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I N T E N T I O N A L A P P R E C I AT I O N OF NORTHERN MICHIGAN

S P R I N G 2012

WELCOME NORTH A NO RT HE R N M I C H I G AN SEA S O N A L JO U R NAL

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WELCOME NORTH

“We are products not just of our familial upbringings, but products of place. The same environmental elements that make the peaches at Bill’s Farm Market so perfect or the tomatoes at Pond Hill Farm so divine are having their effect on you and me too.”

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Photographer: Mark Flemming

Spring | 2012

Co nc e p t/ E d i t o r ’s Wel come

Welcome North


CONT E NTS


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At Home in Harbor Springs,

With a Grateful Heart

B Y M AU R E E N A BOOD

Photographer: Charles O’Neill

Essay

I

t comes as no surprise to me that my earliest memory of Harbor Springs has to do with ice cream. Two scoops served not one on top of the other but side by side in a cone from The Lemon Tree, which is now Turkey’s. Turns out that

a great many of my Harbor Springs memories are associated with food in one way or another. When we landed in our home on Main Street, we discovered a wonderful irony: that our next door neighbor was, like us, Lebanese. Latifi Huffman made us a big Lebanese dinner to celebrate our newfound, and unlikely, Lebanese connection in Harbor Springs. It was a feast that no doubt took her days of painstaking preparation, her way of affirming our shared culture and, in the tradition of many a Lebanese woman, her way of expressing her love. There has to be all kinds of good karma coming off of the table I write on right now; it is the same table that was once in Latifi’s kitchen. Often joining us on the front porch in the evening before going out for dinner, Latifi was a force to be reckoned with at 4 feet tall. She rivaled our pink gladiolas with her own glad, bright pink

This essay was first published in the Harbor Light Newspaper, Harbor Springs, Michigan, in September, 2011.

dresses and matching lipstick, telling stories of herself as a girl (“I was beautiful honey, and I didn’t know it!”) and laughing easily, especially when she talked with my parents.


That was true of most anyone who has come up on our porch over the years, where there is always lemonade and conversation. My father, Camille Abood, came up north from a young age to fish with his father and his friends. He always wanted a place here, and to share his passion for the water and the north country with his wife, Maryalice, and his family. Main Street was the perfect place for him because it allowed him to keep tabs on the town and its activities while still enjoying Little Traverse Bay nearby.

and texture, grand and fleeting like the fireworks finale over the bay on the 4th of July. They boom and strike awe in us; they echo down the lake. Then they are gone until next year. When I recently finished culinary school in a place that is known for its terroir—northern California—I wondered where I could possibly go next that would stand up to the thrill I had just experienced living in San Francisco, cooking and learning about food and wine, walking every day to school along the San Francisco Bay, eating produce of the highest quality year-round. I knew that I would not be seeking a position on the line in a restaurant, but rather would want to find a place where I could settle in, cook and write for a time. Ideally this creative life would take place near a body of water.

On more than one occasion we arrived from downstate to find a beautiful apple pie, warm and fragrant, on our kitchen counter made by our neighbor on the other side, Aris Smith. The Smiths and their children have meant a great deal to the Aboods. Their roots in this town match those of the massive maple trees in their yard, deep and sturdy. So landing in Harbor Springs for the summer was a no-brainer, a Their men march in the town parades as veterans; they meet life’s natural spot to spend time again with family, cook with my mother challenges, of which they have experienced many, like those maples and reignite my writing, in the form of a food blog. And here I’ve been as well: with great strength and fortitude. Mr. Smith used to watch inspired, like the Lebanese in the Mediterranean are, by the sumptuus coming and going from his own porch, always telling us to drive ous bounty to such an extent that my blog posts of stories and photos safely back down to Chicago or wherever one might be headed, and to every week are beginning to feel like an aria, an extended love song, come back soon. I remember when they lost a son, a young man, years about this place. ago and my parents Last week the quote referenced the Smith on my blog for one family in instructof my “Postcards I have learned enough by now in life to seek the unknown, ing ours, as one we from Up North” read should emulate for even the difficult, because in time I recognize that it was that “there shall be their resilience in eternal summer in out of the challenge that I grew the most. So here I will be the face of adverthe grateful heart.” sity. We have found this winter, in Harbor Springs with a grateful heart. That reminds me ample opportunities of how my mother, to make use of this sister and I always instruction. toast with our cocktails from any location and in any season: we clink our glasses and From the front porch I have eaten the best grilled hot dogs on the say, “happy summer!” That little cheers recalls for us that we carry planet (which is saying a lot after living in Chicago for years), while summer in Harbor Springs with us all of the time. watching every parade, Memorial Day and the 4th of July, for most of my life. The only 4th of July that did not find an Abood on Main Street But the season itself of summer in Harbor Springs does end, always was the year my father died, just days before the fourth. But the idea sooner than we’d like. Staying on for the winter this year—that has of coming up for the holiday was a strong impetus for my father in taken a little more of my consideration. We came for short visits at the weeks of his short terminal illness. His eyes lit up from their fog Christmas when I was a child, driving up on Christmas day and eating of pain when we spoke to him of Up North, how my brother would Campbell’s bean with bacon soup and my mother’s Christmas cookies fly him there, and he could sit on his porch again. If I had to guess and baklawa. My father read to his five children, and we played games I would say that as my father’s soul took flight, his mind had him in into the wee hours. I always made a bee-line downtown to Howse’s to Harbor Springs, out in the bay in his boat eating lunch and watching satiate the craving I’d had for those chocolates since summer’s end, the sail races, or sitting on the porch with my mother. and to walk home in the snow licking one of their holiday lollipops. Here we escaped for a short time to a wintery world that felt like it That summer the house was closed up until my mom and I ventured belonged in the story books we were reading from. up a few months after his death. What a harsh reality it was to enter the house and face the fact that he would not be here again. We cried How, though, would the long cold winter in a tough economy play as we drove down the hill into town and as we opened up the house for me now? My dad won’t be here to read stories and my mother will and went out on the porch, enveloped in the numbness that only the wisely be in the Florida sun. I remembered though how my living room death of a beloved can inflict. Harbor Springs broke our hearts that in Chicago evokes Harbor Springs in its total glory, with James Peery summer, but in the years since it has also helped us to heal. Because paintings of the bay and Holy Childhood Church in summer on one this is where we come to gather, to remember who we have been and wall, and a huge Virgil Haynes silvery winter scene in town on another. where we are headed but most of all to simply live in the moment at My decision to stay for the winter has come to me slowly, but was hand, always with the sense of my father’s presence, and always strivfinally clear when I realized that terroir doesn’t just impact foodstuffs. ing for that same joyous yet meditative calm he found here. Terroir produces…us. We are products not just of our familial upbringWe find it on the porch and in the bay, and we find it at the table. One ings, but products of place. The same environmental elements that experiences a marked increase in appetite on entering Harbor Springs. make the peaches at Bill’s Farm Market so perfect or the tomatoes at This is because of Up North terroir—which is a “sense of place,” and Pond Hill Farm so divine are having their effect on you and me too. the effect of environmental elements on the food and drink coming Just as our lives are filled with both joy and sorrow, the abundance out of that place. Terroir is about how the land from which anything is of summer would not be without the fallow, stark beauty of winter. grown imparts a unique quality that is specific to that region. Harbor I have learned enough by now in life to seek the unknown, even the Springs terroir begins with the water: springs that bubble out of the difficult, because in time I recognize that it was out of the challenge beaches in Petoskey or the water fountains in Harbor Springs are like that I grew the most. So here I will be this winter, in Harbor Springs fountains of youth, a Holy Grail. I have not tasted purer, sweeter water with a grateful heart. anywhere. This purity extends to the light here, yellow light that casts itself across the summer days, and the violet veil that it becomes at dusk and dawn. It’s an orchestration, along with soil, bay breezes, and other exquisite secrets of the seasons that only a higher power, God, could conduct. The outcome in food is an explosion of flavor, color,


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People

Michigan’s Recycling Rock Star Elisa Seltzer E m m et Co u n t y Di r e c t o r o f R e c y c l i ng We all need role models. Folks who inspire us to learn, grow, make a difference. Emmet County is incredibly fortunate to have Elisa Seltzer running the county’s recycling programs, as she has shown time and again how one person’s tireless efforts can, and do, create positive change in communities. Here, Eliza shares some of thoughts on being a visionary who conquers trash mountains, one piece of reusable “garbage” at a time.

