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It is fall and time for a celebration of everyone’s hard work this summer!

Port Oneida-house Morning light shining down on the Kelderhouse home

This joyful occasion is dedicated to the first bounty in over 50 years, we’ve planned this dinner to celebrate Jim Kelderhouse’s organization known as the Port Oneida Community Association. Proceeds from the dinner will go to the Port Oneida Community Association. We will raise a gracious toast to Jim and his group of volunteers. We will enjoy amazing food and charming company and we celebrate not only their hard work but, the return of an even more beautiful Historic Port Oneida. We at Cherry Republic have decided to dress up our cafe and show off all of our culinary prowess here at our Glen Arbor campus next Wednesday (October 14th). We are partnering with the historic Port Oneida Farm that will have its first harvest in over 50 years.

pot-flowers Flowers waiting to be picked and arranged by Jim who is a master florist

We have all the tools - two Culinary Institute of America trained chefs, lots of experienced servers and, a great space to decorate. The historic Port Oneida Farm is supplying all of the amazing seasonal ingredients.

The Historic farm event will be a pre-fix dinner, so a few of our winery staff will be happily pairing each course to wine and specialty drinks. My mother and I will host and we look forward to sharing some stories with all who attend. My Mom and I together means we are all guaranteed to have a few laughs.

Check in starts at 6pm at the Cherry Republic Winery (Glen Arbor location). Once you’ve signed in, head over to the bar for a special wine cocktail we’ve created for this event. Take some time to meet the other guests and, at 6:30 you will be escorted over to the cafe for a pre-fix dinner.

pumpkin-patch Cinderella pumpkins getting big

Here is some background on the event

port-garden A small peak at the gardens

The food is grown by Jim Kelderhouse at his ancestral farm which was started by his ancestors in 1865. The Kelderhouse’s ended up owning hundreds of acres around Port Oneida, but when the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore were formed, their land was purchased by the Federal Government. His family choose to move outside the park boundaries, but they have stayed in contact with their land all these years.

At one time, the National Park Service planned that the Dunes would be left to return to their natural wild splendor. The homes would slowly be demolished and the fields would eventually return to deep woods. But, the park moves slow and for good reason. Over time, they came to realize what a terrific historic resource the Port Oneida area was. The landscape really hasn’t changed over the past 100 years and that is rare in this fast moving world. A historic district was formed and a new goal was initiated in the park-- preserve the historic character of this special section of the dunes.

Slowly, with the help of many volunteers and organizations, the fields, which were overgrown with shrubs and young saplings, have been cleared and turned back to hay fields. The homes have been fixed with new roofs and fresh paint and, the yards are well manicured. It wasn’t long before the idea of having a working farm in Port Oneida Historic District came up, but it seemed so far away from reality. Until this summer, when Jim Kelderhouse applied for a special permit to grow crops and it was enthusiastically granted by the park service and he and friends and neighbors started working the soil and planting seeds.

Over the summer those seeds have thrived in the fertile soil behind the Kelderhouse farmhouse. It is finally time to celebrate the success of this new venture and see if it can turn into more. Apple trees are being grafted now and one day an orchard that consists of heritage apple trees will also be thriving on this farm. Might some farm animals be raised at Port Oneida? I do know that these shuttered farms bring more joy to those who pass with the new life that is being breathed into them.
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