‘Tis the season to eat locally

It is not impossible to find ways to eat seasonally and locally during a Michigan winter.

Opportunities abound for residents to eat seasonally and locally in Macomb County and elsewhere during a Michigan winter.

Naturally during the fall season, local produce is plentiful in home gardens, farm market stands and local grocery stores and can be relatively easy to find to plan family meals. One might also think that it is impossible to support our local farmers, local restaurants, local markets and our local economy when we are in the middle of a winter snow storm and its 28 degrees outside.  But with a little research, a home computer and some time, you can plan healthy meals year round that include local produce and food that is grown in Michigan – and by the way - local does include Michigan.  There are websites such as the Michigan Farm Market & Agricultural Tourism Directory, and various “Made in Michigan” sites, and a number of farm market and produce sites that can help you identify possible places to purchase local and seasonal food.  Also when purchasing at larger supermarkets – check out the produce signage that indicates where foods are from.  Many Michigan apples, for example, are available throughout the winter.

As you plan your meals, use the format from the USDA, choosemyplate.gov to guide you in what to put on your plate.  Start with fruit and vegetable servings and keep it healthy with appropriate serving sizes.

In the winter, I like nothing better during the weekend than a hot breakfast.  Purchase your eggs and pork sausage from a local farmer, purchase a loaf of homemade bread from any one of our local bakeries, top that bread with locally made jam and savor that cup of coffee from a local store.

For lunch, make a hearty Michigan bean and vegetable soup (make it on the weekend and reheat for a couple of meals the following week)  serve with a local loaf of crusty bread, applesauce made from our own Macomb County apples, and you can even find cheese that is being made right here in Michigan (greatlakesgreatcheese.com).

For dinner, chicken (find that local farmer) with maple syrup or a honey glaze, Michigan potatoes and carrots, spinach salad (there are farmers using hoop houses to grow spinach through three seasons).  For a special dessert locate a Michigan chocolate maker or pastry shop.  Serve a local Michigan wine with this dinner. 

You can also discover new local food entrepreneurs starting businesses that are making their own sauces, jams, and pickle products available at local specialty markets.

With a little planning and some research, you can find ways to include locally made food products into your daily eating.

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