W hen you ar r i ved i n Em m et Cou n ty, recycli ng s tar ted wi th j us t two ne ws p ap e r drop-off s i tes ...How di d you beg in b u il di ng m om entum for what exi s ts t o d ay ? Di d you always have a gr and vi s io n fo r the pro gr am ? Fro m t he b e ginning t he p la n w a s t o d e ve l o p co nve nie nt , co mp re he ns ive re cyclin g p rogra ms t ha t we re s u s t a ina b le. The c o m m unit y re a lly re s p o nd e d w it h s t ro ng s up p o r t f o r co u nt y-w id e re cycle d ro p s it e s a nd a w i d e ra nge o f ma t e r ia ls a cce p t e d . The vi si o n c rea t e d t he mo me nt u m. Once t he b a si c p rogra m w a s e s t a b lis he d , we co nt inu e d b ui l d i n g u p o n it w it h a cce p t ing mo re ma t e r i al s f o r re cycling a nd o ffe r ing mo re s e r v ice s, suc h as cu r b s id e re cycling.


You a re o f t e n re f erred to a s a “ hero” i n the recycli ng wo rld. W ho i s y o u r h e ro ? Bu n y a n Br yan t. He wa s m y p rof ess or at Unive r s it y o f Michiga n’s Sc ho o l o f Natu ral Res ourc es a nd Environme nt . He w a s invo lve d in U o f M ’s Ur ban Te chnol ogic al a nd Enviro nme nt a l Pla nning Pro gra m, an d f ro m h i m I le ar ned how to ef f ec t c hange. How t o ge t t hings d on e. How to craft pol ic y t o a f f ec t desire d o u t co me s. How t o d evel o p me ssage s o n com p l ic ated environme nt a l is s u e s s o t ha t p e o p le c a n un d er stan d th e m a nd m ake inf or m ed cho ice s.

Does l i v i ng i n no r ther n Mic hig a n mak e you feel even m ore in spi red f o r t h e work you a re d oing ? Ab s o lu t ely. I move d here t o be c l ose to L a ke Michiga n a nd t o b e su rro u n de d by the woods a nd f iel ds of nor t he r n Michiga n. It is e a s y to p romo te re cycli ng and the im p or t a nc e o f p re s e r v ing o u r e nv iro nm en t w h en yo u can l ook out a t t he woods a nd w a t e r a nd know w ha t yo u’re w ork i n g to prot ec t .

How d o y o u s t ay ener g ized to keep recycli ng m ovi ng fo r ward an d pus h i ng t h e bound a r ies in a r ural co m m uni ty? T h e w o rk e n e rgi ze s m e. I a m f or t unate to ha ve a n incre d ib ly ha rd worki n g staff, a su p p or tive Publ ic Works b o a rd a nd t he y a ll p u t u p wi t h my dr i v i n g pass ion f or t he work. T he re’s a lw a y s mo re t o d o. T h ere’s a lw ays a be tter wa y. I’m al wa ys l oo king a he a d , s t r iv ing fo r the n e x t i mprove ment .

In wha t w ay s do you think your p rogr am s help the envi ro nme n t b e y o nd ac t u a l rec ycling ? Recycli n g i s a ve r y d irec t wa y p eop l e c a n t r u ly ma ke a d iffe re nce in thei r da i l y li ve s. I bel ieve it’s t he singl e mo s t e ffe ct ive t hing a nd it go es w a y be yo n d k eep ing st uf f out of l a nd fills. Re cycling co ns e r ve s res ou rce s, save s i n c redibl e am ounts of ene rgy, re d u ce s t he a mo u nt o f c a r b on an d o th e r greenhous e gases going int o t he a t mo s p he re, an d crea te s jo bs i n our region.

Looki n g ah e ad, w h a t a re you b ig id eas /go als for recycli ng i n ou r a rea ? G e t t i n g o rg an i cs out of l a ndf il l s is a hug e p r io r it y fo r s o lid w a s t e m a n a g er s acro ss th e nation bec a use organics (a ll p a p e r w a s t e, w o o d wa s t e, a nd fo o d waste) brea k down in l an d fills a nd cre a t e me t ha ne, wh i ch i s e ve n mo re da m aging in our atm os p he re t ha n ca r b o n d ioxide. De ve lo pi n g fo od wast e c om p ost ing w o u ld b e a ne x t b ig s t e p fo r u s t o ma ke a di ffe renc e in t ha t a rea. We a ls o ca n d o mu ch mo re t o imp rove re cycli n g convenienc e in our p ub lic s p a ce s a nd a t e ve nt s in ou r co mmu n i ti e s. A nd we’re a l ways wo rking o n d e ve lo p ing ne w m a rke t s so we can ac c ep t m ore m ater ial s fo r re cycling. I ’d a ls o love to e x p a n d the cu r rent c urbside rec yc l ing d is t r ict t o inclu d e a d d ition a l t ow n shi ps.

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