Party Hits The Streets This Weekend

The second annual event celebrating local businesses, talent and community is setting up shop this weekend along the lakeshore.

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Local First, a Grand Rapids-based organization supporting and advocating for locally owned businesses, is hosting its second annual Lakeshore Street Party celebrating all things local from 3-9 p.m., Aug. 1, in Washington Square, which is centrally located between 18thand 19th streets in Holland.

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The event

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The Lakeshore Street Party highlights local businesses and talent during the community event located within the heart of the Washington Square Business District on the south side of Holland. Although the event is free to attend, food and beverage tickets will be available for purchase.

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Samantha Vandenberg, marketing manager at Local First, said the Lakeshore Street Party celebrates the businesses, people and talent that make Holland such a unique place to live and work.

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“What is great about this street party is we are spotlighting a business district that is really rooted in the community, but it is kind of off the beaten path of downtown Holland,” said Vandenberg.

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Several of the local businesses participating in the Saturday event include New Holland Brewing Co., Vander Mill, Lemonjello’s Coffee, Wood Truck BBQ, JK’s Bakehouse & Deli, Just Enjoy Bakery and Ray’s Tamale King. The organizations will be featuring a variety of cuisines, local beer and cider, and coffee on site.

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New for this year are a mini art show with art for sale and free rides for visitors from the bicycle taxi service known as PetalCab. The taxi service will be providing free rides downtown and around the historic neighborhoods from 7-9:30 p.m., according to Vandenberg.

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The lineup

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The entertainment lineup kicks off at 3 p.m. with belly dancing by Moveir Dance Studio, and is followed by interactive hula hooping with Audacious Hoops at 3:45 p.m. Other groups participating during the street party include Mystic Dub, a reggae band; Asamu Johnson and The Associates of The Blues; an interactive Latin dance demonstration; and Grupo Super Nova, which is an upbeat Latin fusion rock and mariachi group.

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Local First has also partnered with Westcore Neighbors and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland to organize activities for kids, such as face painting and art making.

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Background

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Local First launched the inaugural event along the lakeshore last year after a number of businesses located within Washington Square expressed interest in having a street party in Holland. Based on the success of the first Lakeshore Street Party, Vandenberg said the organization decided to host it again.

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“Last year we just had a really great event. It was a rainy day and we were really surprised by the amount of people that still came out and supported the businesses and events,” said Vandenberg. “People were dancing in the rain and it was just really a fun thing.”

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Elissa Hillary, executive director of Local First, said the Lakeshore Street Party is a great way for participants to connect with family, friends and neighborhood businesses.

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“We’re excited to celebrate the unique, diverse business district and community in Washington Square and in Holland,” said Hillary.

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The second annual event is sponsored by a number of organizations, including print sponsor Schreur Printing & Mailing, New Holland Brewing Co., Vander Mill, Branch Capital Management, Crown Motors, West Michigan Community Bank, Junebug Photography, Auto Body Experts and Bodhi Tree Yoga & Wellness Studio.

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Read original story here

Top Five Things to Do Around Grand Rapids This Weekend

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – From beaching to biking, this edition of the Top 5 covers your entertainment options for the upcoming weekend.

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You can find this information every Thursday and Sunday in The Grand Rapids Press, online at MLive's event calendar, or on my Facebook page.

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Don't forget to check out the comments section below for even more events.

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The Beach Boys and The Temptations

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Classics like “Surfin' USA” and “Fun, Fun Fun” along with “My Girl” and “Papa Was a Rollin' Stone” will be performed as two legendary bands – The Beach Boys and The Temptations – take the Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater stage on Friday, July 31.

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Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with the music beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $75-$77 atmeijergardens.org or at the box office. 

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Music for Miles Festival

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This music festival on Saturday, Aug. 1, from 3-10 p.m. is presented by The Spoke Folks and Team Well House with proceeds benefiting Grand Rapids Climate Ride participants. The Climate Ride is a four-day cycling event that starts in Grand Rapids and ends in Chicago with stops in Holland, Lawton and Sawyer.

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The event will be held at Spoke Folks Bicycle Coop, 221 Logan St. SW, and patrons will be entertained by nine bands with barbecue, beer and cider. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door; all ages welcome. An after-party is scheduled for 10 p.m. at The Pyramid Scheme. Details at pyramidschemebar.com.

