Friday, December 3, 2010

Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market EXPO (12/8/10)

Our very own Jerry Adams will be speaking at the Farm Marketing III: Business Management session of the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market EXPO. Jerry will be speaking on the topic, "Developing a Regional Online Farmers Market".

The event will be held on December 8 at DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall on the Farm with Local First at Grassfields (10/16/10)

Enjoy a full afternoon of family-friendly fun and activities during "Fall on the Farm" with Local First at Grassfields Farm. The event will be held on Saturday, October 16, from 11:00-3:00.

Bring the whole family and enjoy:
  • Delicious, fall-inspired food and treats from local farmers.
  • Pumpkin painting.
  • Wagon rides
  • Family activities.
  • Guided tours of the farm and creamery.
Space is limited, so please RSVP. Ticket price is $12 for adults and $6 for young children.

Visit or call (616)997-1306 for questions.

Friday, August 27, 2010

West Michigan Co-op in the news -- WZZM (8/24/10)

WZZM News recently did a story on their evening newscast about West Michigan Co-op. In case you missed it, click here to check it out.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

West Michigan Co-op in the news -- Grand Rapids Press (8/18/10)

The Grand Rapids Press ran a story yesterday which included information about West Michigan Co-op and our role utilizing evolving technologies, as well as community involvement.

Click here to read the story.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grassfields Farm Tour -- August 7

PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGE: The correct date for this tour is August 7.

Grassfields will be holding a farm tour on Saturday, August 7, at 10:00 a.m.

Location: Grassfields Farm -- 14238 60th Ave., Coopersville, MI 49404.

Charge: $3.50/person, kids under 2 are free.

RSVP: Click here to email your RSVP. Please include how many people will be attending.

Perks: The tour will include a wagon ride tour of the farm land, seeing the cows, calves and pigs, watch cheese making, taste organic raw milk cheese samples and see the cheese shop where they sell grass-fed meats.

Details: Grassfields is a West Michigan Co-op producer. This family-owned and operated farm has been in the family since the late 1800s. In 1992 they switched from confinement dairying to intensive rotational grazing. They enjoy watching their happy animals munching on the grass all summer long, and enjoying the outdoors, even in snow! (They have shelter if they need it, but they prefer to be outside!) In 2002, they decided to start making raw-milk cheese (Grassfields is the first place in Michigan licensed to make and sell raw milk cheese), and now offer seven different varieties of cheese, along with pastured poultry, eggs, beef, and pork. The meats are available at their on-farm store in Coopersville. In the spring of 2007, Grassfields was certified organic! Their cheeses are all certified organic, and better yet, made from raw milk from grass-fed cows! The meats and eggs are steroid, hormone, and antibiotic-free.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Farm to Table Dinner - A Slow Food Potawatomi/Tilling to Table Event

Come and share a seasonal meal in the setting of beautiful Lubbers Family Farm. The bounty from our local farmers will be used to create tantalizing dishes for you to enjoy. Meet the farmers whose hard work helps to put food on our tables.

August 1st at 6:00

Lubbers Family Farm - O-862 Luce Street SW, Grand Rapids.

The working menu is as follows:

Amuse bouche
Celery and mushroom phyllo pouch with a blueberry balsamic reduction

Melon and cucumber gazpacho topped with a basil mint creme fraiche

Arugula and mustard greens with beets, red onion, cilantro and goat cheese tossed in a apple cider-honey vinaigrette

Grilled trout over a polenta cake with a tomato ragu

Herb crusted pork tenderloin a top a red pepper cassoulet

Sparkling raspberry sorbet


Peach cobbler with ginger ice cream

Please bring your choice of beer or wine.

This event requires a reservation. Cost is $50 per person. Click here too reserve your spot.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Slow Food Book Club

The next meeting of the Slow Food Book Club will be held on Monday, July 26, at 6:30.

The book to read is any book by Marcella Hazan -- Amarcord - Marcella Remembers and Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant are recommended, along with any of her cookbooks. Kent District Library has many copies of these books available.

The food theme for the meeting will be Italian.

To RSVP, or if you have any questions, please contact Viola.

Happy Reading!

Learn About Cheese from a Master Cheesemaker at Dancing Goat Creamery

Dancing Goat Creamery presents a series of Wednesday nights where they will sample and discuss some great cheeses. Questions regarding cheese will be answered....interesting and fun discussions facilitated by Master Cheesemaker Barbara Jenness. Come and relax and talk cheese. Starting time is 6:00 p.m. at Dogwood Farm - 10385 Wilson Ave. SW, Byron Center.


