courtesy Jena Van Wagner, Arbutus Press • photos by Two Eagles Marcus
Author Jaye Beeler, former Food Editor for the Grand Rapids Press, and photographer Dianne Carroll Burdick, a freelance photographer and instructor at Grand Rapids Community College and Kendall College of Art and Design, recently released Tasting and Touring Michigan’s Homegrown Food: A Culinary Roadtrip published by Arbutus Press.
This journey of food exploration takes readers over the state, from fresh whitefish in the Upper Peninsula to golden purslane in downtown Detroit. It focuses on small to medium farms selling directly to the consumer, as well as restaurants and bakers who use local products. The beautiful full-color book is right on target with interest in the local food movement.
“Michigan is an amazingly beautiful place to eat, surrounded by sparkly lakes, patchwork-quilt farms, bustling farmers’ markets and countless varieties of heirloom fruits and vegetables,” says Beeler. “I found tasty treasures at family farms, fields, farmers markets and farm stands, fishmongers and farmstead restaurants. This culinary search for Michigan’s homegrown connected us to this place we call home, to communities that value farms and the heroic efforts of the growers.”
One look at the cover of this book sets the mouth watering. Inside the book, Burdick’s photos of everything from the first spring asparagus to robust fall squash showcase the variety and beauty of Michigan products.
Burdick adds, “Every single field, orchard, dairy barn, fish market, kitchen and farmer’s market seemed to participate in a movement that the people of Michigan support: the promotion of agriculture and local cottage industry. You will be inspired to find your own food favorites after touring Michigan with this book at your side.”
The book came to life in real time at the official launch party hosted by Amy Ruis at Art of the Table in Grand Rapids. Guests enjoyed special treats from farmers, bakers and culinary crafts, as well as experienced the opportunity to meet and interact with the book’s ‘characters’. Beeler and Burdick both in attendance, signed books and generously gave accolades to the food producers featured in their book. A gallery of photos follows: