At the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, there are many interesting vendors with captivating stories and products, but one in particular stands out to me: Young Earth Farm located in Decatur, MI. The face and backbone of Young Earth Farm belongs to Dave Warkentien, a man who radiates authenticity and happiness manifested in a simple conversation with him. Dave specializes in producing various types of meat including bacon, whole chickens, sausage, pork chops, and steaks. Dave promises that none of his meat contains MSG, nitrates, or added hormones. All of his animals are fed a vegetarian diet and are free to roam on a pasture or in the woods. Dave says his pork products are best-sellers because they use Heritage breeds only, which yield higher quality meat and flavor.

In addition, Dave sells something unique that no other vendors carry- fresh fish from Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula caught by Native Americans, specifically the Ojibwa and Cherokee tribes.

The Native Americans usually catch a variety of lake trout, white fish, salmon, walleye, perch and smelt. Immediately after catching it, they proceed to filet and pack it on ice so it arrives to Young Earth Farm as fresh as possible. Fish, especially salmon, is an excellent, low-calorie source of protein that is packed with healthy fats, such as essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These two essential (“essential” means the body cannot make it so it must consume it) omega-3 fatty acids take primary roles in keeping the heart healthy and assist with brain functioning. Fish has also been shown to reduce blood triglycerides (triglycerides are fat) and contain vitamins A and B, which help with overall cellular energy and functioning. Replacing a steak or pork meal with fish at least once a week is a great way to increase consumption of these nutrients. Grilling, baking (see the recipe below!) or pan-frying fish with various herbs and spices are all delicious ways to prepare it. Eating fish from Young Earth Farm will not only satisfy your body’s need for omega-3’s and other vitamins, but you will also be supporting a unique, local business that practices sustainable fishing. Be sure to check them out at the Kalamazoo Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 7am-2pm!

Recipe: Ginger Sesame Salmon



1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp sesame seeds
4 green onions, thinly sliced
4 (5-ounce) salmon filets

Honey Sesame Glaze:

2 tbsp honey
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp Sriracha
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp sesame seeds


1. In a medium bowl, prepare the ginger marinade. Whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds and green onions.

2. In a large bowl, combine ginger marinade and salmon filets; cover, and marinate for at least 30 minutes to overnight, stirring occasionally.

3. To make the glaze, whisk together honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, ginger and sesame seeds in a small bowl; set aside

4. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.

5. Place salmon filets along with the marinade onto prepared baking dish and bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.

6. Brush honey sesame glaze on top of salmon, serve immediately.