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Video Feature with Don Coe & The Michigan Land Use Institute

Black Star Farms and Managing Partner Don Coe have been longtime supporters of the Michigan Land Use Institute (MLUI) and their Taste the Local Difference program. Learn more about the environmental and community initiatives from the MLUI by visiting their website or by viewing the video below featuring Don discussing local agriculture.

We are proud to support this dynamic organization that continues to work for a healthy and green future.

By |February 9th, 2012|Farm, Featured, Media, Video, Winery|0 Comments

Taste the Passion Recipes

Recipe for Spirit of Raspberry Royal

Recipe for Molten Chocolate Cakes  – Serves 4

  • 1/2 c butter – cut into chunks
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs, separate yolks and whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F spray four – 6 to 8 ounce ramekins and dust the insides with granulated white sugar. In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and set aside.          

-With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until thick, pale, and fluffy, then beat in the vanilla extract and then fold in the melted chocolate mixture.                               

 -In a clean bowl whip the egg whites until frothy. Slowly add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and whip just until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula gently fold the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, just until incorporated. Do not over mix or the batter will deflate. -Divide the batter between the prepared molds. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the outside edges of the cakes are set but the middle still looks moist.  Remove from oven and cakes can be served in the ramekins or popped out and served on a plate. 

By |February 2nd, 2012|Farm, Featured, Inn, Media, Tasting|0 Comments

Regional Agriculture Inspires Black Star Farms’ Executive Chef

The local food movement is at the forefront of the Traverse City culinary scene. We sat down with our Executive Chef Jonathan Dayton to discusses his culinary background, his dedication to the farm to table concept and what’s instore for the culinary future at the Inn at Black Star Farms.

1. How long have you been working in the Traverse/Northern Michigan restaurant industry?

I started working in the restaurant business back in 1987 as a dishwasher at Sweitzers by the Bay. It was an easily available job in this tourist town for a high school student and I was quickly addicted to the fast pace and sense of community and family in the kitchen. I was a quick learner with a good work ethic so it wasn’t long before I was moved out of the dish pit and into prepping food and then cooking on the line. I’ve always joked that this career is one that chose me. I never went to culinary school for this chef’s life I now live. The kitchens I’ve worked in, the chefs I’ve cooked alongside and the owners that have employed me have been all I needed in this life degree. This is an ever-changing industry with new trends and techniques coming along constantly. Being a chef has been a lifelong education. I learn, see, smell or taste new things everyday I am at work. I have to evolve constantly to keep pace with it all.

2. How would you define the “local food movement?” How long have you been a part of this movement?

The attention the local food movement has been getting the last few years is nothing but positive for all involved, but keep in mind this so called “movement” has been being practiced by people and businesses for a very long time. I think the biggest difference in the last 10 years alone has to do with the availability and amount of product at hand. There has been an explosion in Northern Michigan for produce and proteins being accessible to the homeowner and restaurants like never before. The definition of this movement changes based on the consumer and what the needs for the consumer really are. Whether for yourself, a family or a business, the idea should be practiced the same throughout. Support yourself first, then your community, followed by your state and finally your country. You want to purchase any given product from a source as close to you as possible and you want this product grown or raised by methods that are healthy for the environment and humane to the animal. You also want the people who provide these services to make fair wages. Sustainability. It feels better knowing where your food comes from and I think that feeling makes it taste better. It was somewhere in the early 90’s that I really started noticing the farm to table idea catching on in local restaurants in this area. An elevated sense of pride went into each plate with the knowledge of where the food that was on it came from.  This feeling is even stronger today working where I do.

3. What do you consider “best practices” that support using locally grown produce and locally raised animals?

Well the best practice to use for me is taking advantage of what is supplied from the property I work on. The beauty of Black Star Farms in a culinary sense is that what I cook revolves around the availability first and foremost of the ingredients that are outside my kitchen back door. I have the fortune of having a creamery, bakery, winery and distillery on this property, along with the raising of some of our own proteins and the harvesting of our own agriculture. However, our food service department is far too busy to be supplied by this location alone, so other than the farmers markets and food stands I shop at the best thing that has helped supply me and other Northern Michigan restaurants with locally raised and produced products is a company called Cherry Capital Foods. They focus on sales of products primarily grown and raised in the region and state. I am supplied with a weekly availability list of produce, proteins and dairy and my menu offerings are often based off of that availability. Vice versa I can tell them what it is I’m looking for and they take that knowledge back to the farmer. It’s a very unique and involved working relationship.  I consider my work with them a key component to my success in supporting locally grown produce and products.

