July! Full swing, Lake Michigan is swimmable, we are in full-on production and CHERRIES! There is so much going on this month it defies reason: the Traverse City Film Festival, Jim and Lyn Kouf at the National Writers Series, Romeo and Juliet at Interlochen, Friends of Fishtown 5K, Wimbledon, and my favorite golf major, The Open. A word to the wise: it's crazy here in July. Slow down, go swimming and take some time to appreciate the beauty that is Northern Michigan. I'll be at my secret beach so I probably won't see you. ;)

JULY 2016
Organic Cherry Cabernet Preserves 

Just in time for cherry harvest! Cherries with a touch of Cabernet make for a treat that will take a muffin, waffles or cheesecake to new levels. 
                                                                  BUY NOW 

Black Tea and Cherry Cabernet 
I had never heard of this before but I'm dying to try it as I love iced tea. A Russian recipe, it comes from Leah Koenig courtesy of Eat, Drink, Think.


3 cups boiling water
6 black tea bags (like English breakfast), or your favorite loose tea
ΒΌ cup granulated sugar
Cold water
Food For Thought Cherry Cabernet Preserves, for serving
Ice, for serving

1) Add boiling water and tea bags to a large bowl and let steep until quite dark, about 15 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing out any liquid into the bowl, then add the sugar and whisk until completely dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.

2) Pour chilled tea into a large pitcher and add cold water to taste. (Start with a cup or two, then add more until it reaches your desired strength.)

3) To serve: Place a teaspoon (or more, if desired) of Cherry Cabernet in the bottom of a glass along with a couple tablespoons of the tea; stir to combine. Fill the glass with tea; add ice, if desired.

                                       New Products, New Faces  
  We have a new product in our FFT line: Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Jelly.  We have long worked with Garthe Farms (one of the first fruit farms in Leelanau County) who grow the organic pears we have used for many years. This jelly is delicious and no seeds, making happy kids (unless you're my kids, who love them!) 

We also just hired a new production manager, Lee Dake. Lee comes from Spring Lake, Michigan, where he was the Continuous Improvement Manager with Acemco Incorporated, a custom contract manufacturer. Other leadership roles throughout his career include production supervisor, quality engineer, quality manager, and operations manager. Lee embraces the Food For Thought philosophy, which he believes "benefits the consumer and the planet in a manner in which few businesses do." A licensed contractor as well, Lee likes building various things and enjoys photography, reading, playing guitar and pursuing many outdoor activities with wife Jennie, including kayaking, biking and cross country skiing. Welcome, Lee!
On July 4, 1976, this influential punk (but so much more than that) band performed in public for the first time. Who were they? 
The first person to answer correctly on our Facebook page will receive a jar of our Organic Cherry Cabernet  Preserves. 

If you have recently won, please give someone else a chance! 

 This is a cool site. Launched in 2010, Colossal is a Webby-nominated blog that explores art and other aspects of visual culture. Colossal won the Utne Media Award for Arts Coverage in 2013. Each week you'll find 15-25 posts on photography, design, animation, painting, installation art, architecture, drawing, and street art. Colossal is also a great place to learn about the intersection of art and science as well as the beauty of the natural world. There are frequently posts about things far out in left field, but generally Colossal is a reminder that in the digital age there are still countless people making incredible work with their bare hands.

Check out this recent post about a 3-D Printed Light-Based Zoetrope
Grow Benzie

There are many things to love about Benzie County and Grow Benzie is a big one. Led by our friend Joshua Stoltz as Executive Director, it has developed as a community hub of activity and inspiration since a group of volunteers organized in 2008.  Since then, they acquired a 4-acre property on M-115 in Frankfort-- an abandoned commercial nursery with three 5,000 square foot greenhouses, a 3,200 square foot ranch house, and a 5,000 square foot retail building. They have built their reputation as an educational and experiential farmstead that offers year-round public events: potlucks and concerts, classes and workshops including gardening (in our hoop houses), culinary and nutrition (in our commercial kitchen), sewing and knitting (in our sewing studio), and a weekly farmers market on Mondays throughout the summer (in our community center and picnic area). Timothy and I stopped by a couple of weeks ago and the tacos at the food truck were delicious!

Grow Benzie's mission is to enrich our region by fostering positive action increasing access to healthful foods, jobs, life skills, and each other and by providing a community place that supports and nurtures these activities.

To learn more about them, and to find out about their membership drive (!) click here.  
A new category this month (thanks to a suggestion from my friend Jason Kendall)! If it hasn't come across before, I am a huge movie/TV fan and there are so many worthy shows streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc. Broadchurch is a perfect show, in my opinion: British, mystery, cliffs and fantastic acting. There are currently two seasons streaming on Netflix. Check it out!! 
PS:  Olivia Colman and David Tennant are national treasures and should be treated as such. ;) 

Green Fireworks?  
Maybe in the not too distant future. For now, though, fireworks are hardly an environmentally-friendly activity. One way to negate the impact is to get a group and go see a local fireworks display, instead of holding your own. It will be a much bigger show and you can feel better about doing a small bit to cut down on the negative impact. 

WALKABLE CITY: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time

I was listening to Michael Ian Black's most-excellent podcast How To Be Amazing when his guest, Dan Savage, recommended this book. And it sounds fantastic! Not all of us live next to a 70,000 acre national park. Most of us live in cities. And what makes a city thrive? Walkability.

Making walkability happen is relatively easy and cheap; seeing exactly what needs to be done is the trick. In this essential new book, Jeff Speck reveals the invisible workings of the city, how simple decisions have cascading effects, and how we can all make the right choices for our communities.
Bursting with sharp observations and real-world examples, giving key insight into what urban planners actually do and how places can and do change, Walkable City lays out a practical, necessary, and eminently achievable vision of how to make our normal American cities great again.

Horizon Books , Brilliant Books , the Cottage Book Store or your local book seller can get this book for you!

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby  

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