Readers of this blog know that I love to discover unique dining experiences. For me, food is about the experience, the taste and the aesthetics. When visiting a new restaurant, I love to hear the ‘back story’ and find out the inspiration behind the food. So, when I had the opportunity recently to attend a ‘Farm to Table’ dinner at Sietsema Orchard in Ada (8540 2 Mile NE ), I was delighted to learn about another aspect of the growing organic and farm to table dining experience in the West Michigan.
Sietsema Orchard and Cider Mill used to be located off the East Beltline and Knapp. In fact, I’d often pass the large white sign when I was heading north. But since they sold mostly to the wholesale market, I was not aware of their retail operation. Over the past few years, they have moved their farm to Ada and added a unique twist on the retail aspect of the business. Not only can you purchase cider and apples and donuts, the Orchard features creative programming which includes educational tours, and the Farm to Table dinners.
On the evening we attended, three different chefs featured items on the menu. The mix was eclectic and creative in the food and the chefs who prepared it. Here’s the breakdown of our six course dinner:
1st~ The Silver Spork :Bourbon Chicken Liver Pate with Cranberry Gelee, Pickles, and Crostini
2nd~ Saburba:Cheddar & Apple Biscuits with Country Ham and Red Eye Gravy
3rd~ Soup- Silver Spork: Duo of Soups…. Broccoli & Phocus AND Spicy Cauliflower with Herb Croutons
4th~ Salad-Saburba: Grilled Radicchio with Apples, Bacon, Candied Walnuts, Smokey Bleu and a Honey Vinaigrette
5th~ Main Course- The Starving Artist: lamb shoulder, white and black sausages, jacob’s cattle beans, plum mostarda, fried sage leaves
6th~ Dessert- The Starving Artist : parfait of cardamom fromage blanc, milk chocolate mousse, palet d’baguette aux raisins, candied orange
During dinner, I had the opportunity to talk with Skip Sietsema, a third generation farmer who along with his son Andy Sietsema (also a fellow West Michigan REALTOR) run the orchard. I was fascinated to learn of the vast number of types of apples which they grow which are not available in the regular supermarket. In fact, North America has hundreds of different types of apples including unique heirloom varieties which according to Skip burst with flavor in a way that many people have never experienced.
I had a little taste of what he was talking about through sampling the cider served with the dinner. We ended up taking some of it home with us…it was just that good! The Orchard is open to the public during the fall season on Thursday& Friday (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 pm) and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 pm. You can also register for an upcoming Farm to Table dinner online. Below is a video featuring Skip & Andy and Gerry Barnaby.