"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 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.
The Hex Shop's outdoor specialists equip customers with necessities and knowledge for reeling in river-dwelling trophies. During each four-hour fly-fishing class, instructors guide students along aquatic avenues while revealing techniques for reading water and analyzing environmental surroundings. Students also discover methods for rigging rods, tying leaders, and selecting flies to accommodate the finicky feeding habits of prized line tuggers. During fly-tying classes, students learn how to craft lures capable of outsmarting hungry hunters. A large collection of U.S. and European fly-fishing equipment includes Montana fly boxes ($25), Abel aluminum nippers ($50), and Patagonia Rio Gallegos Waders ($449), which double as dress pants for formal pool parties. With today's final option, professionals will stock fly-fishing fanatics' tackle boxes with all the rods, reels, supplies, and flies necessary for alluring fish or benevolently helping a fly learn to water-ski.
Voted the Best Children's Clothing Store by Grand Rapids Magazine, Snapdragon Boutique offers a gaggle of children's clothing and gift options, along with footwear at the Gaslight Village location. The East Paris location carries modern, envy-inducing styles for infants through juniors and features reputable brands, including Catimini, Charlie Rocket, Zutano, and BabyLegs. Tea Collection's Daily Tea is a brand that provides high-quality shirts, pants, and dresses in sizes from infants' to size 12 ($24–$28), and Joe's Jeans ($50) give your favorite brood enough breathing room to comfortably go number two in blue, even if they are a responsible size 14.