Another weekend, another million calories. I think I know what our staff member Birgit is talking about when she speaks of “the Fellowship 20.” I don’t have room for 20 more pounds, but I think they’re going to try to make me take ’em just the same.
This weekend was our Fall Color Extravaganza, in which the Fellows trekked north for a weekend of fellowship in and around the Charlevoix area, where our director has a summer home. It’s a cherry farm, actually, with orchards and a lakeshore and land galore. Which was good, because one of the activities was skeet shooting, and all but two of us missed. (Vahe winged one and Alan hit a bull’s eye). Pictures to come, once I figure things out.
Yes, figure things out. It’s a new blog! It’s Movable Type! What do you think? Many kudos, props and huzzahs to J.C. Burns, who waded into the world of cascading style sheets and gave me this very cool look. As I said last week, I’m hoping this new format will fit my life a little better. Pluses for both of us include a comments section; you are encouraged to leave as many as you wish. For now, I’m not requiring names and e-mail addresses, but, as always, they’re encouraged. I will warn you that I saw my spam soar when I started leaving blog comments, so if you want to leave a phony one — “firstname.lastname@example.org” is a popular choice — feel free.
Back to the weekend: Our Friday stop was Black Star Farm, a winery on the Leelanau peninsula that’s trying to establish itself as both a tourist destination, retail operation and oenophile’s landmark. Based on the vintages we sampled, they have a shot. (It’s mostly whites, but some very nice chardonnay and riesling.) The owner tells a great story about the local farmer who was going broke with his pear orchard; the only buyer he had was a baby-food company, which was paying him about a penny a pear. So they worked out a deal where the winery affixes bottles to the budding pears, rigging them to the trees so that they grow inside the bottle. At harvest time, the bottle/pear is picked, the detritus shaken out, the bottle cleaned and sterilized and filled with pear eau de vie, an 80-proof spirit. It’s sold with this lovely Bartlett pear bobbing around in the bottom. It really sells the package.
And the farmer clears $5 per pear. There’s gold in them-there yuppies!
There’s nothing like a local agribusiness lesson accompanied by fine wine and followed by a lavish dinner in Sutton’s Bay. It’s times like this I really feel bad for my colleagues back in the Fort. Really, you guys. It’s like a knife in my heart.