Northern Michigan Events: Tickets for the 3rd annual Taste the Local Difference Summer Celebration are now on sale from the Michigan Land Institute!

Taste the freshest food and drink from Northern Michigan farmers, food producers, chefs, vintners and brewers in this union of food and fun. This event will celebrate those involved in the local food movement right here in Northwestern Michigan and will take place at the Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa on Monday, June 27th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

Host of the event, Chef Darren Hawley, executive chef at the Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa, will welcome a number of fellow local food chefs who will be bringing with them some of the farmers who have helped local food to become a staple in Northern Michigan restaurants. Chefs preparing the feast at this year’s gala include Guillermo Valencia, of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa; Cammie Buehler and Andy Schudlich, of Epicure Catering; Paul Olson, of Mission Table: Chris Hoffman, of The Riverside Inn; Guillaume Hazael Massieux, of La Becasse: Jen Welty, of Nine Bean Rows; Donna Irvin, of The Glenwood; and Renee DeWindt, of Benzie County Public Schools.

“What makes this event so special is that it’s not just about serving delicious food,” said Janice Benson, Taste the Local Difference project director. “It’s about serving food grown right here in our region and helping people make a connection between our land, our farmers, and our chefs.”

Nearly 20 specialty food producers and farmers will also attend, providing products for sampling and some will also have specialty products available for sale and several local beverage producers will be there, too, including Shorts Brewery, Right Brain Brewery, L. Mawby Vineyards, Black Star Farms, Chateau Chantal, Northern Natural Winery, Higher Grounds Trading Company, and Light of Day Organics Tea.

If you want to taste Northwestern Michigan’s local bounty, be sure to reserve tickets for the event for $15 at Ticket price includes all food stations and there will be a cash bar as well. This event is sure to be a hit so, don’t wait to reserve!

Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa is proud to be the 2011 Presenting Sponsor for Taste the Local Difference. The full list of 2011 Sponsors includes: Cherry Republic, Cherry Capital Foods, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, Tom’s Food Market, Friske Orchards Farm Market, Hagerty, Higher Grounds Trading Company, Oryana Natural Foods Market, Smith Haughey Rice and Roegge, Black Star Farms, Fifth Third Bank, Trattoria Stella, and Grain Train Natural Foods Market.

Media sponsors include Edible Grande Traverse, Absolute Michigan, WTCM NewsTalk 580, 9&10/Fox 33 News, Interlochen Public Radio, and the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

For more information about the Taste the Local Difference Summer Celebration, contact Janice Benson at 231-941-6584, ext. 21 or at