July 21 - The Best of the Best (American Cheese Society Best of Show winners)
Aug. 4th - What's Gouda for you, is Gouda for me (goudas)
Aug. 18 - TBA
Sept. 1 - TBA
Sept. 15 - TBA
Sept. 29 - TBA
Oct. 13 - TBA

Other topics for remaining dates to be announced.

Tickets must be purchased for this event. Click here to purchase tickets.

Any questions, please contact Veronica or Barb.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Local Food Event: A Midsummer Night Green

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings is holding a fundraising event on Saturday, July 17, which will highlight local food and drinks, including products from several of our Co-op producers.

Details from the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute's web site:

Take part in this fundraising event and enjoy a magical evening of delicious food, entertainment, camaraderie, and gain a better understanding of the local food movement. You will leave with tips on how to shop local, grow your own food, and other ways to eat healthier, not only for you, but also for Mother Nature.

Roam the Visitor Center for a strolling dinner, and treat yourself to savory and delectable delights at food stations throughout the building. Menu items, prepared by Chef Richard Centala, will feature the freshest fare provided by local farms and vendors.

Guests can sample handcrafted beer from local micro-breweries and wines from Cascade Winery in Grand Rapids. There will also be a silent auction benefiting Pierce Cedar Creek Institute with fun and unique items. Summer Dress Casual attire.

Participating Co-op producers include Crane Dance Farm, Creswick Farm, Dancing Goat Creamery, and Mooville Ice Cream.

Date: Saturday, July 17
Time: 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Location: 701 West Cloverdale Road, Hastings, MI 49058
Cost: Institute members - $50; future members - $65 (future member price includes a discounted individual membership). Cost includes two tickets to sample beer or wine.

For more information and to register for the event, visit the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute web site.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Article Round-up (allergies, manna, diets, raw milk, grilling, salt, Petoskey, pet food, and more!)

Links and commentary, brought to you by Jerry Adams, Director, of West Michigan Co-op:


This article caught my eye. We see so much more allergies, etc. and the first thing people talk about is food. I've always wondered about the physical spaces that we inhabit. That might be why I prefer old places, they have leaked their bad stuff out generations ago.

Just to complete the thought loop... I thought I should maybe find something about foodborne allergies and came up with this. Well, whaddya know? Another interesting read.

This is a great article detailing the struggles with the FDA and the seriousness of their job with regard to protecting the food supply. Not that our producers are immune to this stuff potentially happening, too, but it reinforces that desire to buy from people you know.

Here's one that gives purpose beyond the "looking pretty stage" for flowers in your garden.

Here's one the Bible Thumpers will appreciate. I always thought manna was from heaven (right?). Well, I guess everything is in the end, but here is an article about some earth-made manna (I guess this is what they were really talking about the whole time) that chefs are using more and more as a spice. After I looked at the picture, not so sure I am interested, but it might be nice to add to a dish at a potluck or an appetizer at an exorcism, maybe. If you try it, tell me how it tastes.

I don't know about you, but I love the commercials for those diet systems where they send you the food and that's all you have to do to get that slim, trim physique (like mine) that others are obviously envious of. Here is a little blip about how they really work (or don't). Now, if we could just get them to stop those Cenegenics commercials where the 87-year old doctor stands there posing like a bloated Arnold Schwarzenegger slightly past his prime, I'll be a happy man. Do you really want to look like that when you are that age? I am looking forward to shriveling up slightly, but I digress....

Here is an article sent in by board member Keri Amlotte a little while back that I thought was most intriguing. Out here in the sticks, we wonder sometimes how things work (do they?) in Washington, DC. This one proves how anarchic we truly are being with our little startup... fluffing feathers at the highest levels of government, I guess.

Here is something of interest to many of us: raw milk. We can't sell it at the Co-Op, but there is a movement afoot with the Cheeseheads next door and I found it interesting, especially the line about the uprising led by the "teat party."

By education and vocation, I am into history. I found this article to be very interesting about a foodstuff that has shown itself to be highly useful and flexible (and tasty).

Here is an article about a big city writer sampling some of the goods from our great state (cherry pie!). It's specifically about Petoskey, but I like it when big city folks come to the realization that we might be onto something in our more off-the-beaten-track places (yeah, I like the big city once in awhile, too). The coolest part about the article for me, though, is the reference to the Spear-O-Wigwam Ranch in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. My wife Amy's grandparents owned this dude ranch for about thirty years (maybe it's genetic... seeking out the purer things in hard-to-get-to places).

