Nathan Mileski, Certified Executive Chef at Northern Michigan University, met Brian Gustafson, the owner of Superior Angus, during the 2016 Multi-species Processing Feasibility Study Project. There, they realized they could (and needed) to develop a relationship.
Brian’s family has been farming since 1902 (only 3 years after Northern Michigan University was founded) and they focus on the comfort of their animals and the farm’s own impact on the environment. Although Chef Mileski has been a champion here in the Central UP in the growing of local food systems, he’s not the only reason this partnership exists, it’s also thanks to the students of NMU who are more and more concerned about the sustainability of their everyday choices.
Recently, I was invited to attend the high school graduation party of Brian’s son Luke and to bring some of the Guides to Local Food. The old cabin they rented out in Rapid River was a great venue for a celebration, and the meal was catered by NMU Dining’s Simply Superior catering service. Each dish had a card listing the name of the farm where each local product was from, with all the ingredients being sourced locally it was an impressive spread. I’ll let the photo speak to how delicious the meal tasted.
My favorite part of the event was sitting down and talking with Brian about his and Chef Nathan’s relationship. They primarily text and are sometimes planning a year or more in advance, but that’s part of what makes it all work, the chef communicating his needs and wants so the farmer can plan ahead and provide not only the quality, but the quantity.
They two are also working towards reducing waste and expanding to other species in the future. To learn more about their partnership visit NMU Dinings webpage and view a short video of Chef Nathan and NMU students visiting the farm. Congratulations to not only Luke (the graduate) but to NMU Dining and Superior Angus – looking forward to see what comes next.
Alexand Palzewicz is the Upper Peninsula Local Food Coordinator and her favorite part of the job is learning about the new connections and collaborations in our UP communities. If you know of a local food relationship that should be highlighted, send an email to: [email protected]