When DH and I were married four years ago, we spent our honeymoon at Black Star Farms just north of Traverse City in Suttons Bay. Even then, before I started learning about the local food movement, I loved learning about different foods and wines and the people who grew and made them. And I was lucky enough to marry a man who shared these same passions. We spent a week touring the wineries of Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. One of our most interesting encounters was at Boskydel Vineyards.
We were there on the off season, so we pulled up to a long dirt driveway. The smells sort of reminded me of being on my Dad’s farm as a child, the smell of tractors and dirt. There was no one around. We decided to wait a bit and spent our time looking at the various clippings and artwork on the walls of the tasting room. This, too, is very common at many farm offices. Before too long, we heard a tractor pull up and none other than Bernie Rink himself. He asked if we were lost. And then proceeded to let us taste the best wine we had had all week. We asked if we could get it at our local wine shop. He just said harrump! I sell most of my wine right here. Little did we know we were speaking with a local legend.
So imagine my surprise when, upon receiving a copy of Edible Communities, Mr. Rink was featured! You can read an extended version story on the Boskydel website.
Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods is full of such characters. The first two thirds of the book is divided into regions: northeast, southeast, southwest, California and the west, Pacific northwest, and Midwest. Each region is represented by essays that pay tribute to farmers, chefs, and organizations that are dedicated to producing local foods and making them accessible to their communities. The last third of the book is recipes, which are intriguing (examples include Brew-Braised Lamb Shanks with Apple Butter and Sauerkraut; Creamy Pumpkin Grits with Brown Butter; Grilled Apricots with Blue Cheese and Hazelnuts; and Herb-Roasted Duck Breast with Carrot-Potato Mash and Chive Butter). However, the real gems are in the essays.
Each is very well written, as they are culled from Edible magazines from across the country. There are sixty-five according to their website. The closest one to me is Edible Grand Traverse. This book was very enjoyable to read, and the photos and essays helped me get a better picture of the local food communities across the United States.
If you are at all interested in the people behind our food, I highly recommend this book. Even if I hadn’t received the review copy for free from the publisher, I was going to buy this and would buy it again! Oh, and if the Edible Publications people are reading this, PLEASE think about making one for West Michigan.
Greg was the winner of the giveaway! Congrats!