Fast facts about Michigan onions, berries, celery and beets

Each year the Cultivate Michigan and the Michigan Fresh initiatives promote seasonally available Michigan foods to two different groups of people.

Photo by Terry McLean, Michigan State University Extension
Photo by Terry McLean, Michigan State University Extension

Two Michigan State University Extension led initiatives promote the seasonal use of Michigan’s fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy, focusing on two different audiences. Cultivate Michigan is an institutional food purchasing campaign of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network and has the sourcing, marketing and recipe resources to help schools, hospitals and other institutions find, buy and use local foods. A consumer-focused initiative, the Michigan Fresh program, helps individuals explore the state’s bounty of fresh, locally grown foods from farms, gardens and local farmers markets, with tips on growing, handling and preserving as well as healthful recipes. Both initiatives support farmers, food businesses and consumers, enhancing local economies.

In 2018, Cultivate Michigan is promoting four seasonal foods: onions (spring), berries (summer), celery (fall) and table beets (winter) to institutional food service directors. A few fast facts about these 2018 featured Michigan fruits and vegetables:

Each year, the Cultivate Michigan team plans field tours featuring the featured seasonal foods for institutional food service staff and others to learn first-hand about the production, processing and distribution of the foods, as well as to network with other food buyers, growers and suppliers. Several tours are planned for the year ahead featuring Michigan onions, summer berries, celery and beets.

Both initiatives support Michigan Good Food, a policy initiative of the Michigan Good Food Charter, and several of its goals by the year 2020:

  • Michigan institutions source 20 percent of their food from Michigan sources
  • 80 percent of Michigan residents have easy access to affordable, fresh, healthy food, 20 percent of which is from Michigan sources
  • Michigan farmers will profitably supply 20 percent of all Michigan institutional, retailer and consumer food purchases and be able to pay fair wages to their workers.

The Michigan Farm to Institution Network and Cultivate Michigan are coordinated by the Michigan State University (MSUCenter for Regional Food Systems with support from MSU Extension. Michigan Fresh is supported by MSU Extension and includes a handy Michigan Availability Guide so you know when dozens of popular items are in season throughout the year, including those crops that are produced using season extension techniques, which extends their availability over a longer period of time.

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