood Fruit Farm Erie Orchards and Cider Mill Erwin Orchards Hy’s Cider Mill Miller’s Big Red Mueller’s Orchard Ostbaum Orchard Porter’s Orchard Spicer Orchards Stony Creek Orchard Wasem Fruit Farm Westview Orchards Wiard’s Orchard