4. Do you at times find it difficult to adhere to using only local foods throughout the year? If so, what do you do to plan for the winter months when local produce is not as abundant?

It is difficult living in this place on the planet and staying true to buying local. As a chef, creatively it can get a little boring in the long months of the winter. Fresh produce is by far the hardest do deal with out. There are only so many things you can do with root vegetables. Believe me, I’ve tried them all. But with the darkness of winter come slower times. You just have to plan ahead the best you can by preserving as much as possible and filling up the freezer and pantry. With the emergence of farmers using more green houses and hoop houses the season can be extended later or started early but even then produce is difficult to find. I guess at the end of the day it comes down to the business you’ve built and what the clientele expect from it.

5.  Do you believe there is a future for culinary tourism in N.Michigan? If so, does it revolve around this region’s acclaim as a local food haven?

The future for culinary tourism has already arrived. It’s been fascinating to watch and a privilege to be a part of this growth in Northern Michigan. Agriculture and tourism in this state are the second and third largest industries. People have always traveled to this area for the beauty and way of life. I believe culinary tourism has been here for some time, but I do believe a significant rise has come from the emergence of our wine industry. The wine trails, both on Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula have been essential for pulling in a whole other type of crowd, the foodie type of tourist, not only from our own state but more importantly from out of state. It’s given our region notoriety in national papers and magazines, and with the rise of the restaurant also comes the rise of the farmer. The interest from this clientele for a more creative meal and wider range of offerings has expanded the culinary industry, which then allows the farmer to grow and evolve as well.

6. What are your current and future plans in the kitchen that support this movement?

Currently during these winter months I’m buying what’s left out there of the available produce. Apples and pears are still around so preserving those for the winter. Root vegetables and squash are also still abundant and if properly stored last for months. We had a huge basil and tomato harvest in my own garden here at the farm this past summer so a lot of pesto and purees were made along with soups and sauces, they are all in the freezer for upcoming menus now. As far as the future, we are just planning on doing more. Growing more produce. Raising more animals. Taking what we have at the different times of harvest in the year and creating better ways of preserving. Trying to stretch the season out. Always thinking ahead and improving. Expanding. Always learning.

By |January 26th, 2012|Farm, Featured, Inn|2 Comments

Stables’ Veterinarian Receives Special Award

Last week one our Stables’ veterinarians, Dr. Tanja Molby received the Legend of the Year Award. This is an award that is considered the equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize in the horse world, and is sponsored by Bayer Animal Health.

Dr. Molby runs Equine Veterinary Services of Leelanau County and provides services to half of the horses we board in our stables. “We are so proud of her for receiving this special award,” notes Stables Manager Kari Merz.

Read more about Dr.Molby and the award from the Ticker story here.

By |December 1st, 2011|Farm, Stables|0 Comments

Award Winning Macaroni and Cheese at Black Star Farms

Executive Chef Jonathan Dayton created the most fabulous macaroni and cheese at last weekend’s Great Macaroni and Cheese Bake-Off. Their unique and savory creation was a Baked Macaroni with Leelanau Cheese and Lamb Shoulder Confit. It was topped with toasted pine nuts and house made roasted garlic basil oil (a recipe is below). Only 30 votes separated the top three restaurants, with The Cooks’ House and Jolly Pumpkin in 2nd and 3rd.

Chef Jonathan is always creating culinary magic in the recently renovated kitchen at the Inn at Black Star Farms. Inn guests are delighted at his gourmet breakfasts and hospitality hour hors d’oeuvres.  His artfully prepared dishes inspire one to savor each bite.

Dinners are also offered at the Inn on select Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and are open to the public. Meals are prepared from ingredients grown or raised on the farm or sourced from within a 100 mile radius. A complete list of dates can be found on our website calendar. For more information or to make a dinner reservation please call the innkeeper at 231.944.1251.

