Food, Food Artisans

This Week at Zingerman’s 8/12/14

Intro to Cornman Farms Tour

Enjoy a fascinating introduction to Cornman Farms’ rich history, agricultural projects and humane raising of animals. We’ll even throw in a taste of one of our seasonal vegetables! Wednesday, August 13, 6 pm.

reserve your seat here


Fresh Mozzarella & Cornman Farms Tomato Party at Zingerman’s Creamery

August is the very height of tomato season at Cornman Farms. And what better way to enjoy fresh tomatoes than with fresh mozzarella? On Friday, August 15, 6pm, Farm Manager Mark Baerwolf will visit the Creamery to talk about the beginnings of Cornman Farms, and the wide variety of delicious heirloom tomato breeds he grows. We’ll taste smoked mozzarella, fiore di latte, burrata, and mozzarella rolls, along with a nice sampling of our heirloom tomatoes. Don’t miss it! 

reserve your seat here


Inaugural Dinner at Cornman Farms

Join us on Friday, August 15, 6pm for our very first farm feast! We’ll start off with a champagne cocktail hour and then enjoy a traditional farm meal just a few yards from where the crops are grown. Belly up to our Tomato Bar and taste the unique flavors in our many heirloom varietals. Dig in to our traditional potato latkes made from potatoes fresh from the fields. Savor ham from Niman Ranch hogs smoked in our historic smokehouse just a few feet from the barn. Top it all off with just-picked-blueberry pie for dessert. Roadhouse Chef Alex Young and Cornman Farms Managing Partner Kieron Hales will tell the story of the farm at this very first of many family-style dinners on our farm.

reserve your seat here


10th Annual Piazza Zingermanza at Zingerman’s Deli

Join us for our annual August tradition of transforming the Deli’s Patio into an Italian Street Food Fest! There will be great food, music, interesting demonstrations, great specials on food, and lots of good company.  It’s an event not to be missed!
This Saturday, August 16 & Sunday, August 17, 11am — 3pm.

Demonstration schedule:

  • 12:00pm — Our expert cheesemongers will break open an 80-pound wheel of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and turn it into manageable chunks!
  • 1:00pm — Our cheesemongers will transform Bel Gioiso cheese curd into delectable fresh mozzarella balls!
  • 2:00pm — Our Deli retail experts will hand-slice real prosciutto right off the bone!

This event is FREE! 


Bread of the Month at the Bakehouse and the Deli: Sicilian Sesame Semolina Rounds

The traditional golden sesame crusted bread of Sicily, made with 100% semolina and durum wheat flours. The entire loaf is rolled in unhulled sesame seeds. Makes incredible toast or grilled sandwiches!


Cake of the Month at the Bakehouse and the Deli: Buttermilk Cake

Buttery yellow cake filled with raspberry butter cream and covered in smooth vanilla butter cream. The cake itself has an enticing aroma from the sweet Wisconsin butter and the Guernsey family dairy buttermilk.Please enjoy our cakes at room temperature, your patience will be rewarded.   


Imangia All’Italiana at Zingerman’s Deli

Long live Italian cuisine! Our love for Italian foods goes back decades! Some of our Italian producer relationships date back to first few years after the Deli opened its doors in 1982. We’re loaded up with Italian olive oils, cheeses, meats, fish, sauces, pastas, olives, veggies, nuts, gelato; the list goes on and on. Stop by anytime during August and taste your way through our selection.


Next week and Beyond:

Italian Wine and Cheese tasting at Zingerman’s Events on 4th

On Wednesday, August 20, 630pm, spend a late summer evening with Zingerman’s as we taste a fine selection of wine and cheese pairings. Italy has a wide variety to offer in both categories so we’ll embark on a culinary tour that highlights Italy’s different regions and the tasty combinations they produce. Our wine and cheese tastings sell out quickly so reserve your seat soon!

reserve your seat here


Brewing Methods at Zingerman’s Coffee Company

Learn the keys to successful coffee brewing using a wide variety of brewing methods from filter drip to syphon pot. This Sunday, August 17, 1pm, we will take a single coffee and brew it 6 to 8 different ways, each producing a unique taste. We’ll learn the proper proportions and technique for each and discuss the merits and differences of each style. Join us!

