Harvest Michigan

  (Pontiac, Michigan)
"Bringing the Best of Michigan to You"
[ Member listing ]

2014 Harvest Celebration

This year, we hosted our annual Harvest Celebration in conjunction with the Indian Hill Wine Cellar. It was an evening of free-flowing fun and great people – all with an interest in the good food system.


 


 


We were very warm despite the snow outside and were thrilled that farmers and guests alike braved the first big snow of the year to come out and celebrate with us!


 

 


Local, organic greens and mushrooms were harvested the day before – then freshly prepared for the evening. We also had local beef, cheeses, breads, and more! Everyone enjoyed our Michigan-sourced meal.



 

The food was held in our Café area - part of our new location, which we introduced guests to for the first time. Our plan is to launch this café in Spring 2015. 



 

We all socialized, sipped wine, and ate great food until it was time for the official wine tasting.



 

 

Each guest received four carefully selected wine tasting pours from the Indian Hill Wine Cellar.



 

At the end of the night, we gave away Michigan artesian door prizes to eight lucky winners! 


 

This year's celebration was a great experience, and we are thankful to all that attended. It is wonderful to see and speak with people in our community that are truly passionate about the food system and who are making a difference in the shift towards local food. 

We look forward to your support and great things happening in 2015!

 
 

Soil Quality and Produce

When it comes to growing produce, the quality of soil is extremely important to our organic farmers. There are many factors that go into soil quality, which ultimately determines plant productivity and nutrient value. Soil tests are done annually at our farms in order to ensure proper acidity level and to determine which organic fertilizers are necessary to keep crops well nourished.


The heart of organic farming involves crop rotations to keep the soil well balanced. Oftentimes it will take 2 to 3 years for a crop to be able to cycle back around to the same planting location. This is because each crop is partial to certain nutrients in the soil and will absorb large quantities while in place. These nutrients must be re-established in order to host that crop again. Crop rotation systems also help control pests and erosion on the farm.


A 30-year side-by-side comparison study by the Rodale Institute found that industrial farming methods maintain soil health with chemical fertilizers – which over time destroys microbial life and weakens soil integrity. The same study showed that organic farming methods improved the quality of soil.


Poor soil can contribute to blight, poor taste, erosion, low microorganism counts and low productivity. Healthy soil is dark and porous. Next time you take a farm tour, take a moment to dig up some soil! It is a great way to determine the quality of produce.


Fun Fact: One Tablespoon of soil has more organisms inside of it than there are people on earth!

 
 

Food Preservation Basics

It’s that time of year again! Harvest season has hit its peak – and for us local food lovers, this means we have access to more produce than we could ever consume before it starts to go bad. Luckily, there are many ways to keep food from spoilage that will enable you to feast upon fresh summertime produce in the barren months of winter!

Freezing – This is the easiest method of preserving fresh produce. Simply wash, chop, blanch (if applicable), label, and seal tightly.  Many foods will keep for up to a year with this preservation method.

Drying – This method allows for less space consumption. There are three popular methods for drying food. The first being a hot air dehydrator – set between 104 and 135 degrees and leave until dry. Those without a dehydrator can use a traditional oven. Set at 140 degrees, leaving the door slightly ajar. Use “convection” setting or place a small fan near the tray to help air circulate. The most energy-efficient of all is the solar oven method. Whichever method you choose, wash and chop food in portions for consumption, then spread out evenly on oven tray to dry. Dehydrated meats will store up to 3 months and dehydrated produce will store up to 1 year or more. Click here for specifics on food dehydration.

Canning – Canning is a great way to store excess produce in an organized manner. There are many methods and variables when it comes to canning food,click here for a guide to canning specific fruits and vegetables. Canned foods will store for one year or more depending on contents. Keep in a cool, dry location and do not eat if seal has been damaged or food looks contaminated.


Pickling – Cucumbers? Beans? Cauliflower? Tomatoes? All of these items can be pickled, and more! Wash and chop your veggies to the desired size, or leave whole. Some veggies should be blanched before pickling for the best flavor. Next, divide vegetables among jars, leaving about ½” of headroom. Add herbs and spices of your choosing, then fill jars with a salt and vinegar brine. Be sure to cover vegetables completely. Place lids on the jars and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before consuming. Refrigerated pickles will keep 1 – 2 months. Click here for information on fermented pickles.

Home food preservation is the best way to eat local year-round in Michigan. Take advantage of this season's bounty and start preserving!
 
 

Ugly Vegetables and Food Waste

Every so often, you may stumble across a few misshapen vegetables in your CSA box. Upon slicing them open or cooking them up, you will realize that these ‘mutant veggies’ contain the same great flavor and nutritive benefits as the ‘standard’ looking varieties. In the field, it is very common for fruits and vegetables to have discrepancies because Mother Nature loves to change things up all the time.

Each year, millions of pounds of produce are discarded because they lack uniformity. 


