May 2021 Cherryland

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May 2021


COUNTRY LINES Cherryland Electric Cooperative

Annual Meeting Headed To The Ballpark

Local Sanctuary Welcomes Animals Of All Shapes And Sizes Three DIY Projects To Tackle In 2021

Four Generations Contribute To The Swanson Pickle Co.



Not hearing is believing.

Many homeowners have come to accept that a noisy A/C is a fact of life. But with WaterFurnace, you don’t have to settle. Nothing can disrupt a perfect summer afternoon in your backyard more than a loud air conditioner. Geothermal users are never disturbed from outside HVAC noise because there’s no outdoor equipment to make any. All the complicated work takes place underground—out of earshot. With WaterFurnace, your peace and quiet is assured. To learn more, contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today. Geothermal is the only renewable that provides reliable operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your Local WaterFurnace Dealers Bad Axe/Cass City Thumb Clg & Htg (855) 206-5457 thumbcooling Berrien Springs WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmich Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 Indian River M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201

Mancelona Top Notch Htg, Clg, & Geothermal (231) 350-8052 Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 southern-michigan Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665

Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906

Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000

Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138

visit us at

The Reliable Renewable is a trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.


May 2021 Vol. 41, No. 5



Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Emily Haines Lloyd PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS. Association Officers: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.

CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.

The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.

Michigan Country Lines, Your Communications Partner For more than 40 years, our co-op members have received Michigan Country Lines because it is the most effective and economical way to share information. Michigan Country Lines keeps members up-to-date about everything going on within their electric co-op. Issues contain news about co-op services, director elections, member meetings, and management decisions that members need to know about as owners of the co-op. The magazine also includes legal notices that would otherwise have to be placed in local media at a substantial cost. Sending Michigan Country Lines helps the co-op fulfill one of its essential principles—to educate and communicate openly with its members. The board of directors authorizes the co-op to subscribe to Michigan Country Lines on behalf of each member at an average cost of $4.15 per year, paid as part of members’ electric bills. The current magazine cost is 52 cents per copy. Michigan Country Lines is published, at cost, by the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association in Lansing. As always, we welcome your comments at

6 THE MICHIGAN STATE CAPITOL WENT GEOTHERMAL–– SHOULD YOU? Geothermal power helps you save money, be greener and earn tax credits. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Garden Fresh: These scrumptious dishes make fresh veggies the star of the show.

14 FOUR GENERATIONS CONTRIBUTE TO PICKLE LEGACY For Swanson Pickling Co. in Ravenna, growing and distributing cucumbers is a family affair. 18 GUEST COLUMN Hidden Northern Michigan Treasure For All Ages: The history of beautiful Kitch-iti-kipi spring in the U.P.


Spring is in the sky! @abeardedshooter (Matt Hunter)

Be featured!

Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.


To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit


Win a $50 bill credit! Up Next: Around The World, due Aug. 1; Instant Pot & Slow Cooker, due Sept. 1. Go to for more information or to submit.


Win $150 for stories published! Submit your fondest memories and stories at community.


Win a $50 bill credit! Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18.


3 /cherrylandelectriccoop @cherrylandec BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Tom Van Pelt, President 231-386-5234

David Schweitzer, Senior Vice President 231-883-5860 Gabe Schneider, Secretary 517-449-6453 Melinda Lautner, Treasurer 231-947-2509 Terry Lautner, Director 231-946-4623 John Olson, Director 231-938-1228

Jon Zickert, Director 231-631-1337 General Manager: Tony Anderson Co-op Editors: Rachel Johnson, Rob Marsh

OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.– 4 p.m.

CO-OP NEWS Access To Cherryland’s Drive-Thru, Kiosk Disrupted Member access to the Cherryland office will be disrupted at times due to the scheduled relocation of a DTE natural gas pipeline. During this period, members may not be able to access our office drive-thru and 24/7 bill pay kiosk. We will do our best to communicate the exact dates of the disruption as we learn more. Members can still manage their accounts online via SmartHub and pay electric bills in several ways, including online via SmartHub, by phone, and by mail.

