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From Michigan, With Love: Summer Travel Guide


Our friend of the four, Franklin Dohanyos, is back this month with his annual Summer Travel Guide featuring six products that you definitely should have with you when traveling in Michigan!

BETTER MADE SNACK FOODS in Detroit has been making Michigan’s best and favorite chips for over 90 years, using only the finest ingredients including Michigan-grown potatoes for ten months out of the year. People from all over the state and country love to order them on line for themselves or to send to friends out of state as gifts. The award-winning snack maker won 1st place in three divisions in national and international publications: Best Original Potato Chip and best Wavy Potato Chip from , a U.S.-based online daily food magazine and best BBQ flavored Potato Chip in the United States from The Wonderful World of Chips & Crisps 2020, a UK-based annual snack guide. Part of Better Made’s success is the development and release of delicious new products. From the company’s humble beginnings when Detroit had over 20 potato chip manufacturers, Better Made has endeavored to make the best product possible, and that hard work has paid off. The company is committed to remaining and supporting Detroit. A great deal of Better Made’s success and longevity can be attributed to its loyal customers and faithful employees. Better Made continues to develop and provide a wide variety of high quality award-winning snack foods, including assorted regular and flavored potato chips and potato sticks, gourmet popcorn, pretzels, tortilla chips, pork rinds, and more!

PINCONNING CHEESE COMPANY! Pinconning is designated “The Cheese Capital of Michigan” because it’s home to the famous Pinconning brand of cheese – The best cheese in Michigan! Pinconning Cheese Company also produces other styles of cheeses at its facilities in Pinconning. The aging process is what gives Pinconning cheese its special and unique flavor. At The Pinconning Cheese Company the cheese can be aged up to ten years. (I’ve tried it and it is superb – best I’ve ever had!) Super sharp cheese is an original and can only be found at Pinconning Cheese Company, Deli, and Fudge Shoppe. Nowhere else in Michigan can Pinconning cheese be found in the super sharp range. The business expanded its product offerings to include specialty items, such as homemade sausages, custom takeout sandwiches, and pizza’s, as well as the now famous Pinconning Pizzaloaf to their daily menu. (Yes, I’ve also tried the pizzaload, and it is terrific!!!) The company continues the family traditions that have been at the heart of the Pinconning dairy business since the early days of 1915 by specializing in the famous cheese and custom-made cheese spreads, as well as expanding to include homemade fudge, Michigan made meats and jerky, smoked fish, pickled items, and a wide array of specialty condiments and sauces. .

ROCKY TOP FARMS in Ellsworth is famous for its delicious Cherry Butter and cherry products packed in hand-made cedar boxes. Using only top quality fruit from its orchard, Rocky Top Farms crafts these most delicious fruit butters, preserves and chutneys in copper kettles in small batches in the farm kitchen. There is a wood shop at Rocky Top Farms where hand-crafted Michigan white cedar gift boxes are created. These boxes are stuffed with delicious preserves and fruit butters, and make excellent gifts for any occasion. People can also purchase beautiful hardwood tables made at the wood shop. There is also a small farm shop where passers-by may purchase northern grown Cherry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Strawberry, and Peach varieties. Many of the company’s gourmet fruit products are served by hotels and B&B’s. Specialty shops and health food stores also carry the special, all-natural products. Now a new generation of the family has fallen in love with the farm. With this comes new ideas that are guaranteed to have the quality for which Rocky Top Farms is known. New offerings include cabins for rent and a place to host weddings, plus hay wagon tours of the company’s beautiful site. Rocky Top Farms is located in north western Antrim County – not too far from Torch Lake and east of Lake Michigan.

