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  • Writer's pictureRobert Adams

Celebrating Fruit

Updated: May 1, 2023

THE CHEF AND AUTHOR Abra Berens resides in Three Oaks, Michigan where she serves as executive chef/principal for Granor Farms a southwest Michigan leader in farm-to-table cuisine.

She has amassed a diversity of credentials in her life, including farming in Northport and later helping in the launch of Leelanau's Farm Club’s unique culinary footprint with their farm-to-table offerings.

This spring she is out promoting her newest cookbook, Pulp - A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit. It is hot off the press and features fruit in hundreds of recipes. It is now available on Amazon and will be showing up at many independent bookstores in our region. I’m looking forward to picking up a copy. I was particularly attracted to her expressed fondness for including more fruit in sweet and savory presentations which spurs my culinary curiosity.

My appreciation for the “farm to table” movement along the M-22 corridor is indeed manifested in our region’s bounty of fruit. Agri-Tourism describes our region's character. It is accessible for all to experience because of the amazing 116-mile M-22 two-lane highway that meanders around the coast of Lake Michigan from Manistee to Traverse City. The landscape offers prime displays of water, fields, orchards, and vineyards. Yes, we are in a very prolific “fruit belt.” Many thanks are owed to Lake Michigan for its moderating effect on temperature swings which helps support a vast supply of delicious fruit.

Spring is that time of year when fruit trees start the process of pollination – a sight to behold that gradually produces the bounty of summer and fall orbs. Our farms up and down M-22 feature this dazzling display of white flowers in cooperation with wind and bees that help initiate a glorious sequence of biological transformation. Thank you, Mother Nature.

What makes M-22 so attractive and unique it offers easy access and viewing of so many farms. Cherries, apples, peaches, pears, and plums are all in orchards and they are joined by vines, bushes, and plants that feature grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries to name a few.

I’m eager to get her book but in the meantime, I offer one of my fruit recipes and certainly one of my favorites. I’m looking forward to comparing recipes with Ms. Berens.

Bob’s Peach Crisp

Use a quart-size baking dish that will hold about 6 peeled and sliced peaches.

In a mixing bowl combine the sliced peaches with

1 TBS of lemon juice

1/3 cup of sugar

1-2 TBS of cornstarch

¼ tsp of vanilla extract

Dash of salt

Place the processed peaches at the bottom of the buttered baking dish.

In the now empty mixing bowl make the topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup of all-purpose flour

¼ cup rolled oats

1/3 cup chopped pecans (any nut works)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

Dash of salt

½ stick of soft butter

Process the ingredients with a spoon and your fingers, making a mixed crumble and sprinkling over the top of the peach slices.

Bake the crisp for about 35 minutes in a 350 F oven until the topping is golden brown and the filling bubbles. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Note: I found my copy in Glen Arbor at Cottage Book Store.

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