Living Local

29 Jul

Is the local food movement strong in your part of the world?  Here in Michigan it has been for quite a few years, maybe ten or more.  Michiganders have been attempting the 100 mile diet (coffee lovers, avoid this one), joining CSA’s, and shopping at farmers markets.  Local chefs are successfully committing to local farmers and creating their menus to reflect gourmet dishes of what is in season.  I have wondered to myself, when can the rules be broken?  Is it okay to purchase non-locally produced food during this time of year when our seasonal produce is rising to peak harvest?  Can I only eat fresh tomatoes in July and August?  What about purchasing produce grown in Michigan at the local grocery store?  Is that okay?  Even if it was grown by a Michigan farmer living over 100 miles from me?  My answer is; do the best that you can do to support your local farmers, grow what you can grow in your Urban Farmscape, share with others, and learn to eat seasonally.  Eating seasonally is hard!  As you may know by now, I don’t like plants in the brassicaceae family.  So this fall, when cabbage, kale, and broccoli are in their season, I will choose to eat something different.  So I don’t know how I can stick to all the rules, I just try to do the best I can.  Living in Michigan is a little easier when it comes to food.  We are rich in our agricultural and horticultural crops and our farmer families have been growing here for generations.  Here are a few Michigan food stats from the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the Michigan Dairy News Bureau, and the American Egg Board.  You might be surprised.    Where did your dinner come from?

ASPARAGUS

Michigan ranks third in the nation

· Ranks second in acreage

· 2.5 million pounds

· Economic impact $16.5 million

BLUEBERRIES

Michigan leads the nation growing over one-third of all blueberries in the U.S.

· 600 family farms

· 99 million pounds-49 fresh and the other 50 for processing

· Economic impact $101.8 million

APPLES

Michigan’s largest and most valuable fruit crop

· 950 family farms on 38,500 acres

· 1.1 billion pounds produced

· Economic impact $800 million

· This year expecting 95% crop loss

GRAPES

Michigan ranks fourth in the nation

· 78,000 tons for juice and wine

· 14,600 acres in production with 2000 devoted to wine grapes

· Economic impact $27.5 million

DAIRY

Michigan ranks 8th in milk production

· 1,900 Grade A family farms

· 375,000 dairy cows, 2100 herds

· Producing 8.5 billion pounds of milk

· Economic impact $14.7 billion

EGGS

Michigan ranks 7th in the nation

· Over 10,000 laying hens laying 250 million eggs

· As of 2012, cage free production is 5.7% of the total U.S. flock size, of this 2.9% is organic

DRY EDIBLE BEANS

Huron County is one of the top dry bean producing counties in the country.

· 2500 growers

· 150,000 tons produced

· Over 20 types of beans

FLORICULTURE

Michigan ranks 3rd in the country

· 720 growers and producers

· In 2008 produced the second-most valuable crop of annual bedding & garden plants in the nation leading the nation in value of sales of: impatiens, begonia hanging baskets, geraniums, New Guinea impatiens, petunias, and potted veggies worth $187 million in sales.

 CHRISTMAS TREES

Michigan ranks 3rd in the nation

· 42,000 acres in production

· 3 million trees sold per year

· For each tree harvested 3 are planted

· Economic impact $41 million

CHERRIES

Michigan ranks NUMBER ONE growing 70-75 percent of the tart cherries in the U.S. and 20% of the sweet cherries

· 28,600 tons of sweets

· 242 million pounds of tarts

· Economic impact $53.8 million

· This year expecting 95% crop loss

CUCUMBERS

Cucumbers are grown throughout the state, primarily in the Southwest

· 96.8 million pound fresh

· Farmers grow pickling cucumbers in the thumb region

· Economic impact $18.5 million

CARROTS

Michigan ranks second in the nation

· 59.4 million pounds for fresh and processed markets

· Economic impact $12.6 million

TOMATOES

Grown for fresh and processing

· 132,600 tons produced

· 60 million pounds for the fresh market

· Economic impact $35.5 million

POTATOES

Michigan’s leading produce commodity and is the nation’s leading producer for potato chip processing

· 735,000 tons harvested

· Economic impact $156 million

Thank you Michigan Farmers!!!

2 Responses to “Living Local”

  1. Mari Potter July 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    love your Art Walk piece at Green Tree! Can’t wait to watch it “grow”!

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