Michigan Food & Agriculture

Northern Michigan is shaped by food. Our orchards, farms and vineyards create the landscape. A burgeoning culinary scene defines many of our downtowns. And the agriculture, tourism and hospitality industries dominate our economies. 

Wine grape harvest may be at all-time low this year

Sep 30, 2015
Peter Payette

It’s harvest time for wine grapes. But after one of the worst growing seasons in northern Michigan, there aren’t many grapes to make into wine.

Duke Elsner, the small fruit educator for Michigan State University extension, says, "It’s really the worst season we’ve ever seen since the mid-70’s when they started growing wine grapes in northern Michigan."

He says the extreme cold winter wiped out about 50 percent of the grape buds. Then roughly 50 percent of remaining buds were damaged in a late spring frost in May.

Honeycrisp harvest is underway in Michigan.

The many fans of Honeycrisp apples will be happy to learn that all signs point to a fine crop this year.

But that good news presents new challenges for Michigan growers.

Nova Stubbs

There are 109 people certified to sell wild mushrooms in Michigan this year. That’s after the state offered classes for foragers to get certified to sell.

Chris Wright, executive director of Midwest American Mycological Information, offers the certification classes. He says the classes have leveled the playing field. Before they became available in the past year, it wasn't clear how foragers could meet state certification requirements. So a lot of them didn't.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, found that continuous exposure to very low doses of the herbicide Roundup might be linked to liver and kidney damage.

The researchers looked at how genes changed in rats that were given a commercial Roundup formulation containing 0.1 parts per billion of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) over a two-year period.

Michigan Wines

Bernie Rink had been growing wine grapes on his property overlooking Lake Leelanau for more than a decade when he opened his tasting room in 1976. His vineyard was the first commercial vineyard in the region.