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Local First Street Party: Lakeshore

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Local First brings another street party to West Michigan with the return of the Local First Lakeshore Street Party. This is the second year for the Lakeshore party, an addition to the Local First event hosted in downtown Grand Rapids. It will be held in Holland at Washington Square, at Washington Avenue and 18th Street, from 3-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1.

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Celebrate with the best of West Michigan's local music, food, beer and entertainment including New Holland Brewing Co., Vander Mill Cider and Lemonjello's Coffee. Street food vendors and a kids' activity area will also be available. Entertainment includes Grupo Super Nova, Audacious Hoops and more. Details for free event atlocalfirst.com.

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Newaygo County Fair

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Another weekend brings another county fair with the Newaygo County Fair opening its gates on Saturday, Aug. 1. An annual tradition since 1955, the fair features livestock shows, historical exhibits, demolition derbies, wagon events, motocross, food, games and more through Aug. 8 in Fremont, 815 S. Stewart Ave.

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Admission is free and parking is $5. Grandstand entrance fees range from $3 to $10. Details at newaygocountyfair.org.

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Grand Rapids Children's Museum Birthday Party

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Celebrate the 18th birthday of the Grand Rapids Children's Museum on Friday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a free street party packed with family entertainment. The free event takes place on Sheldon Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids with an animal themed birthday party featuring animal mask making, a bug matching game, bubble snakes, fish bean bag toss, snow-cones, animal tattoos and more.

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Regular admission will be charged to play inside the museum. Details at grcm.org.

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Read full story by Todd Chance here.

Local First to Host Second Annual Lakeshore Street Party

Holland businesses will be celebrated with the second annual Lakeshore Street Party on Saturday, Aug. 1.

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The party is organized by Local First, a Grand Rapids-based organization dedicated to supporting and advocating for local businesses.

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From 3-9 p.m. in Washington Square, attendees can enjoy food and entertainment from local businesses and talent.

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“It’s gonna be fun,” said Joel Dye, city of Holland community development coordinator. “Last year, we had well over 100 people attend. Washington Square is a lovely, tight-knit and quaint place, so just imagine 100 or so people dancing in the square to live music and celebrating the community. It is a great party.”

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Vendors for this year are Wood Truck BBQ, JK’s Bakehouse and Deli, Ray’s Tamale King, Just Enjoy Bakery and Lemonjello’s Coffee. New Holland Brewing Co. and Vander Mill, who were also at last year’s party, will be serving beer and cider.

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Westcore Neighbors and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland will have a kids activities area, featuring face painting, art making and other fun activities. The party will also have a mini art show featuring neighborhood artists and Latin dance lessons.

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Local entertainment will be presented during the entire party. The lineup is Moveir Dance Studio with belly dancing, hula hooping group Audacious Hoops, reggae group Mystic Dub, blues band Asamu Johnson and The Associates of The Blues and Grupo Super Nova, a Latin music band fusing rock and mariachi.

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“Local businesses, artists, musicians, restaurants and beverage producers help our communities thrive and create an attractive environment for both residents and tourists,” Local First Marketing Manager Samantha Vanderberg said. “This event showcases that while bringing together people from all ages and background to have fun and commune on the street.”

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Attendance and activities are free and food and beverage tickets will be available for purchase.

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Read full article here.

Listen In at This Year’s Lakeshore Street Party

This year’s Local First Lakeshore Street Party will be hosting a variety of bands with diverse and exciting sounds! We look forward to hearing the Latin stylings of Grupo Super Nova, the hit machine group The Super Sounds, and the Reggae awesomeness that is Mystic Dub.

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Grupo Super Nova has brought Mexican culture to Holland, Michigan through musical experiences. The band of four brothers has been playing music together since they were ages 10, 7, 6 and 3 years old. Their first album, “Together Forever” launched in 2009, featured music influenced by their own inspirations as well as issues made known to them about the North American Union.

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Asamu Johnson and The Associates of The Blues has been “keeping blues alive” in West Michigan for the past few years, though Johnson has performed a mix of different blues styles in various bands across the country. He grew up with the blues and began playing after returning from service in Vietnam (for more & to listen to recordings, go to localspins.com).