In the grocery world, ugly vegetables are deemed unmarketable. In 2010, the USDA estimated that 31 percent (1.33 Billion pounds) of harvested produce went uneaten, while 48 million Americans lacked access to affordable, nutritious food.  These statistics are due in part to cooking waste and produce rot, but they are also due to processing plants and grocery stores throwing away perfectly edible, but not particularly beautiful produce.


Are you happy to contribute to food waste reduction? We certainly are! Send us pictures of your ugliest fruits and vegetables to be featured on our facebook page. We look forward to showing off a superstar that’s bursting with inner beauty!

 
 

Mighty Culinary Mushrooms

Mushrooms come in many varieties, both edible and toxic. Edible mushrooms are highly sought after due to their multitude of flavors, textures, and medicinal benefits. After the standard white button mushroom, shiitake and oyster mushrooms are the most common in todays cuisine. Both shiitake and oyster varieties are a top-notch source of fiber, and consist of 30-35% protein by weight.* These qualities make them an excellent choice for dieters. 

Shiitake mushrooms are one of the worlds healthiest foods. Some may even consider shiitake a "superfood" because of their ability to assist with weight loss, better health, and longevity. They are an outstanding source of potent B vitamins. "One hundred grams of shiitake contains more than three milligrams (mg) of riboflavin (B2), 106 mg niacin (B3), and 17 mg pantothenic acid (B5)."* Along with essential B vitamins, shiitake mushrooms also provide vitamin D and are a concentrated source of minerals - especially selenium, copper, zinc, manganese, phosphorous, and potassium. Shiitakes are a favorite among culinary mushrooms for their rich, buttery flavor and meaty texture. They taste great by themselves or pair well with vegetables, meats, poultry, or seafood.

Both shiitake and oyster mushrooms contain beta-glucan complexes that have been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth, boost immunity, and control cardiovascular health. These complexes are linked to Diabetes prevention and can help normalize cholesterol levels. Oyster mushrooms are wide, fleshy, and tender with a sweet subtle flavor. They cook quickly and will work as a substitute in most mushroom recipes.  

Cinnamon caps are exotic among gourmet mushrooms. They have a nutty flavor plus a firm, crunchy texture with creamy stems and are highly sought after due to their texture retention after cooking.
Like shiitake and oyster mushrooms, they are high in fiber,  B vitamins, and are one of the few food sources of vitamin D. Like all mushrooms, they are fat free and low in calories.


It is important to eat only organic mushrooms because they will absorb compounds in the substrates that they grow in. Mushrooms may be dried, pickled, frozen, or canned - and should always be cooked before consumption. Raw mushrooms may contain small levels of toxins, however, cooking them will eliminate these toxins and release valuable nutrients in a way that our bodies can absorb them.  Click Here for mushroom cooking times and more!

*Parts adapted from the article Culinary Mushroom Magic by: Case Adams - Naturopath
**Join our NEW Mushroom CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program here!
 
 

6 Tips For Preparing Your CSA Produce

The shift towards seasonal eating can be difficult, but having the joy of farm fresh vegetables is well worth it. With CSA registration, you are about to take off on a culinary adventure, so we’ve put together a few tips to help you out along the way.

 

  1. Roast. Nearly everything that you receive in your CSA box can be roasted, including the greens! Quickly broil them in the oven, toss them into a sandwich or lettuce wrap, add them to eggs or eat them as a side dish!
  2. Risotto. Risotto is a rice and chicken broth based dish that veggies can be added to. Try inventing a new risotto recipe with unique finds from your CSA box!
  3. Salsa. When tomatoes ripen in late summer, you should have everything you need to make an extremely fresh homemade salsa straight from your CSA box. You are the master of your own spice level, seasonings and consistency!
  4. Sauté. You can put any vegetable from your CSA box into a sauté. Simply, chop up a veggie combination that fits your mood, then add them to a sauté pan with olive or coconut oil. Toss in garlic and onion first for a big flavor boost before adding your veggies one by one. Serve over rice, quinoa or on its own.
  5. Soup. Make a garden-fresh soup any day with the produce from your CSA box. From gazpacho to a hearty minestrone, soup is always in season! Freeze any extras for a warm taste of summer when winter is in full blast. You can even save discarded ends of onions, carrots and celery in the freezer to make your own vegetable stock. 
  6. Salads. Kale salad, cucumber salad, pasta or potato salad… your can make it all with your CSA produce box. Try adding roasted vegetables and local meats, make a salad without lettuce, or infuse white vinegar with fresh herbs for a flavorful salad topping twist!

The trick to eating seasonal is basing your meals around your produce rather than your produce around your meals. Use a variety of veggies in each meal to avoid spoilage. Only have a small amount of something? Use your produce as a pizza topping, mix it in with macaroni, add to an omelet, or spruce up your dish with a garnish. Be creative with your food and stay connected for more meal inspiration! 
 
 

Kale: Trending Now

How did Kale become such a hit? We’re not entirely sure, but it probably has something to with its unsurpassed health benefits. A simple one-cup serving can pack an enormous nutritional punch.

