squash boom beet, lisa maxbauer price, old mission peninsula farms, farm stands
Lisa Maxbauer Price, Author of 'Squash Boom Beet' | Lisa Maxbauer Price Photo
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When nutrition journalist and Old Mission resident Lisa Maxbauer Price set out to write her first children’s book all about beautiful farm foods, she didn’t have to go far for inspiration. This fifth-generation native of Traverse City simply looked around. The result is her new book Squash Boom Beet: An Alphabet for Healthy, Adventurous Eaters ($18.85). It is a hardcover field guide that features colorful vegetables grown at 56 Northern Michigan farms and gardens, many of them right here on the Old Mission Peninsula.

Tomatillos | Lisa Maxbauer Price Photo

The goal of Squash Boom Beet, which quickly became a local best seller, was to empower kids and families to become brave eaters. The author is also bringing some much deserved attention to the hardworking farmers who make this area special. In fact, all the featured farms are listed in the credits of the book, along with a map of the area.

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Lisa gave the Old Mission Gazette the “inside story” on the many important ways that Old Mission Peninsula played a role in Squash Boom Beet. Here’s what we learned…

  • The gardens at First Congregational Church are featured in the opening scene of the book, kicking off the playful story: “Stomp your feet. Squash the ground. It’s time to explore all around. March to the garden. Listen to the beat. Get ready to find something wild to eat!”
  • Flip to the “C” page and you’ll see red cabbage that was grown at Ocanas Farms.
  • Whenever Lisa reads the book in public – during school or library visits – she always gets a cheers when kids see the morel mushroom photo. Those morels were foraged by Adele Wunsch of Old Mission’s Wunsch Farms.
  • The tomatillos were grown at Nicholas Farms and Vineyard. Lisa says their farm stand on Center Road is always a hit when she’s looking for tasty tomatoes or unique offerings like lemon cucumbers.
  • When you spot the Yukon Gold potatoes in the book, know that they are from Tabone Orchards and Vineyards.
  • Some Old Mission residents contributed to the book, too. Kris Rockwood, owner of Press On Juice, supplied some beet juice for a photo shoot. The orange nasturtium (an edible flower) was photographed on-site in the home garden of Tim and Kellie Cutler, who live in Horizon Hills off Wilson Road. And the black garlic was prepared by resident Karin Chung.
  • Even the sunflower that appears in the collage at the end of the book was proudly grown on the property of Old Mission Peninsula School by beloved janitor Mr. Randy.
  • The finale of the story stars zucchini that survived a hail storm at Between the Bays (Warren Orchards). The story reads: “Saved the best for last. Alert! Alert! Zucchini is a farm food you can eat for dessert!” Lisa adds that Warren’s farm stand on Island View Road is a reliable source for classic farm food like cabbage and zucchini, as well as sweets like homemade pies and fresh maple syrup.
squash boom beet, lisa maxbauer price, old mission peninsula farms, farm stands
Zucchini | Lisa Maxbauer Price Photo

With so many nods to the area, it’s no doubt the book is a favorite among locals. And since winning two national book awards this fall, Squash Boom Beet is helping readers far and wide get a peek at the beautiful food and farms that we’re lucky enough to have close to home.

This unique book makes a great holiday gift for kids, families (and even grown ups looking for help decoding their CSA baskets.) You can find copies of Squash Boom Beet in Traverse City at Horizon Books, Press On Juice, Brilliant Books and Oryana Food Co-op. Lisa will also be doing a special holiday book signing at Horizon Books on Wednesday, Dec. 21 from Noon to 2 pm.

Learn more about Squash Boom Beet at the book’s Website, Facebook and Twitter page, and follow Lisa on Twitter.



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