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Get ready to dance at the Lakeshore Street Party when Mystic Dub enters the stage! Mystic Dub is influenced by old school Reggae, Jazz, Soul and so much more. They perform original music with a blended sound of Dancehall, Calypso, and a touch of Ska. Mystic Dub has been together since January 2005 and has since enjoyed touring, recording, performing live, and spreading good vibes to all of the people they meet.

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Eggplant

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Eggplant comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Eggplant varieties are interchangeable in most recipes and the vegetable is extremely versatile. Low in calories and high in fiber, eggplant offers very small amounts of vitamins and minerals. It is traditionally eaten with other, more nutritious foods.

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How to Prepare:

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To remove any acrid flavors and excess moisture, lightly salt slices of eggplant and allow them to sit in a colander for 10-15 minutes. Gently squeeze out any liquid. This ensures that the eggplant will soak up less oil and need less salt in preparation. 

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How to Store:

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Eggplant is best when it's fresh. Store unrefrigerated at a cool room temperature, or in hydrator drawer of the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For long-term storage, dishes like baba ghanouj and ratatouille freeze well in airtight containers.

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How to Cook:

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Eggplant is very versatile. You can bake, stuff, saute, steam, grill, fry, or blend it into a dip or spread.

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Information adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini

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Recipes

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Curried Eggplant With Tomatoes and Basil

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Ingredients

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  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1-15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup
  • fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup
  • plain low-fat yogurt, optional
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Preparation

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In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine the rice, 1 ½ cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Stir the rice once, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 18 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until eggplant is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cook just until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove the vegetables from heat and stir in the basil. Fluff the rice with a fork. Serve the vegetables over the rice with yogurt, if using.

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Recipe courtesy of Real Simple

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Ratatouille

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Ingredients

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced into rings
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
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Preparation

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir garlic until lightly browned. Mix in parsley and eggplant. Cook and stir until eggplant is soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Spread eggplant mixture evenly across bottom of prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Spread zucchini in an even layer over top. Lightly salt and sprinkle with a little more cheese. Continue layering in this fashion, with onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, and tomatoes, covering each layer with a sprinkling of salt and cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

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Recipe courtesy of All Recipes

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Eggplant Roll-Ups

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Ingredients

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  • 1 large eggplant (about 1-3/4 pounds), cut lengthwise into 8 slices
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup pesto
  • 2-1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated pecorino-romano cheese
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
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Preparation

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Season the eggplant with salt and pepper. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and 4 tablespoons pesto. Pour the bread crumbs onto a large plate. Dip each eggplant slice into the egg mixture, then coat with the bread crumbs. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the eggplant until golden, 2 minutes on each side, using the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer the eggplant to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta and 3 tablespoons pecorino-romano; season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon of the remaining pesto on each eggplant slice and top with about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Roll up each slice. Bake until the eggplant is tender when pierced with a toothpick, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer. Serve the roll-ups with the sauce and remaining pecorino.

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Recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray Magazine

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Eggplant Parmesan Pizza

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Ingredients

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  • 1 small eggplant, (about 12 ounces)
  • yellow cornmeal, for dusting
  • 1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough, or other prepared dough
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup thinly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
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Preparation

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Preheat grill to medium-high. Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Grill, turning once, until marked and softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Let cool slightly, then thinly slice into strips. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a pizza peel or large baking sheet. Roll out the dough and transfer it to the prepared peel or baking sheet, making sure the underside of the dough is completely coated with cornmeal. Slide the crust onto the grill rack; close the lid. Cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a large spatula, flip the crust. Spread marinara sauce on the crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Quickly top with the eggplant, basil and garlic. Lay the Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings on top. Close the lid again and grill until the cheese has melted and the bottom of the crust has browned, about 8 minutes.

