End of an Era for Crosby Mint Farm

25 08 2009

It’s a sad day in St. John.  Via WLNS

A local farmer is forced to walk away from his property. Jim Crosby says and he and his family are packing whatever they can. A Clinton County judge signed formal paperwork which forces the Crosby family to leave their mint farm for good.

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Want to Help Local Restaurants? Pay Cash

20 08 2009

I found this Free Press article from @joefoodie on Twitter.  This jist of the article is that some Detroit area restaurants are starting to offer “discounts” to patrons who pay cash instead of using a credit card.  Why would they do that you ask?  They make more money. 

Each swipe of a card costs him a flat 15 to 20 cents, he says, plus add-ons of 2% to 3% of the transaction amount.

“If you do a high volume of credit cards, at the end of the month it adds up. It’s the volume you do, so by turning around and giving back to the customers, it’s a win-win: You’re giving back to the customer, and in return you get people coming into your restaurant and keeping you afloat.

OK.  That makes sense from a business standpoint.  From a consumer stand point, he’s walking a fine line.  According to your terms of service with your credit cards, retailers can not charge you more to use your card than they can if you pay cash.  In Michigan, doing this is not illegal.  In 10 other states, there are laws against credit card surcharges.

I said earlier the article featured in the story was “walking a fine line.”  Technically, he’s not charging more to use a credit card.   He’s giving a “discount” to use cash.  It’s sort of a grey area that gas stations have been using for sereral years to give consumers an incentive to pay with cash so they can increase their profits.  As long as they don’t call it a payment card checkout fee, they’re probably going to get away with charge YOU more to use a credit card. 

Surchage.  Cash discount.  No matter what they call it, it’s accomplishing the same thing.  My family is very big on paying in cash.  I, on the other hand, almost always pay with credit.  I just don’t like carrying more than twenty buck or so.  If I have the cash, I will pay with it, but most times I don’t.

What’s the moral of the story?  Ultimately, how you pay is up to you.  If you frequent a local joint often, think about paying cash.  You’ll be helping the owners of the place by letting them pocket that extra 2-3%.  It’s a good thing to do, but if businesses are going to accept credit cards, they shouldn’t penalize you for using one.





Press Release – ‘Peppermint Jim Mojito’s’ to Benefit Crosby Mint Farm

12 08 2009

From a Crosby Mint Farm press release….

(MINT CITY, USA/St. Johns, MI) August 12, 2009 – Coach’s Pub and Grill in St. Johns is supporting the Crosby Mint Farm during the 2009 Mint festival. The management took the initiative to contact Peppermint Jim Crosby, owner of the Crosby Mint Farm in St. Johns, to ask for mint they will use for their weekend special “Peppermint Jim Mojitos”. The Crosby Mint Farm also provided two gift baskets with mint products to raffle during this weekend. Part of the proceeds will go directly to the Crosby Mint Farm which is facing foreclosure on the 14th, and is in the middle of a race against the clock to save the farm. The Crosbys are hosting Mint Jam 09 this weekend at the farm as a fundraiser.





Detroit’s Hunger Problem

12 08 2009

J found this article on CNN.com.  It’s an interesting look at the food supply chain in Detroit and it’s really sad.  The picture of the armed guard protecting a delivery man is really scary.  I wouldn’t think this scene would happen anywhere in America. 

In this recession-racked town, the lack of food is a serious problem. It’s a theme that comes up again and again in conversations in Detroit. There isn’t a single major chain supermarket in the city, forcing residents to buy food from corner stores. Often less healthy and more expensive food.

As the area’s economy worsens –unemployment was over 16% in July — food stamp applications and pantry visits have surged.

Wow!  No major supermarkets?!  Again, not something I would expect anywhere in America.  Chicago has had to forcibly keep Walmart out of the city.  You would think Walmart would thrive in depressed urban setting like Detroit.  People are always amazed that there was no supermarket in the town I grew up in, but there’s only 750 people there.  Driving a half hour to the supermarket wasn’t that big of deal.  Getting in the car and driving out to the ‘burbs isn’t really an option for most people  in the city.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though as the article points out.

Detroiters have responded to this crisis. Huge amounts of vacant land has led to a resurgence in urban farming. Volunteers at local food pantries have also increased.

[snip]

Detroiters are also helping themselves in smaller ways. Thanks to the dearth of big supermarkets in Detroit proper – a phenomenon largely attributed to lack of people – and plenty of vacant land, community gardening has caught on big.

