We’re big fans of eating at Michigan’s beaches, parks and campgrounds all Summer long – and packing local food while we’re at it! For us, every picnic needs a mix of crunchy, salty, and satisfying foods all washed down with an ice-cold beverage. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of Michigan made goods that meet this criteria.
Curious about what we’ve got in our picnic basket? Check out our picnic must-haves!
Zingerman’s New Dill Pickles
No sandwich is complete without a pickle! Zingerman’s makes pickles known for keeping their cucumber flavor and crunch, made in partnership with Topor’s Pickle Company in Detroit. Because these pickles are made using lactofermentation with the freshest cucumbers, garlic and dill (and no preservatives, unlike the shelf kind), these pickles are kept in the fridge and have an irresistible taste. You can find them at the famous Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor – order ahead for pickup!
Want something interesting – and perhaps even a little odd – to surprise the senses in your picnic basket? Try one of the Odd Brothers Craft Cider creations! Available seasonally, the saison-style ‘Super Lemon Haze’ is perfect for beach days, while year-round favorite ‘Millions of Peaches’ will have you thinking of U-pick orchards. Their cans feature the works of commissioned artists – so when picking up a pack, you’ll not only support craft beverage makers but local art, as well! Find a list of stockists on their website!
Greenetown Food’s Natural Apple Chips
It couldn’t get simpler with these apple chips – simply sliced locally farmed Michigan apples are dehydrated for a nutritious crisp bite. Greenetown Foods has geared their business towards creating healthy products for families in Michigan! You can pick up a pack by shopping with them online, or find them on the shelves at the original Oryana Community Co-op or the West Side Oryana location in Traverse City.
Jake’s Country Meats Charcuterie Meats and Snack Sticks
Don’t forget your local proteins when packing up for the park! Jake’s Country Meats is a Michigan standby when it comes to finding locally-raised proteins – and you can find them in shelf-stable charcuterie options or hiking favorite snack sticks at their Southwest Michigan location. Learn more about how you can be proud of the food you eat while supporting a 7th generation family farm on their website!
DeVries and Co. Cheeses
Explore Midwest cheese options at DeVries and Co. of Detroit! Their cheesemonger recommends picking up Prairie Breeze cheddar for dining al fresco. As an aged white cheddar, this cheese is crumbly, yet creamy, and packed with flavor crystals. Visit their shop near the Eastern Market in Detroit, or have it shipped to your door!
Willow Garden’s Kirby Cucumbers
Small, certified organic farm Willow Garden recommends their Kirby cucumbers for snacking – in fact, it’s one of their favorite crops in the garden! The versatility and flavor of these fresh cukes makes them a must-have addition to any picnic. With home delivery to Jackson and Hillsdale areas, Willow Gardens makes it easy to include them. Check out more details on their website!
Saugatuck Brewing Co.’s Blueberry and Strawberry Shandys
Bringing along an iced cold one for your park day? The ideal choice for a Summer-day sipper is Blueberry or Strawberry Shandy from Saugatuck Brewing Co. According to them, these beers are “like sunshine in a can, this is our summer jam.” Find more information on their website!
Frozen Farms Co. Grilling Meats and More
Picnicking in the Northernmost end of our state? Find locally pasture-raised proteins at Frozen Farms Co. of Calumet’s historic district! Their options include beef, lamb and pork that have been raised without the use of antibiotics and hormones, as well as locally caught Lake Superior Fish. Add Keweenaw Bee Co. honey, Skinny Pete’s Bakery goods, and Circle Back Farm‘s syrup to your cart while you’re there! Stay up to date with them on Facebook.
Leelanau Cheese’s Raclette
What pairs perfectly with all these local ingredients? Locally made raclette! Leelanau Cheese handcrafts this traditional herdsman’s cheese using Michigan dairy for a silky smooth taste, perfect for melting over your favorite foods, or even just as a snack! Order yours or learn more on their website.
Mindo’s 67% Dark Chocolate with Michigan Blueberries
Don’t forget to end on a sweet note! Michigan-grown dried blueberries join dark chocolate for a classic coupling, all made by Dexter’s chocolatier of 13 years. All Mindo products are made with heirloom cacao sourced from small organic fair-trade farms near Mindo in Ecuador. Support farms here and there – and enjoy a perfect bite while at it! Buy your bar on their website or at their new storefront in the Kerrytown neighborhood of Ann Arbor.
What are your go-to Michigan products to fill your picnic basket? Tag us at @tastethelocaldifference on social media to let us know!
Claire Butler is the Content Strategy Specialist for Taste the Local Difference. Contact her at [email protected]