One day last year, before Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate owners Jody and DC Hayden purchased the retail space next to Margaret Hodge’s Anchor Hardware—across M-22 from the Empire Village Inn—DC counted the number of cars that drove by and determined that Empire gets twice as much traffic north of the M-22 and M-72 intersection than south, where M-22 heads toward Benzie County. That sealed the deal.

Here are the winners of this year’s Empire Asparagus Festival recipe contest, held earlier this month in Empire.

Fun and games always seem to follow Bob Sutherland. The Cherry Republic owner frequently walks around Glen Arbor sans shoes; his weekly “Orchard Report” emails describe sons Colebrook and Hawthorn playing in the Sleeping Bear Dunes, and cherry pit spitting contests are an important part of the visit to Cherry Republic’s campus.

Free to enter, this year’s Empire Asparagus Festival recipe competition on Saturday, May 19, is open to anyone who loves asparagus. Participants create asparagus dishes for the public to sample while competing for cash prizes.

The quirky local festival featuring the pungent green stalk returns to Leelanau. The Empire Asparagus Festival returns for its 15th delectable year.

Don’t miss this annual foodie event happening in Leelanau County Friday, April 27, until Saturday, May 5. Throughout the week, book a time to dine at each restaurant on the list for a unique and mouth-watering experience.

Taste the Local Difference (TLD), Michigan’s local food marketing agency and a social enterprise of the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, is facilitating a state funded grant called Building Healthy Communities (BHC) that creates local change for better health.

Thousands of children and adults statewide will crunch into fresh Michigan apples on Wednesday, Oct. 25, in the fifth annual Michigan Apple Crunch, sponsored by Cherry Capital Foods.

One of the highlights of living or vacationing in Leelanau County during the summer is the proliferation of fresh fruits and vegetables and locally produced meats, cheeses, honey, maple syrup, jams and jellies, flowers and baked goods found at roadside stands and farmers markets. For many, a weekly, or twice weekly, visit to one of the county’s five farmers markets is a tradition, not only for purchasing local products but for chatting with vendors, socializing with other customers (and dogs!) and taking photos.

After five years of primarily growing apples and nurturing their garden along, Tom and Christy Wiesen, with help from daughter Sofia, are already thriving in their first year of selling produce. After being hop growers who helped their family start the hop farm along M-72, Tom and Christy decided to branch out on their own with fruit and produce.