By: Emily J. Mccorkell
Let’s be real about the state of the world: technology is booming; global citizens often want to identify with emerging global responsibilities; businesses are seeking macro world operations; and, increasingly, the earth is not enough. Space is becoming another frontier, not the new and distant realm as it once was perceived. Bigger and better has been the identity of an age.
But a new age is booming—at a micro level.
People are growing tired of profit-hungry businesses, madly importing and exporting to the detriment of our environment. No longer does society crave the gloss and perfection of the “modern” world… and why would they? With so much falseness and facade, people instead want authenticity and transparency. Increasingly.
We want answers! We want a culture of “what you see is what you get.” In terms of food and food destinations, the “Farm to Fork” and “Slow Food” movements have never been bigger. We need to slow down, look our producers in the eye, and be present in our hometowns…and our lives! In our kitchens, in our bodies.
And we can be present! Our hometowns have the beauty, magic, and intrigue that we ourselves seek out on vacations and food destinations. We just have to look. It’s right beneath our noses!
Pursuing provenance in our culinary and cultural economy is the key to prosperity for everyone—not only health and life but material prosperity. Keeping money local, investing into cottage crafts, artisan start-ups, and local entrepreneurs is paramount to growing and defining our futures here at home.
There are plenty of natural beauties and local food businesses and events to champion in Michigan! It makes a difference when you can shake the hands that crafted your food. Here are a few worth visiting and tasting:
SWEET RETREATS CHOCOLATE SHOPPE, Milford, MI
(www.facebook.com/ SweetRetreatsMilford/?ref=page_ internal) This adorable shop creates decadent chocolates by hand—a rare art in the world of mass-produced and preservative-laden confectioneries. Step into the intoxicating aromas of hand-crafted chocolate and experience the delicious treats of an artisan chocolatier! A charming staff offering perfect gifts and goodies for special occasions…or just “because”! Go ahead and treat yourself.
CHARLIE’S SMOKIN’ BAR-B-Q, Flint, MI
(www.facebook.com/Charlies-SmokinBar-B-Q-123356275871/) Hands down, Charlie’s has the best-burnt tips—well, the best everything when it comes to barbecue! They’ve won competitions, loyalty and taste buds with their incredible food, warm smiles, and impeccable customer service. As a regular at Flint Farmers’ Market, you really have no excuse to pass them by. And be sure to ask for those burnt tips. Your taste buds will thank you! They also do outside catering, so get those orders in for your next get-together.
FLINT FARMERS MARKET
(www.flintfarmersmarket.com) Originally established in 1905 in Flint, the Flint Farmers’ Market is like a fine wine: growing better with age! With more than 51 vendors, this farmer’s market is a treasure trove of friendliness and local produce and fare. The indoor market is located at 300 E. 1st Street and worth a full day’s visit. There’s more food than room in your stomach, and more crafts and produce than your cupboards could hold. Often, there are community performances and events held inside. It’s super fun and super delicious. Will I see you there?
CHERRY FESTIVAL, Traverse City, MI
(www.cherryfestival.org/) Traverse City is well-known for many things: lakes and water sports, hiking and adventure trails, wineries and vintner experience tours, and the world’s largest cherry pie pan. (www. tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Reviewg42758-d12795299 Reviews-World_s_ Largest_Cherry_Pie_Pan-Traverse_ City_Grand_Traverse_County_ Michigan.html)…which leads me to CHERRIES! What would Traverse City be without cherries? It has become a national festival, garnering well deserved attention (world-wide, in fact) for the delicious and creative cherry products created and celebrated. And if you haven’t made plans to be there, get on it! There are 19 health and wellness events being held over the eight days, so it’s not all just pies and candies. www.cherryfestival.org