It may be cold, but it’s finally spring, a time of new beginnings! We can’t wait for scenes of blooming flowers and budding foliage. But while we wait for even warmer weather, we’re looking back at some of the best scenes from last month from our Pure Michigan Instagram community, who amazingly captured the changing seasons. From cotton candy skies in Mackinac Island to a beautiful rainbow at Tahquamenon Falls, take a look at a few favorites shared with us in March.
Today is National Agriculture Day! Guest blogger Barbara Ann Siemen, known as Farm Barbie, shares 20 little known facts about freshly grown Michigan food and agriculture.
Barbara and her family on their sugar beet field
I’ve always been in love with Michigan. I believe it is unparalleled in its diversity of seasons, activities, and food! We are a very active family; we enjoy many things Michigan has to offer including camping, water sports, snowmobiling, and of course, food and farming! On our farm, we produce dairy, beef, corn, wheat, and sugar beets, but I’m always interested in learning more about other commodities.
Did you know Michigan farmers produce 300 different types of food and agricultural products? Michigan is also home to many national brands that you know, love, and trust. Recently, Governor Snyder proclaimed March “Food and Agriculture Month” due to Ag’s positive impact on Michigan’s economy. Check out this list which highlight some of Michigan’s lesser known areas of agriculture.
1. Sugar: Michigan Sugar Company is the only sugar processor in the state. It processes sugar for Pioneer, Big Chief, and more than 20 other private labels. Sugar is an important ingredient for all types of goodies, like those made at Bon Bon Bon, located in Hamtramck. Our farm grows sugar beets, which are harvested in autumn.
2. Cherries: Michigan ranks 1st in the nation for tart cherry production, and 4th for sweet cherries. Check out this website for more info on Michigan cherry wines. I like to drink a little tart cherry juice right before bedtime.
3. Milk: Michigan ranks 1st in the nation for the production of low fat ice cream mix, but Michigan dairy farmers also contribute to other products such as Hudsonville ice cream, Kraft cheese, Yoplait yogurt, Michigan Made cottage cheese, and Country Fresh sour cream.
4. Beans: Michigan is 1st in the nation for production of dry black beans, cranberry beans, and small red beans and 2nd for production of all dry beans. Bush’s Beans, based in Tennessee, buys beans from Michigan!
5. Potatoes: Michigan is the nation’s leading producer of potatoes in potato chip processing. Better Made Chips, which just turned 86, are a favorite Michigan brand. We like taking a bag of chips with us on the boat, or in the camper in the summer.
8. Eggs: Michigan egg farmers supply all the eggs to McDonald’s restaurants east of the Mississippi River. Check out this video from McDonald’s. My kids take care of a small flock of laying hens, and they produce enough for us, and a few neighbors, family members, and friends.
9. Blueberries: Michigan is number 1 for production of blueberries for the entire nation and only 600 Michigan family farms do it all! That’s amazing! I like to use blueberries in this breakfast bake. Yum!
10. Cucumbers: Michigan ranks number 1 in the nation for production of cucumbers for pickling, and 4th for fresh market cucumbers.
12. Christmas trees: Michigan supplies 3 million Christmas trees annually to the national market. Real Christmas trees are so beautiful! I love driving past Christmas tree farms in the winter months. There are approximately 25-30 million real Christmas trees sold each year in the U.S., according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
13. Apples: Michigan slices more apples than any other state for use in pies. Michigan also processes apples into applesauce, fresh and shelf-stable apple cider, and apple juice, such as Indian Summer juice which is made in Michigan too! My family loves a cup of fresh cider with a doughnut in autumn.
14. Wheat: Michigan wheat farmers contribute to the national market in a big way, too. In fact, one of the top 5 counties for producing wheat is Huron, which is where I live! Wheat is used in products from Michigan brands such as Kellogg’s cereals, Aunt Millie’s breads, and Jiffy mixes.
15. Squash: Michigan is 2nd for squash and carrot production, which is good for Michigan companies such as Gerber baby foods. Squash and carrots were favorites with my kids when they were babies!
16. Tomatoes: Michigan is 9th in the nation for production of fresh market tomatoes. This is good news for me, because I love using fresh tomatoes for pico de gallo, which is an easy bbq party dish.
17. Cranberries: Cranberries are grown in Michigan too! I never knew that! Michigan has 280 acres of cranberries and they are harvested every year from September through November.
