Over the holidays, we spent some time in Northern Michigan and had the opportunity to drive on my favorite stretch of road, M-119. In the summer, the road winds its way perched high on the cliffs above Lake Michigan. Looking through the oaks and over the edge, you can see the water crash into the shores below. In the winter, this road can be treacherous. Covered in ice and snow, it winds from Harbor Springs north to Mackinaw City. M-119, gets it’s nickname, “The Tunnel of Trees”, from the hardwoods that canopy the road in their autumnal shroud of vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. In the fall, the leaves are alight with color. But in Christmas time, as the wind whips icy off the lake, the barren trees spread their foreboding limbs across the sky.
Just north of Harbor a few miles, on the right side before and after one of those lovely sets of icy S curves, there’s a lovely farm called “Pond Hill”. They are doing some fantastic down home work there. When my Mom described it to me, she said, “It’s like going to Grandma Paul’s cellar”. I thought that would be cool to check out. My Great Gram Paul’s cellar was a place of great culinary adventures when I was a young girl. So off we went in the ice and the snow, down The Tunnel of Trees to Pond Hill Farms. They have everything a major farm produces. They have cattle, pigs, lamb and chickens. Which they of course then turn around, butcher, sell the bi-products and meat from in their cellar freezers. They have some horses. In the summer they have large gardens brimming with fresh produce. They also have some winter gardens in their greenhouses with crisp springtime salad mix and other hothouse vegetables growing. In the cellar, they offer the end of last falls root vegetable crop and some other varieties of squash. They have an amazing selection of home canned goods like heirloom tomato sauce, pickled beets, corn relish, and jellies. I took home a large container of dill pickles.
After we wandered around the cellar for a while ogling at all the yummy food, we walked up the stairs into the top of the barn. There we found a large lobby with picnic tables and nice large windows overlooking the entire property. Through another door and we found our selves in a large bar room. There was a beautiful slice of local oak straight from the farm all shiny and shellacked for us to sit at. Pond Hill Farms also produces a hit wine series under the label Harbor Springs Winery. They have won several awards for their Pinot Grigio and offer several popular wine varieties like a Chardonnay, Riesling and a Red Table Wine. They mainly get their grapes from the Lelenau Peninsula, just South and around the Lake. I believe they also mentioned some grapes from Washington State but those only appear in their reds. I’ve had many wine samples throughout Michigan since I have turned legal age. (LOL) Usually I find Michigan wine to be young and immature in flavor. Often, it has a short window of enjoyment for me. However, at Harbor Springs Winery, this is not at all the case. I found their Pinto Grigio to be an excellent representation of a crisp white wine that would be a fine accompaniment to any fish or chicken dish. They also had a fresh cider on draft. Talk about a nice crisp way to enjoy your apple a day. Yum.
If you find yourself near Harbor Springs, it’s only a short jaunt over to the Farm. You really should pay them a visit. They are open daily from 8 – 6p. (Closed for major holidays.)
Pond Hill Farms 5581 S Lake Shore Drive Harbor Springs, MI 49740 email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 231-526-FARM