Antique Apples at Christmas Cove Farm

Kilcherman Christmas Cove farm

Apples are one of the finest flavors of fall, and one of the best places in our area to get your apple on is Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm just north of Northport.

Many of the articles you read will highlight John & Phyllis Kilcherman’s massive (10,000+) pop bottle collection. While that’s certainly a sight to see, what sets my foodie heart beating faster is the 250 varieties of antique & heirloom apples. I had the pleasure of interviewing John Kilcherman a number of years ago and he explained how he came to be “The Keeper of the Apples”:

“I grew up three farms down from here. My grandfather had an old apple orchard that I would play in as a child. Years later, I thought I’d try and grow some of those apples that tasted so good when I was a boy. It really just started as something to do just to see if it could be done. I figured I could always sell the apples for juice, but I never really expected to see any money out of it.”

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Wild Food Wednesday: Oyster Mushrooms

Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the U.S. and that diversity doesn’t stop at the market! Our woods are alive with tasty and nutritious food if you know where to look. In our Wild Food Wednesdays we’ll tip you off to seasonal goodies that you can find around TC and give you a recipe so you can enjoy the meal as much as the hike to find it!

Here’s a great guide to safe harvesting of mushrooms at LifeHacker – better safe than sorry!

Oyster Mushroom

Oysters mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus complex) are an edible and easy to find mushroom that’s in the woods around Traverse City right now! The Michigan Mushroom Hunter’s Club has great information on harvesting oyster mushrooms – here’s a taste:

The delicious oysters can be found in many environments as they are a prime wood recycler. Oysters can be found on dead and dying trees especially hardwoods like poplars (a.k.a. aspen), cottonwoods, elms, box elders, etc. though they also can occur on conifers.

The gills of the oysters are white, branched fanning out toward the cap edge and are very decurrent (running down the stalk). Oysters tend to grow in dense clusters of caps, crowded and overlapping. It is not unusual to find oyster in such quantity that a mushroom hunter ends up measuring her find in pounds. Each cap may resemble an oyster shell or fan but they grow in many shapes. The edges of the caps are often curved down and are fluted. They are smooth, and colored from off-white, to buff brown, to deep bluish grey, to gray brown. The caps range from an inch across to 6 inches though some caps as wide as 12” are not uncommon. The flesh is white, juicy and quite dense. Stalks if present are thick, become woody with age and have gills all the way to their attachment with the tree.

Read on for much more including harvesting tips (we always bring paring knives and baskets). Also check out Tom Volk’s page on Oyster mushrooms for more identification information. If you want to go a little deeper (and maybe live a little longer) check out mushroom evangelist Paul Stamets compilation of apparent health benefits of oyster mushrooms including cholesterol reduction and immune system boosting.

Wondering what to do once you’ve got some? Read on for a great recipe and share your own ideas in the comments or on the eatdrinkTC Facebook.

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Greening of the Great Lakes goes to Workshop Brewing

Pete Kirkwood Workshop Brewing Traverse CityDr. Kirk L. Heinze served in the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for three decades and now hosts the Greening of the Great Lakes on News/Talk 760 WJR. He has a great interview with Pete Kirkwood of TC’s new Workshop Brewing Company discussing Pete’s vision for a sustainable, connected brewery that you can check out on mLive along with a short article:

Pete credits his employees for The Workshop Brewing Company’s adoption of zero waste. “They drove zero waste, and everything we use here is recycled, composted or reused, which is obviously good for the environment, but it may also end up saving us money.” Pete’s brews feature organic grain, much of which is purchased locally. And his spent barley goes to a local farmer who uses it for livestock feed. “When you buy and sell locally, it is amazing to track the economic reverberations in a community.” Pete admits to originally viewing the locavore movement as “effete and elitist,” but now I better understand and appreciate the powerful economic ripple effect buying locally can create.”

Click over to mLive to hear lots more including Pete’s hope to bring renewable energy into his brewing process. Definitely make a point to taste the Oktoberfest and other brews on tap right now at The Workshop Brewing Co!

Wine Touring in Traverse City

Wine touring in Traverse City has become a very popular activity for visitors & locals alike. There’s nothing that can compare with tasting a wine with the person who made it, and with over 35 wineries in our area there’s a lot to discover.

We’ve spent years in the wine industry and have put together this simple guide to take the uncertainty out of wine touring and leave you to enjoy the fun!

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All-star lineup for the Pigstock TC Dinner

Dessert by Chef David

The annual Pigstock TC Dinner takes place on Wednesday, October 23 at 6 PM at the Hagerty Center. The evening features dishes prepared by some of our leading chefs that feature different parts of the Mangalitsa pig. This seven-course, wine-paired dinner showcases some of our best local talent all in one room and is a fundraiser for Taste the Local Difference.

Featured Chefs

“It’s all fun. This is an opportunity for us to catch up after a busy summer season and have some fun with the local Mangalitsa pigs that we’ve been feeding all year long with our compost,” Paul Olson says. “My favorite part is tasting what our talented chefs do each year with the different parts of the animal.” Read more

Introducing eatdrinkTC!

We are excited to welcome you to eatdrinkTC, a new resource designed from the ground up to feature all aspects of Traverse City’s culinary scene using the latest tools. Read on for a guide of what we offer and how you can take advantage of it, and please leave your ideas or questions in the comments! Read more

2013 grape harvest looking good!

The Detroit News reports:

A cooler-than-usual summer and more moisture will produce flavorful and crisp Rieslings and Chardonnays, two of the varieties for which Michigan is best known. A few more weeks on the vine and red wine grapes will turn out as well, vintners predict.

“It was a classic northern Michigan year; most of the wines are going to be butt-kicking good,” said Chris Baldyga, co-owner and general manager of 2 Lads Winery near Traverse City. “An average year with the weather we get still makes great wine.”

[pullquote]There’s an awful lot of enthusiasm. This is the time of the year we really feel most alive.
~Lee Lutes, Black Star Farms[/pullquote]…At Willow Vineyards near Traverse City, John Crampton said his grapes are about two weeks behind last year’s schedule, but that’s not a bad thing.

“We’re anticipating a pretty good year,” he said of his 8-acre winery. “Things just got to an earlier start (last year).”

Lee Lutes, head winemaker and general manager of Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay, said his red wine grapes will hang on the vine for another few weeks, but wine from his white grapes should be very fruity and crisp this year.

“We’re feeling pretty good about where we are,” he said.

I’m not familiar with the term “butt-kicking good” but that sounds like good news for the 2013 vintage to me!

Food Truck Dinner Series kicks off at Little Fleet

The Little Fleet will be holding the first dinner in their new Food Truck Dinner Series on October 15th at 7:30 PM with Roaming Harvest. Roaming Harvest features food in their truck that is grown, raised or made by local businesses and sustainable farms.

Tickets are $45 per person and include 4 courses and 4 drinks. Seats are limited so reserve your tickets ASAP by either emailing thelittlefleet@gmail.com or signing up at the bar!

Food Truck Dinner Series