Michigan Products Journal

BuyMichiganProducts.com Announces Upcoming Michigan Products Expo
By Nicole Albright
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Coming in November  >>>

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The Ann Arbor Artisan & Farmers Market
By Ryan Anderson
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Welcome to The Ann Arbor Artisan & Farmers Market  >>>

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September Organic Harvest Festivals
By Ryan Anderson
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Growing Connections 2005  >>>

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A Sampling of Michigan Culinary Delights
By Ryan Anderson
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Chef Frank Turner Discusses Michigan ProduceLast week, I had the chance to watch a top local chef cook up a bounty of Michigan foods, complete with tips, stories, audience participation, and a side helping of good humor. Chef Frank Turner, of Morel's restaurant in Bingham Farms, took samples from their new menu to prepare for "Cuisine du Jour", a monthly culinary program at Auburn Hills-based Trevarrow, Inc. Included in the 4-hour course were presentations by Melinda Curtis of the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture, and David Creighton from the Michigan Wine & Grape Council. It was a day full of fun, facts, and food that won’t easily be forgotten.

Chef Turner got started by showing us a cranberry-orange vinaigrette, and preparing large red onions for grilling. After that, he sliced up apples to roast them in a maple syrup glaze, while telling stories about his herb garden. Fresh Michigan peaches were the featured ingredient in a dessert called Clafouti, although he admitted cherries were his preferred fruit for this dish (they were out of season by just a week). Around this time, Melinda Curtis, of the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture, gave a presentation about the Select Michigan program. They work with bigger chain supermarkets, like Meijer and Farmer Jack, to ensure a certain percentage of Michigan produce is available in their stores. By their estimates, if each Michigan family buys just $10 worth of Michigan products weekly, it would pump over $37 million into the state’s economy each week - that’s a whole lot of consumer power. She also mentioned that although we have 8 primary agricultural "industries" (think cherries, apples, asparagus, potatoes, sugar, blueberries and soybeans), there are actually 134 different fruits & vegetables grown and harvested in Michigan, second only to California in agricultural diversity.

As Ms. Curtis wrapped up her presentation with some questions from the class, Chef Turner began working with the fresh Michigan whitefish he brought, preparing it with a basic pesto and mayonnaise, covered with a potato-bread crumb and cracker meal breading. He called for volunteers from the audience to help peel tiny tomatoes, and to bread and fry a batch of sliced summer squash. The second presentation of the day was from David Creighton of the Michigan Grape and Wine Council, discussing recent awards given out to the state’s wineries. He also brought along a few bottles of Chateau Grand Traverse oak-less Chardonnay wine, of which he poured into glasses for members of the class to taste. By now, the entire meal was coming together, as Chef Turner tossed some vegetables in a stir-fry, made a sauce with heirloom tomatoes, and assembled a baby spinach salad with the grilled onions and roasted apples, topped with the cranberry-orange vinagrette and chunks of Maytag blue cheese. The main course was a "fish tower", consisting of a layer of fish, some stir-fried vegetables, the fried squash slices, topped with another slice of fish and finished with the heirloom tomato sauce. The dessert course was a plate of the peach Clafouti, with a scoop of Ray's butter pecan ice cream and a dollop of crème fraiche, which he made from heavy cream and sour cream. Not only did the members of the class eat well that afternoon, we left with a folder containing brochures and literature about Michigan products and where to find them – and this class was definitely full of people who know where to find great food!  >>>

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