Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the special publication Record-Eagle’s Momentum ’22. For more stories about Northern Michigan’s economic engine, click here to read Momentum in its entirety online.
My mom and dad lived in Mackinaw City for many years in the 1980s and 1990s. Once while visiting, their lovely neighbor Dory invited my mom and me over for a piece of her homemade cherry pie.
I remember that day 30 years ago like it was yesterday. The most perfect piece of pie I’ve ever had, with the freshest, flakiest crust, served on a small Fiestaware plate.
I wanted to learn how to bake like this, I thought, and I did. I also learned to make beer and sourdough bread. And the cheese.
Being curious about the things you encounter in your life is the starting point of passion. We hear a lot about the pursuit of “passion” – but how do you find it?
How do you know what excites you? It starts with experiences you have – like tasting that piece of Dory’s pie.
People ask me a lot how I started making cheese.
It all started many years ago by simply attending a wine and cheese tasting at a local cheese shop. I enjoyed the course and it made me curious.
Curiosity is one of the seeds of discovering things you are passionate about.
Passion lives in all of us, and I believe it’s a component of being a happy person. Sometimes something that interests you surprises you, like cheese making did for me.
Maybe you watch a travel show and are curious to find out more about a place, or attend the Buckley Old Engine Show and find that you can’t get enough of old tractors or model trains. Maybe you love baking cupcakes, working in the garden, helping rescue animals, refurbishing wooden furniture, or playing an instrument late into the night. Personal interests are deeply fulfilling and make you a more interesting person.
The Grand Traverse area has world-class farmers markets, every day of the week from spring through fall. Find them on https://mifma.org/.
You will meet many passionate farmers and craftsmen there. Did you know that almost all farmers’ markets offer walk-in daily rates?
In 2010, Michigan passed a Cottage Food Law. Information about this is available at https://www.michigan.gov/mdard/food-dairy/michigan-cottage-foods-information.
Under this law, people can make and sell specific foods in their own homes — without being subject to inspections or buying a food license — in an effort to earn extra income.
Dory could have sold a lot of pies at markets, and maybe you could try a day at a market with something you make too.
Got a famous family cookie recipe? Do you make the best pickles in the world? How about a bumper crop of tomatoes or gladiolus flowers you’ve grown in your backyard? Or your own free-range eggs?
You might find that something you’re passionate about could earn you a bit of extra income. You will also be among the passionate and good people that make up our local farmers markets.
We welcome you to the market and look forward to learning what you are passionate about!
Sue Kurta owns and operates Boss Mouse Cheese in Kingsley.