Think inside the box Some folks relish rising before sunrise to feed the chickens and harvest the fields, but if you're like us, you'd rather hold out for the sun and have farm-fresh food waiting on your doorstep. Door to Door Organics understands, and that's why they've created the Farm Box — a customizable collection of high-quality, locally grown produce that connects farmers directly with hungry householders throughout the metro area. Available for order through late October, the Farm Box can be filled with items such as potatoes, berries, poultry, coffee beans, breads, dairy products — just about anything you want, all from specialized early-risers in the Midwest (with about 60 percent sourced from local farmers). Prices vary based on selections, and each box comes with food origin information and customized recipes inspired by the Door to Door Organics Kitchen. See michigan.doortodoororganics.com to get started.
Garden-hopping The Detroit Agricultural Network is hosting its annual Detroit garden tour in a few weeks. It's a popular outing, so be sure to complete your registration early. Tours of notable personal gardens and community farms are available by bus or bike. The tour takes place Wednesday, Aug. 1; register by calling Ashley Atkinson at 313-237-8736 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To register, give the name of each person attending the tour, a contact phone number, and a contact e-mail address; the charge for the tour is on a sliding scale of $1-$20.
Fresh faces There's a new player in the fresh-and-local movement: the Detroit Youth Food Brigade! The organization has launched a fresh food stand selling sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, baked goods and other seasonal treats, all right outside downtown's outpost for good food and fair labor practices, Colors Restaurant. Purchases made with an electronic bridge card will be redeemable for double value thanks to the Double-Up Food Bucks Program. The stand will be open from noon to 4 p.m. every Friday, outside Colors, at 311 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-496-1212.
What wine goes with art? While the senses of sight and taste are very different, what sort of wine would go with, say, the Ann Arbor Art Fair? We don't know, but the Jonna family, over at Ann Arbor's Vinology, ought to know. They're having a special art opening of their own, featuring "green art" from Michigan artist Steve Zirwes, in a show called Resurrect in Paint. Zirwes will not only display work inside, but will create "green graffiti" just outside Vinology. Drop by on Thursday, July 22, for the unveiling, during which Vinology will be open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Vinology is at 110 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-222-9841; vinowinebars.net.
Summer shellfish sale No, it's not a tongue-twister, it's the truth: Mitchell's Fish Market will be offering low prices on such quality seafood as their "Low Country Shrimp Boil" ($19.99) and a mix of lobster tail, King Crab legs, savory shrimp and mussels, for $29.99, all fresh and regionally sourced. Mitchell's Fish Market has three Detroit-area locations, in Birmingham (117 Willits St.; 248-646-3663), Livonia (17600 Haggerty Rd.; 734-464-3663) and Rochester Hills (370 N. Adams Rd.; 248-340-5900). See mitchellsfishmarket.com for more info.
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Pure Vegan: 70 Recipes for Beautiful Meals
and Clean Living
by Joseph Shuldiner
Chronicle Books, $29.95
If you've ever considered a vegan diet, Pure Vegan: 70 Recipes for Beautiful Meals and Clean Living, by author Joseph Shuldiner and photographer Emily Brooks Sandor, can show you how to give a strictly plant-based diet a whirl. The images, which are dazzling, might help convince the reluctant, and the recipes show that you don't have to give up flavor. Serve light summer rolls with two dipping sauces — one peanut, one soy — and blood orange margaritas as openers for poblano chiles rellenos (baked, not fried) and the tomato three-bean salad pictured on the cover. Back it up with blueberry and Earl Grey sorbet and munch on some maple-chipotle pecan popcorn. Turn your watchword from "flesh" to "fresh."
Fred and his friends are always trying to come up with something quirkier than before. They've succeeded this time with Fred and Friends Lunch Bags, which are imprinted with authentic-looking bugs that are sure to gross out anyone who doesn't eat insects. Kids love to offer treats to their unsuspecting pals, no doubt delighting in their reactions. Imagine passing some candies to the timid little third grade girl sitting next to you and waiting for her to bug out. Moms can shock their own kids too. Not a bad idea to relieve boredom. Get a 24-pack for $6.49 at Amazon.