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Archive for the ‘Northern Products’ Category

Do I really need more farm-fresh eats when I’m already getting weekly farm shares from my CSA? Of course I do! A trip to Gallagher’s Farm Market would tempt anyone’s taste buds!

GallaghersLocated just 3 miles west of Traverse City, it’s a quick drive from my house and is conveniently located off of state highway M-72. The market offers fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods including pies and bread, salsa, jams, maple syrup, wines, honey and more.

Gallaghers (2)It’s cherry season in northern Michigan. I see many semi trucks loaded with crates of cherries driving out of town. The cherries are shipped in water and at most intersections, there are cherries strewn about from the water sloshing around in transit. It’s a sight that I welcome because it means that the farmer’s yield is going to market!

Gallaghers (5)Gallaghers (6)Gallaghers (9)Gallaghers (7)Gallaghers (13)Gallaghers (11)Gallagher’s is open from 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. They stay open until October 31 and also have a pumpkin patch, corn maze and a petting zoo. So come check them out no matter the season!

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Higher Grounds (4)We love fresh coffee and have fallen in love with Higher Grounds fair trade, organic, and shade-grown coffee. Our java of choice is the Highland Humanity blend. We buy the 5lb bag of whole bean and store it in an air tight container.

Higher Grounds (7)Nothing goes better with my morning crossword puzzle than a cuppa joe in my favorite black lab mug!

Higher Grounds (3)Higher Grounds is also a coffee bar. If you are looking for a fix, just go to The Grand Traverse Commons. Higher Grounds is right next to Left Foot Charely (and I already raved about their wine!) If you want your java to-go, make sure you bring your own mug. Higher Grounds doesn’t carry paper products. They do, however, have some donated mugs that you may take your beverage away in. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but worth the journey. Your senses will thank you.

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Horse SoldiersLast Thursday, David and I went to the City Opera House to listen to a discussion about “Horse Soldiers” a book by local author Doug Stanton. It was great to see the Opera House packed to the gills with people eager to talk about the book, current events in the Middle East region and about the U.S. Military.

Stanton was accompanied by Col. Mark Mitchell, a U.S. Army Special Forces colonel, who was also featured in the book. It was a unique opportunity to hear from someone in the Special Forces division speak about what they do and how they do it AND have the opportunity to ask questions.

The book is about the Army Special Forces unit that was on the ground in Afghanistan immediately after 9-11. Stanton read some passages from the book and then he and Col. Mitchell would discuss it and add anecdotes. We also watched a video clip that showed military footage of a JDAM bomb that the U.S. military accidentally dropped on the wrong coordinates and it injured U.S. soldiers on the ground. After the clip, both Stanton and Col. Mitchell explained what had happened, what went wrong and what was supposed to happen.

I was particularly impressed with Col. Mitchell and the Army Special Forces. He also explained that the U.S. Army is focusing more on Special Forces work for the new brand of warfare that the U.S. seems to be engaged in. The traditional foot soldier-heavy style  is not as effective when dealing with the Taliban and other extremist groups. Col. Mitchell has gone through extensive situational training, knows several languages, understands other cultures and is a specialist in conflict management. The Special Forces units do not even wear body armor so that they fit in more with the locals.

Stanton explained that the book is not your typical ‘war book’. He said it’s about the people affected by the conflict. It’s about the families of the Special Forces units and Afghani people. Stanton traveled to Afghanistan in order to write the book and heard first-hand accounts of Taliban-led atrocities. They also discussed a colorful story about a good-looking soldier, dubbed Casanova, who had Afghan women winking at him and caused Afghan men to shave their beards to try to mimic him to garner the women’s attention!

‘Horse Soldiers’ was featured on the cover of The New York Times Book Review on Sunday May 17, 2009 as discussed in the Record-Eagle. Now, I need to read the book. And I hope I’ve intrigued you enough to consider doing so as well.

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Downtown Farmers Market

Downtown Farmers Market

Last Saturday, despite the drizzle and cool temperatures, I braved the weather to pick up some delectables from the downtown Sara Hardy Farmers Market. The local growers and bakers back their trucks and vans right up to the blue awnings and present their bounty. It is a wonderful sight.

Asparagus

Asparagus

Oodles of fresh asparagus were on display. Very apropos because it was the day of Asparagus Festival out in Empire. I didn’t make the festival, but I did pick up some spears to celebrate.

Beautiful bounty at the market
Beautiful bounty at the market

I’ll be back many times this summer for fresh veggies, bread, honey, plants and more. The market is open every Saturday throughout the summer from 8:00 a.m.-Noon. Beginning in June, the market is open two days- Wednesday’s and Saturday’s from 8:00 a.m.-Noon.

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All natural Selestial Soap made right here in Traverse City

All natural Selestial Soap made right here in Traverse City

I read a wonderful story in the Record-Eagle about some true Up North ingenuenty. Ruth Smith and Jim Legato created Selestial Soap! This all-natural product has been developed as a great alternative to the traditional phosphate-laden laundry detergent.

Selestial Soap is free of phosphates, perfume, sodium laureth sulfate and dyes. It’s formulated to be non sudsing and rinses cleanly to prevent any skin irritation or damage to fabrics or your washing machine. It is safe for use on all washable fabrics and colors, and is even effective in cold water!

Not only is it locally made, it’s also easy on the pocket book. Selestial Soap retails a 50oz bottle for $6.99 and a 100oz bottle for $11.99 at Eastfield Laundry on Eighth Street in Traverse City. It’s also available at many grocery store locations throughout northern Michigan. More information about Selestial Soap can be found on at selestialsoap.com. Selestial Soap’s motto is “Saving the Planet Within Your Budget.” Now doesn’t that make you want to do some laundry?

Laundry room bay view

Laundry room bay view

Our laundry room is not exactly photo-friendly, but the view through the laundry room window sure is! You can see the the bay (and a few garden hoses. )

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Naturally Nutty Peanut ButterA few months ago, I made a scrumptious discovery in the grocery store aisle- Naturally Nutty peanut butter. It’s made locally, right here in Traverse City, Michigan!

Today, I was in need of some afternoon pick-me-up. I treated myself to some mocha peanut butter and paired it with graham crackers for a creamy snack while at the office.

The ingredients are all natural and enriched with flax seed and hemp seed to boost our daily omega fatty acids. There are at least 10 different flavors to try too!

With peanut butter options like this, the ole PBJ sandwich will never be the same! I can’t wait to try more flavors!

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