Some of you are aware of my love of grilling (my company's called Media Rare, after all). I saw this article recently and it gave me an olfactory kick.

Salt is something that has been in the news lately. I was raised a low salter, but being married to a chef I have come to appreciate the pop it can add to foods. I know it isn't good for you in excess (I'm not putting cup fulls on), but it sure is tasty. Here's an article about some of the controversy.

Some of you have met Candy, the best dog ever (she is a "human in a dog suit"), at pickups when I can't get her home before we go live. If you have had the good fortune to meet her, then you can completely understand why people can love their pets so much. Here is an article about food for cats and dogs. If you love your pet, look for some treats on the website.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Local First Street Party

Last year, 10,000 people attended the Local First Street Party in downtown Grand Rapids.

Don't miss this year's party! It's free, open to the public, and will be held on Saturday, June 12, from 4:00 to midnight in front of Bistro Bella Vita (44 Grandville Ave., Grand Rapids, 49503). There will be local food, beer, wine, and music (featuring The Verve Pipe).

West Michigan Co-op will be there handing out water with Local First. If you're planning to stop by the party, please considering volunteering for shift to help out the Co-op. We need volunteers to cover three shifts from 4:00-6:00, 6:00-8:00, and 10:00-midnight. Please email Lisa if you can volunteer.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Washington Food Fight"

According to the organization's Web site, the mission of the USDA's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" program is "to create new economic opportunities by better connecting consumers with local producers. It is also the start of a national conversation about the importance of understanding where your food comes from and how it gets to your plate. Today, there is too much distance between the average American and their farmer and we are marshalling resources from across USDA to help create the link between local production and local consumption."

However, the program is garnering some controversy as three U.S. Senators recently complained about it in a letter to the Agriculture Secretary.

To read about the controversy -- deemed a "food fight" by the media -- check out this article: Washington Food Fight Pits Big Producers Against Local Farms.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Important Notice to All Co-Op Members Regarding Pick-up Procedures

Effective immediately, orders not picked up by 8:00 p.m. on pick-up night will be sent back with producers unless alternative pick-up arrangements were made ahead of time.

Here is more detail and the reasoning behind this policy change:

1 - If you do not pre-arrange for a late pickup (contact Jerry at or call the office at 248-2936) and you don't show, your month's order will be returned to the producers.

2 - The producers, because they are taking something back that had already been "sold," lose the sale (this is much more harmful for a producer with a short shelf life than say frozen meat, but potentially significant regardless of product).

3 - This will allow the Co-Op to close its books much more quickly and efficiently (and greatly simplifies the coordination of the back-end... that sounded a lot more interesting than was intended).

Remember, if you can't make it, call us before 7:00pm on pickup night (that's right, 616-248-2936) and we will have a volunteer collect your goods and schedule a time to get your on Thursday or Friday. Sorry, but this really cleans up the workings and the board appreciates your cooperation.


As you are all aware, it has been our practice to hold those orders not picked up (that we were NOT notified about ahead of time) and we would track you down and hope you would honor your commitment in reserving the goods. We always wanted to err on the side of the user (and assure the sale for the producers), but the Co-Op was usually stuck with 2-5 orders per month. We ate the cost because we wanted the cash to go to the producer on the hope that we would get the money down the road. We have now reached a point where we are victims of our own success. Now that we are doing higher numbers, the leftovers that need chasing down have also grown proportionally (last month almost 20, of which all but two were picked up, but at great time/effort). The aftermath of pickup creates more time and effort (that again!) that the actual purchasing cycle and pickup itself.

Thanks for your understanding.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Community Food Forum

The Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council is organizing an upcoming Community Food Forum. Here's what you need to know --

When: May 15 8:45am - Noon.

Where: Heart of West Michigan United Way -- 118 Commerce Ave. SW, downtown Grand Rapids.

Who: Open to anyone who comes.

What: This forum is for people to learn, share and discuss strategies and actions for a better food system.

Details: Key topic areas include healthy food, food accessibility for all, land use and agriculture, local food and economic development, and urban agriculture. More info at

RSVP: Email or call Cynthia Price (231-670-6059) or Tom Cary at (616) 916-9823.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mud Lake Farm Tour

When: Saturday, April 24, 2009
Time: 9:30 am
Where: On the farm
Attire: Wear waterproof shoes or boots!
Charge: None.
Click here to RSVP by 4/22 with the number of people who will attend.

