Sept. 2022 Cherryland

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DeepRootsThe OF APPLEMICHIGAN’SINDUSTRY COUNTRY LINES September 2022 MICHIGAN Cherryland Electric Cooperative Answering The Call Local Libraries: The Unsung Heroes of Rural Communities The Humble Power Pole

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Contents September 2022 Vol. 42, No. 8 /michigancountrylines 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. 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 248-534-735848933 Michigan’sCooperativesElectric MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit! Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18. GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for published!stories Submit your fondest memories and stories at RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit! Up Next: Healthy Living, due Nov. 1 Submit your recipe at, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to 6 ROAD TRIPPIN’ WITH CHRISTAL FROST Legends, Loss, & Restoration: A day spent on South Manitou Island. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Pasta Salads: These classics are perfect for your next cookout! 14 THE DEEP ROOTS OF MICHIGAN’S APPLE INDUSTRY The Mitten State’s climate— coupled with their growers’ devotion—make apples a booming business for local farmers. 18 GUEST COLUMN An everyday raccoon hunt became a lesson in courage that will last a lifetime for one PIE&G member. #micoopcommunity A blue heron takes flight @sarah.k.smith.180 (Sarah Smith) Be featured! Use featuredfor#micoopcommunityachancetobehereandonourInstagramaccount. 3MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

$15,400 To Four Nonprofits

With Energy-Efficient Upgrades



Co-op Offers Suite of Solar Programs

To learn more, visit our website

For Members Interested in going solar? Cherryland offers a suite of solar programs for those who want to support renewable energy with their cooperative. The suite includes community solar, net metering, and buy-all sell-all programs. Whether you want to cover your annual energy costs or use the clean energy you generate, there is a solar program for everyone!

At its second-quarter board meeting, the Cherryland Cares board awarded grants to four local nonprofit organizations: St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Baby Pantry, Child & Family Services of Northwest Michigan, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Michigan, and Bethany – Safe Families for Children. The funding will stock shelves at the baby pantry, support the Big Brothers Big Sisters tutoring program, help Bethany’s Safe Families for Children program expand, and contribute to Child & Family Services’ annual Brown Bag Campaign.

Cherryland Cares Awards

Cherryland members are eligible to receive rebates for energy-efficient upgrades in their homes or businesses. Common upgrades include purchasing Energy Star qualified appliances or choosing to go electric with their next vehicle. For a guide to our residential rebate program and a complete listing of rebates available on Energy Star qualified appliances, visit our website at

If you are an area nonprofit agency seeking financial help, third-quarter grant applications are due Friday, Sept. 16. For more information, please call Dawn Garrock at 231-486-9234 or email her at

BOARD OF DIRECTORS David Schweitzer, President dschweitzer@cherrylandelectric.coop231-883-5860 Melinda Lautner, Senior Vice President mlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop231-947-2509 Gabe Schneider, Secretary gschneider@cherrylandelectric.coop517-449-6453 Tom Van Pelt, Treasurer tvanpelt@cherrylandelectric.coop231-386-5234 Valarie Handy, Director vhandy@cherrylandelectric.coop231-392-4705 Terry Lautner, Director tlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop231-946-4623 Dean Adams, Director dadams@cherrylandelectric.coop231-642-0014 General Manager: Tony Anderson Co-op Editors: Rachel cdoyle@cherrylandelectric.coopCourtneyJohnsonDoyle: OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.– 4 p.m. TELEPHONE NUMBERS 231-486-9200 or 1-800-442-8616 (Mich.) ADDRESS P.O. Box 298, Grawn, MI 49637 PAY STATION Cherryland Electric Cooperative office 5930 U.S. 31 South, Grawn MI, 49637 Cherryland Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer. /cherrylandelectriccoop @cherrylandec

Members Earn Rebates

In 2022, Cherryland Cares has awarded a total of $31,400 in grants to area nonprofits. 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


In June, members saw an email from Cherryland or a Facebook post that asked for assistance in lobbying the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), state legislators, and the governor. You helped us ask them to prevent the premature closure of the Campbell coal plant owned by Consumers Energy.

