Judy Kite-Gosh Offers Insights
I recently visited Michigan’s southwestern Harbor Country: New Buffalo and surrounding Berrien County.
Judy Kite-Gosh, owner-chef of Kite’s Kitchen & Retro Café in New Buffalo, lauds the region’s veritable cornucopia of available fruit and fowl, vegetables and meats.
Kite-Gosh recalls, “In 1992, when I decided to give up my executive life in Chicago, and start a food business, I traveled all over the country looking for the perfect combination of agriculture, climate, and lifestyle. After six months, I ended up back home in Harbor Country, in the state I loved, only 70 miles from Chicago and all my friends.
“I was very excited about working with the local farmers to create our seasonal cuisine for our retail store and restaurant, although after 10 years, I began to worry about the future of our family-owned farms, as many were not planning to continue with the next generation.
“All the major processors had left the state, and were buying and processing their food in places like Spain, Chile, and Mexico, leaving local farmers without a market. I really wanted to do something to help, and when introduced to the VP of Production for our local PBS station, we decided to produce a documentary to highlight the fantastic food grown in our region.”
The result was the hourlong, award-winning Farm Fresh to You (2007), which Kite-Gosh created, cowrote, coproduced, and hosted, working with Emmy Award-winning producer Angel Hernandez.
Kite-Gosh reports, “The feedback from farmers has been great, and local agriculture is on the rise.”
Currently, Kite-Gosh is writing a companion cookbook: Farm Fresh to You: A Locavores’ Guide to Great Eating. She also is creating a 13-part series, Get Local, which will feature the entire Great Lakes region.
Kite-Gosh relates, “We hold an annual Harvest Feast Celebration in September, and our local chefs and farmers come together to host a magnificent feast. Everything on our Holiday Menu is from our local farms, and I’m sure your readers also can source everything they need for holiday celebrations right in their own backyard.”
As Kite-Gosh enthuses, “When fall comes to Harbor Country and the holiday season approaches, I think of all the wonderful things that the fall harvest provides: pumpkins, squash, Brussels sprouts, turkeys, apples, cranberries, sweet potatoes—the list goes on.
“It always brings back memories of my childhood and my Father, who was a locavore before there was a word for it. Everything on our table during the growing season came either from our garden, a local farm, or the local butcher.”
Kite-Gosh remarks, “We in the Great Lakes region are blessed with an abundance of local farms, and I highly recommend your readers search out their own nearby farms and farmer’s markets. Becoming a locavore is a process, and once you get started, you’ll never want to go back to the shrink-wrapped world of the average grocery store. It’s the best food money can buy. Knowing who grows your food is an important step in guarding your health and the economic health of your community.”
Once you start, you even may try Kite-Gosh’s suggestion: “Take that old refrigerator, and bury it. It makes a great root cellar for all those potatoes, carrots, apples, onions, etc.”
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Kite-Gosh offers one possible locavore menu for holiday dining:
– Butternut Bisque
– Poached Pear Salad with Port
Wine Citrus Vinaigrette
– Apple Cranberry Salad
– Roast Grass-Fed Hen Turkey with
Savory Stuffing and Giblet Gravy
– Baked Artichoke, Spinach, and
– Empress Potatoes
– Baked Sweet Potatoes with
Pure Michigan Maple Syrup
– Soy-Glazed Brussels Sprouts
– Pumpkin Pie with Fresh
– Apple Crisp
– Steamed Cranberry Pudding with