Farm-to-Table Food Travel Hotspot: Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan


| 7/8/2017 4:49:00 PM


Tags: food tourism, ecotourism, travel, Michigan, John D Ivanko,

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“Food travel” is hot. And there are few places where you can embark on a culinary journey around the world with chefs and restauranteurs featuring cuisine from the far reaches of the globe, learn the art of cheese making, sip the world’s finest teas, or sample a selection of microbrews made in the brewery on the other side of the bar where it’s served.  Ann Arbor, Michigan, as well as Ypsilanti and the surrounding communities celebrate the seasonal and local abundance. The chefs, bakers and food purveyors share the stories behind every dish, jar of sauerkraut, glass of beer, bottle of wine or spirits they make.

The breadth of the culinary scene is impressive. There are over 363 unique restaurants and eateries in the Ann Arbor area alone, fifteen breweries, three distilleries, six coffee roasters, several wine sommeliers, one of only five tea sommeliers in the US, seventeen artisan bakeries, three creameries and ten specialty food companies.

Added to this are numerous cooking classes offered by leading food purveyors and a vibrant farming community that supplies a year-round farmers’ market including several vendors selling cottage food products, numerous food co-ops and an exclusively local, year-round, direct-to-consumer market and coffee house called Argus Farm Stop. From my perspective, as a small-scale farmer, every town and city in America needs their own version of an Argus Farm Stop so we farmers can get out of the distribution and logistics business and focus, instead, on the growing.

A Food Travel Destination

According to the World Food Travel Association’s 2016 Food Travel Monitor Report, 93% of travelers have engaged in a unique or memorable food or drink experience, other than just eating out, in the past two years. They may have visited a cooking school, participated in a food tour, or gone shopping in a local grocery or gourmet store. In the Ann Arbor area, you can do it all – and much more.

“Certain food and beverage products and foodie experiences underscore an area’s sense of place because they can be unique to the area in question,” explains Erik Wolf, Executive Director of the World Food Travel Association. “An area doesn’t need to be famous for a product like Parma, Italy’s claim to fame with ham and Parmesan cheese. It can something as simple as the best burgers in 300 miles, or apple pie still made using grandmother’s recipe. As long as the food, beverage or experience is unique for the area, it can attract foodies.”




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