GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- Finding farm fresh foods and drinks during the winter can be a little bit difficult sometimes. Thankfully, our friends at the West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA), they’ve scouted out and found the best farm-to-table distributors in West Michigan, no matter the season.
You might not think of a Distillery when you think of Farm to Table, but in fac,t all of the grains used in Journeyman Distillery’s Michigan-made spirits are grown on local farms. Their certified Kosher and organic, grain-to-glass artisan spirits are 100% locally produced in Three Oaks’ historic Featherbone Factory. Journeyman’s Staymaker Restaurant utilizes those spirits in the kitchen, producing house-made dressings, syrups, cocktails, and condiments. Journeyman sources local vegetables, meats, dairy, and more, and feature seasonal ingredients on the menu. Local providers include: Lotus Flower Farms in Three Oaks, Stama Farms in Baroda, Granor Farms in Three Oaks, Gunthorp Farms in LaGrange, IN, and Littletown Jerky Co. in Falmouth, MI.
The epitome of farm-to-table can be found at Crane’s Pie Pantry in Fennville. Their business began with the idea of showing off the farms their families worked so hard on, pressing cider, and selling fruit baskets from the same farm they cultivate today. Apples and peaches are sourced from Crane farms, with other fruit all being sourced from local farms in West Michigan. Currently, all of Crane’s wine and hard cider is also produced from local fruit, both from their own farms and farms around the area – beginning in 2020, Crane’s will also feature wines made from fruit grown on the west coast after the terrible winter West Michigan had in 2018-2019. And last, but certainly not least, the cheese for the charcuterie board is sourced from Evergreen Lane Creamery in Fennville.
Virtue Cider in Fennville crafts their ciders using apples grown locally. Michigan is one of the top-producing apple growing areas in the United States. Its climate mirrors that of great cider-making countries England and France, creating the perfect apples to make their signature cider. Virtue Cider celebrates this unique setting on Michigan’s Cider Coast by producing ciders made in traditional methods: using local fruit, making cider on a farm, and aging it in barrels.
Here’s a couple of questions for you: Are you always making your friends wait to eat until you take a picture and tag it #foodporn? Is your weekend sometimes a binge-watching marathon of the Food Network? Are you constantly making plans and looking up the best places to eat? Congratulations. You are a foodie. Consider a visit to Greater Lansing where the dining landscape is as boldly unique as it is deliciously varied.
Just because summer’s over doesn’t mean that you can’t fill your table with fresh, local, and healthy food. The Holland Farmers Market is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm though Saturday, December 21. Stop by to pick up everything you need to make your family’s favorite Thanksgiving dishes or to decorate your home for the holidays. You’ll find apples, squash, onions, potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, cheeses, meats, baked goods, and more at the Market, along with pumpkins, hay bales, corn shocks, wreaths, and greenery.
When you visit Holland, you’ll find a cafe to enjoy a made-from-scratch breakfast or lunch, and restaurants with seasonal favorites from local farms and growers, featuring menu items and handcrafted cocktails made from the freshest ingredients.
The 12th Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival returns to DeVos Place, Thursday, November 21st through Saturday, November 23rd, offering a world-class epicurean experience in the heart of West Michigan. Festivalgoers will find an unparalleled offering of food, beverage, and culinary entertainment presented by area chefs and restaurants, as well as wineries, distilleries, and breweries from around the globe. Advanced tickets for the Festival may be purchased online for $15 per person and are valid for a one-time use Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. A 3-Day Pass (available online in advance for $40) allows admission each day of the Festival for those who want to get the most out of their tasting experience.
Art of Cookery in Whitehall has been teaching the basic foundation kitchen skills that seemed lost in the past, such as home canning and baking from scratch, using fresh ingredients as close to nature as possible since 2009, and has morphed over the last ten years to encompass so much more. Their passion for food shows in the broad range of classes people can now engage in from pastas to Asian dishes, making the most of an Instant Pot or Wok to making fresh mozzarella. While they still offer the foundation classes like pressure canning and baking/cooking from scratch, they are adding new classes based on requests from customers. Using whole, farm fresh ingredients is still the focus, as is capturing the flavors of each season. Customers making a winter comfort food full meal in the Instant Pot or engaged in the “Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner” class will sit down and dine together over their artfully made meal. Be sure to check out their classes and several fun events!
Mt. Pleasant is home to a number of restaurants that use locally sourced in-season meats and produce, including a diner inside a refurbished 1908 bank, a deli with locally made soaps, lotions, and cleaners as well as local, organic and allergen-free foods, and a cafe with an Angus beef burger ready to rival any you can grill at home.
The largest Farm to Table area in Mecosta County is Stanwood, where you can find all your farm needs at the Amish shops. There are multiple shops that offer a wide variety of food, from vegetables to baked goods for those looking to find that delicious fresh food. You’ll also find shops with fresh foods and many other things to offer in historic downtown Big Rapids.
Iron Fish Distillery in Thompsonville is Michigan’s first working farm solely dedicated to the practice of distilling small-batch craft spirits. The family owned distillery reclaimed a late 1890s abandoned farmstead with a simple mission in mind: create exceptional spirits from the ground up, growing their own grain and sourcing grain from Michigan farmers with practices that respect the health of nearby watersheds. Their true passion is to offer customers and visitors the craft of soil-to-spirit distilling from a family business that cares about their employees, community, and the living land. Every step of the process – from growing and harvesting non GMO grain to cultivating native yeast, milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, aging, and bottling – is done by hand.
Voyageur Saskatoon Berry Liqueur, Northern Latitudes Distillery’s unique liqueur, utilizes the Saskatoon berry for its one of a kind flavor. Saskatoon berries, from the apple family and blueberry doppelganger, are native to North America and Northern Latitudes’ berries come from Grant Farms, 1.5 miles from the distillery in Lake Leelanau. Cultivated in Northern Michigan because of its cold weather hardiness, Saskatoons have long been a staple of native peoples’ diet. It was also a key ingredient in pemmican, a high energy food utilized by the liqueur’s namesake the Voyageurs.
Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay will honor the fall in the forest featuring wild game and late season mushrooms in their next Wine Paired Harvest Dinner, to be held November 2nd. The creative farmstead cuisine for these monthly dinners is inspired by the best locally sourced ingredients, expertly paired with Black Star Farms wines. Seasonal vegetables, fruits, and proteins are sourced from the area’s finest farms, including Black Star Farms.
Treetops Resort in Gaylord will be hosting the last of their Farm 2 Fork dinner series on November 9th. The Treetops Resort culinary team will prepare a four-course meal made with locally grown and produced ingredients from area farms. Each course of the meal is thoughtfully infused and paired with a different beer or wine produced in the Great Lakes State.
For a taste of Marquette, visiting foodies should stop by the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market on Saturdays from May 25-December 14 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. The market provides a festive marketplace to support up to 50 vendors such as local farmers, growers, and artisans, and offers wholesome, quality food and goods.