Tuesday, July 2, 2013

“Life is a Dream” for Mission Table’s Chef Paul Olson in Northern Michigan Farm-to-Table Video

In the global culinary scene, there’s a growing interest in returning to the basic philosophy of sourcing local – a foundation on which the earliest pubs and restaurants were built. In Michigan, one of the pioneers of this slow food movement is Chef Paul Olson of Mission Table restaurant.

An appreciative supporter of regional growers and producers, Olson’s passion for what’s available seasonally in his own Old Mission Peninsula backyard is the focus of a new video called “Farm-to-Table” from filmmaker Evan Joling. It is the second in a 3-video collaborative series from Northern United Brewing Company.*

Featuring music by Michigan singer/songwriter Danny Kline, the 1:56-minute video shows Olson stopping off at the Santucci Farm for the day’s harvest – items that are taken back to the kitchen and are crafted into a variety of entrees, sides, desserts and artisanal cocktails on the Mission Table menu.

“We craft our ever-changing, seasonal menu around what’s available on the Peninsula first,” says Olson, who – along with wife Barbara Olson (Events Director) and peninsula natives and historic preservationists Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell – is a managing partner in the business.

“We grow our own herbs on-site and purchase as much meat, poultry and produce from local farmers and growers as we can,” Olson says. “The hour it takes from harvest to delivery ensures that our strawberries, blueberries, arugula, tomatoes and other vegetables are as fresh as possible. Once we’re back to the kitchen, we take what’s before us and collaborate on the evening’s ever-changing menu.”

Much of Mission Table’s produce is also sourced from nearby Kroupa Farms – a decision not made solely based on proximity.

“We have a great appreciation for John Kroupa and all he does to work with us,” says Lobdell. “He really built the gardens as a special favor to us and the fact that he personally delivers to us is really quite amazing.”

With a common focus on conservation and sustainable practices, it’s no wonder good things are brewing between these businesses.

“They also use more labor-intensive practices than many farms,” says Olson. “This reliance on human touch continues with the farm’s dedication to pulling or hoeing weeds by hand in the gardens and vineyards. It’s just one more way they minimize chemical use and the farm’s overall impact on the environment.”

It’s this type of mutual mindset that also lead to the creation of Bonafide Wine brands – which was introduced to the marketplace in 2010. Most of the grapes for the limited-release brand are grown in either the nearby estate vineyards of Peninsula Cellars or the 3-acre Bonafide Vineyard and are crafted by Kroupa – a passionate and talented winemaker.

A Michigan native, Olson is a graduate of both Michigan State University and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He honed his skills in New York City and Connecticut, before returning to Northern Michigan.

Once known as the Bowers Harbor Inn, the award-winning eatery was purchased by Carlson and Lobdell in 2006 and was rebranded as Mission Table in 2010. Welcoming visitors for generations, the 1880s-era building was once the summer retreat for Chicago lumber baron J.W. Stickney and his wife, Genevive.

Sprawling out over a lush 11-acre parcel – which also encompasses the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery & Pub – Mission Table boasts 700 feet of waterfront, nestled beneath majestic oaks and pines. Unparalleled views of the West Grand Traverse Bay and Power Island make this one of the region’s most popular al fresco dining establishments. The restaurant also boasts a 2300-square-foot Tasting Room, where samples of more than two dozen products – including North Peak and Jolly Pumpkin beers, Civilized Spirits and Bonafide Wines – are served.

Mission Table is open throughout the summer, Sunday through Thursday from 5-9pm and from 5-10pm on Friday and Saturday.

Mission Table is part of Northern United Brewing Co., which also encompasses the North Peak, Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales craft beer brands, as well as the Civilized line of spirits. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices. Find NUBC products at stores, restaurants, and bars all throughout Michigan, including: North Peak Brewing Company, Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, all in Traverse City; Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, in Ann Arbor.

13512 Peninsula Drive
Traverse City


*To view Evan Joling’s “Summer in Northern Michigan” video, featuring singer/songwriter Jetty Rae, M22 and the Broneah Brothers, and North Peak Beer, click here.

No comments: