From malt extract to fermenters and cappers, the art of home brewing involves lots of ingredients and tools to wrap one's head around. That's why Ben, Nick, and Andrew, the three resident experts at O'Connor's Home Brew Supply, offer their expertise to customers crafting their first batches. The trio happily walks beginners through every step of the process and even hosts a seminar that reviews the fundamentals of home brewing. O'Connor's stock of starter beer- and winemaking kits likewise caters to first-timers. Once they're ready to graduate to more advanced equipment, brewers can browse O'Connor's extensive selection of products, which ranges from yeast and hops to bottling equipment and corks.
At The Local Epicurean, owner Ryan Raredon, who has been profiled in the Grand Rapids Press, began pasta making as a hobby, before success at selling his noodles and seasonings in farmers? markets inspired him to open his own store, where a panoply of handmade herb-infused sundries now resides. From pasta-making, Ryan has now expanded his store to include a Chocolate Lounge filled with delectable selections of cocoa-based confections. The store's newest space boasts a full chocolate menu with a wide selection of organic coffee and tea. Guests can opt for the Lounge's signature "Cha-Co-Lot" drink, delicately crafted and served in an antique silver coffee pot, a slice of triple chocolate cheesecake, or head to the paring stand to sample hand-made chocolates, dipped berries, cheeses, and breads. Patrons can satisfy their sweet-tooth cravings at The Chocolate Lounge seven days a week.
If the weight loss of the company's owner and a trainer?75 pounds and 100 pounds, respectively?is any indication, Grand Rapids Boot Camp and Fitness means business. The outdoor classes are tailored for all fitness levels, so beginners and seasoned athletes will both feel the burn as the perform weight exercises, resistance workouts, and functional movements.
Good News Farm isn't just a state-of-the-art certified organic farm?it's veganic, too, which means every product the farm uses in its soil is plant based. With its ultrasustainable farming techniques, the close-knit team of farmers, students, and builders grow produce ranging from fresh, juicy tomatoes to leafy microgreens. Patrons can purchase these at the farm or order them delivered weekly in a grocery box.
The candy kitchen's massive copper kettle predating World War II is certainly an eye catcher, but the nostalgic sights and smells of candy filling rows of white shelves is what overwhelms most people when they step inside Kilwins. For more than two generations, the original recipes of founders Don and Katy Kilwin have been used to handcraft more than 75 confections such as chocolates, caramels, and specialty fudge. Aside from some newer equipment, head candy cook Bill Hoffman and his team still abide by Don?s candy-making methods and use original equipment when possible. Inside the old-fashioned candy shop, a burnished copper-kettle-fire mixer fashions each piece of peanut brittle, a cold room solidifies almond-toffee crunch, and a manatee that swallowed a freezer still makes every sea-foam candy. In addition to candy, Kilwins has created more than 32 flavors of original-recipe ice cream since 1985 with farm-fresh rBHT-free milk and cream from Michigan farms.
Field & Fire's owner and head baker Shelby doesn't like locking doors, doesn't care for making money, and doesn't really enjoy talking all that much. He may seem an odd choice for a small business owner until one considers his passion for baking bread. It's evident in every step of his process?from purchasing organic flour and grains from Ferris Organic Farm in Eaton Rapids to working with slow-fermented, moist doughs that eases digestion. He makes bread and pastries for everybody, using his wood-fired oven to produce everything from Vegan croissants to butter-soaked cinnamon buns.