Autumn’s Favorite Foods: Pumpkin and Apple

Fall is in full swing and with it comes fantastic seasonal flavors! Read more on how to get your fix of the autumn’s iconic flavors on an orchard excursion or at a restaurant, shop or brewery near you.

Pumpkin spice season
This übertrendy flavor pops up everywhere these days, but Michigan’s offerings prove especially unique, with pumpkin spice appearing in martinis, craft beer, soup and other fresh finds.

After a show at Detroit’s Fox Theatre, nearby Centaur Bar specializes in martinis. Pumpkin spice, rum and coffee liquor warm tipplers’ cheeks in the two-story lounge. Across town, Germack Pistachio Company roasts pepitas (pumpkin seeds) a few blocks from their Eastern Market store. The third-generation owners recently expanded their operation of nuts and seeds to coffee roasting and hard-to-find spices.

With hints of cinnamon and nutmeg and toasted walnuts,
 the seasonal pumpkin muffins at Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann
 Arbor rank as a staff favorite. Store associates wear vintage aprons 
and pearls at Sweetie-licious Bakery and Cafe in Dewitt (and Grand Rapids). The family recipe behind Mommy’s Pumpkin Pie inspires a buttery crust and creamy, spiced pumpkin filling.

Mommy’s Pumpkin Pie at Sweetie-licious Bakery and Cafe in Dewitt, Photo Courtesy of Blaine Moats

Mommy’s Pumpkin Pie at Sweetie-licious Bakery and Cafe in Dewitt, Photo Courtesy of Blaine Moats

Four types of pumpkin ice cream—cinnamon pumpkin crisp, pumpkin chip, pumpkin roll
and, for the purist, 
plain pumpkin—draw pumpkin spice-lovers to Moomers Homemade Ice Cream in Traverse City. And the 1950s-theme House of Flavors churns out seasonal pumpkin pie ice cream in Ludington.

Crunchy pralines complement pumpkin cheesecake 
at The Underground Cheesecake Company
 in Traverse City. 
Hearty pumpkin cake doughnuts fill cases at Cops and Doughnuts,
 a police-owned bakery
 in Clare since 1896 (through a name and ownership change). Pumpkin seed salsa sold by American Spoon in Petoskey adds zest to chicken tacos.

American Spoon in Petoskey, Photo Courtesy of American Spoon

American Spoon in Petoskey, Photo Courtesy of American Spoon

Pumpkin spice goes boozy at a number of craft breweries, including the coffee-spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte, an ale at Detroit’s Atwater Brewery, the British-inspired Jaw- Jacker Pumpkin Spiced Ale at Battle Creek’s Arcadia Brewing Company and Ichabod, made with pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon, served seasonally at New Holland Brewing.

New Holland Brewing in Holland, Photo Courtesy of Nate Luke

New Holland Brewing in Holland, Photo Courtesy of Nate Luke

Apple country
It’s easy to get the ripest, crispest, sweetest and tartest apples. Just stop at any of the too-many-to-count fruit stands and farm markets that spring up from the 850 family-owned farms growing apples in Michigan.

The orchards of the state’s southwest corner draw visitors year-round, but fall brings the experience to fruition. Purchase a peck or two of Gala, McIntosh and Honeycrisp apples, or pick some at Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant and Winery and U-Pick farm in Fennville. Standing amid 100 acres of sweet-scented fruit trees with roots back to 1916, visitors wander the grounds painted in fall colors and sample treats, including apple pie, apple crisp and apple cider doughnuts.

Apple picking at Crane’s Orchard in Fennville, Photo Courtesy of Johnny Quirin

Apple picking at Crane’s Orchard in Fennville, Photo Courtesy of Johnny Quirin

In downtown Fennville, more flavors come into play at the rustic eatery Salt of the Earth, starring vegetables, meats, berries and fruits from the local landscape. Less than 5 miles away, Virtue Farm crafts Virtue Cider from Michigan apples.

Sampling at Virtue Cider in Fennville, Photo Courtesy of Johnny Quirin

Sampling at Virtue Cider in Fennville, Photo Courtesy of Johnny Quirin

The fifth generation is still growing apples (and peaches and cherries) at Fruit Acres Farm Market and U-Pick, a Coloma farm established in 1846. A half-mile south, sip on fresh-pressed cider at Grandpa’s Cider Mill.

Check out the Pure Michigan Fall Travel Guide for more great seasonal travel ideas.

Where’s your favorite spot to enjoy the flavors of fall? Let us know in the comments!

Return of the Grapes: A Tale of Triumph in the Great Lakes State

This year, Michigan’s wineries have seen a rebounded crop after a couple years of less-than-stellar growth. Read more below to learn about the industry and where to stop to sip wine during your fall color tour this season. 