Location Of 83rd Annual Meeting Changed To Turtle Creek Stadium Cherryland’s 83rd Annual Meeting will now take place at Turtle Creek Stadium, home of the Traverse City Pit Spitters, on Thursday, June 10. For more information about this year’s event, refer to this issue’s cover wrap or visit our website.

Cherryland Cares Awards $22,250 To Three Nonprofits At its first-quarter board meeting, the Cherryland Cares board awarded grants to Benzie Senior Resources, Grand Traverse Dyslexia Association, and Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan. Cherryland Cares awarded $22,250 in grants to these area nonprofit agencies. The Cherryland Cares board is comprised of five volunteer Cherryland members. The funds distributed by Cherryland Cares are a result of members electing to round up their monthly bills to the nearest dollar. Members can contribute to the Cherryland Cares fund by calling 231-486-9200, signing up through SmartHub, or emailing us at If you are an area nonprofit agency seeking financial help, second-quarter grant applications are due Friday, June 4. For more information, please call Shannon Mattson at 231-486-9234 or email

TELEPHONE NUMBERS 231-486-9200 or 1-800-442-8616 (Mich.)

Members Earn Rebates With Energy Efficiency Upgrades

PAY STATION Cherryland Electric Cooperative office 5930 U.S. 31 South, Grawn MI, 49637

Cherryland members are eligible to receive rebates for energy efficiency upgrades in their homes or businesses. Common upgrades include replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs and purchasing Energy Star qualified appliances. For a guide to our residential rebate program and a complete listing of rebates available on Energy Star qualified appliances, visit our website at

ADDRESS P.O. Box 298, Grawn, MI 49637

Cherryland Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Cherryland Office Closed Memorial Day The Cherryland office will be closed Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day. Normal business hours resume Tuesday, June 1. Line crews are on call to respond to any outages or emergencies. You can report an outage by texting OUT to (800) 442-8616, logging into SmartHub, or calling us at 231-486-9200. Visit our website’s Outage Center at for more details.

4 MAY 2021

Batter Up

Tony Anderson, General Manager


n June 10, Cherryland will hold its Annual Member Meeting in person at Turtle Creek Stadium. Some may remember the “old” days when we held the meeting outside before a Beach Bums game. Well, the Pit Spitters are the team at the stadium now, and they will be playing a game after our work is done this year. All things old are new once again.

measures. When we get to June, if the governor says masks will be worn, masks will be required. If six feet remains the mandated social distance, members will be spaced accordingly. This could lead to a limit on attendance. We can only apologize in advance for any inconvenience people may encounter. Your patience and understanding will be appreciated.

We pulled off a virtual Annual Meeting last year during the height of the pandemic. There was thought given to doing that again. In fact, we could actually do it online every year, but that is not who we are at our core. We are an electric cooperative owned by the members we serve. The Annual Meeting is our one time each year to thank members face to face for supporting us. I love to answer questions from the crowd. In person, you can look somebody in the eye and feel the sincerity of the inquiry and give an answer from the heart. A computer screen will never have the same human connection.

Special thanks go out to Chris Mohrhardt at Incredible Mo’s. He allowed us to move our 2021 deposits forward to 2022. We have had a great partnership with everyone at “Mo’s” while holding our Annual Meeting there the past several years. They understood the need to spread people out and keep them completely “It’s been a long outside until we are free of the virus. We year. We will be remain grateful for their partnership and understanding. We look forward to going ready to take back there in the future.

you out to the ball game!”

Please know that the pandemic is not over. Caution and respect for the rules of the day are neither being tossed aside nor do we take them lightly. Management, employees, and players with the Pit Spitters went through the pandemic at its height in 2020. They know all the rules, and we support following protocols to the letter. We want to see faces in the stands, but it must be done safely. Safety will be our main priority. Turtle Creek Stadium will allow us to spread out while being outside in the open air. This checks off two key safety

I believe we are all craving some human interaction after more than a year of uncertainty and isolation. Everyone at Cherryland is excited about talking and laughing with the people we serve once again. If you feel comfortable and safe, I hope you consider attending the meeting and staying for the game. In the old days of speaking to the membership from the top of a dugout, I often wore a shirt with a message or sign of the times. Could that old tradition come back too? I think you may want to step up to the plate on June 10 to find out. It’s been a long year. We will be ready to take you out to the ball game!



