Monthly Archives: February 2015

Where do Vegetables go in the Winter?

DSC02916Do you ever wonder where your veggies hang out over the winter? I did. So I took a truck tour of Visser Farms with Phil Visser in the late fall of 2013 for my former blog page.  So, this is a Throwback Thursday post! They farm a total of 200 acres in Zeeland and Jenison.

It turns out that some vegetables can stay in the ground. Weather is always a factor, but kale, rutabagas, and turnips usually stay in the ground over winter and are harvested when there’s access to them, and then they’re stored temporarily before market or delivery. Broccoli likes the sudden warm days of autumn and springs back to life. It stays in the ground until damaged. So, it’s available when there is an occasional, very mild winter. (Well, not this year!)

Root vegetables, such as carrots, onions, potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, sweet potatoes, celery root, and beets are stored in a nearby facility over winter that’s about 38 degrees.

The farm started in 1902; currently the fifth generation is working it. They do their best to keep sprays to a minimum and use natural fertilizer. Also, they plant cover crops, such as rye, in the fall to prevent soil erosion and to replenish nutrients into the soil when plowed under. The crops are regularly rotated to ensure that the soil is healthy and not stressed or stripped of nutrients.

Find the Michigan root vegetable mainstays at restaurants in Grand Rapids and Holland and the Fulton Street Farmers Market. The market is open on Saturdays 10:00 am to 1:00 pm from January to April.



MI Valentine Truffles

_Media Card_BlackBerry_pictures_IMG01199Michigan chocolate? Oh, yes – from local producers. I’m always looking for Michigan producers to support. Here’s my truffle recipe using Michigan products. I am happy to share it with you all below. It makes about 24 round bits of deliciousness.



2 – 3.5 ounce Mindo 67% or 77% chocolate bars
2 Tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of Chateau Chantal Cerise
¼ cup dried cherries
¼ cup coconut oil
Toppings such as Just Good Chocolate, LLC cocoa powder, chopped nuts, or shredded coconut.

1. Soak the dried cherries in hot water for a couple of minutes until they rehydrate. Chop them up into small pieces
2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate.
3. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the Cerise, chopped cherries, and the coconut oil.
4. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour until it is solid enough to form balls.
5. Form into balls and roll into the desired topping.
6. Chill again until they are easy to handle and enjoy.

I wish for you all much love for Valentine’s Day.

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Big Bowl of Michigan Awesome – Winter Edition

I’ve posted a Summer Edition and an Autumn Edition of this improvisational recipe. There’s still enough to work with for winter – even more if you have some of the earlier season’s produce preserved. For instance, I like to add dried tomatoes to lots of things this time of year. Dried fruits will work well too. And, I recently discovered a resource for organic Michigan sunflower seeds: Hampshire Farms is a vendor at the Royal Oak and Detroit Eastern Markets.


First make this simple dressing: one part MI honey, one part fresh squeezed lime juice, and one part mild Dijon mustard (I use Meijer Organics).


For the salad base, I shred up root veggies in my food processor. And/OR I massage some fresh kale (knead it with your hands for about two minutes) as the salad base. I prep enough for a couple of lunches to save time. Then, each day I add whatever chopped veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds I have on hand and top it with the dressing. When you find Michigan hydroponic lettuce, it’s great to toss in too.

Here’s what I ate recently:

winter kale, shredded carrot and turnip, sunflower sprouts and seeds, apples

winter kale, shredded carrot and turnip, sunflower sprouts and seeds, apples


winter kale carrot sunfl seed dried tomatoes

winter kale, carrots, sunflower seeds, dried tomatoes


Simple. Delicious. Michigan.