About Edible Grande Traverse
Edible Grande Traverse is an award-winning publication which season by season promotes the appreciation of the local foods produced in Michigan‘s northwestern Lower Peninsula. We celebrate the seasonal and authentic foods, beverages and culinary traditions that make our foodshed both more diverse and more sustainable. Our mission is to help transform how our community shops for, cooks, and thinks of the foods we eat. Why spell Grande with an "e"?
Through our magazine, website, and events, we link readers with area farmers, retailers, chefs, winemakers, and cheese and bread artisans and their passions for great foods. By encouraging these relationships to grow and thrive we hope to contribute to a future for the northwestern Lower Peninsula that includes healthy farms and foods and clean air, soil and water.
Edible Grande Traverse is for readers interested in:
- Eating and growing delicious, locally produced, seasonal foods.
- Learning about the people who grow, produce, cook, sell and serve those foods.
- Discovering great dining, day trips, wine, beer and spirit makers, food events, festivals, books to read and new products to savor.
Who (and Where) We Are
The area from the Mackinac Bridge south to Manistee and from the Manitou Islands to east of Kalkaska encompasses lands and waters that are stunning in their natural beauty and renowned for their fruit crops and wild foods. This territory, defined on the map as ten counties, now produces a diverse bounty of nourishing and delicious foods. As publishers of the local food magazine Edible Grande Traverse we pledge to seek out stories about "all the food that's fit to eat" in every corner of the foodshed known as northwestern lower Michigan.
WHY SPELL "GRANDE" WITH AN "E"?
Well, it traces back over four centuries to the original French spelling. "La Grande Traverse"—the great crossing—described the passage by lake canoe from the Charlevoix shore across the head of the Bay to the northernmost tip of Leelanau. For anyone who's been out in a small craft on a choppy day in this stretch of water it's easy to imagine some harrowing moments for the voyageurs and Native American pilots who made the crossing hundreds of years ago. Yet a successful passage was worthwhile: the "Grande Traverse" shortcut crossed less than ten miles of open water, avoiding the much longer route along the shoreline which our roads trace today on the trip from Charlevoix to Northport.
There's another shortcut that we can each still navigate today, and it's not even particularly perilous—the "great crossing" of foods from local family farms to our own tables. Although it's not always feasible to go to a farmers' market or a farm to buy direct, most of us could shop this way more often than we do now. Even when we can't buy directly from growers, we can make the choice to shop from the locally owned groceries, restaurants and other stores that provide a higher proportion of local products. The truly refreshing news is that each of us can bolster our local economy simply by approaching our daily choices a little differently.
So, we look forward to helping you navigate La Grande Traverse—a safe passage from farm to table—with a full array of delicious local food and drink as our common destination!
EDIBLE GRANDE TRAVERSE PUBLISHERS: CHARLIE WUNSCH AND BARB THOLIN
CHARLIE WUNSCH grew up working in his family's orchards on Old Mission Peninsula. He missed it from the moment he moved away, but found other ways to keep involved in the fruit business, including importing winter fruit from South America, running his own orchard in Minnesota, and overseeing marketing at a natural foods coop. His lifetime interest in bringing fresh foods to people started out naturally enough: "When I was a kid the orchard was a place full of people. Whether we were picking cherries, peaches, plums, or apples the harvest always brought people together." Family meals were busy too. "My parents saw cooking and eating the evening meal as a social time, and everyone was welcomed." This link between camaraderie and fresh foods seems to make more sense than ever now that quality time for families is so precious. "People have some fun ways to stock the pantry now: you can involve the whole household in a trip to the farmers' market or a CSA farm, or go out the back door and pick from your own garden. Kids like to help cook when you're using homegrown stuff, and by buying local foods we can support local family farms."
BARB THOLIN is a Chicago area native who remembers fondly her frequent trips back to the family farm east of Grand Rapids. "Those visits to Grandpa's farm brought to life the stories my mother told of her childhood--churning butter and butchering hogs and making sauerkraut in the crocks in the cellar." These traditions left an imprint: Barb later went off to northern Vermont to study agronomy and rural resource management, along the way working with sheep, dairy cows, draft horses, and organic market gardening and farmers' markets. Managing a coop's fresh food sales in the burgeoning natural foods business was the perfect way for Barb to share her passion for foods and farming with others. "I am delighted that now, through the pages of Edible Grande Traverse, I can support our farming community by spreading the word on how great and accessible the foods in this region are!"