Filling Hearts with
Stories of Local Food

Edible Michiana • The Good of Goshen

 

 

 

Six years ago, Victoria Brenneman was sitting in a cafe with her husband in Traverse City, Michigan. Her eyes caught the cover of a magazine graced with a colorful photo of blossoming apple trees, with headline teasers reading “Schoolyard Gardens” and “Spring Markets.”

As she flipped the pages, she read about schools serving local food in students’ lunches and how to forage in your own backyard. It was Edible Grande Traverse, one of many Edible Communities publications that focus on local, sustainable food initiatives in different areas of the country.

Brenneman was hooked. She knew that her home city, Goshen, was also bursting with stories about local food initiatives … and she wanted to help tell them.

Cultivating a rich resource

A year later, Brenneman had purchased an Edible Communities license and was deep into arranging the first issue of what would eventually become Edible Michiana. She worked with David Johnson, a local photographer, to put together a 42-page tribute to people and projects putting good, local food on the regional map.

Twenty issues and five years later, Brenneman’s team has grown to include a co-publisher, associate editor, events coordinator, website developer, recipe editor / food stylist, graphic designer, interns, and a growing flock of contributing writers and photographers.

Not only is the team growing, the audience size is too. Edible Michiana sent out a whopping 15,000 copies of the most recent issue, reaching populations in nine counties in southern Michigan and northern Indiana: Berrien and Cass in Michigan; and in Indiana, Elkhart, St. Joseph, Kosciusko, LaGrange, LaPorte, Marshall, and Starke.

Edible Michiana now has a wider circulation than Edible Chicago or Edible Indianapolis. The circulation is large, says Brenneman, because she wants as many people in the community as possible to hear about local food.

“The farm-to-table concept recently hit Michiana, and people are so excited,” Brenneman said. “People feel better knowing where their food is sourced, and Edible provides a resource.”

 

 

 

 

“People feel better knowing where their food is sourced, and Edible provides a resource.”

 

 

Introducing us to our food … and our farmers

Edible Michiana showcases stories about farmers who are raising livestock or growing produce for local restaurants. It provides recipes that use local ingredients, goes in-depth about the unique crops Michiana has to offer, and in general, tells the story about local food. Needless to say, Edible Michiana has quickly become an indispensable (and entertaining) almanac for locals and visitors looking to explore Michiana’s food scene.

Edible shows that there’s a tremendous amount that our area has to offer,” said co-publisher Paula Bartholome, of New Buffalo, Michigan. “People who read it rely on it; they use it to find out where to go that they can trust. It gets people out of the rut of going to the same place over and over again.”

Fortunately, it’s easy to get your hands on a copy of Edible Michiana. It comes out quarterly, one for each season of the year, and is distributed to local businesses across the nine-county region — and the magazine is completely and totally free. (Cue round of applause)

Because Edible doesn’t charge readers for copies (though you can pay for an annual subscription that’s delivered right to your door), the publication relies on ad sales to remain financially viable. Luckily, advertisers are plentiful. They include local restaurants, farms, co-ops, cafes, grocery stores, and more. For advertisers and those featured in stories, Edible Michiana has become endlessly valuable.

Edible Michiana needed to happen,” said Ben Hartman, author of the book The Lean Farm and owner of Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, an organic produce farm that provides produce to local restaurants including Kelly Jae’s, Venturi, Constant Spring, and Goshen Brewing Company. “There were so many new restaurants, farms, and local food customers, but no organization tying them together.

Edible moved our farm up a rung,” Hartman added. “We were a start-up farm, trying to get our product out there. Then Edible came along, ran a story about us, and really put us in front of the community. They told our story to a much wider audience than we could have reached on our own.”

As for the Edible team, the magazine has become a resource as well. Working with the publication helps them maintain a healthy relationship with their food and community.

“At Edible, I’m able to get behind the scenes, learn the effort that is behind our food, and see the quality put into it,” said Bartholome.

Brenneman agreed, saying that Edible has brought her closer to her city.

“My husband and I walk the Millrace Trail to the farmer’s market most Saturday mornings, and we’re always seeing people we know,” she said. “We often talk about how much we love this town — there’s something so special here. As more restaurants, entrepreneurs, and college graduates decide to stick around, it’s becoming an even better place to live.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We’re just a small part of promoting local food in the area. So many people are working hard behind the scenes, too. You have to give  so much credit to the farmers, artisans, and consumers who support local food every day.”

Sharing Michiana’s abundance

So, what does Michiana offer that other areas don’t?

“Well, there are paw paws,” Bartholome said, referring to the banana-like tree fruit that grows wild in Michiana. “Then there are ramps and morel mushrooms. And, of course, ‘u-pick’ fruit. You can pick buckets of blueberries, strawberries, apples.”

“And there’s Shagbark Hickory syrup,” Brenneman added, referencing a local favorite made by boiling down hickory bark tea and adding sugar. It’s sweet, smoky, and spicier than the typical Maple varieties.

But more than Michiana’s diverse crop selection, the area is packed with people who are passionate about keeping food local and sustainable  all doing their part to make Michiana a healthier (and tastier) place to live.

“We’re just a small part of promoting local food in the area,” said Brenneman. “So many people are working hard behind the scenes, too. You have to give so much credit to the farmers, artisans, and consumers who support local food every day.”

“There’s something so special here. As more restaurants, entrepreneurs, and college graduates decide to stick around, it’s becoming an even better place to live.”

“People feel better knowing where their food is sourced, and Edible provides a resource.”

Edible Michiana • The Good of Goshen

Edible shows that there’s a tremendous amount that our area has to offer.”

 

 

Good of Goshen Photography • Lynne Zehr
Good of Goshen Editor • Liz Core

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