 

Kale Facts:


  •         More vitamin C per gram than an orange.
  •         More calcium per gram than milk.
  •         More vitamin A & vitamin K than spinach, parsley, and collards.
  •         Excellent source of manganese.
  •         Contains fiber and protein.
  •         Kale can reduce inflammation, cleanse the body of free radicals, and help prevent cancer.
  •         A source of Omega-3 fatty acid, essential for brain health.
  •         Nonfat and low in calories.
  •         Other noteworthy nutrients include vitamin B, potassium, iron, and magnesium.

 

This super-food superstar is especially good for the eyes, heart, skin and bones. It helps with weight loss and lowering cholesterol. Kale is extremely versatile when it comes to cooking and is best paired with healthy fats and acids; this helps the body absorb the nutrients to it’s fullest potential. Steaming kale also aids in nutrient absorption.

This powerhouse of a plant is very hearty and can survive snowfall. It is one of the first to rise and the last to fall here in Michigan. Look for it in your CSA box all throughout the growing season!

 

Click here for 52 ways to eat kale! 

 

References:

www.worldshealthiestfoods.com  

 
 

The Exceptional (Pastured) Egg

Eggs are an incredibly nutritious food. They are the most well-rounded source of protein in our diets and are high in Omega-3 fatty acids – essential for brain health, immunity, and more. Many holistic doctors recommend eating two of these nutritional powerhouses every day.

Not all eggs are created equal. Visually, there is a very noticeable difference between an average grade A grocery store egg and a farm fresh pastured egg. The grocery store egg has a thin white or brown shell and membrane, a watery white, and a light yellow yolk. In comparison, the pastured egg has a thicker shell that can come in a variety of colors and speckles. Upon cracking it open, you will find a dense dark yellowy-orange yolk surrounded by a thick white. These are all the ingredients needed to make a healthy young chick - as well as a healthy meal for you!

Mother Nature Network did the research to see how these two varieties of eggs compare nutritionally, and found that pastured eggs contain:

• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

(Via Mother Earth News)

Than commercial eggs found in the grocery store.

So what makes pastured eggs more nutritious? The way in which the chickens are raised, fed, and treated. Unlike a conventionally raised chicken - kept confined in a large factory farmhouse (with little light, ventilation, and room to move around) a pastured chicken is allowed to roam free in the pasture and even the woods! They eat what comes natural to them – grass, worms, and bugs, and are supplemented with a diet of organic feed when winter comes. These chickens are raised on small family farms and are treated humanely. They are not injected with antibiotics or hormones because they are healthy and fully capable of producing eggs without them.

At Harvest Michigan, we distribute organic, pastured eggs from Michigan farms. These valuable nutritional powerhouses are available at anytime through the Michigan Buying Club.

Available Online Here:

Michigan Pastured Large Eggs

Michigan Pastured Jumbo Eggs

Michigan Buying Club Membership 

 
 

Cleaning and Cooking Your Mushrooms

 

Cleaning Mushrooms:

A little dirt doesn’t hurt, but it’s a good practice to clean your mushrooms. 

All you need is a cloth or a soft brush. Moisten it only slightly – making your mushrooms too wet will alter the texture.

Wipe off the caps and stems of your mushrooms to remove any debris, then knock off dirt (if any) that is in the gills or crevices.

Let your mushrooms dry for 30 minutes before cooking.

 

Cooking Mushrooms:

There are many methods of mushrooms preparation – the most common of which is sauté. Sautéed mushrooms may be added to a variety of recipes or served on their own.

To make a simple sauté, start with an olive oil & butter combination (1Tbsp per 4 oz. of mushrooms). Crushed garlic and/or sliced onions may be added to the sauté for added flavor and should be cooked 4-5 minutes before mushrooms are added. 

Do not stir mushrooms often, stirring will release moisture and cause them to steam instead of caramelizing. It is best to cook cap side down.

 

Cook Times:

  • Oyster Mushrooms: 4-5 minutes
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: 7-8 minutes
  • Cinnamon Caps: 7-8 minutes

 

 
 

About Us

Welcome to Harvest Michigan! Our focus is to develop a thriving, regional 'Food Hub' for the (northern) Southeast Michigan region servicing Oakland and Macomb counties. We offer services through the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, and the Buying Club where our customer can source artisan products and farm-fresh goods from our network of sustainable growers. 

As a Food Hub, we handle a multitude of operations, such as aggregation, warehousing, distribution and market development for the small food producer and small - medium scale farms of our region.  With our connections to the Eastern Market, we play a vital partner in the future success of Southeast Michigan's Food System. 

Our overall effort works to strengthen the profitability of regional growers and increase our "local food shed" that serves multiple markets, and most importantly, advances local foods to the greater community.  Join us and we grow in partnership with local farmers, food and beverage producers, and delightful artisanal goodies.  We love good and healthy food!

Browse our website and enjoy a wonderful selection of Michigan products
"Bringing the Best of Michigan to You." 
 
 
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