Tag Archives: Food

Michigan schools participating in “Apple Crunch Day” on October 13

An apple at the table

Isabella, Arenac, and Wexford county schools – among others – are planning on crunching on an apple next week for “Apple Crunch Day”.

Michigan Apple Crunch is a statewide campaign aimed at increasing access to healthy, Michigan grown food – specifically apples. Continue reading

Michigan Manufacturing Koegel’s

Koegel’s has been around since Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States. A time where you could enjoy a hotdog at a baseball game, but not a cold beer, liquor was illegal. 100 years later Koegel’s is still making hotdogs, and thriving. Desiree Jordan visits the company for our On the Map tour this week, on Michigan manufacturing.

“machines going”

Koegel’s is a meat manufacturing company that produces 45,000 pounds of product everyday.

“We do ring bologna, we do polish sausage, brockwurst, we have a summer sausage,
John Koegel is company President and grandson to the founder Albert Koegel.
we do some braunschweiger, we do slice lunch and meat, sliced bologna, olive loaf, a pickled loaf, macaroni and cheese loaf, so we have about 64 different items that can be in a store. And it’s all processed right here in this facility. ”

If you believe the old adage, you don’t want to see how the sausage is made, but for John Koegel it was a way of life. He said he’s worked at the family business since he was 12-years old.

“I have been head of our company since probably 1993. Idk I would have to look it’s been so long. We are celebrating our 100th anniversary this year, I’m third generation. Our official day is September 14th, that’s the official day my grandfather incorporated here in Flint.”

Even though Koegel’s is a small company over the years it has expanded, in part, by partnering with Meijer.

“We have about approximately 100 workers that’s including management and sales, sanitation, and crew. If they make it a year, and once all the benefits kick in they usually stay with us for quite some time. We are mainly just in Michigan. We service Michigan off of our own trucks, so we have 12 trucks on the road on a daily basis. We are in Ohio but on with Meijer, Indiana, Kentucky and that’s about it. ”

Serving four states doesn’t leave room for slack. The production line is fully up and running when most of us are just wiping the sleep from our eyes.

“We are up and running 100 percent by 6:30. Back in our kitchen we kind of stagger start because we have to start grinding and chopping so those people start at 5:15.”

Koegel’s has a logical layout to it’s production line.

“So the plant is a true east to west flow. So Bishop airport is right there and it’s just a straight line. So all the raw materials come in here at the east end of our building. Just make their way through the kitchen, cooking, cooling, packaging, shipping, right out the other end. So right on the west end, straight through.”

It all starts with purchasing…

“Our meat we buy everything fresh. We buy of course beef and pork, we check it here for weight, temperature, smell, look, and then we bring it in.”

While on the subject of buying cows, bulls, and pork jaws, Koegel told me the secret to making one of America’s most famous recipes, next to apple pie.

“Now the trick to making a good hot dog is to take the lean meat, so here we’ve taken the bull and the cow and blended it together. We’ve added salt, cure, and water. And we’re extracting the protein from this. So we take the fat and capsulate the fat in a nice protein bond, the people bite the nice texture through the protein, but then we all know the flavor is in the fat, so you get the nice release of flavor in the fat. And that the secret to making a hot dog.”

After the various products are made they are sent to the smokehouses to be cooked and cooled.

“Once we get the product smoked, the coloration like we like it, and the temperature where we want it, we then come down and put it into steam boxes. We steam the product, what it does because we just went through the cooking process we took a lot of moisture of the outside, so we’re pumping the moisture back in. And the steam tenderizes the natural casing, so it tenderizes it. This is the critical control point. So have to check every temperature, and next we start the cooling process.”

The hotdogs are then sent to packaging and shipped out. After the tour of the facility, I talked to Koegel about how it felt to take over the reins at the company. He said not a lot of companies have lasted as long as this one.

“It’s an honor to be guiding a company that has been around that long. To have a product that is still the same as it was a hundred years ago, we’re still making the exact same way my grandfather you know developed it, when he built the business and started the business. So to me not a lot of companies can do that. So I feel really fortunate they allowed to come in and take over.”

Koegel said he hopes the company continues to thrive for the next hundred years and remains in the family.

“I think we are just proud of the whole bundle that we’ve made 100 years, and still going strong, and maybe the chance to go another 25 to 30 or 100 years. Ultimately if I can pass it on to the fourth generation that would be success for me.”

Koegel said it will be interesting to see where his company will go in the coming years. Koegel’s opened its doors in 1916 and doesn’t plan on shutting them any time soon. With 100 employees making hotdogs for four states, Koegel’s has put Flint Michigan on the map.

Genesee County Health Department tests children and babies for lead

file0001956473055The Genesee County Health Department has scheduled what officials call a massive lead screening event this month. The county is working in partnership with state health officials. The event is a part of an ongoing effort to have all children (and babies) within Flint tested for lead poisoning by April 1st.

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Route to prosperity event coming to Northwest MI

Event Breakdown

Event Breakdown

The Northwest Michigan Food Farming Network is attempting to boost the amount of locally sourced food bought and sold in state.

In order to kickstart that goal, the network is holding an event at the end of the month in Traverse city.
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Baby squirrels in Saint Helen are getting some much needed attention, in the form of donated acorns

Photo courtesy of the ARK

Photo courtesy of the ARK

Squirrel’s need TLC too — and one animal rehabilitation center in northern Michigan is collecting acorns to feed them.

The Association to Rescue Kritters, or ARK, in Saint Helen saves all kinds of animals. Continue reading

MI offers assistance given to businesses serving healthy food


Help is now available for groceries and other vendors wanting to offer more fresh, healthy food to their customers.

The Michigan Good Food Fund is a public private partnership, offering loans and grants to businesses in communities where fresh food is not widely available. Continue reading

Northern Michigan ‘Food Hub’ helps local businesses to grow

Michigan foodies said there’s more to local foods than cherries and wine.

And they said lesser known specialties like venison, hummus and beer are now available at stores thanks to what they call, a food hub.
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Community Compassion Network food pantry to close next month

The closing of a local food pantry could affect hundreds of families in Isabella County.

The Community Compassion Network’s stationary food pantry is set to close due to high overhead costs to run the facility.

Tom Olver is President of United Way of Isabella County.

He said, “It’s a real concern. There are some 500 families that have been taking advantage of the services at the stationary pantry on a monthly basis, and we’ve spent the better part of our week communicating with our non-profit organizations and community leaders to try and understand what impact that will have across the community.”

Olver said the network’s mobile food pantries will continue to operate and serve the needs of the community until a new facility is acquired.

The last day guests will be served at the pantry is June 26th.

Michigan farmers fear new rules could jeopardize their operations

 Local farmers worry about the impact proposed new regulations will have on their ability to provide affordable produce to Michigan communities. Photo courtesy of Nic Welty.

Local farmers worry about the impact proposed new regulations will have on their ability to provide affordable produce to Michigan communities. Photo courtesy of Nic Welty.

In light of the rise in food-borne illness outbreaks, the Food and Drug Administration has proposed new regulations for produce farms and food processors, and Michigan’s local farmers fear the changes could unfairly burden their operations and reduce options for consumers.
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