Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Farm to Table in West Michigan

Have you ever gone to a restaurant expecting a delicious meal, only to be disappointed by meat that was clearly frozen and has lost most of its flavor, and a helping of limp vegetables from a can? Well, you’re in luck, because the Farm to Table movement is here to help! The theory behind the farm to table movement is that the food takes the most direct route from the farm where it is grown, produced, or harvested to the table where it is cooked, prepared, and eaten.

Julie, the owner of Food Dance in Kalamazoo, says that she found that shopping at the Farmers Markets made the food she was cooking taste much better long before it became a trend in our society to eat locally. At Food Dance, they’ve found the same rings true. Julie knows it makes it more challenging for their chefs to prep all this fresh food and their wait staff to remember all the seasonal changes that show up on their menus, but you truly can taste the difference, so she feels it is worth it. They even offer links on their website to the farms that their various products come from so patrons can be aware of how local the dish they’re enjoying is.

Woodland Farm Market’s Bakery in Shelby offers award-winning pies, make from scratch with ingredients grown by local farmers. Their pie experts stay hard at work so you can enjoy the aroma of great pies when you visit, and even take a couple home for the holidays!

Grand Rapids Brewing Company is the Midwest's only organic brewery, and they have a farm to table menu with special dinner features that change a few times each week, so you can experience a great variety of West Michigan made dishes.

Earth to Table Dining: Artfully Crafted Cuisine Grove, an Essence Restaurant Group establishment, is their tribute to the bounty of the earth’s harvest and how they bring that to the table with impeccable service, natural ingredients and innovative cuisine. Their seasonal, frequently changing selections hint at the classics with natural sauces and a slant toward sustainable seafood. They responsibly source as many ingredients as possible from local, family and sustainable farms and prepare each dish to demonstrate their respect for how these farmers raise or grow their products. They carefully pair their daily, innovative menus with the best modern wines. Their beverage menu also includes eclectic and top-shelf liquors, their own housemade infused spirits, craft beers, pour-over coffee and espresso. They're located in the heart of East Hills at 919 Cherry Street.

Crane’s Pie Pantry in Fennville offers a delicious way to experience farm to table dining! Crane’s takes apples that are grown and picked right on their property, and turns them into homemade pies and apple cider!

Visit Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay the second Wednesday of every month to get a taste of what’s in season from the farm at Black Star Farms, as well as from other local area providers. You’ll enjoy a five course savory sampling of dishes, with a wine pairing from Black Star Farm’s wines with each course.

Country Dairy in New Era is another delicious stop when you’re looking for West Michigan farm to table options! From their herd of registered Holsteins, to their modern processing plant right on site, they work to bring you the freshest and best tasting milk, ice cream, and cheese in West Michigan.

Honest Fayre. Local Flair. At The Green Well, an Essence Restaurant Group establishment, they serve honest fayre with local flair in a neighborhood setting that keeps customers coming back. Their innovative gastro pub is green beyond its name: Their LEED® certified building is environmentally safe, ultra efficient and leaves behind the smallest possible carbon footprint. "Gastro pub" is British for a public house that specializes in high-quality food served in a relaxed atmosphere. Their creative menu features a global range of eclectic flavors prepared with ingredients from local farmers. Over 20 rotating taps focus on Michigan brews, as well as a vast selection of bottles, ranging from local and American craft to traditional European styles. The wine list features creative flights that encourage multiple wine flavors paired with food. Classic cocktails are also available. Their greenness also spills over to our guests who benefit from affordable prices and outstanding service by a fun, welcoming staff. Located at 924 Cherry Street in East Hills.

Tasty Morsel Tours: No matter which tour you choose, you will be provided with: Enthusiastic guides, eager to share local culinary gems with you. Delectable food and drink samples at many of our stops. Opportunities to get behind-the-scenes peeks at how these goodies are made. Ability to learn from the people responsible for these culinary creations. Discussion of other establishments worth visiting while you’re here. Information about all our stops, including a map, phone numbers, websites, etc. (You’ll want to find your way back!)

Grand Traverse Distillery in Traverse City is a unique addition to our list, as it is the oldest and largest stand-alone “Grain to Bottle” distillery in Michigan. Their focus has and always will be crafting artisan spirits from local agriculture. They buy all of their corn, wheat, and rye grains from the Send Brothers Farm, located in Williamsburg, Michigan, just nine miles from the distillery. You can tour the distillery every Thursday through Saturday, and be sure to take part in a sampling while you’re there!

Don’t have time to head out and visit a local farm to table dining option? This one will come to you! Arcadia Brewing Comapny, based out of Battle Creek, has the Twisted Tail BBQ Wagon that travels around to West Michigan festivals and events, as well as being available for catering! They use local produce & meat, and specialize in gourmet smoked meats and bbq offerings.

Fresh. Natural. Local. Mediterranean Countryside Cuisine. At Bistro Bella Vita, an Essence Restaurant Group establishment, they go above and beyond to deliver the ultimate dining experience with top-notch, personable service, whether it’s a simple pizza and beer with friends, or an elegant chef’s table meal perfectly paired with appropriate wines. Their vision is to be West Michigan’s most respected restaurant destination. Guests enjoy their unique downtown atmosphere and creative cuisine made exclusively from fresh, natural, ingredients purchased daily from local farmers in season. Their culinary team creates authentic, scratch-made recipes that blend the delicious flavors of the Mediterranean countryside with a perfectly paired beverage offering served by a devoted staff whose passion is to ensure your complete satisfaction. They’re located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, just west of the Van Andel Arena on Grandville and Weston.

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