reserve your seat here


The Art of Growing Great Vegetables at Cornman Farms

On Monday, August 18, 6 pm,  take an inside look at our incredible new working farm in Dexter. This is a chance to spend some time with Farm Manager Mark Baerwolf to learn the secrets of his work with sustainable farming. You’ll head home with a host of farming tips and a bag full of fabulous vegetables from the farm.

reserve your seat here


Cornman Farms Tomato Dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse

Wednesday, August 27, 7pm
Easily the highlight of the harvesting season, our second Cornman Farms dinner showcases the best of the tomato season. Chef Alex and farmers have been caring for the tomatoes and now we get to benefit from their hard work. The tomato bar makes its return — numerous different tomatoes, handmade fresh mozzarella, really good olive oil, Balsamic vinegar and fresh grown basil — fill up your plate as many times as you can! Cornman Farms beef and pork will add to this late summer feast, making it a meal to remember.

reserve your seat here


Foundation of Cheesemaking Class at Zingerman’s Creamery

Join Creamery managing partner Aubrey Thomason on Saturday, August 30, 1pm, for the first in a series exploring the foundations of cheese. In this session, we’ll begin at the beginning with a discussion of milk. When did the milking of dairy animals start? What kinds of animals are milked throughout the world, and how does the milk vary from animal to animal? How does the milk influence the flavor of the cheese? Aubrey will lead a tasting of several different cheeses, and talk about how milk influences the consistency, the texture, and the overall flavor of the cheese. Learn and eat!

reserve your seat here


Lunchtime Delight at Cornman Farms

On Sunday, August 31, 10am, spend the morning with us for an in-depth understanding of what makes Cornman Farms so special. This experience will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the rehabilitated farmhouse, our beautifully restored barn, the new goat parlor, and the hoophouse. You’ll hear from the Farm Manager, our Animal Husbandry Manager, and our Events Department staff. Savor a delicious boxed lunch in the pre-Civil War barn overlooking our educational gardens, and then leave with a special gift from Cornman Farms.

reserve your seat here

See you soon!

Food, Food Artisans

Missing Mustard?

haveyouseen-mustard

It’s Mustardpalooza! Now through September 30, Zingerman’s Mail Order is hosting a special mustard pop-up shop on our website! We’ve added a dozen new mustards to our collection for summer sandwich slathering, salad vinaigrettes, hot dogs, hamburgers — you name it. This is a one-time only event! When the new mustards sell out, they’re gone. Check it out today!

Featured, Food, Food Artisans

From Devon to Dexter

Meet Zingerman’s Newest Managing Partner, Kieron Hales

We wanted to get the scoop on how Zingerman’s Cornman Farms came to be so we sat down with the guy who got the event space up and running 


Zingerman’s News: Can you give us a bit of background on your career?

KeironKieron: I grew up in the small farming village of Stoke Gabriel in Devon, England. As a child I studied the bassoon and was a member of National Children’s Orchestra and I got to travel a lot at a very young age. That experience made me realize that I wanted to see the world when I grew up but not because of music. While I was in music school, my home economics teacher saw how much I loved cooking and sent an application for the Specialized Chefs School in Bournemouth (a resort town on England’s south coast). I studied there for four years and graduated at 17 when I became a member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

As a musician and a chef I’ve traveled extensively—Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Austria and the USA, to name few—and I’ve cooked in every kind of restaurant, from Michelin star restaurants to the Goldman Sachs dining room in New York to family owned independent restaurants.

Kitchens really are hidden worlds and everyone has their own memories of the kitchens they’ve inhabited. How did your experiences in all these different kitchen shape you and your work?

Being in so many different places really got me thinking about where food comes from and how it is produced. I’ve worked in kitchens where all the food is loaded off the same truck and kitchens where we went to the local market to select what we’d serve that night. I think that was when I started to realize that we’re all happier and healthier (both my restaurant guests and the restaurant staff) when we know where our food comes from. And I don’t mean just that we can say that it’s from this or that farm or producer but that we actually develop a relationship with the folks providing the food we eat. I discovered, after coming to Zingerman’s, that that idea is central to how all the business here operate. Every business develops close relationships with the folks that provide their raw materials—think about the Coffee Company’s ties to Daterra Estate in Brazil or the Bakehouse’s work with Westwind Mills or the Creamery’s work with their local goat’s and cow’s milk suppliers. 