Baked Macaroni with Leelanau Cheese and Lamb Shoulder Confit

Lamb shoulder

1 lamb shoulder roast, netting removed

½ cup kosher salt

¼ cup fresh ground black pepper

5 dried bay leaves crushed

8 cloves garlic crushed

6 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

6-8 cups duck fat, lamb fat, lard or extra virgin olive oil -Cure the lamb shoulder

Trim lamb into 4-6 pieces. Rub the meat with the salt, pepper and bay leaves and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Marinate the lamb

Rinse the lamb of the salt mixture and dry well. Place in a clean bowl with the rest of the mix and incorporate. Cover again and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Confit the lamb

Place lamb in a large enough pot/dutch oven so there is at least 4 inches of space between the meat and top of the rim. Cover meat with the chosen fat or olive oil and bring to a temperature where you see just a few bubbles rising, the key being to cook at a very low temperature at a slow pace. This can also be done in an oven at around 225F. Cook the lamb for 8-12 hours until the meat is soft and almost falling apart to the touch. Cool the meat on the counter at room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Roasted garlic basil oil

12 cloves garlic

4 cups extra virgin olive oil

½ pound fresh basil cleaned and de-stemmed roast garlic on stove top at medium until garlic rises to the top. Pull off burner and let cool to room temperature. Bring 2-3 quarts of water to a boil and drop basil in for 10-15 seconds. Pour into colander and then ice bath the basil immediately. Dry basil well by pressing with kitchen towel until all moisture is absorbed. Use multiple towels if necessary. Add basil and roasted garlic oil in blender and puree well. Place oil in refrigerator for 12 hours. Strain the oil thru some cheesecloth into a container and then pour into a squeeze bottle.

Macaroni and cheese

1/2-pound macaroni

3 tablespoons lamb fat

3 tablespoons flour

½ cup leeks

3 cloves roasted garlic

3 cups milk

6 oz. fromage blanc

6 oz. raclette

2-3 cups lamb confit

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

¼ cup panko

1-tablespoon butter

In a large pot of boiling salted water cook pasta al dente. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot warm the lamb fat over medium heat and add leeks. Caramelize the leeks stirring frequently for 4 -6 minutes. Whisk in the flour and garlic, keep the mixture moving for about 5 minutes to create your roux. Make sure it is free of any lumps. Whisk in the milk and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Incorporate the cheese until melted. Fold in your pasta and lamb confit and season to taste. Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Melt butter in a saucepan and add panko and pine nuts to coat. Top the macaroni with the panko pine nut crust and bake for 30 minutes at 300F. Cut and plate garnishing with the roasted garlic basil oil.

By |November 29th, 2011|Inn, Media, Tasting|0 Comments

Toast the Season Chocolate Truffle Torte Recipe

Here is Chef Stephanie’s recipe for the decadent Chocolate Truffle Torte served at the Toast the Season event.

 

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups whipping cream

1 lb. quality semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 oz. strong coffee

1 tablespoon Sirius Raspberry Dessert wine

4 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon flavorless, granulated gelatin

Directions

Use chilled 1 1/2 cups of the whipping cream and beat cream to medium peaks.

Using a bowl in the top of a double boiler, or microwave safe bowl combine chocolate chips, coffee, dessert wine and butter then melt together until smooth.

Pour remaining 1/4 cup whipping cream into a metal bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin. Allow gelatin to “bloom” for 10 minutes. Then carefully heat by swirling the bowl over a low gas flame. Do not let the gelatin boil.  Stir mixture into the cooled chocolate and set aside.

Fold in the whipped cream in two doses and freeze in pans until solid.  You can then cut into whatever form you like or use cookie cutters to make shapes.  Finish with chocolate ganache or any sauce you would like.

By |November 12th, 2011|Inn|4 Comments

A Taste of Northern Michigan Spirits

We are pleased to add Grand Traverse Distillery as a co-licensee at TASTES and are now able to add their grain-based distilled products to our fruit based brandies to offer visitors a “taste” of Northern Michigan distilled products.

Grand Traverse Distillery has won numerous national awards for their small batch wheat and rye-based vodkas, cherry and chocolate flavored vodkas and their Ole George 100% rye whiskey.

Learn more about Michigan distilled products by stopping to sample our extensive line of spirits. There is a $5 fee for tasting any three spirits.

For the connoisseur and collector of fine barrel aged spirits we provide the opportunity to make your own whiskey. We stock empty barrels in 1, 2 and 3 liter sizes, and you can pick from among five un-aged spirits. These include two styles of bourbon, a 100% rye as well as Irish or Scotch blends. Simply fill your barrel, age to your taste and amaze your friends with your own distinctive spirit.

TASTES of Black Star Farms is housed in one of North America’s largest and most innovative redevelopment projects – the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. They are open:

Sunday from 12 to 4 pm

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 am to 7 pm

Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 9 p.m

For more information please call 231.944.1349.