Sadly, on June 23, 2022, the MPSC granted Consumers Energy the ability to shut down the coal plant well before its time. Even though they had two reports from regional and national grid oversight organizations warning of rolling blackouts AND the tens of thousands of emails in their inboxes,

oogle will tell you that Voices for Cooperative Power (VCP) is a network of electric cooperative members working together to influence energy policy that impacts our co-ops and way of life. I will tell you that VCP is a new and innovative way to get electric cooperative members (the grassroots) engaged through email, the internet, and social media in order to provide input to elected and governmental officials on local, regional, and national issues.


“When there was a need for members to pay attention and care about their reliability, members responded in a big way.”

commissioners went with the “promise” of future generation rather than steelin-the-ground, present-day resources.

Cherryland explained our concern about the possibility of rolling blackouts this summer and in future summers. The ask was simply to build replacement generation before shutting off more 24/7/365 generation. It was all about keeping the lights on, which has been this cooperative’s mission since 1938.

By Tony Anderson, General Manager

The Call

I am happy to report that Cherryland members answered the call along with members of several other Michigan electric cooperatives. Almost 8,000 individuals generated a total of 44,282 emails to the commission, state representatives, state senators, and the governor. It was the largest response in the early life of the national VCP grassroots machine.

Legislators did call the chair of the MPSC into a hearing to discuss reliability concerns. This would not have happened without the VCP campaign. The issue of declining generation is now on the public record thanks to electric cooperative members who cared enough to take action.


As I write this in July, there hasn’t been a rolling blackout. Temperatures have been such that the threats have been minimal. As I write this, no additional generation has been built either. This makes future summers as tenuous as the summer of 2022.

Everyone at Cherryland takes pride in keeping your lights on and being there when members need us the most. We also take pride in the fact that members often don’t need to be concerned about the reliability of their electric service. Our job is to go unnoticed while the people we serve go about life, not thinking about the lights staying on. When there was a need for members to pay attention and care about their reliability, members responded in a big way. We were a united team working for the most important goal—reliability. Today, I thank every member who answered the call when we needed you the most.

In defeat, I am proud of the cooperative members across the state for taking action on such a large scale. We proved that the grassroots could be mobilized quickly and in meaningful numbers. Members clearly demonstrated trust and support in their local electric cooperative. We can now stand “on the record” as we move further into this period of declining generation and increasing demand.


Legends, Loss, & Restoration A Day Spent on South Manitou Island By Christal FrostTRIPPIN'ROAD

Fueling Up

South Manitou Today Although two family cottages remain, it’s not home to permanent residents. Instead, it’s occupied by National Park Service rangers, campers, and day trippers, like us.

Pro Tip: Be sure to bring snacks, lunch, and water with you to the island!

Arrival When our ferry docked and we set foot on South Manitou, the first thing I noticed was the beauty. Lake Michigan is remarkable from any vantage point, but being surrounded I by her blue waters was magnificent. The second thing I noticed was how incredibly quiet the island is, immersing myself in the natural sounds of rustling wind in the trees and light waves almost tiptoeing to meet the shore.

think everyone can relate to wanting to “get away from it all.” The chance to disconnect from our modern lives and reconnect with nature, and ourselves, is not just appealing…it’s necessary.

That’s what I kept thinking about as I hiked through the majestic beauty of South Manitou Island, just 16 miles off the coast of Northwest Michigan and yet another world away from where I’d woken up that morning.

The day began in downtown Leland at Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co.’s Breakfast Bistro, where I enjoyed a delicious omelette and steaming mug of Sumatra dark roast.

Exploring Manitou Island Transit offered a tour, and our first stop was a “farmhouse” with the most amazing waterfront view I’ve ever seen. Built by the Burton Family in the late 1800s, this idyllic structure—featuring eight rooms, each with its own sink—was purchased in the early 1900s by those who wanted to push the island resort transformation. As previously noted, that never came to be. Now, the boarded-up house is home only to a large bat population.

