I’m a mom of four, a backyard farmer, and local food lover. My husband loves to bike 15 miles to his office in the summer. My kids regularly bike the Paint Creek and Clinton River trails which wind their way through our hometown in southeast Michigan. So when a friend told me about the biking and local food event along the M-53 corridor in southern Lapeer County called the Tour de Food, it sounded like the perfect family outing.
Now in its 4th year, the Tour de Food (TDF) is a multilevel bike tour and harvest dinner which raises funds for Camp Skyline in Almont, MI. Families with younger children might choose the “tiny trips” from the Camp to different farms and artisans on the scenic gravel roads surrounding the Camp. For more experienced riders and older children the TDF offers routes covering 10 and 20 mile rides to farms and artisans that are further afield. Families could also choose to drive the route and participate in games and activities back at the Camp.
The farm to table dinner, available to be purchased separately, is a delicious, family- friendly experience featuring locally grown fruit, vegetables, and meats from farms on the Tour. The freshly prepared lasagne featuring homemade, homegrown tomato sauce was amazing! And there are vegetarian and gluten-free options for every member of the family.
The stops along the route were a window into local food, farms, and art in the area. The children enjoyed visiting with the alpacas at Fort Fisher Suri Alpacas. The owners also opened their home-based shop featuring handmade items such as scarves and hats. Ziehms Farm and Greenhouse, a family farm selling beautiful homegrown produce, was another hit with our family. TDF thoughtfully offers delivery of purchased items back to the camp for pickup at the end of the day. Water and restroom availability is marked on the TDF route maps.
For our family, with children ages 5-17, the tiny bike trips seemed to be the right mix of adventure and challenge. Our youngest rode a pull behind bike over the bumpy, hilly roads while our older children raced ahead on their own. I would not recommend tricycles or training wheels as the route is mostly gravel roads passing over steep hills with occasional traffic. Younger experienced bikers and older children will find it a fun challenge! I foresee a few family members attempting the 10 mile route this year.
The Tour de Food is the primary fundraiser for Skyline, a beautiful nonprofit camp and retreat center in the hills of Almont, about 50 miles north of Detroit, along the northern Macomb County/southern Lapeer County line. Skyline has been providing unique camp experiences to children since 1964. Now in its 4th year and growing, the TDF is a local bike tour for families looking for just the right amount of challenge and a lot of fun.