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Recipe courtesy of Eating Well

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Eggplant Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing

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Ingredients

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  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large Japanese eggplants, each cut lengthwise into 6 slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 cups mixed baby greens
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Preparation

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Whisk first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper. Prepare grill (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Brush eggplant with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil until golden and just tender, about 3 minutes per side. Toss greens with enough dressing to coat. Divide among plates. Top with eggplant. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

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Recipe courtesy of Epicurious

Cooking a CSA Share from New City Urban Farm

Last Thursday afternoon I visited New City Urban Farm to pick up a CSA share where I was greeted with a smile from Rileigh Haan, New City’s manager of customer service. She helped me put together a share and gave me a newsletter with information on the happenings at the farm along with tips, tricks, and recipes to use with the share. This week’s share included carrots, beets, kale, tomatoes, eggplant, summer squash, zucchini, broccoli, and scallions. Clearly exemplifying the agricultural abundance that Michigan summers can offer, I had no shortage of ideas for dishes that I could experiment with.

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I started by cooking up a huge veggie hash using scallions, carrots, beets, squash, zucchini, kale, broccoli, and tomatoes. This recipe was perfect for a late Saturday morning breakfast for two. Next I made roasted ratatouille toasts using eggplant, zucchini, squash, scallions, beets, and tomatoes from the share. For this dish I bought a loaf of Field and Fire’s levain bread for the toasts, used oregano from Mud Lake Farms, corn from Versluis farms, and garlic from the Sustainable Agriculture Project at GVSU. To accompany the toasts, I made my favorite kale salad recipe adding broccoli to it for the first time. The broccoli made the salad more hearty and gave it more texture and flavor. I finished off the remaining zucchini in a vegan zucchini bread, the perfect dessert to top off the meal.

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I made a lot of substitutions with ingredients in these dishes, i.e. subbing beets for potatoes, scallions for onions, and kale for chard. When using CSA shares, substitutions are not only welcomed but encouraged. Substitutions allow you to to best use your full share and get creative with your cooking. Overall, I enjoyed these recipes and would definitely use them again in the feature. My share from New City Urban Farm helped me to cook healthy, local meals for the week and encouraged me to invite friends over to celebrate and appreciate delicious food together.

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Garden Vegetable Breakfast Hash

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Ingredients

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  • 2-4 Tbsp. canola or olive oil (use less if using a non-stick skillet)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 2 medium-sized beets, cut into 1/4″ strips
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, julienned
  • 1 small zucchini, julienned
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 large kale leaves, tough stems removed, cut into thin ribbons crosswise
  • 1-2 very ripe fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fried eggs, optional, for serving
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Preparation

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add some of the oil (you might need to add more later if the veggies stick), and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and carrots. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook until they start to soften a little, 2-3 minutes.  Add the beets and season well with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, lowering heat as necessary, until the beets are almost tender. Add the squash and continue cooking, stirring frequently with a metal spatula. Add the garlic and the kale. Continue cooking until all the vegetables are tender. Season again with salt and pepper. Fry an egg to put on top of each serving. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Cafe Johnsonia

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Roasted Ratatouille Toasts

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Ingredients

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  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 6 – 8 cloves garlic, skins removed
  • 2 – 3 Tbs. total fresh thyme and oregano leaves
  • 6 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 loaf levain bread, cut into 8 even slices
  • 1 pinch garlic salt
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Preparation

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the eggplant on a few paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Once you see little beads of water all over, pat them dry. Arrange all the vegetables and herbs on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 2 Tbs. oil and a nice pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Toss the veggies at the 20-minute mark. In the meantime, brush the bread with 2 Tbs. oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Toast until golden brown. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and a Tbs. of balsamic vinegar. Top each toast with the ratatouille vegetables and garnish with any fresh herbs you did and a nice little drizzle of balsamic. 

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Recipe adapted from Bev Cooks

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Kale Salad

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Ingredients

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  • 2 bunches kale
  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
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Preparation

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Wash the kale in cold water, pat dry, trim off the tough portions of the stems and discard them. Chop the kale into bite-size pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Chop broccoli into bite sized pieces and set aside. Combine vinegar, oil, brown sugar, garlic, Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce and red pepper flakes in a saute pan. Simmer the mixture over moderate heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat and immediately pour the hot mixture over the kale and broccoli; mix well to thoroughly coat all of the leaves with dressing. Allow kale to sit for 10 minutes or more before serving.

