Michigan Wildlife Dinner benefits Conservation Resource Alliance

Winter RiverThe Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA) is a private, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to sensible stewardship of the land that serves a 13-county area in northwest lower Michigan. The wildlife & fisheries biologists, engineers and field technicians of the CRA work with landowners, agencies and businesses to plan and implement collaborative programs that enhance the habitat value and beauty of our region. On Saturday, February 8th The Boathouse Restaurant on Old Mission will host the Michigan Gourmet for Wildlife Wine Dinner to benefit the CRA.

CRA Development Coordinator Matt Thomas says “For years we’ve held our own wild game dinner at someone’s home with staff & supporters. This year Jim Morse, the chef at The Boathouse and husband of one of our staff members Casey Ressl, asked ‘How about we do this for you?’ It’s perfect for us, getting together to eat good wholesome things and talk about sustainable natural resources with old friends and new ones who we’ll meet through the Boathouse.”

Dining Room at the Boathouse

Dining Room at the Boathouse

The four course dinner (menu below) will feature venison from the Michigan Venison Co. along wine pairings from Bowers Harbor Vineyard and oils and vinegars with from Fustini’s for each course. Boathouse owner Doug Kosch says that they’ve done a wild game dinner for years, but this is the first year where they’ve decided to use it to give back to an organization.  “I’m an outdoors person and I love wild game,” he explains. “We have elk chops on our menu daily, and when I talk people into trying it they love it. Michigan Venison’s farm-raised venison is readily available with lots of different cuts. It’s less gamy than what people are accustomed to our Chef Jim Morse has put together a great menu that features it. I’m particularly excited to try the French onion soup he’s making with a stock from venison bones – I think it will have a rich and unique flavor profile!”

The Michigan “Gourmet Gone Wild” Wine Dinner on February 8, 2014  is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity and $10 goes to the Conservation Resource Alliance. Seating is limited and reservations are required – call The Boathouse at 231-223-4030.


Venison Summer Sausage, duck breast pastrami, pale ale mustard, onion marmalade, house made flat bread cracker
Bowers Harbor Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir, Nicholas


French Onion Soup, venison broth, charred ciabatta, Leelanau Raclette
Fustini’s “Sage and Wild Mushroom” olive oil
Bowers Harbor Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay RLS Reserve


Michigan Surf and Turf, juniper smoked venison rack, sumac seared lake trout, squash purée, Brussels sprouts
Fustini’s “Meyer Lemon” olive oil and “Wild Blueberry” balsamic vinegar
Bowers Harbor Vineyards 2010 2896, Langley


Buchan’s apple pie ice cream, Michigan wild blackberry quince compote
Fustini’s “Maple” balsamic vinegar
Bowers Harbor Vineyards Appletage Port-Style