By |November 2nd, 2011|Tasting, Winery|0 Comments

A New Dining Experience in the Arcturos Dining Room at the Inn

Enjoy a delicious dinner prepared from locally sourced ingredients in the Arcturos Dining Room at the Inn. Executive Chef Jonathan Dayton’s philosophy is to cook with meats, herbs, vegetables, and fruits that either grown or raised on the farm at Black Star or from other Michigan farms within a 100 mile radius. A list of some of the farms and companies the chef routinely uses includes:

  • 9 Bean Rows in Northport for vegetables and artisan bread
  • Bakers Acres in Marion for chicken and pork
  • JRJ Ranch in Marion for Lamb
  • Olesons Farm in Traverse City for buffalo
  • Bunny Hop Ranch in Cedar for rabbit
  • Makinaw Straits Fishing Company in St. Ignace for whitefish, perch, lake trout and salmon
  • Carlsons in Leland for whitefish and smoked whitefish
  • TLC Tomatoes in Northport for tomatoes, spring greens, and bibb lettuce
  • Gallaghers Centenial Farm in Traverse City for beef
  • Champion Hills Farm in Beulah for honey
  • Halpins Land Of Goshen in Kaleva for cheese
  • Grassfields Cheese in Coopersville for cheese
  • Light of Day Organics in Traverse city for tea
  • Great Northern Roasting Company in Traverse City for coffee
  • Brownwood Acres in Central Lake for mustards and cherry products
  • Rennie Orchards in Williamsburg for an assortment of fruit
  • Friske’s Orchards in Elsworth for fruits and vegetables
  • Second Spring Farm in Cedar for vegetables
  • Elmaple Farm in Kaleva for vegetables

There is also an assortment of in house prepared decadent desserts. Black Star Farms wine is also available by the glass or bottle. The Arcturos Dining Room has very limited seating and reservations are required. Dinners begin at 6:30 pm. Call 231.944.1251 to make a reservation.

The dinner menu changes weekly depending on what meats and produce are locally available.

Take a look at a sample menu in the pdf. link below.

Menu pdf

 

 

By |July 13th, 2011|Event Planning, Inn|2 Comments

5 Delightful Days in Northern Michigan

The Grand Traverse Bay area abounds with possibilities. There are endless miles of beaches alongside quaint towns with unique shops and galleries, wineries and breweries galore, and an array of culinary destinations. There is certainly something for everyone. Here we have compiled 5 days of itineraries filled with activities that will delight your senses and leave you with the most memorable experiences.

Day One:

Start your tour in the village of Suttons Bay. The main street is lined with colorful store fronts where you could easily shop and spend several hours. There are beaches, galleries, antique shops, boutiques featuring clothing and accessories, as well as the historic Bay Theater dating from the 1940’s. There are 14 different dining choices in the village ranging from deli-style to sit-down featuring gourmet local fare.  The schooner Inland Seas, a schoolship fostering knowledge of the Great Lakes, is moored in the harbor.  If you are up for more we recommend visiting the nearby Leelanau Peninsula Wineries for wine tasting. Several are close to the village, including L. Mawby, Shady Lane Cellars, Ciccone Vineyard and Winery, Chateau de Leelanau, and Willow Vineyard. Close out the day with a casual meal at one of Suttons Bay’s most popular pubs, Boone’s Prime Time. They feature superb steaks, fresh seafood and great burgers in a cozy rustic atmosphere. 

Day Two:

Relax and take your time on a scenic drive north along M-22 that hugs the western shore of Grand Traverse Bay. Cherry and apple orchards dot the landscape along this sublime route to Leelanau State Park with its Grand Traverse Lighthouse. A mid-route must is a stop at Tandem Ciders just off Setterbo Rd. where you can nibble on peanuts and sample sweet and hard ciders in a quaint tasting room filled with antiques and unique art. After visiting the State Park drive back through Northport and continue your scenic drive southwest along M-22 to Leland, a picturesque 145-year-old fishing village. Be sure to visit the historical district, known as Fishtown, where you can browse in shops that were once rustic fishing shanties alongside docks reminiscent of life and commercial fishing one hundred years ago. Stop for lunch and a bowl of locally renowned seafood chowder from the Cove or pick up a sandwich from the Village Cheese Shanty.  In Fishtown you can stock up on sweet treats at the Dam Candy Store where you’ll find old fashioned sweet treats along with ice cream or coffee. After a day of exploration relax for dinner back at one of the fine restaurants in Suttons Bay or in the Arcturos Dining Room at the Inn at Black Star Farms (subject to availability, please call ahead to make a reservation, 231.944.1251).  

