Michigan Food Finds


Last week I shopped at Flint Farmers’ Market to make dinner for my family. Bulk barley from Flint River Farm, vegetables from M.T. Belly’s Produce and beef stew meat from Hoffman’s Chop Shop rounded out my home pantry to make a warm and hearty Market Beef Barley Soup. Change up your food shopping routine and visit Flint’s year round, downtown market on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Market Beef Barley Soup

Having a well-stocked pantry at home makes shopping for dinner easy. Use this Flint Farmers’ Market grocery list to purchase your fresh items.

Farmers’ Market Pantry
Onion Beef Stock
Celery Canned Tomato Sauce
Garlic Tomato Paste
Sweet Potato Salt, Pepper, Dried Thyme, Dried Bay Leaf
Kale Oil
Beef Stew Meat Flour
Barley Red Wine

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Flint Farmers’ Market Beef Barley Soup

1 ½    tablespoons canola oil, divided

1          pound beef stew meat

2          tablespoons all-purpose flour

¾        teaspoon kosher salt, divided

¼ + 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

1          medium onion, chopped

2          stalks celery, chopped

3          cloves garlic, minced

1          whole dried bay leaf

¾        teaspoon dried thyme leaves

2          tablespoon tomato paste

½        cup red wine

5          cups beef stock, organic

1          (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

1          cup uncooked pearl barley

1          medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped

3          cups chopped kale

  1. Place beef in a medium bowl and sprinkle with flour, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat the beef; set aside. Place 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add beef in a single layer to hot Dutch oven and brown on all sides. Remove beef to a clean plate.
  2. Add remaining ½ tablespoon oil to Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery and garlic; cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until just tender. Add thyme, tomato paste, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper; cook one minute. Add wine, stock, tomato sauce, barley, potato and browned beef; bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes or until barley is tender.
  3. Add kale last 5 minutes of cooking. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Serve with fresh bread from Crust (a baking company at Flint Farmers’ Market). Serves 4.

Historic Lunch


Bologna Sandwich

Locally inspired, made from scratch cooking with a little bit of Detroit history sums up the menu at Parks & Rec Diner. An oasis on Grand River Avenue, Parks & Rec Diner is one of two restaurants in the restored G.A.R. building. Originally built for Civil War veterans in 1899, the G.A.R. building was also used as the city’s park and recreation center for over 40 years.

Parks & Rec Diner is a small but mighty breakfast and lunch spot. You can build your own hash with Detroit grown spinach and onions all topped with house cured bacon and Leelanau Cheese. Or, eat a childhood bologna sandwich staple all grown up with pub cheese and house brined pickle. Our shared appetizer of figgy goat cheese served with an arugula salad and toasts could have easily been lunch all on its own.

Detroit is at the heart of Park & Rec’s décor and food. During the buildings restoration, preservation of structure and repurposed period items was core. The owner, David, was proud to share how the original glass park and recreation door panel was saved and is now framed and hung on the wall. Supporting Detroit’s emerging food scene, the best local growers and vendors are procured for menu items. Rising Pheasant Farms, Keep Growing Detroit and Recovery Park Farms are just a few growers providing fresh food.


Cinnamon Roll

Save room for dessert and be prepared to share. A giant cinnamon roll baked to order in a cast iron skillet smothered with chevre honey icing—decadent and delicious.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the great staff at Parks & Rec Diner. Super knowledgeable about the menu and the history of the building, our new friend Paul spent a great deal of time sharing his passion for the food.

Locally inspired food celebrating the city’s history is more than just a trend. Parks & Rec Diner is the new Detroit eating experience.   —Pam Aughe, R.D.