Member Highlight: Jen and Corey

Member Highlight: Jen and Corey

Corey and Jen live in Petoskey — Corey since 1988 and Jen since 2006. They are fixing up a house downtown, and have been members of Bluestem Farm since the very beginning. Corey is a painter by day and a photographer of the natural world in his time away from work — and is getting really good at making a mean pork chop with apple cider vinegar! Jen once worked at Blackbird gardens and now grows wheat and emmer on the side with her farm partner Jami Blaauw-Hara at 23 Seeds Farm.

Jen is also involved in the farm-to-school movement in her new role as Local Food Policy Specialist at Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, a member-supported, Traverse City-based non-profit that protects all the things we love about Michigan, started in 1995. Groundwork opened a second office in Petoskey in June 2017 to expand their Food and Farming programming in Emmet, Charlevoix and Antrim counties. The program supports farmers, farm-to-school efforts, and food access — things we all certainly love. 313 Howard St. Come visit!

Boyne Falls Public School’s Chef Nathan Bates, FoodCorps Service Member Lindsay Hall, Boyne Falls Schools Business Manager Lori Herman, and Meghan McDermott and Jen Schaap from Groundwork, pictured from left to right.

Boyne Falls Public School’s Chef Nathan Bates, FoodCorps Service Member Lindsay Hall, Boyne Falls Schools Business Manager Lori Herman, and Meghan McDermott and Jen Schaap from Groundwork, pictured from left to right.

A team from NW Lower Michigan recently attended a farm-to-school training at Alice Water’s flagship school garden program, the EdibleSchoolyard in Berkeley, California. (Fun fact: Mary used to live down the road from there — of course she did!) Alice Waters' work as a leader in the international movement for good food has continuously served as an inspiration for the work throughout northwest Michigan. (For those who are fans of her work, Alice is coming to Traverse City in September, and Groundwork members get early access to tickets this week.)

Farm to School, Close to Home

Farm-to-school efforts are happening here at home too! The Local Food Alliance of Northern Michigan, a group of dedicated community members that holds monthly potlucks and advocates for local food and farming, including farm-to-school efforts, requested that FoodCorps be brought into this region, and invited Groundwork to create this new role here, based on strong needs in the communities in these three counties. FoodCorps has been in Boyne Falls Public Schools for the 2016-2017 school year, and will also be adding Pellston Public Schools as a second site in 2017-2018. The work of FoodCorps has had ripple effects in the community, with Sprout Scouts at the Charlevoix Library, and with the Public Schools of Petoskey’s Try-It Tuesdays initiative that gets students in the elementary schools trying monthly seasonal, local, fresh fruit and vegetable recipes, and casting their vote on whether they Tried It, Liked It, or Loved It, They use the Harvest of the Month brochures created by Groundwork, the Health Department of NW Michigan, and many partners. (It’s exciting that these brochures are now being used by the Manna Food Project, for their clients in their Produce for People initiative. Fresh food for all!)

What’s going on in your school? Contact Jen as she settles into her new role and share your stories.

Recipes to Try with Kids

Jen wanted to share some inspiring and tasty recipes that she made with her colleagues at the Edible Schoolyard garden and kitchen classroom training that might be fun to try with the young ones in your life.

Kids can help wash, peel, and grate all the things!

Lettuce Leaf Tacos

Summery goodness, fresh from the garden.

2-3 lettuce heads washed (butter lettuce or romaine work best)

2 cucumbers, peeled in stripes if you like, and grated

6 carrots, grated



In a large mixing bowl, combine grated ingredients. Gently toss with salad dressing and season to taste. Place the filling into a lettuce leaf, wrap, and enjoy.

Be creative, and feel free to add:

Edible flowers (nasturtium, borage, arugula flower)

Assorted herbs (parsley, cilantro, thyme, mint, basil)

Other garden greens (arugula, sorel, purslane)

Grated beets, zucchini, summer squash, radishes, onions, peppers, etc.

Salsa Verde Recipe--It's not what you think! 

This one helps me get through summer squash and parsley, two things I don’t normally love, but this makes me love it.

1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped (leaves and thin stems only)

1 lemon zested, and juiced

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1-2 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

NOTE: other herbs, or combination of herbs, can replace part or all of the parsley

In a mixing bowl, combine the parsley, lemon zest, garlic, capers, salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil and lemon juice, until it is the desired consistency. Let the sauce sit for awhile to develop the flavors, then taste and adjust the seasoning until it’s how you want it.

Don’t hesitate to experiment!

Mediterranean Potato Salad

Mediterranean Potato Salad adapted from the web:

2 pounds small red potatoes, unpeeled, cooked, cooled, and cut in bite-size pieces

1 bunch of broccoli, cut in bite-size pieces and steamed

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved, or a couple few regular tomatoes diced

1 cup sliced celery (or not)

1 cup sliced green onions or scallions, with greens

1/2 cup basil leaves, shredded

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, or other vinegar

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon or spicy mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Other herbs if feeling fancy

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, broccoli tomatoes, onions, basil, and celery.

In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, vinegar, oil, mustard, any other herbs, and salt and pepper. Add dressing to potatoes and toss. Refrigerate and serve cold.

We experiment with this one too (sometimes we add blanched green beans, cut into 1” pieces, or leave out the celery, or add a bunch more garlic)

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