The Michigan State Capitol Went Geothermal—Should You? By Larry Kaufmann, Michigan Geothermal Energy Association


he Michigan State Capitol in Lansing recently went geothermal. I was involved at the beginning of this process five years ago. The Capitol is 138 years old and probably had its original heating and cooling system, which had many problems. The system was blowing out hot and cold air at the same time, and it was costly. Most importantly, it was not providing proper circulation—especially in the dome, where it was causing damage to the artwork and artifacts in the Capitol. A committee saw going “green” with geothermal heat pumps as the solution to all these problems. Geothermal will lower the cost of heating and cooling in the Capitol by an estimated $300,000 per year. It will provide more comfort to the people in the building. It will provide better air quality and humidity control to protect the valuable artwork and artifacts. This 2½-year infrastructure project cost $70 million, with part of this cost being paid for by the Tobacco Settlement. This geothermal system design involved


MAY 2021

drilling 224 loops about 500 feet deep. Michigan now joins Colorado, Oklahoma, and Idaho as states with a geothermal Capitol. Notice that we are ahead of California and New York in going green. Some of you may be unfamiliar with geothermal heat pumps, so this information will help you to understand the system and how it can be beneficial for your home. Geothermal has been installed in residential homes since the early 1970s. There are more than 1 million geothermal units in the United States and about 40,000 in Michigan. They work just like your refrigerator. On the bottom of the refrigerator is a coil. Geothermal uses a much bigger coil called a “loop,” which “plugs” into the ground. The ground is a constant temperature between 50-60 degrees year-round, six feet below the soil. Geothermal uses this constant temperature to heat your home in the winter (with compression and a refrigerant) and cool it in the summer. Because the ground is heated by the sun, it is considered renewable energy in Michigan.

Homeowners primarily purchase geothermal systems for three reasons:




Because we are starting with a constant temperature, most geothermal units are four to five times more efficient than a gas, oil, or propane furnace and twice as efficient as an electric air conditioner. This results in big savings for you! Geothermal costs more to install but saves you money every year. When included in the mortgage of a new home, the savings from geothermal will be larger than the increased cost of installation. Therefore, you will have a positive cash flow from Day 1. Once you install a geothermal system, you will have about a three- to five-year payback versus propane or oil heating. Against gas furnaces and air conditioning, geothermal will have a five- to 10-year payback. These are only estimates, and you should contact a Michigan Geothermal Energy Association (MGEA) approved geothermal contractor to get a quote for your home. Many people are concerned about sustainability. Here is your chance to go green and save money! You will also reduce your carbon footprint. There is no open flame in geothermal, which is a great safety feature. You will also have better air quality with a more consistent temperature.

Construction at the Capitol in Lansing, Michigan.

Some great recent news is that Congress has just renewed the Geothermal Tax Credit! The tax credit will be 26% in 2021 and 2022 and will be reduced to 22% in 2023. So the time to act is now! To find a qualified MGEA-approved geothermal dealer, go to Click on the “Contractors” button at the top and enter your ZIP code. You will get a list of all approved MGEA contractors in your area. I do not recommend using a non-MGEA contractor. Many are not fully trained in geothermal, and MGEA cannot help you if the job goes wrong. I have had a geothermal system in my home for over 20 years. The temperature in my 2,600-square-foot house plus 1,000-squarefoot basement has always been 72 degrees. My average heating and cooling bill over these 20 years has been about $70 per month. Geothermal is cost saving for everyone.

The Farmington City Hall complex in Farmington, Michigan, is all geothermal.



