"As a culture, we’ve gotten away from digging our fingers into the dirt," says Craig Koetsier. At Koetsier’s Greenhouse, co-owner Craig is trying to change that and remind people—particularly the next generation—how to work with the earth. "We’re kid-oriented," Craig says, describing his center's plethora of youth-friendly diversions such as crafts and train rides; their smorgasbord of children’s spring activities was even featured on FOX17.
When he was a child, Craig ferried flats of petunias and impatiens around the family greenhouse. Today, he and his brother are third-generation owners of the business, and their sister works with them at the 100,000-square foot greenhouse where visitors spy hanging plants, annuals, container gardens, and flowering shrubs, asking them where they see themselves in five years to asses if they're a good fit. Although the Koetsiers still coax blooms from traditional favorites such as geraniums, their greenhouse has thrived over the past century by keeping up with contemporary gardening trends and transforming its stock in coordination each season. In the autumn, families arrive to play amid mazes and inflatables and assess the structural integrity of pumpkins before outfitting them with wheels and hitching them to horses. When winter blows in, guests browse the center's pine boughs and live evergreens to decide which to take home and string with decorations.
Pioneered nearly 30 years ago by a Michigan farming family, Heffron Farms Markets dish up a bounty of naturally raised meats, organic dairy, and other wholesome edibles. Apple sausage links ($3.97 for 10) amplify morning protein levels in preparation for chicken-wing-ding ($2.75 for 16 oz.) lunches and thick-cut New York strip steak ($11.89 for 11 oz.) dinners. Toothsome dairy products such as eggs and Amish cheeses supply nutritive variety, and rainbows of individually quick-frozen fruits and vegetables fill in troublesome voids in food-pyramid ice sculptures. Pet owners can also stock up on eats for four-legged friends with ground chicken and bone dinners ($1.99), turkey gizzards ($2.69 for 16 oz.), and other chop-licking unmentionables. All prices may vary by location.
The Kitch'Room stresses the importance of local agriculture with a focus on farm-to-table seasonal ingredients sourced exclusively from Michigan. Chefs prepare all dishes from scratch, such as pulled pork 'n' beans and top-round steak with cauliflower purée. Because the menu changes just about every day, a chalkboard lists current selections, sometimes causing diners to furiously solve mathematic equations. To further commit to local agriculture, the restaurant hosts a dinner spotlighting a regional farm every other Tuesday night.
Ranked #1 Submarine Sandwich Franchise in the 2011 "Franchise 500" issue of Entrepreneur Magazine, Subway has graced the globe with nutritious stacks of meats, crisp veggies, flavorful cheeses, and fresh-baked breads since 1965. Sandwiches, which can be left out cold or invited into a toaster, include classics such as the turkey breast and black-forest ham, the premium big philly cheesesteak, and a host of $5 Footlong subs, which can be used to measure a child's height or the distance between here and the sun. There are also kids' meals to introduce children to the concept of eating.
The Michigan Brewers Guild wanted something very specific when it turned 15: it asked the state’s breweries to concoct a 15th-anniversary ale for its summer beer fest. Chef and home brewer Amy Sherman, host of Great American Brew Trail, went behind the scenes at the celebration, where she interviewed local breweries’ staff members about their celebratory brews. Reports like these are typical of her show, Great American Brew Trail, for which she travels to microbreweries across the country and unveils the creative and culinary processes behind beer.
Originally founded in 2007, Grand Rapids Bicycle Co. has changed hands to the Smith family, which kicked off its new business with some shiny new digs. While Eric the mechanic continues to build frames and mend careworn rides, Jason helps customers pick out their new bikes before tweaking them with professional bike fittings. In addition to carrying a variety of brands—such as Felt, Jamis, and Burley—Grand Rapids Bicycle Co. also hosts group rides and supports local cycling events. Peddlers can find out about the latest happenings by viewing the calendar instead of taking a muddy tire to a fortune teller.