There is so much to love about Michigan, so when Storey Publishing contacted me early this Spring to photograph a Lake Michigan inspired cookbook, I was all in. The assignment: photograph local farms and businesses, beautiful places, farm to table food, and the lake. Yes, please.
First up, Northern Michigan: the Traverse City / Leelanau Peninsula region including Leland, Fishtown, Sutton's Bay, and Pt. Betsie.
Northern Michigan's unique and varied landscape is beyond beautiful from the vineyards to turquoise blue waters everywhere you turn. Its people are authentic and passionate, overflowing with talent and committed deeply to local sustainable business practices. It will go down in my record book as one of my favorite shoot days.. ever.
Thanks to the following local Traverse City businesses for being a part of this project (in order of appearance):
Traveling south, we arrive to the Fennville region with South Haven, Saugatuck, and Douglas towns and beaches a short distance away.
The land is vast and peaceful and its people are artisans, each in their own way, wisely using the bountiful land and pouring passion into their soul's work.
Fennville is rustic and real.
When I was shooting at Virtue Cider, a man happened to be sitting at the bar with a glass of cider. He pointed to his farm out the window and proudly exclaimed that he grows the cherries for Virtue's cherry ciders right over there.
At Salt of the Earth, I observed Chef Matt make fresh pasta by hand with great care. Their rustic food is entirely made from scratch with ingredients sourced within a 50 mile radius, which results in a unique menu that changes seasonally, if not daily. Fennville is a true farm to table region built on passion, tireless work, and community.
Thanks to the following local Fennville businesses for being a part of this project (in order of appearance):
And traveling further south yet, we stumble upon the New Buffalo region in Southwest Michigan, including Lakeside, Berrien Springs, and Three Oaks.
Simply put, this region struck me as genuine and kind. Southwest Michigan is abundant and diverse in its local businesses offering everything from fresh fish and local pastured meats to eclectic and inventive jarred goods.
I found the business owners to be incredibly skilled in their craft, deeply caring about quality and sustainability, and so genuinely kind to their patrons. Customers seemed like old friends and that was a pretty wonderful thing to witness.
Thanks to the following local New Buffalo businesses for being a part of this project (in order of appearance):
I knew going in this would be a meaningful assignment, but I wasn't quite expecting just how much my appreciation for Michigan would grow. Keep an eye out for The Lake Michigan Cottage Cookbook written by Amelia Levin: Spring 2018.
All images Copyright 2017 Teri Genovese Photography and exclusively licensed to Storey Publishing. Images may not be used in any way for any reason whatsoever.