In 1939, Everett Cook purchased what would become the Cook family farm and was told it was the worst investment he had ever made. But in the spirit of tenacious American homesteaders, three generations of Cooks turned that bad investment into a thriving bison ranch. After years of research, Peter Cook—Everett’s grandson—became a member of the National Bison Association, and ordered the ranch's first 30 bison in 1998. The hulking, majestic curiosities began drawing in groups from area schools, cross-country motor-coach tours, and time-traveling harmonica players to the 83-acre farm in northern Indiana's Amish country.
During the ranch’s signature one-hour tour, guests board a wagon and venture out to interact with and feed the animals as guides regale them with facts about North American bison. After the tour, groups can also sit down for a meal of bison burgers or bison brats. The animals receive no growth hormones or stimulants and graze on the ranch's own hay and grain, which produces tender and healthy meat, unlike animals fed with growth hormones, which produces meat that won’t stop quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Bison burgers, brats, and steaks are available for purchase online or inside the ranch's gift shop. In addition to the tours, the ranch also allows guests to hunt their own game during guided hunts, taking home bison, deer, and wild turkey.
For someone to get a hankering to visit Auntie V's, it should be enough to know that the kitchen serves housemade pies every day. If someone must see the entire menu or perhaps doesn't have a sweet tooth, comfort food such as fried meatloaf sandwiches and St. Louis–style ribs might draw them in. Further motivation to spend a meal at this eatery can be found in the form of hand-formed burgers, with toppings such as peanut butter, olive cream cheese, and avocado more agreeable to taste buds than bacon-flavored braces.
After greasing the Slip 'n Slide with vegetable oil and shedding winter's fluffy bathrobe and insulated socks, the best way to celebrate summer's arrival is with a handful of velvety-soft frozen custard. The Ritter's menu features a wide variety of rotating flavors, including everything from the vanilla and chocolate classics to the fruit-based favorites such as blueberry and strawberry Italian ice to creations such as Boston crème pie and peanut butter. Order a cone of the flavor du jour ($2.29 and up), or opt for a signature Glacier ($3.19 and up), which is Ritter's frozen custard mixed with your topping(s) of choice and served upside down to confuse your already delicate perception of reality and emphasize the delicacy's extreme thickness. If a list of 25+ toppings dizzies your decision-making noodle, submit your fate to the friendly ice-cream slingers and opt for a signature sundae with pre-designed toppings ($3.99) such as the turtle sundae, a frozen-custard mountain capped with hot fudge, hot caramel, and whipped cream and crowned with butter-toasted pecans and a cherry. Celebrate your newfound superpowers and exploit your nemeses' weaknesses for bananas and chocolate with a banana split ($4.79).
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.