In the southwest corner of the island lies a valley of cedars that time forgot, twice the typical size. Being underneath

The History Settled in the 1830s by William Burton, the island was first seen as another resource for timber, but logging operations eventually fizzled because of difficulty getting there. A small village formed, and at one point many thought South Manitou might become a vacation destination, but, again, the travel difficulty ended those plans.

Afterwards, a quick stop across the street to the Leland Mercantile for supplies, and then down to the waterfront to Manitou Island Transit—our ride to South Manitou.

See the MANITOUSOUTHISLANDinAction Christal Frost filmed her adventure, now available on

Christal Frost is a northern Michigan native and frequent explorer of the Mitten state. D N O T ES:

these gigantic trees reminds me of the Japanese concept of “forest bathing,” or “taking in the forest atmosphere.” No soap and water required—the practice encourages you to spend time in nature, citing all the restorative effects that time in the woods has on a person.

ManitouSouthIsland ManitouNorthIsland Fishtown,Leland

The island has seen its fair share of tragedy and is riddled with heartbreaking tales of slaughtered native tribes, sailors dead from cholera thrown into mass graves, and lighthouse keepers losing children to the harsh waves of the Manitou Passage. And, of course, the over 50 shipwrecks surrounding both North and South Manitou. None are more visually striking than the Francisco Morazon, located off the southern shore. She passed over another shipwreck and ran aground in 1960. Seven years later, Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley filed a lawsuit to have the wreck removed, citing rotting cargo and leaking fuel oil as a health hazard. The next day, the Francisco Morazon caught fire, and all its contents were consumed in flames. The shipwreck is now property of the state.

There are three campgrounds on S. Manitou Island. Campers must bring their own tents and water filtration equipment because there is no source of purified drinking water. There is no transportation for gear, so campers must pack in their own supplies. No outside firewood is allowed on the island. Instead, campers may collect dead and down wood for personal use.


Saying Goodbye As we sat on the dock, awaiting the ferry’s return, I couldn’t help but already miss the island I had yet to leave. It is a place to slow down, reflect, and appreciate the strident majesty of Lake Michigan. Plans to return to camp are already in the books.

By Courtney Doyle

Local The Unsung Heroes of Rural Communities


Literacy is a tool you can help kids develop from a very early age. Roberts says, “Include reading with your kid. This is the number-one thing that can never be taken away from them. Everybody wins. [By doing this,] you’re churning out a little citizen who can participate and has options when they graduate.”

Countless studies highlight the importance of early literacy and the best ways to encourage it. Still, public schools have seen a shift in the last 20 years that has resulted in an inability to properly staff school libraries. While students and children still have access to those libraries, very few full-time school librarians remain.


“The reason we have libraries in America is extremely serious. It’s because we need an educated populous. You have to have the freedom to, and a place where people can educate themselves,” explained Kalkaska County Public Library Director John Roberts. “This is why Ben Franklin and a small group of others in Philadelphia invented this sort of thing. For a democracy to function, you need an educated populous who can reason and think for themselves.”

o you remember what it felt like to hop out of the car on a brisk fall day, run through the parking lot giving just a quick glance back to make sure Mom was following, and pull with all your might to open the door and rush into your local library? Quick to steady yourself so you’re not too loud, you rush over to your spot . Of course, it’s not your spot, but it’s the spot you always found your way to. The spot with the books that had fun pictures and silly stories, and we can’t forget the colorful rug. Those may feel like simple childhood memories, but you may not have considered how those visits to the local library helped build a foundation that became a jumping-off point for so many other skills and hobbies you have now. It’s important to continue making those memories and introducing each new generation to the limitless world that comes with reading. In fact, the importance of libraries goes back to our founding fathers. John Roberts with library employees Sheryl Card, Debra Payne, and Janeth Ottgen.

“We’ve replaced thousands of books and have rehabilitated these school libraries. It’s the absolute best thing that I’ve ever done in my career and that I ever will do.”