How did a kid from Devon end up here?

That path was unconventional to say the least. I was working at Fishes, a restaurant and B&B in Norfolk England, and buying cheese from Randolph Hodgson of Neal’s Yard Dairy. One Sunday morning, on my only day off of the week, Randolph called and said Ari was flying to London and going on a cheese tour and was hoping to stay at Fishes for the night. I had been to Zingerman’s and met Ari before on a visit to my sister, who lived in Saline with her family, and I jumped at the chance to cook for him. That evening was filled with conversation and great food and I joined Ari and Randolph for the cheese tour the next day. Within six months of Ari’s visit to England, I was back in the US visiting my sister, and we went to Zingerman’s Roadhouse for dinner with family friends, Wayne and Cheryl Baker. Wayne is a professor in the Ross School of Business and a long time friend of Ari’s, and he helped arrange for another meeting between Ari and me. Eventually we started talking about me coming to work there. 

Did you start working on the Events at  Zingerman’s Cornman Farms idea while still running the Roadhouse kitchen?

Cornman was actually founded by Chef Alex three years before I arrived at Zingerman’s in 2005. Anyone who has worked with him knows he’s tireless and apparently, running a nationally-renowned restaurant wasn’t enough for him so in his spare time he double-dug a garden plot in his backyard. I think he put in some potatoes and tomatoes. He tended it all summer and brought the harvest in one night make a few special plates for some regulars in the restaurant. As he tells, the experience of planting, growing, harvesting and serving food and seeing the reaction of his guests was overwhelming. At that moment, he started down the path to becoming a farmer. 

I’d already spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to source the food I was preparing and already recognized how important it is to source locally so this seemed like the logical next step: cook in a restaurant that actually raises the food they serve every night. When I came here Alex was already building up his little garden into Cornman Farms and the whole idea got me very excited. As an organization, Zingerman’s is always pushing everyone who works here to think big, to think beyond their current position. So, I began scribbling down a vision for what I could do at the farm.

A few years ago, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase the land on Island Lake Road from the Hoey family and it included the Greek-revival style house and a barn that dates back to 1837. That’s when the idea for our events business started to really take shape.

And, what exactly is that business?

My team and I are operating the events at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms. The barn has been beautifully restored by an amazing team headed by long-time friend of Zingerman’s Louie Marr. Rudy Christianson, a barnwright from Ohio, came up last summer to take the barn apart, piece by piece, ship it back to Ohio and restore the wood before sending back here to be reassembled by local builder David Haig (and I can’t let this interview end without a shout out to Craig who has been on site, tending to every detail for the better part of a year). Local architect Chuck Bultman oversaw the whole process and we couldn’t have done this without him. We’ve also completely remodeled the house and installed a commercial kitchen where we, along with the folks from Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Zingerman’s Deli, as well as San Street and Café Memmi, prepare food for our events. 

The space is even more beautiful than I’d dreamed when I was writing my vision. The barn is amazing. It’s got all the rustic charm of a building that is going on 200 years old but it also has every modern amenity. The farmhouse is perfect for intimate gatherings, small farm-to-table dinners, and it has a full suite of rooms upstairs for brides to get ready for the big day. We had an event a couple weeks ago and by the end of the night, most folks had moved into the kitchen. It felt like I was hosting a party in my own home. 

We’ve also got a huge tent out by the gardens which can hold upwards of 400 people. It’s a space that can serve so many different functions from galas to very large weddings, corporate events, anniversary parties but also more intimate gatherings. 

What makes Cornman Farms different from another event space?

I think the biggest thing that sets us apart is that we are operating on a real working farm. It’s not just a pastoral backdrop. Chef Alex is still running the farm with his family (his wife Kelly is the Herd Manager) and longtime Farm Manager Mark Baerwolf (who also worked with me in the Roadhouse kitchen). Having a full scale farm has led to some interesting escapades. We’ve had to tell more than one curious guest to please not venture over into the adjacent goat barn at night. If our goats are going to give us great milk, they need their rest!

