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Locally sourced food to star in Brunch at the Harbor

To many locally grown residents, it’s important to be local, buy local and eat local. That’s the theme of Harrisville’s Brunch at the Harbor on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, sponsored by Farm to Fork Alcona.

The event will feature $5 breakfast burritos made from locally sourced ingredients and prepared by the staff at Alpena General Store, a grocery store that sells meat, seafood, eggs and produce from a variety of area farmers.

“Knowing where your food comes from is very important to me,” said Stacey Horton, manager at Alpena General Store.

The store started in 2014 and has been operating out of its current location since November 2016.

She said the burritos will feature pork from Chase Werth in Ossineke, chicken from Wolf Creek Acres in Hubbard Lake, and eggs from Joe Dziamski on French Road in Alpena.

“We are prepping for 150 people,” Horton said of the event. “We will have a gluten free option and a vegetarian version as well.”

This brunch is a certified “Taste the Local Difference” event. “Taste the Local Difference” is Michigan’s local food marketing agency, based in Traverse City. According to its website, the group’s mission is this: “TLD helps food businesses and the communities they serve benefit from the economic value of local food, while ensuring that fresh, healthy, local food is available to all consumers.” For more information, visit www.localdifference.org.

“We try to buy local,” said Judy Riley, 73, of Harrisville.

She and her husband, Ron Citkowski, 71, were shopping at Alpena General Store on Tuesday afternoon.

“We like to keep the money in the neighborhood,” Citkowski said.

The couple shops at the Lincoln Farmer’s Market and buys fresh local food whenever they can.

“I think it’s good for the local economy, number one,” Riley said. “A lot of farmers are struggling right now. But it’s also fresher and tastes better.”

The couple was buying a rack of lamb and ground pork from the store.

“We had the lamb last night and it was so good we just had to get more,” Citkowski said.

The couple has been following Farm to Fork Alcona since its first event in September 2017.

“We went to a few of their workshops,” Citkowski said. “We learned to make sauerkraut and fermented vegetables.”

Judy MacNeill is a registered dietician (R.D.) and founding board member of Farm to Fork Alcona, a committee formed under Inspiration Alcona, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

“Part of our vision is to bring economic prosperity to Alcona County,” MacNeill said.

According to its website, Inspiration Alcona is “dedicated to the idea that the friendly rural beauty of Alcona County can help us develop a new economic base through arts and cultural activities for our visitors and neighbors. Inspiration Alcona has successfully sponsored art, writing and music retreats, school programs, concerts, dances, and farm to fork culinary events for the past six years.”

MacNeill explained that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation gave a “Patronicity” grant to Farm to Fork Alcona, matching the group’s $7,500 donations dollar for dollar for a total of $15,000 toward local events to promote the culinary arts, locally sourced foods and farming.

“We’ve been extremely successful in our venture,” she said, adding that she is grateful for the community’s support.

She hopes Inspiration Alcona will continue to bring awareness and prosperity to the area.

“We want people to enjoy the quiet, beauty and serenity of the area,” MacNeill said of Alcona County. “Because we are that sleepy little community, people kind of pass us over and don’t realize what we have to offer.”

Alcona County has an abundance of agricultural and natural resources available.

“We really want to bring that attention to Alcona County, because we are ripe for the picking,” MacNeill added.

Events like this give residents and visitors the opportunity to sample fresh food while supporting the local economy.

“When you shop local, you support the community and keep local small businesses and farms alive,” Horton said.

For more information, visit www.inspirationalcona.org.

Darby Hinkley can be reached at dhinkley@thealpenanews.com or 989-354-3111, ext. 324.

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