Roberts and the Kalkaska County Public Library decided they wanted to solve that problem for their community. “I don’t want to see kids lose out on those services, so we fill in. All the buildings are branch libraries. They are hooked to our system, so all the mechanics of making it run are there,” he explained.


Beyondread.”school-aged readers, for some, the local library is the only place they can access the internet, interact with other people face to face, or feel safe exploring different ideas and perspectives. For others, libraries are a trusted resource they can look to for help. That proved to be true during the pandemic. Roberts said, “We had people dropping manilla envelopes off with all their financial information, social security stuff, and just trusting us to take care of filing some paperwork for them and just getting it in because they just didn’t have access to the internet at home.” Most importantly, he said, “Here— everybody is welcome, nobody is canceled, nobody is censored, we just don’t do it.” You could argue local libraries are where the soul of a community lives. The unsung hero is always on call—from providing resources, to helping others fulfill their civic duties, to creating a safe space for people young and old to ask questions, learn, and socialize.

But it’s more than books. Roberts says it’s about the support that can come from librarians. “They see us week in and week out. We have someone permanently stationed at the elementary schools, and we’re about to add another permanent person. It’s nice to have one special person in the school. We don’t judge you, and we don’t grade you. We give you hugs and help you find the things you love to

It’s a huge reason the Kalkaska County Public Library has spent the past 20 years formulating a plan to build a new, larger library with more space and resources—right in the heart of downtown Kalkaska.

“This building is falling apart, and it’s way too small. We don’t have any programming or administrative space whatsoever,” Roberts pointed out as library staff worked diligently from tables stationed throughout a sea of bookshelves. The village, area townships, and the school board have long supported the idea of a new library—they just didn’t have the Aboutmoney.two years ago, a $2 million pledge came through, and finally, the project began gaining traction. Cherryland even made a $10,000 donation to help this community resource flourish in a new building with plenty of space for early literacy programming, administrative space for staff, and meeting rooms open to the public for whatever they may need.

Read up on what the Kalkaska County Public Library has to offer and how to donate here:

“Include reading with your kid. This is the number-one thing that can never be taken away from them.”

So, while those trips to the library on that big, colorful rug were a lot of fun, they also opened a door that encouraged lifelong skills. Skills that libraries will help us pass along to future generations of little citizens whose stories are just beginning.

After years of strategic fundraising, Roberts says he has a shovel-ready plan, and they are just waiting on one final piece of the puzzle to come together. He’s optimistic they’ll turn the page and begin the next chapter in their new building sooner rather than later.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, coarsely

WINNING RECIPE! RECIPE CONTEST Healthy Living due Nov. 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 Win energy$50abillcredit! PASTA SALADS These classics are perfect for your next cookout! 10 SEPTEMBER 2022

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKameyMI CO-OP Recipes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon zest + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

1 teaspoon kosher salt 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup), ½dividedcuproasted, salted pistachios, chopped Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta feels cool to the touch. While pasta is cooking, stir together the pesto, oil, lemon juice, and zest in a large bowl. Add the pasta, beans, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, salt, and a ½ cup feta cheese to the pesto mixture. Stir to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with pistachios and remaining ½ cup of feta cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.

¹⁄ ³ cup basil pesto (homemade or jarred)

1 (15-ounce) can white beans (I use cannellini), drained and rinsed

1 pound uncooked orzo

SUMMER ORZO SALAD Linda Kindy Hoch, Cherryland

1choppedcuphalf-moon sliced cucumber (from a large cucumber or 2–3 mini cucumbers)

9¾ ounce bag nacho-flavored Doritos, crushed Pasta salad is great, and so are tacos. Why not bring the best of both together? Stir together beef (or black beans) with the taco seasoning. In a big bowl, combine beef (or black beans) with the noodles, pepper, onion, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce. Then mix in the French dressing until everything is well combined. Lastly, stir in the chips (wait to do this until you are ready to serve so they keep their crunch!).

NO-COOK TABBOULEH SALAD Jean Nishimoto, Great Lakes Energy

• Hellmann’s mayonnaise (don’t substitute), to taste Prepare the day before serving to allow flavors to blend. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Rinse under cool water. Add vegetables, eggs, herbs, seasonings, and mayonnaise. Extra mayo should be added the next day to moisten the salad. Makes 6–8 servings.

