That Michigan Moment

That Michigan Moment in August

It's that Michigan Moment in August when you have spent a sun drunk morning at the beach in Lake Michigan for the hundredth time this year and you long for a hundred more days before summer closes.  With sand dusting your feet and salt lingering on your lips from your lunch of potato crisps you shake out your beach blanket and venture to the car for a drive in the countryside.  After a short respite from the late summer sun and a chorus from the back seat of the car you pull over at DeGrandchamps Blueberry farm to pick a sweet treat for dessert tonight. Gathering white buckets, you watch as they dash down the rows of blueberry bushes bursting with fat ripe clusters of berries searching for the just-right bounty.  They reach their young tanned hands out and with an initial tiny plop and ping the blueberries start to fill the buckets.  The little one dives between rows to discover all the hidden places. We all exclaim "Look at this one!"  "This is the perfect blueberry!"  "I found the biggest one yet!"  Your fingertips become stained blue as you continue harvesting nature's perfect jewel.  Your lips are sweet with the taste of blueberries as you test every third berry you pick.  Fresh blueberries warmed by the sun are delicious like nothing else in the world and you treasure the goodness almost as much as you treasure the moment witnessing your children relishing in nature and food.  With your blueberry buckets brimming to the edge you start the trip home with the perfect summer anthem playlist in the car, the taste of blueberries on your tongues, the anticipation of blueberry cobbler after dinner.  After a hundred days of summer the sun is getting lower earlier every evening and you know the days at the lake are nearing their end as summer begins to close.  Blueberry picking is the last sweet gift of the summer.  And lucky you with the eager pickers you can preserve today's blueberries for the taste of summer all winter long, giving you the glimpse of another hundred grand days at the beach next year.  And more blueberries to come.

That Michigan Moment by Dena Robles
blueberry picking in michigan
blueberry farms South Haven Michigan
DeGrandchamps Blueberry Farm South Haven MI
That Michigan Moment in August
kids picking blueberries in the summer
Harvesting Blueberries
Making blueberry cobbler
blueberry cobbler photography
kids in the kitchen
that michigan moment in august with instant film and blueberries

The nature of shooting film means that sometimes your stories aren't shared until a month, sometimes two later.  The beauty of shooting film is getting to stare out your kitchen window at a scene of brilliant autumn foliage on November 1st and pull a bag of handpicked blueberries from the freezer to make blueberry cobbler and getting to relive the summer days all over again, in your kitchen AND in photographs and in your memories. Long live summer.  And film.  

That Michigan Moment in June

It's that Michigan Moment in June when the two day rainstorm has finally subsided and the air is as hot and heavy as a wet wool sweater and the sun is trying to break through the sky. The only sounds are the guitar strums from the upstairs window and the laughter of the girls in the pool two doors down. The tastes you are craving are the fresh cold berries from the market and the abundance of mint growing in your garden all dripping in fresh lime juice and a splash of rum as you sit on the still wet porch to peruse an old favorite book about summer, all while waiting for dusk. Because with this heat, and this humidity, tonight could be the night that the fireflies make their first appearance of the season.

That Michigan Moment in June by Dena Robles

Michigan Moment in February

That Michigan Moment in February when the relentless cold has you boxed in like a sleepy bear in a cave.  You remain lazy and unproductive, buried under a heated blanket in front of a fireplace waiting out the storm.  The snow is icy and crunchy and brown, not worthy of a snowman or a sled.  You long for the smell of the earth again, a break in the clouds, a tiny sprout of green to poke through the snow pack.  You press your face against the window searching for a sign of life only to pull back quickly from the frostbitten glass.  It doesn't matter what the groundhog sees because living in Michigan, you know you are enduring winter for the long haul.  It's time to warm yourself from the inside out.  

On a quiet Sunday morning the smells from the kitchen are of vanilla, cinnamon, cream, eggs, maple syrup and french bread sizzling in a pan of real butter, melding all the aromas into a comforting and satisfying plate of thick french toast.  You wrap yourself tighter in your blanket, curl up your feet enrobed in warm wool socks, pour hot fresh coffee from the french press and then spoon homemade blueberry syrup from last August's blueberry harvest over the sweet french toast and tuck in to one of the amazing delights of being snowed in. Everything is right with this moment...and winter will pass soon.  Maybe next week is when the first early crocus will sprout through the snow, upholding the promise of the groundhog.

Pure Michigan winter photos, editorial photographer dena robles
Food styling and photography by Michigan photographer Dena Robles
Winter in Michigan, French toast by food photographer Dena Robles
Editorial and commercial food photographer Dena Robles and The Kitchen Table
Michigan blueberries on french toast by food photographer Dena Robles
Food photography and styling by  Dena Robles Grand Rapids Michigan
Food narratives, Michigan Moment in February by Dena Robles