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. 

Peter Payette

Mark Baker announced in December he was selling his farm. But now he says he has a new plan: he wants to help other military veterans take up farming.

 

Black Star Farms

Don Coe helped commercialize northern Michigan’s wine industry. He founded Black Star Farms near Suttons Bay 17 years ago.

Coe retired last month and turned Black Star Farms over to his business partner, Kerm Campbell.

In 2005, Coe led a legal fight to give wineries the right to ship their products directly across state lines. The Supreme Court upheld that right in a 5-4 decision.

Coe says Michigan’s wine industry has matured over the last 17 years and he sees more growth on the horizon as a new generation of winemakers takes over.

Food inspectors used a warrant signed by a judge to visit a farm near Cadillac last week. State police troopers were also on hand for the inspection of Bakers Green Acres last Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Jennifer Holton, called the inspection “routine.”

But the farmer, Mark Baker, characterized it on his YouTube channel as a “raid.”

“They pulled in like it was a raid,” he says. “Like we were going to run the other way or flush drugs down the toilet.”

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.

Pages