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Food access critical part of a local food system

by Sam Henke Where does a food system start?  It’s true that a plant’s roots are nourished by the soil it is grown in, but doesn’t the condition of the soil start with the land’s history?  If a farm is sited on an historic farm that’s been maintained, much of the work of the farmer […]

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Cooking with kids

by Katherine Larson Three decades ago, Karen sat in the big bottom drawer in my kitchen, cheerfully banging a pot with a wooden spoon and caroling, “Noo-noo, noo-noo!” while I cooked her favorite noodles. This was a delightful way to share kitchen time with Karen, but as I became a more experienced mother, I realized […]

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Great pumpkins: more than lanterns

by Katherine Larson It is hard, in the United States, to think of the month of October without thinking of Halloween. No longer limited to October 31, images of ghouls, goblins and witches fill our stores and our airwaves all month long. Along with these displays come veritable mountains of pumpkins. Whether or not we […]

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Twenty-five years of food and other important things

Don was fond of saying his “big mouth” often had gotten him into trouble. (Meaning strong, critical opinions expressed without reservation.) As his wife, I could hardly disagree, although the examples provided were different than mine. He would mention how he made a remark critical about the planning of a regional meeting for one of […]

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Three years of food: (in case we forgot) the other important thing

by Pat Tikkanen Last month I wrote about the last three years during which my husband, Don Curto, who wrote this column for twenty-five years, and I were living on my family farm near Calumet. I wrote about our decision to receive hospice care for the COPD which claimed his life on June 21, some […]

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Detritus, and poetry

by Don Curto Often when I am working on a column, or some other piece of prose a line or two of what I might call fun appears on my computer screen, almost unasked for. This week’s example: “I’ll weigh in on my way out.” Or “which way do you think the medical problems will […]

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A Marine Santa gives gifts to Chinese kids in Tientsin, 1945. Marines still play this role, around the world wherever there are Marines…and kids.

Christmas in 1945 distant from today

by Don Curto In the beginning, there was the winter of 1945. The War was ended. Peace looked like a possibility, if not a probability. This is a sketch, a short story about my trip from Guam, just a few degrees above the equator, to North China, a long way from the equator, home to […]

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The Comfort of Old Friends

by Patricia Tikkanen In February I e-mailed friends and sometimes travel companions Jacqueline and Duane Hargis from Munising a proposal that we meet for a weekend in early April to celebrate Jackie and my birthdays. Perhaps feeling as restless and pent up as we were (and that was only February) the answer was a resounding […]

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What We Are Cooking Now: Florentine Cabbage and Bean Soup

By the time you read this it will be April which is a much anticipated event in this home.  March is never an easy month for many in this northern Peninsula (With a very half-hearted apology to those who love the early spring skiing.) and this year has been harder than most for us as […]

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by Don Curto Coming to the end of things… stories, movies, novels, recipes, games, prayers, life…. especially life, requires a difficult transition. In fact, very few activities have a true end. Very few of them will walk up to you, grab you by the scruff of the neck or the scrotum, pull your head down […]

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Oh! Deer Me! We Have a Guest. What’s for Supper?

by Don Curto  I had my first venison meal in 1925 when I was two years old and I clearly remember my father, Charles Curto, an all-Italian-background guy from Calumet saying to a visiting friend who had prepared the meal from a buck shot in the Copper Country:           “You don’t really eat this kind […]

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Holding hands with ghosts

By: Don Curto The holiday season has begun. Some local stores are leapfrogging over Thanksgiving and plopping right into Christmas. But it is a mistake to slide over Thanksgiving. Before the turkey is carved, before the oyster stuffing gets its gravy, before the baked potato is squeezed, massaged and gently broken in half as my grandfather […]

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Depredations of the Summer Harvest Gang and other mostly true stories

By: Don Curto There usually were four of us, but once in a while, parents got in the way and our gang was reduced to three or even two. Two members of the gang were eleven years old and two were twelve. For at least one year, we were—without challenge—the most successful, quiet, criminal operation […]

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Autumn Glory

By: Don Curto Once again, summer has ended. In our region, this one was strange, indeed. There was not enough heat for the whole season to provide really good growing conditions. Tomatoes were mostly quite poor, though at season’s end, I did find some that are more than acceptable. Almost got my fill of tomato and […]

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About time, tomatoes and watermelon

by Don Curto Life and time are not all about me, of course, but I will use my birth date of August 16, 1923 as a starting point for this column. Birthdays bring on reflections. In my experience and judgment, very little of the “old days” were times as good as today. About the only […]

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