ALTES BEER in Detroit just launched a second product, Altes Sportsman Copper Lager, reviving the iconic Altes Sportsman brand, as a celebration of Michigan’s great outdoors. Altes Sportsman is a copper lager with flavorful drinkability for all seasons. Amber in color, with an inviting smoothness and aroma, the craft brewed Sportsman delivers a malty backbone and a crisp hop finish. It’s a faithful companion that pairs well with all of Michigan’s outdoors but will also appeal to a wide variety of beer drinkers–outdoor and craft beer enthusiasts, and anyone who loves great beer. This second craft lager again hearkens back to traditional Bavarian brewing, and calls to mind Michigan’s thriving craft beer industry. Altes Beer originally created Sportsman to appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, and is now back to honor Michigan and its incredible outdoor traditions.” Sportsman has a slightly lower ABV at 5.0% than Altes Original ABV of 5.2%. Both beers feature only the finest and purest ingredients – 100% barley malt for a more malty taste and only imported German hops for a crisp Bavarian style finish. People of all ages love the beer, the history, the story of a Detroit underdog rising from the ashes, and now the celebration of Michigan outdoors and of everything Michigan, really. As with Altes Original, they launched the product in southeast Michigan, where they expect strong sales. There is already a significant interest in Sportsman across Michigan, including the UP, as Michiganders are starting to see it throughout the state. Altes proudly wears the badge as the only remaining independent Detroit historic beer, and one of very few independent historic beers in the state and the region. .

BIG O’SMOKEHOUSE in Caledonia specializes in the retail and wholesale of the freshest smoked fish and seafood, smoked sausages, fish and meat jerky, and delicious sandwiches. There’s quite a bit of history connected to Big O’Smokhouse, as five generations led to the creation of the business. The story begins with great-great grandfather, Paul Osterhaven, who began his career working in the seafood business in Grand Rapids. A family business soon transpired as his son, Bruce, followed suit and founded a local seafood and fish market that evolved into a distribution center recognized today as Superior Foods. The family business carried on as Bruce’s son, Keith Osterhaven, devoted his time working for the family-run business. With his knowledge in the market and knack for creating recipes from scratch, Keith sought to develop his own creation with the support of his father. Fast-forward to 1997 and Big O’ Smokehouse opened its doors and began serving the community with the highest quality of smoked fish and meat products. In 2001, Bruce Jr. began working operations at the smokehouse, and as demand for authentic and flavorful seafood and meats continued, Bruce helped expand varieties available and the smokehouse now provides an array of jerkies, sausage, hand-crafted dips and more. Soon, Bruce’s younger brother, Kurt, came on board after graduating with an accounting degree. In 2018 Kurt and Bruce took over the day-to-day operations full time. Bruce and Kurt’s commitment to quality, excellence, and hard work – instilled by their grandfather and father – is how the company maintains its good reputation n the community.

GREAT LAKES PICKLING COMPANY in Fraser not only makes the best pickles in the state, but also has pickling pouches that allows you to make your own pickled products in your refrigerator! Great lakes Pickles are made with low or no sodium for people who love the taste of a delicious pickle but are cutting back on their sodium intake. The company has many new products including a no-sodium Sweet Summer Garden Mix and a no-sodium Sweet and Spicy Summer Garden Mix. Each jar is filled with sliced cucumbers, carrots, red bell pepper, and cauliflower. (The spicy mix has just the right amount of jalapeno for a little kick.) It’s all packed in a delicious brine and isn’t overly sweet, allowing for the fresh taste of the vegetables to come through. It’s great for snacking, served as a side dish with lunch or dinner, or as part of a veggie salad for taking to parties. Great Lakes Pickling Pouches contain spices and are terrific for pickling cucumber spears or slices, or your own favorite veggies, like beets, green beans, asparagus, okra, green pepper or other favorite. You simply tear off the top of the pickling pouch, add your favorite veggies, fill with water to the fill line, seal it like a zip lock bag, and put it in the refrigerator for three or four days. Take it out, open it up, and voila – you have great tasting pickled veggies. You can use the left over brine as a marinade for chicken or pork, mix it with olive oil and use it as a salad dressing, drain off the excess water and use the spices in sour cream for a great veggie or chip dip, or even for great Bloody Marys.