Details: Mud Lake Farm is situated on 36 acres in southern Ottawa county. We are firm believers in sustainable agriculture, and enjoy exploring new ideas to make our farm more sustainable. We do not use chemical pesticides, herbicides, or growth hormones on our farm.

Our "salad shares" offer families a connection to our farm and supply them with fresh, nutritious salads all year long. Variety is the spice of life: we grow over 40 different varieties of salad greens, including red and green Romaine, Leaf, Batavia, and Bibb lettuces. We also grow microgreens — baby vegetable plants packed with flavor and nutrition. Microgreens add extra spice to salads or sandwiches, and beauty to your plate

A variety of herbs are available in season.

Hope to see you on Saturday!

3411 Ottogan Street
Hudsonville, MI 49426
Work Phone: 616-890-7867
Online At:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Volunteers Needed: April 21

On Wednesday, April 21, Samara Woods (a Clark Community) is holding its 2nd Annual Vital Living Celebration.

The event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at The Cultural Center at St. Nicholas (2250 East Paris Ave., Grand Rapids).

West Michigan Co-Op will have a booth at this event. We are in need of volunteers to staff the booth during the following shifts: 11:00-1:00 and 1:00-3:00. If you are available to volunteer, please email Lisa.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Farmers' & Artisans' Market - this Saturday (April 17)

Grand Rapids Public Library is kicking off their Earth Week events this Saturday with a "Farmers' & Artisans' Market" from 10:00-3:00 at the West Leonard Branch of the library.

The Co-Op will have a booth at the market, so swing by the library to check out the goodies at the market and don't forget to stop at our booth and say hi!

Also, we need a couple of volunteers to staff our booth during the market. If you are able to volunteer from either 10:00-12:30 or 12:30-3:00, please click here to email Lisa.

For more information about the Farmers' & Artisans' Market, as well as the many more events that the library has to offer during Earth Week, please click here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Aquinas College is airing a showing of "Fresh" at Wege Ballroom (on campus) tonight -- April 7 -- at 7 pm. This is the followup to "Food, Inc." and will be accompanied by the requisite round table discussion.

Everyone is invited. A $2 donation is suggested.

The Co-Op is co-sponsoring the event so come out and hang out with some fellow foodies.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pierre Schierbeek (S&S Lamb, LLC.) -- Board Nominee

As a Producer of West Michigan Coop, I have decided to allow my name to be put up for nomination to the Board. As a farmer/business man I hope to bring a good representation of producers along with helping to oversee the management of the Coop. I really want the Coop to succeed and grow and if there is any help I can offer as serving as a board member, I am willing to do so.

Keri Amlotte -- Board Nominee

Keri Amlotte joined West Michigan Co-Op in 2008. Since that time, in addition to being a devoted Co-op shopper, Keri has volunteered for the Co-op as a member of the website committee and coordinated the Co-Op's web presence in the form of a blog, Facebook, and Google calendar. In addition, she volunteers at pick-up nights, primarily in the role as adjuster supervisor.

Keri's background is in marketing and public relations. She holds a Bachelors degree in Advertising and Public Relations, with an emphasis in public relations, from Grand Valley State University. For the past five years, Keri has worked as the Marketing Coordinator at a local law firm. In this role she coordinates the firm's communications and relationships with external audiences using such avenues as newsletters, the Internet, seminars and special events, and media relations.

A devoted Co-op shopper and volunteer, Keri is asking for your vote to become a member of the Co-op Board of Directors. As a member of the Board, Keri would utilize her skills in marketing and public relations to help the Co-op meet their growth and development goals, promote the Co-Op in the community, attract new members, and communicate with current members. She strongly believes that West Michigan Co-Op serves a vital role in the west Michigan community and wishes to do everything possible to see it flourish and serve as a strong and important connection between west Michigan consumers and the farmers and small business owners who call west Michigan home.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wellness Expo (Volunteers Needed!)

A wellness expo will be held at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids during the evening of Tuesday, February 9.

West Michigan Co-Op will have a table at the expo and is seeking two volunteers to help hand out brochures and talk to guests about the Co-Op. Each volunteer will receive a free ticket to Dr. Sherwin Nuland's keynote presentation.

Dr. Nuland's presentation is titled "The Human Body/The Human Spirit & the Future of Health Care". For more information, please click here.

If you are able to volunteer for this event, please contact Lisa at

Saturday, January 9, 2010

West Michigan Co-Op Article in the Grand Rapids Press

Click here to read the recent article in the Grand Rapids Press about the Co-Op, titled "West Michigan Cooks Get Food Directly From Producers Through Co-Op."