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While traveling through Michigan and Ohio this past 4th of July I noticed lots of signs. Signs for car dealerships. Signs for Veterinarians. Signs for McDonald’s. Stop signs. I haven’t lived in Michigan since May 2, 2002 when I enlisted in the Coast Guard and was shipped off only to return a handful of times since. This time around I noticed some new signs. Signs that caught my eye. I saw signs for Farmers Markets, Organic Farms and CSA’s. I didn’t remember these signs from when I was growing up. There were also signs and stands for people selling Cherries. Cherries are a cash crop for Northern Michigan farmers who grow four-fifths of the nation’s tart cherry crop. I know, I used to sell them at a roadside stand when I was 14. Check it out in the picture below; I have some farm-cred.

Corey at 14 years old selling Michigan Cherries.

Upon arriving to meet family at my Uncle’s cottage in Silver Lake, Mi I completely drove by the driveway. It looked eerily familiar but nothing was the same. The old Apple orchard looked smaller. It wasn’t the same orchard, or was it? The driveway, and the road for that matter, were both paved. I doubled back once I got to the end of the road. I knew I had to be in the right place. The next day while walking with Jen and my Uncle. I asked about the orchard. He said that the apple orchard was dying and the owners decided to remove all the apple trees and replace them with the new Cherry trees I was seeing. “It’s all good”, I thought. They were all sour apples anyway! Uncle Donn went on to tell us that the Michigan Cherry season had been devastated by late frosts. Some farmers lost everything. Even fewer farmers had only partial crops. One estimate had 80-90 percent of the buds for tart cherries killed. Just horrible.

Throughout the rest of our trip I was seeing many, many more signs for farmers markets and CSA’s all over Michigan and Ohio. It is one thing to read about the movement of organic food and locally grown produce, however, it is another thing completely to experience it firsthand. So let me tell you; We are in the midst of a greater movement then we understand. At every corner there are people starting to question what is in their food. People who are catching on that there is a dangerous price to pay for the convenience of fast, cheap, and mass produced food. It was a slow realization. As slow as the replacement of our real food with dangerous chemicals. I think the turning point may have been reached. I think that the seed of curiosity is blooming from the poison of the foods we have been eating for so long without even knowing. “But why would we worry about our food”, we said before. It’s just food. It’s the same food we have been eating forever. That’s the thing though. The food we used to eat, the food that we have been eating since humans discovered farming in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia 11,000 years ago, that food was slowly replaced. Chemical by chemical over the last 80 years. It looks the same now and that is about it. Fortunately we are starting to wise-up. We are starting to realize, as they say in Michigan; Something aint quite right here. That realization is the blossom. That realization was the start of the organic and healthy food movement and those of you reading this are the pioneers, the leaders, the one’s that know better. It is all of our jobs to lift the wool from over our friends and families eye. We need to set a good example for future generations. How can you expect your children to be able to cook and eat healthy if all you did was feed them fast food their whole lives because you were tired when you got home from work. We are all tired when we get home from work but we are hard working proud Americans! We can do better.

Of course we live in the real world. Grabbing a lunch or dinner from a fast food restaurant a few times a year will not kill you. We do need to improve our eating and living habits though and that starts in the kitchen. ‘Everything in moderation’ is a cliché that I throw around often but think is completely relevant. The future will be beautiful and we will be the ones who mold it, if we choose to. The choice is yours..