3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 teaspoons dried oregano • salt and pepper, to taste

10 cherry tomatoes, halved 1 small red onion, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped ½ cucumber, partially or fully peeled, sliced ½ cup sliced black or Kalamata olives

Rinse with cold water and drain well in a colander. Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Set aside. Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, green and red peppers, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese in a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over the pasta and mix together. Cover and chill for 3 hours before serving. Serves 8.

1 tablespoon chopped marjoram leaves


½ cup crumbled feta cheese

1 fresh red bell pepper, diced 1 red onion, diced 1 cucumber, diced ½ bunch cilantro, chopped ½ bunch parsley, chopped ¼ bunch mint, chopped 4 tomatoes, diced 3 lemons, juiced ¾ cup olive oil

1½ cups French dressing

2 cups penne pasta

1 pound rotini (or any shape of pasta), cooked, drained, and rinsed with cold water • any color bell pepper, diced • small onion, diced 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (or quarters if they are big fellas)

¼ cup red wine vinegar

MACARONI SALAD Nancy Masters, Great Lakes Energy 6 ounces short-cut elbow macaroni • diced or sliced radishes, green peppers & green onions (equaling the amount of the cooked macaroni)

1 pound ground beef, cooked/ drained (for vegetarian, sub 1 can black beans—or half meaty and half meat-free)

2 cups shredded cheese (choose your favorite, we like sharp cheddar)

5 ounces Spicy V8 juice • salt and pepper, to taste 1 small box couscous (about 1 cup dried) Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature for 4 hours. Serve immediately.

3 tablespoons taco seasoning

2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves

2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves

• scant teaspoon chopped mint leaves • salt & pepper, to taste


2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

GREEK PASTA SALAD Martha Grose, Great Lakes Energy

²⁄ ³ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the penne, and return to a boil. Cook pasta, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes.

While poles are generally pretty stoic, we like to check in with them occasionally. We inspect every pole on our system on a 10-year cycle, and if they slip below 66% of their original strength, it’s time to talk about moving to the pole yard in the sky. The average lifespan of a pole is about 60 years, and they are more likely to be replaced due to a general system upgrade than due to pole failure. And that, my friends, is the story of each power pole on our system— decades of faithful service to Cherryland members that all starts with a humble yellow pine seedling in Tennessee. Number of power poles on Cherryland’s system: 37,300 Cost per pole: $100–$900 2021 property tax bill for poles and other equipment on our system: $1,396,103.68 THE


start their lives as southern yellow pine seedlings in Tennessee. We like yellow pine because the knots are spread throughout the wood rather than in rings toward the top. This increases the durability of the pole and decreases breakage. Once those seedlings are fully grown and ready for harvest, our pole supplier mills them, dries them, and frames them. Framing involves drilling holes for all those things we need to attach at the top of the pole. Next up, they use a water-based treatment on our poles that helps prevent rot and slow aging. We use a water-based treatment, as opposed to the more common oil-based treatments, because of our proximity to water and water tables. This makes our poles a little harder to climb, but we think protecting our region’s natural resources is worth it. At that point, the pole is ready to begin its journey to the great north. Our poles come on flatbed trucks, and one delivery can weigh as much as 45,000 lbs.! We keep a good stock of poles in inventory at our office in Grawn. Often as many as 250 poles are here, ready and waiting to be put in service. This helps ensure we can handle our normal construction and any major storm that might come our way. On average, we install about 500 new poles throughout our territory each year. Once called to duty, our newest yellow pine poles join 37,300 pole compatriots throughout our system.

The Humble Power Pole

By Rachel Johnson ighty-three years ago this spring, the first Cherryland Electric Cooperative employees installed the first power poles on our system. In May of 1939, they turned the lights on for our first 60 members. Some of those original power poles are still out on our system, humbly holding up electric lines that now serve over 37,000 homes and businesses in our region. It’s easy to take power poles for granted. But they really go through an amazing journey to get to where they are Ourtoday.poles



Jon Friske, a third-generation farmer and Great Lakes Energy member who runs Friske Farm Market in Ellsworth with his siblings, Heidi and Rich, agrees.

