Pioneers & Big Chiefs in Michigan Locally Grown & Locally Owned

Over the last year Carlyle Grill has spotlighted and written about it’s local Michigan partners who provide locally grown food stuffs to our scratch kitchen. Today the message is raw and about Michigan Sugar.

The Sands Of Time

From the smallest grain, to the table bowl, to simple syrup, to the large bags delivered to our backdoor – sugar is a big part of our life and our foods.

There is that which we are most familiar – ‘Regular’ or White Sugar, and there is also:

  • Fruit Sugar
  • Bakers Special Sugar
  • Superfine, ultrafine or bar sugar
  • Confectioners or powdered sugar
  • Coarse Sugar
  • Sanding Sugar

And these are just in the White Sugar category, it goes on as you consider the likes of

  • Brown Sugar, and
  • Liquid Sugar

Beyond The Sweet Tooth

According to the Sugar Association, beyond its contributions as a sweetener and flavor-enhancer, sugar:

  1. Interacts with molecules of protein or starch during baking and cooking process.
  2. Act as a tenderizer by absorbing water and inhibiting flour gluten development, as well as delaying starch gelatinization.
  3. Incorporates air into shortening in the creaming process.
  4. Caramelizes under heat, to provide cooked and baked foods with pleasing color and aroma.
  5. Speeds the growth of yeast by providing nourishment.
  6. Serves as a whipping aid to stabilize beaten egg foams.
  7. Delays coagulation of egg proteins in custards.
  8. Regulates the gelling of fruit jellies and preserves.
  9. Helps to prevent spoilage of jellies and preserves.
  10. Improves the appearance and tenderness of canned fruits.
  11. Delays discoloration of the surface of frozen fresh fruits.
  12. Enables a wide variety of candies through varying degrees of recrystallization.
  13. Controls the reformation of crystals through inversion (breakdown to fructose and glucose).
  14. Enhances the smoothness and flavor of ice cream.

Never Miss A Beet

Since the 1800’s Michigan sugar has been grown. Stumped as to what to do with the land once the tree industry had deforested the land making it virtually unusable, a simple potato farmer decided he would try his hand at growing sugarbeets. It took a few decades to catch on but this new crop, which replaced the vast open area where once majestic pine forests rules, could be turned in three years making as much as a pine forest which took 100 years to grow.

A Sticky Situation

In 1906, Havemeyer promoted the idea of merging six of the local companies in which his firm had a stock interest into one single company. This was achieved when Alma Sugar Company, Peninsular Sugar Refining Company of Caro, Pioneer Michigan Sugar Company of Bay City, Sebewaing Sugar Company, Sanilac Sugar Refining Company of Croswell and Saginaw Valley Sugar Company of Carrollton were merged and formed Michigan Sugar Company on August 20, 1906.

“Locally Grown. Locally Owned.”

Today, Michigan Sugar Company is the only remaining sugar company in the state. It is the third largest in the United States. It has nearly 1,000 grower-owners, employing 1,500 seasonal employees during peak processing season and 700 year-round employees. It generates nearly one half billion dollars in direct economic activity annually in the local communities in which it operates. Its combined factories have a beet slicing capacity of 22,000 tons per day and an ability to produce over one billion pounds of sugar each year, which it markets under the Pioneer Sugar and Big Chief Sugar brand names.

As it was 100 years ago and like it is today, Michigan Sugar Company, a valued partner of Carlyle Grill are both proud to be local Michigan partners featuring locally grown and locally owned products.