Putting on the events that we do, I feel absolutely blessed to be able to get much of the food right from the farm. I could envision a dinner where the guests could take part in harvesting the food they’d enjoy that night. This sort of idea is more common in Europe, the Italians call it agritourismo, and I can definitely see it catching on in a community like ours. 

What events will Cornman Farms host?

I think the only limit is the guest’s imagination. We’ve done a handful of events so far and I really think the sky’s the limit. Weddings, birthdays, bar and bat mitzvahs, anniversary dinners, farm dinners, brunches. I envision wine, beer or coffee classes and tastings, cooking demonstrations, farm tours. Maybe we should have a contest where people try to describe and event that we actually can’t do! 

What does that mean to you to be Zingerman’s newest managing partner?

It means everything. It’s such a high standard to live up to. The partners here have been encouraging me and helping me grow for so many years and now I’m in a position to have the same impact on the lives and work of others as they’ve had on mine.

For more information about Cornman Farms, check our our website!

Food, Food Artisans

This Week at Zingerman’s 8/5/14

IMG_4807-2

Art of Growing Great Vegetables Tour Tonight at Cornman Farms

An inside look at our incredible new working farm in Dexter.  This is a chance to spend some time with Farm Manager Mark Baerwolf to learn the secrets of his work with sustainable farming.  You’ll head home with a host of farming tips and a bag full of fabulous vegetables from the farm. Tuesday, August 5, 530 pm.

reserve your seat here


sesame-semolina-roundBread of the Month at the Bakehouse and the Deli

Sicilian Sesame Semolina Rounds
The traditional golden sesame crusted bread of Sicily, made with 100% semolina and durum wheat flours. The entire loaf is rolled in unhulled sesame seeds. Makes incredible toast or grilled sandwiches! 


buttermilk-cakeCake of the Month at the Bakehouse and the Deli

Buttermilk Cake
Buttery yellow cake filled with raspberry butter cream and covered in smooth vanilla butter cream. The cake itself has an enticing aroma from the sweet Wisconsin butter and the Guernsey family dairy buttermilk.Please enjoy our cakes at room temperature, your patience will be rewarded. 


Prosciutto-di-Parma

Mangia All’Italiana at Zingerman’s Deli

Long live Italian cuisine! Our love for Italian foods goes back decades! Some of our Italian producer relationships date back to first few years after the Deli opened its doors in 1982. We’re loaded up with Italian olive oils, cheeses, meats, fish, sauces, pastas, olives, veggies, nuts, gelato; the list goes on and on. Stop by anytime during August and taste your way through our selection.


Mustards Galore at Zingerman’s Mail Order

Take a look at our collection of great mustards for every occasion! Whether it’s the traditional sharp yellow of Raye’s Yellow Down East Schooner Mustard, a great selection of sturdy German mustards from Kleinhettestedt, or the unique caviar-like feel of American Spoon Whole Seed Mustard, we’ve got you covered!

Try the Brownwood Farms Famous Kream Mustard (used on sandwiches at the Deli!) or the North African spice of Dulcet Moroccan Mustard, or any of the many others. They’re guaranteed to make you re-think great mustard!

Next week and Beyond:

Retro Cocktails Class at Cornman Farms

You can see it now: New York, Madison Avenue, the 1960′s. When a man was a guy, a woman was a doll, and everyone knew how to make a decent Manhattan. Delicious cocktails were a mainstay of mid-century entertaining, as seen on the AMC series, Mad Men. On Monday, August 11, 7pm, we’re offering a class that will focus on applying today’s standards for quality in cocktails to classics like the Old Fashioned, Tom Collins and Manhattan. Along the way, you’ll learn about garnishing and glassware to make your drink look as good as it tastes. There will be appetizers based on the creations of the 50′s and 60′s, but with a bit of farm-fresh polish. This is a hands-on class, with lots of tasting opportunities!
Prizes will be awarded to everyone who comes dressed in period attire!