Day Three

Plan a day of shopping and dining in downtown Traverse City. You will find more than 150 unique boutiques, galleries, restaurants and coffee shops along Front St.  Shopping highlights include Wilson Antiques, The Cherry Stop, and Ella’s Fashion and Furnishings. During the summer and early fall on Wednesday and Saturday mornings don’t miss the downtown Sara Hardy Farmer’s Market. It’s a delight to the senses! Rainy day activities in Traverse City could include a visit to the Dennos Museum on the campus of Northwest Michigan College or a first-run movie at the renovated State Theatre. For lunch try the Green House Café for fresh homemade soups and sandwiches. After lunch head a few blocks west over to the Village at Grand Traverse Commons; one of North America’s largest historic redevelopment projects. Here you will find the century-old Victorian-Italianate style buildings that were once part of the Traverse City State Hospital, and previously, the Northern Michigan Asylum. The Village is a marvel to explore. From the miles of hiking trails and expansive lawns to the shops in the Mercato, one can easily spend several hours here. Don’t miss wine tasting at Left Foot Charley followed by a Matterhorn Grill Dinner at TASTES of Black Star Farms.

Day Four

Take a leisurely drive to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park with its variety of touring options.  The Dune Climb is a must, as is the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, and you can also step back in time with a visit to the U.S. Coast Guard Museum. Dine where the locals do for lunch at the one-of-a-kind Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor. Just a walk up the road from Art’s is the original home of the Cherry Republic, a haven for all things cherry!  You can sample cherry salsa, cherry ice cream and even cherry wine. Take the scenic route back to Suttons Bay and enjoy wine tasting at any of the nearby Leelanau Peninsula wineries, Good Harbor Vineyards, Bel Lago, and Chateau Fontaine.

Day Five:

Start the day with a south-bound drive on M-22, along the bay in Traverse City, and towards the Old Mission Peninsula. Follow M-37 all the way to the top of the Peninsula, ending at the Old Mission Point Light House.  You can tour the grounds of this historic 1870’s lighthouse and see how the peninsula people lived in the adjacent turn of the century Hessler Log Cabin. Stop at the historic Old Mission General Store for a gourmet deli sandwich or pizza and a few pieces of penny candy. A visit here is like stepping back in time.  Continue south on M-37 with stops along the way at the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula. There are seven wineries all situated right off of M-37. Each winery has a signature wine and they are all different in décor. With a designated driver one could easily visit all seven. A day of wine tasting will no doubt work up an appetite.  No visit to the Old Mission Peninsula would be complete without a meal at the Jolly Pumpkin featuring microbrew beers and artisan cuisine served in a uniquely historic building.

Do you have more plans on your intinerary? We’d love to hear how you spent your days in N.Michigan, please share your story and photos, cbriggs@blackstarfarms.com.

By |June 30th, 2011|Farm, Inn, Media|0 Comments

Pear and its Spirit

Many of our visitors are curious how we get the pear in the bottle of the Pear and its Spirit brandy. The process begins in the spring when the bottles are tied over budding branches with hopes that a Bartlett pear will grow to maturity inside the bottle.

This year we were able to visit Delight of Life Farm and record video of the crew tying the bottles to the trees. In the video below Heather Jordan, owner of Delight of Life Farm, is gently attaching a bottle to the budding branch. Heather explained that they do not tie bottles to every bud; it has to be “just right.” When asked what she meant by this she said the budding branch has to be facing upwards or the pear will not grow well in the bottle and the bottle is also more likely to fall off the tree.

The pear is harvested inside the bottle, cleaned and washed, and the bottle is then filled with pear brandy from the same orchard and hand labeled in a special limited presentation. The pear will calcify over time as long as it is covered with the brandy. It is important to replace the brandy with our Spirit of Pear brandy when it gets close to uncovering the pear.

Pear and Its Spirit truly captures the essence of Northern Michigan fruit. The balance of fruit and alcohol reflects both the artisan skill of the distiller and the quality of the fruit. The resulting clear Pear and its Spirit delivers an explosion of succulent pear aroma and taste, rich flavor with a dry and elegant after taste.

To learn more ask about this product in our tasting room during your next visit visit to our tasting rooms up north.

By |June 17th, 2011|Event Planning, Media, Tasting, Video, Winery|1 Comment