Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Local food

In the past few years local food has become more and more of a thing. Restaurants promote menus that feature produce or meats from local farms, supermarkets highlight items that haven't been shipped halfway around the world before hitting the shelves, and of course farmers' markets are becoming more popular. This particular product, however, was a first for me:
Sugar. Sugar that is "pure Michigan." I knew there had been sugar refineries in Michigan in the past, but I did not know there were any still operating. When I think sugar refineries that process sugar beets (because this far north that's obviously what they're dealing with) what always comes to mind is the sugar packaged in the GW bags, the Great Western sugar cooperative in Colorado. I knew farmers grew sugar beets in Michigan -- there are always mountains of them available for deer bait in the fall -- but I didn't know any of it was actually being used for making sugar. 

So I googled Pioneer Sugar. Turned out the company is huge, the third largest sugar producer in the country, and has been around since 1906. It is now a cooperative collectively owned by the farmers who grow the sugar beets. It operates six refineries. So why am I just now seeing what is definitely a Michigan product being sold in the U.P.? I don't know. I do know it's now the cheapest brand at Larry's so regardless of why it's just now showing up on the shelves, as long as it's there it's probably what I'm going to buy.