Where’s the (Local) Beef?

When I woke up today, the last breakfast I thought I’d be eating was kimchi and a myriad of unique pickled items including, but not limited to: roasted brussel sprouts, rutabaga, beef heart, asparagus, carrots, pork loin, whole smelt, and eggs, just to name a few. But Scott McQuarrie, farmer and owner of the Alpena General Store (AGS), had other ideas. Scott seems to frequently be a man of business innovation, and all things food and farming.

Since its inception, AGS’s business model has focused on sourcing primarily grass fed and free range meat from Michigan farmers. Alpena General Store has 17 freezers and 5 coolers so locals can purchase pretty much anything from leg of lamb, to kraut potato Polish sausage, to bloody Mary or habanero-mango brats, to any cut of beef you can possibly imagine. Additionally, in partnering with Taste the Local Difference (TLD), Alpena General Store was able to acquire $2,500 in funds from the Center for Disease Control to increase access to local food. AGS is now featuring daily, local offerings for lunch. They currently have an everyday choice of soups, sandwiches, brats, homemade breads, and kraut or kimchi (or other pickled delights). Additionally, AGS is putting the grant money to use with a fresh in-store pasta making area; pillows of pasta will be kneaded from locally milled flours and stuffed with seasonal vegetables and herbs from the Alpena Farmers Market. AGS is also looking to stock to-go salads made with Presque Isle Farm greens and fixings.

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As I helped Scott mount the first TLD regional retail sign, he also mentioned his long-term plans to build outdoor patio seating and a hoophouse on-site for even more fresh lunch options. We can’t wait to see all the growth! Stop in to Alpena General Store for a mouth-watering lunch and follow TLD on Facebook to see the transformation.


Molly Stepanski is the Local Food Coordinator for NE Michigan and owns Presque Isle Farm with her husband, Dion, and son, Sawyer. Contact her at [email protected]