Even if you are the most cosmopolitan citizen of the world, just now circling around back to Ann Arbor from coasts afar, headed into the school year with nary a molecule of Michigan soil under your fingernails, I hereby make the case that you are more and better of what you are because of the glorious agricultural bounty of the Great Lakes State.
Hear me out:
Have you ever, anywhere, had sweeter, more sumptuous PEACHES than are being offered fresh-picked at our local farm markets this month? Give them a day or two on your kitchen countertop to ripen to Caravaggio-level decadence, then slice them into a bowl and get happy digging into their heavenly sweetness. If you’re craving more complex flavor, spike them with thin slivers of mint leaves (for brightness), or even thinner slivers of jalapeno pepper (for attitude, a la Zingerman’s Deli case, where I first sampled this combo). Priceless…
Now let’s talk quanitity along wi/ the quality: I am the last person who will downplay the gravity of this year’s drought and every year’s increasingly tragic toll from extreme weather and climate change. (Turn your air conditioner off already! Forget your car and walk somewhere already! But I digress….) After a couple months of tortured-looking greens, corn, and apples at the markets, the situation has improved. We’ve had a little rain. And in the words of an older grower I talked to Saturday morning, “Everything is rebouding, catching up for lost time.” Blueberries have been literally falling off their bushes, raspberries are plentiful and even priced lower than in recent years, and basil is bolting like a weed…. Many local restaurants put great effort into getting this wonderful produce into their kitchens and featured in their menu offerings, giving you yet another avenue to enjoyment.
Finally, and the point I wanted to get to: A good time to celebrate Michigan’s bounty is the evening of Sept. 8. The place is the Farmer’s Market at Kerrytown, and the event is the annual HOMEGROWN FESTIVAL. Groove to local tunes as you sample local brews, ingenuity, and fruits of the earth. Come out already! Details: http://homegrownfestival.org/.