It’s not so much that these gardens are going to feed the city, although they certainly help. It’s more that they can be used to teach people, especially children, the value of eating right.

“I use vegetables every day,” said one child at an after school gardening program run by Earthworks Urban Farm, near the heart of the city. “Last night, an onion I picked from here, I had in my potatoes.”

Very cool.





Press Release – “Mix It Up For MDA” at Carrabbas

29 07 2009

From a Muscular Dystrophy Association press release…

CARRABBAS ITALIAN GRILL, AWARD WINNING MIXOLOGIST TO “MIX IT UP FOR MDA”

WHO: Carrabba’s Italian Grill invites consumers to “Mix It Up for MDA” at a special event combining exclusive cocktails from award-winning mixologist Charlotte Voisey with new Carrabba’s food items to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

WHAT: A special mixer and food tasting event that includes a delicious array of appetizers from the new Mr. C’s Menu, designed for snacking and sharing, including: Antipasti Misto, Meatballs with Ricotta Cheese, Patatinas with Blue Cheese, and Chicken Parmesan Piccolinos.

Admission to “Mix It Up for MDA” is $15 per person. The ticket price includes a sampling of four food items from the new Mr. C’s Bar Menu and, for guests 21 years and older, one of Voisey’s signature cocktails created for the event (Blackberry Lemonade, the Italian Lemon Drop or Blackberry Fields Martini) or another drink on the Mr. C’s list.

In addition to monies raised from “Mix It Up for MDA” event admission, Carrabba’s also will donate $1 to MDA for each of Voisey’s drinks sold from July 30 – August 6.

WHEN: July 30, 2009

5 p.m. to close

WHERE: Carrabba’s Italian Grill

6540 West Saginaw Hwy.

Lansing, MI 48917

WHY: Funds raised will directly affect the lives of children and adults in the Lansing area living with one of more than 40 muscle-wasting diseases in MDA’s program. “Mix it up for MDA” will support research, clinics and programs in the area. Contributions will help MDA provide outpatient clinic services, purchase and repair wheelchairs, leg braces and communication devices, and perform many other important services.





Take on the 3-Foot Coney

28 07 2009

There must be something in the water in West Michigan.  First it was the Fifth Third Burger.  Now, it’s a monster 3-Foot Coney from The Galley in Wyoming.

The Jolly Roger is a three-foot long hot dog that comes with Coney sauce, onions, mustard and pickles. The German-style wiener is made by a local meat market and the bun crafted by a Grand Rapids bakery.

Owner, Rick Baumgardner hopes it will put his restaurant, The Galley on the map. “We’ve been thinking about something for the past couple of years and we just didn’t know what– but we knew we needed a signature item, and a few months ago we decided we needed something big and unusual and recently we decided it was going to be a Coney dog.”

From a marketing standpoint, I love these ideas.  I would never take one of these challenges, but anything that gets people talking about your place is a good thing….a website would help too..especially with all the media attention that you’re hoping to get from this gimmick.





Press Releae – 32nd Annual Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition

28 07 2009

From a Kellogg Center Press Release…..

KELLOGG HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER HOSTS 32ND ANNUAL MICHIGAN WINE AND
SPIRITS COMPETITION
Public Invited to “Taste the Winners” at August 6 Reception

East Lansing, Mich. – The Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center will host
the 32nd Annual Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition and a public Gold
Medal Reception unveiling Michigan’s top wines on Thursday, August 6.

This year marks Kellogg’s ninth year hosting the competition, which
will bring together several wine experts to judge their way through 350
Michigan wine entries. The public is invited to the Gold Medal Reception
on August 6, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., to taste the winning wines paired
with foods prepared by Kellogg Center chefs. Selected Best of Class
wines will also be featured at Kellogg’s State Room Restaurant.

“It’s a pleasure to once again host the competition and serve the
best of Michigan wines,” said Geoff Parkerson, general manager for the
Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center. “Between the great wines and our
award-winning chefs’ creations, attendees are in for a treat.”

The Gold Medal Reception is expected to bring out an audience of 350
supportive consumers, industry members and industry associates. Winning
winemakers and owners will be on hand to discuss their wines and share a
glass with attendees. Special guest authors, Lorri Hathaway and Sharon
Kegerreis will also be signing copies of their book, “From the Vine:
Exploring Michigan Wineries” at the event.

Tickets for the Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition Gold Medal
Reception are $40 and are available through the Kellogg Center at
517-432-4000.