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Eat Local

Get your 2020 Local Food Guide!

After 17 years of producing regional local food directories, the team at Taste the Local Difference is proud to debut our 2020 Local Food Guide, a beautiful farm-centric magazine covering the entire state of Michigan. For those of you that don’t know us, we are Michigan’s Local Food Marketing Firm. We provide affordable marketing services to family farms, restaurants, farmers' markets, breweries, wineries, cheesemakers, and so many other small businesses in our great state. It’s our mission to promote their passionate, hard work and make it easy for consumers to seek out these local businesses. This Local Food Guide is just one of the ways we do that—  it’s filled with delicious seasonal recipes, stories of local food champions, and directories for how to find local food in your community. 

Each year, the end of May marks the release of our Guide, and while we typically celebrate with free magazine release parties at some of our favorite hangouts, things will look a little bit different this year. With the spread of CoVID-19, like many, we have had to adapt and transition many of our plans. That’s why for the first time, we’re providing the opportunity for local food enthusiasts to have our 2020 Local Food Guide mailed straight to their door! You can be the first to receive this beautiful magazine by signing up here, and you can even send one to a friend who loves local as much as you do. 

The food & agriculture industry has been hit hard during this time and supporting local businesses is now more important than ever. As allies to our food and farming partners, we are now partnered with software companies to provide assistance in moving their sales online. These platforms are an important investment for our farms and markets to sell fresh local food in a safe and healthy environment — and a boon to the communities they serve. 

We believe that as Michigan businesses adapt to these trying times, our local food system will be more resilient for it. Our local farms and food businesses are critical parts of what makes our state special and we’re proud to support them every step of the way.

Find great Michigan food businesses to support at localdifference.org.

Emma Beauchamp is the Communications Manager for Taste the Local Difference. Send her an email at emma@localdifference.org.

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Eat Local

Taste the Local Difference in West Michigan

A Michigan Local Food Marketing Firm, Taste the Local Difference (TLD) recently expanded to West Michigan to continue its promotion of businesses that make up our local food system. Through partnerships with local businesses, we celebrate small farmers, as well as restaurants, retailers, event organizers and many others that make local sourcing a priority. Every bit of our work has one underlying mission – to get more local food sold. Our Grand Rapids-based Local Food Coordinator, Rebecca Henderson, is excited to connect with the swiftly growing local food movement in the West Michigan region. Check out these ways Taste the Local Difference can benefit your business!

Get in the Local Food Guide for Michigan!

Each year, TLD publishes a glossy, magazine-style Local Food Guide, a directory of local food businesses, seasonal recipes, and stories of local food champions. For the first time, our 2020 Local Food Guide will cover the entire state! With copies distributed statewide, this guide will highlight all of our hardworking partners and serve as a free resource for consumers searching for local food. Packed with seasonal recipes, maps, and more, these Guides are a useful resource all year long.

Craft a Personalized Partnership

Taste the Local Difference provides affordable marketing packages and a-la-carte services that can match any budget. In addition to being featured in our printed Local Food Guide and online directory, partners can opt for B2B Connections, Print and Digital Advertising, Social Media promotion and more!

Make New Connections

With a passionate team of local food lovers across the state, TLD is ever-evolving and forges connections between businesses and their consumers. By building brand awareness, partners experience increased revenue and find new market connections, statewide and regionally.

Partner with Taste the Local Difference to expand your network and sell more this year!

Rebecca Henderson is the West Michigan Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference. Contact Rebecca at rebecca@localdifference.org to learn more about working together to grow your business this coming year. More information can be found at localdifference.org/learnmore

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Eat Local

5 ways to enjoy fall in West Michigan

Fall is a beautiful season in West Michigan as the air becomes cooler and leaves on the trees transform from green to orange, red and yellow. With West Michigan being home to the Fruit Ridge – one of the best fruit-growing regions in the world – there is an abundance of orchards and farms to explore and plenty of apples and fresh cider to enjoy during the fall season.

We talked to Fruit Ridge Markets to find out where some of the best spots are in West Michigan for fun fall activities. From hayrides to U-Pick apples and pumpkin patches to donuts and cider, the following farms have you covered.   

Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm

Located just a few minutes north of downtown Grand Rapids, Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm offers a variety of fall activities for the entire family, including a corn maze, U-Pick apples, and pumpkin patch. If you’re craving something sweet, stop by the bakery to pick up fresh donuts and turnovers. Don’t forget some apples when you stop by – there’s a variety to choose from including honey crisp, gala, red delicious and many more. For hours and more information, visit dunnebackfarm.com.

Schwallier’s Country Basket

Take a quick road trip over to the heart of Fruit Ridge in Sparta to visit Schwallier’s Country Basket. The farm features a market, complete with giant corn maze, petting farm, pumpkin patch, cow train, and wagon rides. Schwallier’s also grows over 15 varieties of apples and offers U-pick apples or you can grab some apples from the market. For more information, visit schwalliers.com.

Wells Orchards

If you’re looking to stock up on apples, make sure stop by Wells Orchards, located southwest of Grand Rapids between Grandville and Standale. You can also find pumpkins and varieties of squash. Satisfy your sweet tooth with homemade apple pies and apple dumplings. You can also pick up freshly squeezed cider, jams and butter, and fresh popcorn. Visit wellsorchards.com for more details and hours.

Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery

Open all year round, Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery is a special destination for apples, donuts, and activities for the entire family located just off of East Beltline. Growing over 35 varieties of apples, Robinette’s offers plenty of apples, apple cider, and more than 20 wines and hard ciders. You can U-pick apples or you can purchase apples from Robinette’s store and find a variety of sweets including donuts, pastries and more. If your family is feeling adventurous, check out the giant jumping pillow or explore the corn maze. For more information, visit robinettes.com.

Fruit Ridge Hayrides  

Enjoy a variety of farm activities with family and friends at Fruit Ridge Hayrides located northern Kent County. Take in the fall colors on a horse-drawn wagon ride, explore the corn maze, visit the petting zoo, take a pony ride or pick out the perfect pumpkin for your jack-o-lantern. You can also U-Pick apples and enjoy fresh apple cider and homemade donuts. Fruit Ridge Hayrides also offers a variety of year-round activities like horse-drawn sleigh rides and cozy campfires during the winter months. Check out everything Fruit Ridge Hayrides has to offer at fruitridgehayrides.com.

It’s not too late to savor these last few weeks of fall before the snow flies. For a full list of 35 orchards and farms, visit fruitridgemarket.com/farm-markets to find a location near you.