Local Sanctuary Opens For

All Creatures Great And Small By Abby Baudry  ||  Photography by Annelise Nicole Photography

Despite being officially established for only two months, the Sophiea Safe Haven Sanctuary has become a regional resource for animals in need.


unning on several weeks of sleepless nights, Annelise Sophiea gushes over the pair of orphan piglets that recently arrived at the Sophiea Safe Haven Sanctuary. “It’s just like raising a newborn baby again,” she chuckles, grateful to finally get four hours of sleep between feedings every night. The adorable duo came to Sophiea Safe Haven Sanctuary from rescuers in Detroit, likely as a result of the exploding “mini pig” fad of recent years. Annelise warns that although the piglets are cute now, they will quickly grow to be 100 to 300 pounds. Unfortunately, many of the people who have bought into this fad find themselves in over their heads and end up releasing the pigs into the wild. However, Annelise withholds her judgment and says, “What’s best for the animal is most important… things happen, and we all need help sometimes.” Helping animals and the people who find themselves in these difficult situations has been Annelise’s dream from the beginning. Growing up in an active 4-H household, she was always surrounded by horses, goats, dogs, and cats. After years of showing horses, she eventually majored in equine management at Michigan State University before marrying her high school sweetheart. Life

8 MAY 2021

quickly ran away as the Sophieas began their family, and Annelise found herself traveling the country for her highly successful photography business, Annelise Nicole Photography. However, she never let go of her dream of rescuing animals. When the world ground to a halt in 2020, Annelise finally slowed down and reprioritized her lifelong passion. “Why was I so busy before?” she wondered, realizing it was finally time to get her dream off the ground. Thus, the Sophiea Safe Haven Sanctuary was officially established in February 2021, and they have quickly grown to (almost) full capacity. Annelise and her family have been working tirelessly to provide a nurturing environment for animals of all shapes and sizes. In fact, they primarily focus on animals that do not have other resources readily available. “Organizations like the Humane Society and PAWS do a wonderful job for cats and dogs, but there aren’t that many resources for the exotic animals like tortoises and chinchillas,” she said.

“What’s best for the animal is most important… things happen, and we all need help sometimes.”

Annelise admits that it has been tremendously helpful having her children home during the COVID19 pandemic. When they are not busy with homework or adventuring around the farm, the Sophiea children are included in decisionmaking, upkeep, and animal care. Annelise and her husband ensure that the kids get a good mix of responsibility and fun in helping around the sanctuary. Following closely after her mother, one of their twins has shown a particular passion for the animals and dreams of becoming a rescuer herself. Despite being officially established for only two months, the Sophiea Safe Haven Sanctuary has become a regional resource for animals in need. Currently operating on 10 acres of farmland, Annelise hopes to eventually move to a 132-acre property so that they can help more animals and give them more space.

Although they are looking forward to the day when they can welcome volunteers, the sanctuary is especially grateful for donations to keep the animals well-fed and cared for in the meantime. Follow the stories of the two little pigs, Ralphie and Penelope, and their many furry friends on the Sophiea Safe Haven Sanctuary Facebook page, and keep an eye out for ways to get involved coming soon! MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


MI CO-OP Recipes

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

GARDEN FRESH Put your seasonal produce to good use.



Shelley Ehrenberger, Cherryland 4 large tomatoes 1 small cucumber, chopped (1 cup) 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (½ cup) 1 stalk celery, chopped (½ cup) 1 small onion, finely chopped (¼ cup) 1 clove garlic, minced 1 (13¾-ounce) can chicken (or vegetable) broth 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best) 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon oil, to taste 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper • dash hot pepper sauce, to taste • croutons


Win a


energy bill credit!

10 MAY 2021

Around The World due Aug. 1 • Instant Pot & Slow Cooker Favorites due Sept. 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Submit your recipe at, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to

Plunge tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds, then into cold water. Slip off skins, then coarsely chop. In a large bowl, combine all vegetables and garlic. Stir in broth and remaining ingredients. Cover and transfer to the fridge until chilled. Serve with croutons. Variation: Whirl in blender in batches until preferred smoothness (I blend about half), then stir together. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at


Valerie Donn, Great Lakes Energy 2 ²⁄ ³ ½ ½ 2 1 1 32 1½ 1 1 1

tablespoons olive oil cup white onion, diced cup celery, diced cup carrots, peeled and diced teaspoons garlic, minced cup green beans, freshly cut up (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes ounces vegetable stock teaspoons oregano bay leaf tablespoon diced fresh parsley (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 zucchini, diced ½ cup small pasta (elbow macaroni, etc.) • salt and pepper, to taste Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Cook green beans in small separate pan with water until half cooked; drain. Add canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, oregano, bay leaf, and parsley to the pot. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer. Add kidney beans, green beans, zucchini, and pasta. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pasta and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving and season with salt and pepper to desired taste.


Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy • fresh ears of corn • sour cream • Mexican seasonings (seasoning blend or mix of garlic, oregano, cumin, & chili powder)

FRESH POPPERS Kris Hazeres, Alger Delta

1 pound bacon, cooked and chopped (or precooked bacon) 2 pounds sweet mini peppers 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 2–3 jalapeños, finely diced 1½ cups finely shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese Cook bacon until crispy. While the bacon is cooking, cut the peppers in

half lengthwise (stems on) and clean out seeds. Once the bacon is done and cooled a bit, use a large knife to chop into small bits. In a medium/large bowl, use a spoon to mix all ingredients except for the mini peppers. Using a small spoon or mini spatula, stuff the mini peppers with the mixture. The sweet mini peppers are even better grilled for a few minutes before stuffing. This recipe can easily be made the night before.

• butter • shredded Asiago cheese Cook or grill fresh ears of corn. Mix sour cream and Mexican seasonings to taste. Coat cooked ears with butter. Roll in sour cream mixture. Roll in Asiago cheese. Enjoy.

Which Solar Option Is Right For You? Renewable energy is important to you. It’s important to us too. That’s why we’re proud to offer our renewable energy program. Designed to help members meet their renewable energy goals, the program offers an array of solar energy options to fit your needs. Start small by getting a solar panel subscription for $10 a month, or go big by building solar generation of your own and we’ll buy the output from you. Either way, we’ve got you covered.

Visit or give us a call at (231) 486-9200 to find out what option is right for you.

SAFETY NEAR SOLAR Like any other source of electricity, solar panels can pose potential hazards. Keep these safety tips in mind when you’re near solar panels.



Stay at least 10 feet away from the installation.

Never walk on solar panels.

Never cut any wiring to the solar panels.

Never touch broken or damaged solar panels.


Saving energy doesn’t have to be hard. With a little time and effort, you can maximize energy savings and increase the comfort of your home.


DIY Efficiency Projects To Tackle This Year TRIM DRYER VENT



Level of difficulty: easy.

Level of difficulty: moderate.

Level of difficulty: moderate.

Supplies needed: tin snips, gloves, measuring tape and masking tape.

Supplies needed: caulk and caulk gun, weather stripping, gloves, putty knife, paper towels.

Supplies needed (if you build the box yourself): rigid foam board, faced blanket insulation, tape for foam board, measuring tape, utility knife, caulk and caulk gun, plywood.

Estimated cost: about $25, depending on the supplies you already have. If your dryer vent hose is too long, your dryer is working harder than it has to, using more energy than necessary. The vent hose should be long enough for you to pull the dryer out a couple feet from the wall, but the shape of the hose should form a line—it should not have a lot of slack or have twists and curves. A shorter, unobstructed vent hose increases the efficiency of your dryer, dries clothing faster and reduces lint buildup, which can create potential fire hazards. Simply measure, mark and trim the hose to the desired length, then reattach the hose to your dryer and exterior vent.

Estimated cost: $25 to $50, depending on the materials you purchase. Sealing air leaks in your home can help you save 10% to 20% on heating and cooling bills. Apply caulk around windows, doors, electrical wiring and plumbing to seal in conditioned air. You should also weather strip exterior doors, which can keep out drafts and help you control energy costs. Types of caulking and weatherstripping materials vary, so ask your local hardware or home store for assistance if you’re unsure about the supplies you need.

Estimated cost: $50 to $100. A properly insulated attic is one of the best ways to optimize energy savings and comfort in your home, but many homeowners don’t consider insulating the attic stairs, or the opening to your attic space. Even a well-insulated attic can leak air through the stair opening, but luckily, there’s an easy fix. An insulated cover box can seal and insulate the attic stairs opening. You can build your own insulated cover box or purchase a prebuilt box or kit from a local home improvement store for about $60. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13

Four Generations Contribute To The Swanson Pickle Co.