Over a five-year period, Michigan apple orchards produced approximately 25 million bushels on over 700 farms, making the Great Lakes state the third-largest producer in the nation. Our doctor-repelling products are sold in over 30 states and nearly 20 different countries, making Michigan apples a pretty impressive business.



By Emily Haines Lloyd I

It’s easy to see apples in our grocery stores and farmer’s markets, but there are many less-obvious areas where Michigan apples are utilized. Interestingly, Michigan apples

“The connection a family has to their farm is unique. The roots literally run deep. It’s about family, food, as well as a legacy for us.”

t’s easy to picture roadside stands and quaint orchards when we think about apples, but right along with those nostalgic mental pictures is a booming industry in our state.

“We take pride in all of our products,” said Scott Kromer, owner and operator of Knaebe’s Apple Farm, a PIE&G member in Rogers City. “We’re not only feeding your family, but our own. The orchard is our yard. It’s part of the community—and we put our whole heart into what we do.”


—Jon Friske are particularly coveted for the production of pies for national brands, as well as the more recent need for highquality apples in the “fresh slice” industry (think about your kid’s favorite Happy Meal) and the booming hard cider Michiganindustry.apples appeal to all industries because of their wide variety of flavors. Michigan’s specific climate and weather conditions lend to the specific flavor profiles, with local soil, temperatures, and the warm days and cool nights of the Mitten State adding to the tastiness. Growing conditions aside, Michigan apples are particularly special due to the farmers’ hard work and energy put into the crop.

“It’s easy to think that the only way to support local apple producers is to buy from the farmer’s market or a nearby orchard,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee. “But every Michigan apple farm is family-owned, so when you buy Michigan apples in your local supermarket or even a big-box store, you’re supporting a local farm and family.”

The pride in growing amazing products is vital, as is a reliable energy source, according to both farms. At Knaebe’s, Kromer and his family had a tree fall on a power line the day before they took over ownership of the farm, but with a quick response from PIE&G, they were able to face their opening day with running coolers and operating cash registers. At Friske Farm, they’ve invested in several energy upgrades, including a solar photovoltaic system for their on-site housing unit, and are evaluating and considering a geothermal system for the new farm market.

“The connection a family has to their farm is unique,” said Friske. “The roots literally run deep. It’s about family, food, as well as a legacy for us.”

“We appreciate the way our co-op communicates with us. We get a lot of information and feel very involved,” said Friske. “It really is a partnership.”

Standing in front of Ida Red apples planted by Grandpa Friske (Richard Sr.).

Pictured from left to right: Evelyn (who was pregnant with now 3½-month-old son Laith), Jon, Ryker, Kasey, Tessa, Rich, Richard Jr., Wendy, Heidi, Eddie, Clara, and Kenny.

If you’re looking to support the hardworking apple farms of Michigan, check out this handy locator:

If reliable energy enables the farms, it is the farmers’ hearts and souls that truly power the industry.

“All of our apple farmers are this amazing combination of artists, gamblers, and scientists. It’s one of the hardest jobs in the world,” said Smith. “We’re so proud of the work they do and the legacy they have created and continue to build for our state.”

Knaebe’s Apple Farm

Pictured from left to right: Scott, Matthew, Alison, and Luke.


Friske Farm Market

Following Cherryland’s 84th Annual Meeting and recent board elections, the board held its annual reorganization meeting. They re-elected the following board members to these roles:

• The board voted to move the October board meeting to Oct. 17 due to scheduling conflicts.

Senior Vice President: Melinda Lautner

Cherryland’s safety director reported that June marked a milestone of two years since our last lost time accident, which means no employee has been injured on the job requiring them to take time off. Cherryland employees have worked over 200,000 hours, driven over a million miles safely, and worked through two major storms since the last lost time accident.