18. Peaches: Michigan is 8th in the nation for production of fresh market peaches. Look out, Georgia! Michigan is in the ranks.
19. Honey: Michigan honey bees are busy little bees! Check out this resource, to find local honey.
20. Farmer’s Markets: Michigan is 4th in the nation for farmer’s markets, supplying fresh farmer products to Michiganders every week. Port Austin is a huge farmer’s market in the Thumb, where I live. The market is very busy in the summer months!
As you can see, there’s so much to love about Michigan! Whether it is the seasons, a multitude of outdoor activities, or the vast array of agricultural products, I believe Pure Michigan is the finest in the nation! I could go on and on about Michigan and food, but to find out more for yourself, visit MichiganAgriculture.com. While you’re online, check out my family’s favorite breakfast recipe: Farm Barbie’s Waffles of Pancakes. Don’t forget to serve them up with Pure Michigan maple syrup!
Which Michigan grown products are your favorites? Learn more about Michigan agriculture in the video below.
Barbara Ann Siemen, known as Farm Barbie, is a city girl turned country chick, thanks to falling in love with a farmer. She’s a stay at home mom and professional farmer’s wife. She’s also an amateur photographer, chef, and fashionista and an aspiring children’s book author. Check out her blog.
Michigan is quickly becoming known as America’s summer golf capital, with courses and programs growing bigger and better with each passing season. Across the state you’ll find championship courses forged from the states beautiful landscapes and decorated with miles of natural forests, rivers, and breathtaking shore lines. With an entire state of amazing golf possibilities, how do you choose where to start when planning your summer golf trips? Megan Molloy from Michigan’s Central Swing shares why Central Michigan should be your next golf getaway destination!
1. Location, location, location: One aspect that makes for a great golf trip is heading somewhere that’s easy to get to for everyone in your group and doesn’t require extensive travel time. Michigan’s Central Swing golf program is run out of Mt. Pleasant, which is just about two hours from anywhere in the state, not to mention an easy drive from surrounding states and even Canada. Not only is it easy to get here, but once you’re here, all of our courses are within 30 minutes of Mt. Pleasant. Being centrally located in the state, you can spend more time golfing and less time traveling.
2. Course variety: Sometimes it can be difficult to find a course or courses that fit everyone’s needs and skill sets. Whether you’re looking for classic layouts, championship challenges, or a weekend oasis of golf, Michigan’s Central Swing has it all. The Central Michigan area offers 11 different courses, including Bucks Run, PohlCat, The Pines, Eagle Glen, and even the Mt. Pleasant Country Club. With so many options, it’s never been easier to plan something for everyone.
Bucks Run Club House, Photo Courtesy of Megan Molloy
3. Lodging variety: Like our courses, Michigan’s Central Swing offers a wide range of lodging options. Our 12 properties range from resort style villas to charming bed and breakfasts and luxurious hotels. These properties offer amazing amenities ranging from breakfast and dinner service, pools, fitness facilities, casino shuttles and more!
4. Customizable packages: There are few things in this life that are more frustrating than trying to plan and coordinate a trip. Michigan’s Central Swing takes hassle out of planning your golf getaway so you can get back to practicing your swing. All you have to do is call or visit our website to request a quote. Tell us where you want to stay and play and we take care of the rest. Plus you can take advantage of discounts for customer appreciation weeks, returning golfers, and groups of 16 or more.
Bucks Run Golf Course, Photo Courtesy of Megan Molloy
5. Golf with a twist: Central Michigan doesn’t just offer great classic courses, the area also offers a number of variations on the sport. While in the area, you can try your hand, or foot I should say, at the new, fun sport called FootGolf. Riverwood Resort offers a section of their course to be used for FootGolf, a game in which you kick a soccer ball down the fairway instead of driving a golf ball. You can also be a kid again at the area’s Golf Center putt-putt course or really practice your putting game on Bucks Run’s 18-hole natural grass putting course. Even in the winter months you can still keep your game strong at Bucks Run’s virtual golf simulator as well.
Photo Courtesy of Megan Molloy
6. More than just golf: After a long day on the course try your luck at Soaring Eagle Casino or visit one of the area’s many bars and restaurants. Enjoy a fantastic night life in this Midwestern college town created by a combination of great local bars, unique dining, gaming options, and world class performances. No matter what your group’s interests, there’s something fun for everyone to discover! Use this website to plan your perfect Mt. Pleasant day!