reserve your seat here


Intro to Cornman Farms Tour

Enjoy a fascinating introduction to Cornman Farms’ rich history, agricultural projects and humane raising of animals. We’ll even throw in a taste of one of our seasonal vegetables! Wednesday, August 13, 6 pm.

reserve your seat here


Fresh Mozzarella & Cornman Farms Tomato Party at Zingerman’s Creamery

August is the very height of tomato season at Cornman Farms. And what better way to enjoy fresh tomatoes than with fresh mozzarella? On Friday, August 15, 6pm, Farm Manager Mark Baerwolf will visit the Creamery to talk about the beginnings of Cornman Farms, and the wide variety of delicious heirloom tomato breeds he grows. We’ll taste smoked mozzarella, fiore di latte, burrata, and mozzarella rolls, along with a nice sampling of our heirloom tomatoes. Don’t miss it! 

reserve your seat here


Inaugural Dinner at Cornman Farms

Join us on Friday, August 15, 6pm for our very first farm feast! We’ll start off with a champagne cocktail hour and then enjoy a traditional farm meal just a few yards from where the crops are grown. Belly up to our Tomato Bar and taste the unique flavors in our many heirloom varietals. Dig in to our traditional potato latkes made from potatoes fresh from the fields. Savor ham from Niman Ranch hogs smoked in our historic smokehouse just a few feet from the barn. Top it all off with just-picked-blueberry pie for dessert. Roadhouse Chef Alex Young and Cornman Farms Managing Partner Kieron Hales will tell the story of the farm at this very first of many family-style dinners on our farm.

reserve your seat here


10th Annual Piazza Zingermanza at Zingerman’s Deli

Join us for our annual August tradition of transforming the Deli’s Patio into an Italian Street Food Fest! There will be great food, music, interesting demonstrations, great specials on food, and lots of good company.  It’s an event not to be missed!
Saturday, August 16 & Sunday, August 17, 11am – 3pm.

Demonstration schedule:

12:00pm – Our expert cheesemongers will break open an 80-pound wheel of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and turn it into manageable chunks!

1:00pm – Our cheesemongers will transform Bel Gioiso cheese curd into delectable fresh mozzarella balls!

2:00pm – Our Deli retail experts will hand-slice real prosciutto right off the bone!

This event is FREE!


Italian Wine and Cheese tasting at Zingerman’s Events on 4th

Spend a late summer evening tasting a fine selection of wine and cheese pairings. Italy has a wide variety to offer in both categories so we’ll embark on a culinary tour that highlights Italy’s different regions and the tasty combinations they produce. Our wine and cheese tastings sell out quickly so reserve your seat soon!

reserve your seat here

See you soon!

Food, Food Artisans

Help Us Celebrate Ypsi-Arbor Beer Week!

Stop by Zingerman’s Creamery for samples of great local beers!

Since we started selling beer, wine and mead at our shop at the Zingerman’s Creamery, we’ve met a lot of Michigan’s amazing brewers and tasted a lot of great Michigan beer! We are incredibly lucky to have so many great homegrown brews here in the mitten!

So, we’re helping celebrate the great craft beer culture in Michigan by hosting a series of tastings in conjunction with Ypsi-Arbor Beer Week!

The brewfest lasts August 1-9, and we’ll be giving out samples of great Michigan beer, along with samples of of great cheeses to go with that beer! Stop in for the cheese, stay for the beer!

See you soon! 

Food, ZingLife

The Gardens at Cornman Farms

Tractor-Planting

A chat with Farm Manager Mark Baerwolf

Mark Baerwolf is one of the original Roadhouse employees. Since 2005, Mark has divided his time between cooking at the Roadhouse and managing the agricultural operations at Cornman Farms. He helped open the restaurant, and soon found himself enamored of Executive Chef Alex Young’s dream of bringing fresh, pesticide-free produce to the dinner plate. When the opportunity to work on the farm came along, Mark jumped at the chance.

These days Mark spends his summers outside tending the crops growing on the farm and his winters poring through seed and farm equipment catalogs and planning for the next year’s harvest. You’ll still find him in the Roadhouse kitchen occasionally though now he’s more than likely preparing food that he raised.