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Recipe adapted from Green Vegetarian Cuisine

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Vegan Zucchini Almond Bread

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Ingredients

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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini 
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced almonds plus a bit more for the top of each loaf
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Preparation

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Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8×4-inch or 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and sugars. Shred the zucchini using a grater and squeeze it over a strainer to release some of the liquid. Whisk thoroughly, then add the shredded zucchini and almonds. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together with a spatula. Make sure all of the flour is thoroughly incorporated into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared pan, sprinkle the top with sliced almonds and place in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Bread will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to 5 days.

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Recipe courtesy of The Forest Feast

More Than Just a Bike Ride

Climate Ride is a 300-mile, 4-day, full-supported cycling adventure that begins in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and explores the back roads along Lake Michigan and ends in the Windy City of Chicago,  Illinois. Climate Ride acts to engage citizens in environmental issues that are facing the communities around them and stimulate action in green transportation, energy policies, and climate change.

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On the route, riders will discover blueberry farms, historic sights, and incredible views that the coast of Lake Michigan has to offer.  Riders will experience the rewards of traveling by bicycle among fellow environmentalists passionate about sustainability and improving our local economies.

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As an organization, Climate Ride aims to build a community around environmental issues and sustainable transportation. They support some of the biggest charity benefits in the country and are constantly working to build new ideas for a sustainable future. Since knowledge about these issues is more important than ever, proceeds from events go to raising this awareness.

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Many thanks to our very own Elissa Hillary, Ricardo Benavidez, and Hanna Schulze, along with Bob Schulze and Alan Lipscomb, who will be riding on behalf of Local First! Want to sign-up, donate, or learn more about the ride? Click here!  

Lemonjello’s To Bring Delicious Treats to the Lakeshore Street Party

At this year’s Local First Lakeshore Street Party, get ready for some delicious coffee and gluten free and vegan treats presented by Lemonjello’s Coffee.

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Lemonjello’s Coffee was established in 2003 and exists to provide coffee, music, and community that is sincere, beyond fashion, and an infusion of pop culture and artistic integrity. At the Street Party they will serve coffee roasted by Madcap Coffee Company in Grand Rapids as well as Halfwit Coffee Roasters from Chicago. The team at Lemonjello’s is committed to serving coffees that are grown, processed, imported, and roasted with the same dedication to quality that they have when making beverages.

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Lemonjello’s Coffee believes that combining great people and great products can make a world of a difference! They have recently refocused their menu to showcase the beverages that really define the quality they want to be known for. This kind of quality and positive experience can be expected at this year’s Local First Lakeshore Street Party.

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Dissecting the Terminology Behind the Food Movement

Heading to the farmers market is one of the best ways to experience community, support our local economy, and enjoy all of the delicious offerings of summertime in Michigan. We typically go to the farmers market when we want answers to questions such as, where is my food grown? What kind of growing practices are used to grow my food? Or, is this the healthiest food that I can feed my family? The farmers market makes it a lot easier to get answers to these concerns. That being said, it can at times be difficult to determine exactly what you are getting at markets due to the terminology used to describe the food. When walking up and down the market stalls, you can see the terms “local,” “sustainable,” and “organic” used frequently. These terms have also infiltrated grocery stores, restaurants, and markets, and are becoming increasingly prevalent in our media. This is largely seen as a positive development indicating a shift in consciousness surrounding our eating habits. However seeing that there is a great deal of ambiguity around these terms, it can make purchasing food a difficult task. In order to clear up some of the confusion, let's look at some of the most common terms used in our local markets.

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Local

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Despite there being very little consensus on what the term local actually means, marketers are constantly using locality as a selling point to entice customers. To some, local means that a product is coming from within 100 miles and to others that parameter is stretched to 250 miles. In many cases local simply means that the product is coming from Michigan, but can also include the entire Midwest region, and in some cases the entire United States. That being said, it is important as consumers for us to ask our grocer or farmer exactly what they mean when the say that their product is local. Learn more

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Sustainable

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Simply put by Wendell Berry, “A sustainable agriculture does not deplete soils or people.” To get a bit more specific, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture explains that, “Sustainable agriculture addresses the ecological, economic and social aspects of agriculture. To be sustainable, agriculture can operate only when the environment, its caretakers and surrounding communities are healthy.” Although these principles are generally accepted as sustainable farming practices, it is important to note that there is no one definition for sustainable agriculture that everyone abides by. Sustainable is an extremely fluid term so again it is important to clarify with your grower or grocer what they mean when they use the term sustainable. Learn more

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Organic

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The USDA organic certification is a straightforward way for customers to identify which growers use pesticides and herbicides in their growing practices. The USDA has established organic standards that cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives. If a farmer applies for certification and proves that they adhere to these standards, the USDA will grant them organic certifcation. Although this certification makes it easier for consumers to identify exactly how their food is being grown, many growers opt not to become certified as USDA organic for a variety of different reasons. For an honest explanation of why organic certification is not for everyone, click here to read local grower Whitney Belprez's take on the issue.

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100{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} Home Grown

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In 2010, the Fulton Street Farmers Market created a certification called “100{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} Homegrown” in order to certify and recognize farmers who only sell products that they have grown themselves. The motivation behind this certification was to make buying local easy for market-goers. This program gives customers the luxury of just looking for the green and yellow “home grown” sign to know where their food is coming from instead of having to ask each farmer. Learn more

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All this to say, it is clear that there is a lot of work to be done in establishing a common language for the food movement. Seeing that these terms are ambiguous, the best way to gain an honest understanding of where your food is grown and to understand how it is grown, you should have a conversation with your farmer and your grocer to understand what they mean when they use these terms. Most farmers value educating their consumer base so never be shy about asking questions!

Cabbage

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Cabbage is eaten in almost every country around the world. Like other brassicas, cabbage has been used medicinally for centuries. It comes in many different varieties and can be prepared in a number of different ways.

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How to Prepare:

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Cut cabbage head first into quarters, then diagonally across the wedge. Cut into thin slices for tossing raw into salads, or cut into thicker slices for steaming or boiling.

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How to Store:

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Refrigerate cabbage in a hydrator drawer. A plastic bag will help retain moisture but is not necessary. Do not remove outer leaves before storage. Properly stored, cabbage can last 3 weeks to 2 months in the refrigerator. It can last much longer in optimum root cellar conditions.

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How to Cook:

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Cabbage is delicious when eaten raw, lightly cooked, steamed, stir-fried, or boiled.

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Information adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini

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Recipes

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Confetti Slaw with Poppy-Seed Dressing

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Ingredients

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  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup pre-cut matchstick carrots
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Preparation

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Combine first 8 ingredients (through pepper) in a bowl. Add cabbage and carrots; toss to coat.

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Recipe courtesy of Health Magazine

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Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage Recipe

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Ingredients

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  • One 2-pound red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
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Preparation

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Cut the cabbage in half, cutting through the core as you do this. Cut the cabbage halves in half again, again through the core. Cut out the core from the quartered cabbage and discard. Thinly slice the cabbage. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add cabbage and toss to coat with butter. Sauté until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over the cabbage and toss to coat evenly. Add balsamic vinegar to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer until the cabbage is completely tender, stirring often, about 30 minutes total. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes

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Buttered Cabbage

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Ingredients

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  • 1 lb fresh Savoy cabbage
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • an extra knob of butter
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Preparation

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Remove all the tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into four, remove the stalk and then cut each quarter into fine shreds, working across the grain. Put 2 or 3 tablespoons of water into a wide saucepan, together with the butter and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, add the cabbage and toss over a high heat, then cover the saucepan and cook for a few minutes. Toss again and add some salt, freshly ground pepper and the knob of butter. Serve immediately.

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Recipe courtesy of Epicurious

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Cabbage Soup

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Ingredients

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  • 1 medium head cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
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Preparation

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In a stockpot, cook the cabbage, celery and onion in water until tender. Add bouillon, salt, pepper, beef and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and ketchup; simmer another 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

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Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home

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Shredded Green Cabbage Salad with Lemon and Garlic

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Ingredients

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  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds green cabbage, cored and finely shredded
  • Kosher salt
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Preparation

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In a mortar, pound the garlic to a puree. Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the dressing. Season with salt and toss again. Serve right away or lightly chilled.

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Recipe courtesy of Food and Wine