May 24 ē 09:41 PM

Take a second look at 'local'

December 10, 2008
I suppose it's all a matter of opinion, but in this increasingly global economy, I'm of the opinion that just about anything grown or produced in the Great Lakes State qualifies as 'local' for me.

It's something on my mind these days considering the farmers markets are closed up for the winter, but then again, we don't have a lot of local outlets for some of the staples we need year-round anyways. I guess it pays to be educated about these things no matter the time of year you're wheeling down the grocery aisle.

Here's what I found as far as food operations based in Michigan and their products. Keep in mind they might not compare price-wise to the off brands sitting next to them on the shelves, and in this economy, that doesn't make for an easy decision, but just in case there's a sale...oh yeah, and I just found this. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, if every household started spending $10 of their weekly grocery bill on locally-produced products, more than $37 million would be circulating within Michigan's economy.

If that's not enough to convince you...anyways, back to the list.

First and foremost has to be Imlay City's own Vlasic Pickles. They are owned by Pinnacle Foods, a New Jersey-based company, but I know for a fact that a lot of locally-grown cucumbers end up at the Blacks Corners Rd. plant.

Next, I have to mention Pioneer, Big Chief and Peninsular sugar. We grow forty acres of sugar beets every year for this grower-owned cooperative. When you buy five pounds for all your Christmas baking be sure to look for these brand names and you might get a grain or two from a Capac-grown beet!

Thanks to Michiganís diverse food industry itís rather easy to continue eating locally even after the snow starts flying, including that holiday stapleósugar.
There's others you probably already know about: Kellogg's cereals, Faygo and Vernors pop, BetterMade snackfoods and Koegel's lunch meat and sausages.

I didn't know that Archway cookies, Cole's garlic bread, Kars peanuts or Absopure water also belonged on that list.

I probably knew but just forgot that Morley's chocolates, Keebler crackers and cookies, Kowalski hot dogs, Old Orchard juice, Jiffy Mix muffins, Garden Fresh salsa and chips and St. Julian wines are all made in the mitt too!

It shouldn't come as a surprise that thanks to a healthy state dairy industry, there's no shortage of Michigan produced products in the dairy aisle too—Country Fresh, Bareman's, Calder, CF Burger, Guernsey, Melody Farms and Dairy Fresh.

I'm sure there are a lot more but I just picked out the familiar ones that would most likely end up in my shopping cart.

By all means, let me know if I overlooked any Michigan food products that are worth grabbing off the shelf and I'll be sure to amend my list!

Email Maria at

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