This season has brought some big changes to Cornman. With the opening of the event barn at the farm house, we have also created a new garden space on the property. I toured the gardens with Mark out at the farm to learn a bit more about Zingerman’s work to bring the farm to the table.

“Heirloom vegetables are like a step back in time. They’re history on display.” Mark is talking about the new garden beds at Cornman Farms. The beds lie on the low ground near the restored barn, and Mark and his crew are busy planting herbs in the hot sun. His face is flushed, and he’s holding a handful of chive plants. “But heirlooms and such are not just about history, they’re also about connections to family and friends.”

Take the chives, for example. “They came from a friend of mine. They’re just chives, but they represent something deeper. They have a history that’s not really heirloom, but it’s important.” The plants, it turns out, are direct descendants of chives that were brought to Michigan nearly 70 years ago by Polish immigrants who’d originally arrived in Philadelphia in the early 20th century. When they decided to move to the Mitten in the late 40′s, the chives, and a bunch of other herbs and vegetables, traveled with them. “Like a lot of people who lived through that time,” says Mark, “they always had a little Depression survival garden going.”

“These are walking onions.” Mark goes on to describe the plant’s ability to spread by “walking.” When the onion stalks reach a certain height, they develop a tiny onion bulb at the top of the plant. As the bulb grows larger, it pulls the long stalk over to the ground, where it roots in. As the new bulb matures, it grows its own stalk and tiny bulb, and the process is repeated. This is how the plant “walks” itself over open ground to proliferate. “I got the walking onions from a server at the Roadhouse,” he says.

The gardens don’t really have an official name yet, but Cornman staff have been calling them the “Educational Garden” to differentiate them from the vast expanse of rows known as the “Production Garden,” which supplies the Roadhouse. “What you see here,” he says, gesturing to the new beds in front of the barn, “is a reflection of what’s happening out in the production areas. We wanted people to see a sample of the varieties of heirlooms we’re growing out here.” The garden integrates the ideas of traditional, beneficial, and sustainable farming practices they’ve been using at Cornman Farms for the past eight years.

Back inside the farmhouse, Mark shows me a website run by Slow Food USA called the Ark of Taste. The site is a knowledge repository of our collective food heritage here in the US. Listed within are all manner of heirloom fruits and vegetables, animal breeds, forgotten and “lost” foods, and even traditional and heirloom recipes. “I encourage the chefs at the Roadhouse to look here for inspiration. There’s so much great stuff here.”

Mark goes on to tell me that when it comes to the many varieties of heirloom tomatoes, squash, and peppers listed on the Ark of Taste, most are currently grown on the farm. The exceptions are the varietals more suited to southern climes, unable to handle our northern winters. “This year, we’ve got 40-45 different types of heirloom tomatoes growing out there,” says Mark. “Many of these heirloom breeds have documentation going back to the Civil War, some back nearly 200 years!” He also makes the point that the very oldest heirlooms were shared with European settlers by indigenous peoples who had likely been cultivating them for thousands of years.

“We really wanted to tap into this, to use heirloom breeds and recipes. A great example is the pepper vinegar we serve at the Roadhouse.” The recipe comes from an old Pennsylvania Dutch Civil War-era cookbook called Die Geschickte Hausfrau (“The Handy Housewife”) that used a spicy hinkelhatz pepper. Mark and Alex stared growing the hinkelhatz at the farm, added it to a good cider vinegar, and it has become a staple at the restaurant. “We used the heirloom pepper, the heirloom recipe. It was great way of carrying this food forward to the 21st century.”

When fully planted, the new garden will be a sort of microcosm of the larger farm. Guests will be able to stroll between the beds and see heirloom varieties of squash, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and herbs of all types. And even though some might be “just chives,” they’ll all have a story. And whether it’s a tale of deep history from the early days of North American civilization, a connection to generations who came before, or just a great flavor, Mark is sure to know the story. And if you have a few minutes, he’d be happy to share it with you.

Want to learn more? Sign up for a tour of Cornman Farms and hear it from the people who work there! More information here.