Tag Archives: Ann Arbor Sugar Beet

Ann Arbor Sugar Beet update

After

A few weeks ago, I had posted the unfortunate news about how my sugar beets went moldy. I throw them in my compost pile and figured I would have to get around to mixing them in or covering them.

Well I went out to the pile and found them all gone. Look at the before and after photo. We are talking about 350 Lbs of beets.

Before

There were deer prints around the pile and I assume they had a good feast of the beets.

Basically, deer love sugar beets. Sugar beets seeds are actually sold to private deer hunting land owners, so they can grow them to bait deer for hunting season.

Last year, I grew my beets at the MBG community garden which has a 10 foot high metal fence around it to keep out the deer. This year, I will be at the county farm park garden which does not have a fence.

The Beet Stops Here

OK. For those following the Ann Arbor Sugar Beet Project, I have some bad news to report. But before I give my report, lets recap some of the successes.

1. Successful found non-gmo seeds
2. Planted the seeds and yielded about 50LBs of non-gmo sugar beets
3. Got a bunch of people to grow sugar beets too
4. Joined up with Amish farmer Danny Miller who also grew sugar beets
5. Was written up in Edible Wow
6. Had a successful fundraiser for equipment
7. Did a successful sugar beet molasses test with about 15LBS

OK. so where am I now with the project?

I looked in my bins where I was storing my beets to discover that they were all molding. I think the warm then cold weather did the beets in, which I kept outside in the cold winter.

Ann Arbor Food

The result is about 350LBs of moldy beets, which are now food for the compost pile.

With that said, I have two pounds of seed and all of the equipment to give it another go.

What basically happened is that the places/kitchens that I had arranged to use to process the beets fell through and I was not able to find a kitchen. I stored them outside in the cool fall temperatures, for what I figure would be a week or so, but it was longer. Too long it turned out.

As for the people who still have beets in the ground, I really cannot say if they have retained enough sugar to make it worth while to make sugar from them or if the had gone to starch, but we can do a small batch test. If it works, we might be able to savage the project some.

So what is the lesson and the plan for next year?

For starters, I am thinking smaller this year. If people want to grow beets I will provide them with some of my seed and if they need to borrow my juicer and seltzer bottle and containers for a small at home production I am willing to help..

But I am not planning a large scale sugar beet party that would require the use of a kitchen larger than my own.

The idea was to start a project that promoted people in the Ann Arbor area (and where ever they can grow sugar beets) who were interested in local food to bring back the tradition of at home beet sugar making.

If you would like to grow sugar beets this year and you want some seed, I would be happy to mail you some.

$1.oo gets you 2TBS of non-gmo sugar beet seeds (shipping by regular mail included), enough to plant about 5 x 10 foot plot or more (50-75 beets),
$2.00 gets 4TBS, $3.00 gets 6TBS….etc.

Click the donate button to purchase seed using Paypal.


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Ann Arbor Sugar Beet Project Update

Ann Arbor Food

Sugar Beet

Howdy folks,

Here is a picture of one of my sugar beets. Actually it is the best one of the bunch. Most are smaller than I would have liked because I got them in late this year, but I still think I will have some beets to make into sugar this year. An Omish farmer at the Westside said that he was growing sugar beets too, so the plan is to buy a sack off of him to use to test the process just in cast our sugar beet harvest craps out. This is really a tester year for next year when I hope to have a quarter acre in production.

Sugar Making Party Oct 24th

I am still looking for a location to host the event, but it will be in the Ann Arbor area. I will post the actually location on my event section of this blog. Plan on having your beets harvested, wash and ready to make into sugar. If you have a large heavy bottom pot (not a canning pot), bring it.

Please email me with any questions.

chefbrian1@yahoo.com

TT Super Club: Fundraiser for The Ann Arbor Sugar Beet Project

Ann Arbor Food

I have attended several charity dinner parties host by Tammy Coxen of TT Super Club. I was always a guess for those events, but this time I had the honor of helping host the event to support my local food project The Ann Arbor Sugar Beet Project. The idea around the Sugar Beet Project is to bring back local home garden non-gmo/organic sugar beet growing, and home sugar beet sugar making. Growing beets, and making beet sugar was a tradition that most Michiganders used to do. Sugar was not alway the cheap, and easily available product it is today. I and several other gardeners and farmers are growing sugar beets with the hope to produce sugar from them. The further goal is to increase our production in order to provide a viable source of local, non-gmo (and even organic) Brand of Michigan Beet Sugar.

We raised $316 for the project. The money will go toward securing more non-gmo seed, and purchasing equipment for sugar making like a juicer extractor, a large stock pot, a seltzer bottle, milk of lime, and a large food grade container.

I also brought over two trays of sugar beet starts, which I am happy to say were all planted.

Here are the pics from the meal:

Ann Arbor Food

Raspberry Gazpacho

Ann Arbor Food

Salad of Haricot Verts w/chive oil, Tomato Tartare, Microgreens

Ann Arbor Food

Fave Bean Agnoletti w/curry emulsion

Ann Arbor Food

Rabbit Rillette, warm potatoes, w/shallot vinaigrette, and home pickled vegetable

Ann Arbor Food

Bison Tenderloin, w beets, blueberries, and fennel

Ann Arbor Food

fresh Mozzarella, Banon Capriole, Fiore Sardo, Blue d’Auvergne, w/pickled raisins, creamed raw honey, and sour cherry perserves

Ann Arbor Food

Chocolate Layer Cake w/ganache frosting, edivle flowers w/brandied cherry vanilla ice cream

Ann Arbor Food

Carbonated Cherries, date walnut cake with Rooibos-Orange Shortbread