The cooperative’s engineering and operations manager reported Cherryland crews are keeping up with the demand for new service and service upgrade construction despite increased demand.

For more details on our June and July board meetings, listen to our Co-op Energy Talk: Board Meeting Brief podcast at

Your Board In Action 2022

President: David Schweitzer

July 2022

The board reviewed this year’s Annual Meeting at Incredible Mo’s. There were 720 members in attendance, and more than 3,400 members voted in the board election. Members were excited to be back at Incredible Mo’s and for the return of bucket truck rides!

Cherryland’s chief financial officer reported that at the mid-year mark, our year-to-date financials are under budget for expenses and revenue, but over budget for power supply costs. While that means our margins are tracking slightly behind budget, there are signals it should even out over the second half of the year.



Secretary: Gabe Schneider Treasurer: Tom Van Pelt

4765 3 1 2 Farms & Harvest 1. Harvesting hay: Hard, wholesome work.—Roger Deemer 2. Hay day.—Anne Grant 3. Barn watching over the corn.—Henry Ramsby 4. Ready to pick.—Kim Glew 5. Road travel views.—Laurie Johnston 6. Addison Woods tapping trees at Out of the Woods Maple Farm and tasting the sweet sap.—Christina Woods 7. Gorgeous autumn days in Leelanau County.—Cathy McKinley Submit Your “Christmas Trees” Photos By Sept. 20! 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 September theme is Christmas Trees! Photos can be submitted through Sept. 20 to be featured in our Nov./Dec. issue. Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit! To enter the contest, visit or visit cherrylandelectriccoop for a link to the current photo contest. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2022, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2022 bill. Enter to win a energy$200billcredit! PHOTOCONTEST MOST VOTES ON FACEBOOK! 17MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

y dad had 17 coon hounds and a war surplus Willys Jeep (circa 1940s). It had a canvas top, a windshield, and no doors. I often went with him coon hunting. He would drive his Jeep slowly down back roads with the dogs strapped in the back seat of the Jeep. When the dogs would pick up the fresh scent of a raccoon, they would start howling and jumping around. Dad would stop the Jeep and let the dogs out. They would run off into the woods howling and running like their tails were on fire.

Coon Hunt

By John Vick, a Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member

Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by Sept. 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at

M Column

Then Dad would wait until the raccoon would tree (climb into a tree) to get away from the dogs. The hounds would bark, howl, and stay there until Dad came and shot the raccoon. Then he would take the raccoon and the dogs back to the Jeep. Then started the process over as many times as possible within the limited time he had. One of our most memorable adventures started just like every other hunt. He and I went about four miles south of Maple Valley with two dogs in the back of the Jeep. The dogs started howling. Dad stopped and turned them loose. They were still heading east when their howling started to get fainter off into the woods. We started after them. I clearly remember walking a long time. I wasn’t paying attention to the dogs or anything except keeping up with Dad. It was a pleasant fall night, and we went far into the woods. Finally, Dad stopped and said, “Let’s take a break. OK??” I said, “Sure, Dad.” We sat and leaned against a giant oak tree. The next thing I remember was waking up in daylight. I was resting against my Dad, covered with his coat and very comfortable. He said it was time to go home. He took off his coat and left it next to that oak tree. He said the dogs would get tired of chasing that raccoon and track our scent back to the tree. They would lay down on the coat. He would come back and get them later. I figured it

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John is a Vietnam combat veteran with two Purple Hearts. He is retired from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and enjoys his time hunting, fishing, and enjoying northern Michigan’s outdoors. was a part of the plan. Mom was upset about us being out hunting all night when we got home. I thought a little more about that hunting trip until I got older. When I look back on that night, what stands out is the appearance of normalcy. No hint that we may have been lost. No talk about anything that may have made me, a child, worry. I have tried to keep that strength whenever I get nervous or frightened with my family.


Where In Michigan Is This?

July/August 2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Connie Bortle, a Thumb Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as the Crossroads Village Carousel and Huckleberry Railroad park in Flint.  Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.

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