Sunday, August 29, 2010

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

Every spring my parents planted gardens.
It was a lesson in patience for me.
After long days under the West Virginia sun, tomatoes ripened on the vine.

Barefoot, with a small pile of salt in one hand, I walked the dusty rows until the reddest one caught my eye.  I'd pluck it from the vine, shine it on my blouse, lift a small portion of peel, sprinkle it with salt, and bite into the warm juicy flesh.

When I turned nine, we moved to Michigan and bought tomatoes from the produce or canned food isles of grocery stores.  No more gardens.  No more dusty rows.

Fast forward to 2010.

Thanks to Slow Food Detroit, the idea of fresh, locally grown foods is making a comeback.

Slow Food Detroit, and it's many members, understand and advocate the importance of sustainable foods for our physical well being, and they are doing something about it.
My daughters and I attended the first annual "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" fundraiser at the Coach Insignia in Detroit.

It benefited the Slow Food Detroit resource fund for farmers and continuing education regarding the local and sustainable food movement.

        We were greeted with champagne...


and a birds eye view of Detroit.

The Detroit River was majestic from Belle Isle in one direction

to Downtown Detroit in the other.

Chefs, establishments, and wine providers donated their time, 
products, and services to this cause.  

We enjoyed several delicious dishes prepared from locally grown food.

Just to mention a few...

Michael Symon's Roast
Pork Belly on Mixed Greens and Fruit 

      Capuchin Soup Kitchen
Chefs Alison Costello and Steven LaFraniere

Trout, fingerling potato and Caviar

Matt Prentice Restaurant Group

Blueberry Creme Brulee
Blueberry Creme Puffs

Giving never tasted so good!

We met interesting people, passionate about their role in this movement.
Blondelle raises Honey Bees

Stacy Ordakowski, the group leader, and influential others spoke of:
                                              -sustainable food in today's society
                                              -health benefits of eating locally grown foods
                                              -supporting the farming community
                                              -providing good nutrition for today's youth
We were impressed!

Check out their website at   

Friday, August 20, 2010

Reverend Jesse James Martin, Sr.

Today is my father's birthday.
He would have been 87 years old.

I love him.

I miss him.

 "...the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
                                                                                                        -Job 1:21

Monday, August 16, 2010

Unlimited Mileage - Part 2

I stepped onto Mackinac Island and headed for Huron Street just after 5pm.  



Horse drawn wagons 

No cars

No trucks

No buses 

Candy and souvenir shops displayed their merchandise between restaurants on both sides of the street.

Families walked in small groups, talking and peering into windows.

Further ahead, a horse collapsed onto the street.  
Walkers gasped as they stopped to look, 
some took pictures.  
Several minutes passed before the it stood again.  
The crowd cheered.

Huron street hugged the edge of the island.  
It was lined with beautiful bed and breakfasts, businesses and private homes. 

 High on a hill sat Fort Mackinac.  
According to historical fact, 
the first land action of the War of 1812 took place on this island.  
Hard to image now.  

A street cleaner pedaled by. 
He stopped to sweep what the horses left.  
Wonder what that job pays?

Huron to Ford Street.
 Ford to Market.


These beautiful horses caught my eye.

The doors of Market street each held their own invitation.

Finally, left onto Cadotte Avenue to my destination...
the Grand Hotel. 

The plan was to sip coffee on the veranda and take in the view.
Oh well...

so much for that!

The free landscape tour was quaint but quick.  

I had to pick up candy and be back at the pier in thirty minutes.  

The rush was on,
back down Cadotte, 
left onto Market, 
quick right on Lake View,
finally left on Huron.  

I purchased three slices of chocolate-peanut butter fudge and a pound of peanut brittle then dashed to the pier.  
There was a long line of people waiting for the shuttle.
I wondered if there'd be enough seats.  

Finally, the line began to move.  
We made our way onto the pier.   
The shuttle was waiting to the left.  

Then Drama.
A shuttle to the right belched a plume of black smoke
then sped toward the pier.
No one screamed.  
We just looked.
It connected twenty feet away from me.
Damage was light.
One bruised ego for the captain who couldn't navigate that turn into open water.

At last, we boarded.  
I found a seat on the lower level.  
The ride was relaxing.  
Soon, I was back in my rental.

Stopped long enough to 
pick up Salt Water Taffy for my brother,
and text my family that I was homeward bound.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Unlimited Mileage - Part 1

on a 'white cloud, blue sky' summer morning,
I took my new car to the dealership for "recall" repairs.  
They informed me the work would take a while
and provided me with a rental.

The first was a tiny car,
just big enough for me and my purse,
so I upgraded.  

I had a rental car with unlimited mileage,
a beautiful day,
and no children under 19 to care for.  
In other words, 
I was as free as a bird!

I decided to fly north.

What a beautiful flight it was.  
Traffic flowed uninterrupted
for the most part.

One hour in, 
I stopped at my favorite outlet mall to make sure I hadn't missed anything.  
Then, I texted my family to let them know I wouldn't be home for dinner.

On the road again, 
I passed miles and miles of Michigan beauty.

At times, it looked like northern Arizona, 
the land stretched out and became hilly.   
My ears popped.

Finally, I saw...
the majestic Mackinac Bridge.

 I exited at Mackinac City, 
stopped long enough to buy salt water taffy for my brother, 
and gather information about ferry rides to the island.
Then, I drove to the dock, 
purchased a round trip ticket, 
and sat to wait. 


The ferry arrived 
and it's passengers disembarked.

 We boarded. 
I sat on the upper deck for a better view. 
The captain pulled back, 
turned the boat around, 
and headed for open water. 

The sun was warm.
The wind was cool.
  A noisy spray from the boat 
created a calmness within me.  

The sky's only rival shimmered in blue around us,
the Straits of Mackinac.

As we neared the island, 
the Grand Hotel and charming homes came into view.

The captain navigated a turn toward the dock and we were greeted by these spectators.


Safely docked, 
I took in a few sights 
as I waited to disembark.

To be continued...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Motor City Brewing Works - You Gotta Eat Here #2

Four of us ventured to Detroit on a blustery Spring day 
for an adventure in pizza at
the Motor City Brew Works on Canfield.

The Midtown restaurant reminded me of a chalet...
a retreat from the cold winds of March.

Warm air, 
a friendly staff, 
and beauty greeted us as we stepped inside.   

We sat down and considered the menu: 
appetizers, salad, pizza and a variety of "home made" draft beer.

We ordered. 

The wait for our freshly prepared meal, gave us time to talk,
  and sample the brew.  
Hm mm?  Bohemian Lager (made from Detroit water).  

The food arrived and earned our approval as well.

The pizza and salad were works of art like everything else.

 Delicious food, 
a taproom, and
friendly service
create a dining pleasure that is
The Motor City Brewing Works.

You gotta eat here!