By Emily Haines Lloyd

From left to right: Matt Swanson, Wes Swanson, Katie Hensley, John Swanson.


ichigan is one of the most diverse agricultural growers in the country, second only to California. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s the number one producer of cucumbers, specifically those grown for pickles. For such a tiny vegetable, pickles make for big business. At Swanson Pickling Co. in Ravenna, Michigan, pickling goes back a long way, starting with John Wesley Swanson, who began by marketing and selling pickles grown in the state after World War II. Four generations later, the Swanson family grows, grades, and ferments pickles that find their way onto grocery shelves across the country.

from four to six weeks. Pickles are then removed from tanks and shipped to client companies throughout the Midwest. These clients include big names as close as Holland, Michigan, where the Kraft Heinz Company uses these pickles as the base for many of its various products. “We’re a company that knows how to pivot and grow based on what our customers want and need,” said John. “In the ‘60s, it was getting into farming. In the ‘80s, we needed to expand our tank yard. In 2000, it was sorting for customers who wanted to stop handling the raw product. You have to be nimble in any business.”

“We grow almost 1,500 acres of pickling cucumbers, which yields about 200 bushels of pickles per acre,” said John Swanson, president of Swanson Pickle Co. “That’s just a third of what we brine, so the rest we’re getting from other farmers around the state.”

John has seen his grandfather and father ride the ebb and flow of the pickle industry, and he’s worked with a lot of family over the years. The dynamics of working with his dad, brothers, and even cousins over the years has been a unique experience. Now, John watches as his three children take on their own roles in the family business.

The company, which is a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member, has more than 1,300 fiberglass tanks, each able to hold 905 bushels of cucumbers, with fermentation taking

The middle of John’s brood, Wes, manages that massive fiberglass tank yard with more than a thousand vessels to watch over. The youngest son, Matt, oversees the farming

14 MAY 2021

Swanson Pickling Co. has more than 1,300 fiberglass tanks, each able to hold 905 bushels of cucumbers, with fermentation taking from four to six weeks.

“Maybe it’s that there are a lot of family businesses in pickles, or the longstanding relationships we seem to have with one another. Or maybe it’s just a happy business. I mean, you can’t even say ‘pickle’ and not smile.” —John Swanson

and growing operations that his own grandfather, Don, moved the business into. Finally, John’s daughter, Kate, who got her MBA from Spain’s IESE business school and used to work for Syngenta in Switzerland, functions as CFO, looking after the financials and sales. “We’re honored to be a fourth-generation business, and luckily it’s never felt like a burden,” said John. “But even if the kids had decided not to take over the business, I wouldn’t have been upset. I’m still proud of what we’ve all built together.” John says he doesn’t carry the burden of the business, the struggles of unknown factors in farming, or even the weight

that could be felt in keeping the family business going, as he speaks of the work the family does. Warmth and friendliness exudes from the present patriarch, and he notes that it feels small and tight-knit like a family within the pickle industry. He mentions moments of discovering “your grandpa knew my grandpa.” “Maybe it’s that there are a lot of family businesses in pickles, or the longstanding relationships we seem to have with one another,” said John. “Or maybe it’s just a happy business. I mean, you can’t even say ‘pickle’ and not smile.”




Mom & Me 1. “Brody and his mom” by Sarah Mahoney  2. “Mom and me by the water” by Colleen Jayne  3. “My Melanie at 3 months old, circa Sept. 1967” by Sylvia Kievit-Milan  4. “Mother-daughter beach day!” by Betsy Stephanic  5. “Mom and me” by Toni Butkovich


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Enter to win a


energy bill credit!


Submit Your “Show Your American Pride” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Our May theme is Show Your American Pride. Photos can be submitted through May 20 to be featured in our July/August issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest, visit or visit cherrylandelectriccoop and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2021, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2021 bill. 16 MAY 2021


Fuel Mix Report

The fuel mix characteristics of Cherryland Electric Cooperative as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ending 12/31/20.

Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used

Your Board In Action March Board Meeting • The cooperative’s safety director and safety administrator gave a presentation to the board about the co-op’s DART rate. Standing for “days away, restricted or transferred,” the DART rate is an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) calculation that determines how safe your business has been in a calendar year in reference to specific types of workers’ compensation injuries. • The cooperative’s engineering and operations manager reported to the board the most recent outage statistics. In February, the cooperative achieved a reliability percentage of 99.999% and went 16 days without a single outage. • The board reviewed the latest numbers regarding the disconnect moratorium. Because Cherryland opts out of the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP), members do not have to pay a monthly surcharge to fund the program, and the co-op agrees to not disconnect anyone for nonpayment from Nov. 1 through April 15. Members have the opportunity to provide input to the board prior to any regularly scheduled board meeting. To have your comments included in a monthly board packet for review, please submit them to Board Assistant Secretary Shannon Mattson at a minimum of three business days before the monthly board meeting.

Fuel source

Your co-op’s fuel mix

Regional average fuel mix
















Renewable Fuels












Solid Waste Incineration









NOTE: Biomass excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas; and wind includes a long-term renewable purchase power contract in Wolverine’s mix.

Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix

Regional Average Fuel Mix

Access To Rules And Rates Please be advised that the following information is available to Cherryland Electric Cooperative members: 1. Complete rate schedules; 2. Clear and concise explanation of all rates that the member may be eligible to receive; 3. Assistance from the cooperative in determining the most appropriate rate for a member when the member is eligible to receive service under more than one rate; 4. Clear and concise explanation of the member’s actual energy use for each billing period during the last 12 months. The information can be obtained by visiting or contacting Cherryland Electric Cooperative at 231-486-9200.

Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh

Type of emission/waste

Your co-op

Regional average*

Sulfur Dioxide



Carbon Dioxide



Oxides of Nitrogen





High-Level Nuclear Waste

* Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/20. Cherryland purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.


MI CO-OP Community

Guest Column

Hidden Northern Michigan Treasure For All Ages By Doug Jerue


orth on M-149, 12 miles from Manistique, lies gorgeous Kitch-iti-kipi (Big Spring), Michigan’s largest spring. It’s an oval spring measuring 200 feet in diameter and is 42 feet deep with an emerald green bottom. From fissures in underlying limestone flows 16,000 gallons of crystal clear water per minute of spring water throughout the year at a constant temperature of 45 degrees, so it never freezes. In any season, it’s quite a sight to see and to take in the color of the water, huge fish, and the water bubbling up from the floor of the spring. After taking a 50-yard paved path to the shoreline, a selfoperated observation raft guides visitors to enjoy the fascinating underwater features. The state of Michigan acquired Kitch-iti-kipi in 1926. History records indicate that John I. Bellaire, owner of a Manistique Five and Dime store, fell in love with the black hole spring when he discovered it in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula’s thick wilderness in the 1920s. The spring was hidden in a tangle of fallen trees, and loggers used the nearby area as a dump. Bellaire saw its potential as a public recreation spot. He could have purchased the spring and adjoining property himself. He persuaded Frank Palms of the Palms Book Land Company to sell the spring and 90 acres to the state of Michigan for $10. The property deed requires the property to be forever used as a public park, bearing Palms Book State Park’s name. The state of Michigan has since acquired adjacent land, and the park now encompasses over 300 acres. A fun fact about the fish you see in the emerald waters of Kitch-iti-kipi is that some are “retired” moms and dads to all the fish that get released from hatcheries, which we enjoy throughout the upper and lower peninsulas in our

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lakes and rivers. These are the fish hatcheries that supply millions of trout (lake, brown, rainbow and brook) to be bred and raised, and released into Michigan lakes. Kitch-itikipi is where the trout live out their days. You’ll know which fish these are, as they may have only one fin, where others have two fins. These fish are typically over 25 years old! Make Kitch-iti-kipi a stop on your next adventure, it will not disappoint. A great pure Michigan beauty for all ages to enjoy!

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Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by May 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at March 2021 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Ruth Bailey, a Cherryland Electric Cooperative member who correctly identified the photo as Boekeloo Lodge, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Photo by Karen Farrell. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.
















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