For two years in a row, Michigan’s devastated vineyard managers looked out over rows of vines and confirmed the suspicions of the state’s thriving wine industry; Mother Nature had taketh away.

Extremely cold winter spells, better known by the dramatic moniker – Polar Vortex, paralyzed the majority of the state’s vines in 2014 and 2015. The grapes that did make it in 2015 were forced from the vines by a fluke August hailstorm, ripping a scab off of winemakers’ tenderly healing hearts.

Photo Courtesy of MI Grape & Wine Industry Council

Photo Courtesy of MI Grape & Wine Industry Council

Michigan winemakers treaded so carefully across March 2016 you could barely hear a whisper of “so good, so far.” Same thing with April, May and June. Reports came in from the Leelanau Peninsula that a June hail storm had damaged the entire region. Calls quickly went out to multiple wineries in the region to find out that they were mostly untouched. Phew.

Into late August, winery owners could be heard raising their voices just a little. The strong vines were producing an excellent crop and veraison was occurring from south to north.  A few photos began to surface on Instagram. Fingers crossed – but no boasting, no planning, no mention of harvest. Many Michigan winemakers consider themselves farmers first, with a no frills grit that carries them through each season.

September… beautiful September! The sun, the heat! Warm nights and gentle rains! Wineries across the state started posting their harvest events and festivals. Then finally last week, the glorious battle cry rang out across the state. From Berrien County, “Onward Merlot, Pinot Noir!” From Traverse City, “Vidal!” “Riesling!” “Chardonnay!” From Jackson, “Marquette – You glorious grape!” The harvest and pressing of Michigan fruit has put everyone in high gear and will keep them very busy with this for the next couple months.

Photo Courtesy of MI Grape & Wine Industry Council

Photo Courtesy of MI Grape & Wine Industry Council

Michigan wineries expect to bottle over 2.3 million gallons of wine this year, and welcome over 2 million thirsty visitors through their doors. As the industry has grown to welcome 124 wineries statewide, so has the reputation not only for stellar Rieslings – but also internationally awarded sparkling, elegant rosés and well-balanced red vinifera wines.

So 2016 will be known as the year that Michigan wineries rebounded – the great American story of triumph over tragedy. Farmers never take these abundant years for granted; rather they embrace humility and pour their energy into their trade. Michigan wine is the product of a patient art.

Michigan wines – like our people – are totally Midwestern. They are resilient, honest, hard-working, and authentic to their cool climate, Great Lakes terroir.  Happy Harvest Michigan – you deserve it.

Photo Courtesy of MI Grape & Wine Industry Council

Photo Courtesy of MI Grape & Wine Industry Council

Want to do a little treasure hunting on your Michigan fall color tour this year? Seek out these award winning gems:

Chateau Fontaine, 2015 Woodland WhiteLeelanau Peninsula– 100% Auxerrois grape, best of class winner multiple years at the Michigan Wine Competition. Captures the essence of northern Michigan’s summer sunlight – crisp, relaxed, buoyant and lovely.

Black Star Farms, Sirius RaspberryLeelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas – Looking for an ultimate dessert wine? This crowd pleaser expresses the very finest of this Michigan fruit. Buy an extra bottle to bring to your next dinner party!

L. Mawby, GraceLeelanau Peninsula – This Pinot Noir Brut sparkling wine is bottled in the traditional method. An elegant and inspiring wine from one of Michigan’s most notable winemakers.

Chateau Grand Traverse, 2012 Merlot ReserveOld Mission Peninsula – This red has depth of character, winning several awards from around the country. It has been described as clean, classy, well balanced and suave.

Fenn Valley Vineyards, 2015 TraminetteFennville – This wine captures you at the nose and takes you all the way through the finish. A distinct varietal spice is well balanced with the sweetness of the fruit. It will be a new favorite!

St Julian Winery, Sweet Nancie Peach SparklingPaw Paw - Vibrant & joyful, characteristic of your fondest Michigan memories. Peach essence in every little bubble, what could be better?

Lemon Creek Winery, 2012 Shiraz Berrien Springs – You’ve found rubies!  Balanced acidity and fine-grained tannins integrate with oak — delivering complex fruit flavors through an extended finish.

For more information on Michigan wines, visit this page.

Jenelle Jagmin is promotion specialist for the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. Founded in 1985, the council was established within the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. For more information, and plan your trip to Michigan wine country, visit

Where are your favorite spots to sip Michigan wine? Share in the comments!

A Story Woven of Cloth on Display at The Henry Ford

It’s human to want to leave a legacy — some small impact on the world that will outlive us. For the Roddis family of Wisconsin, that legacy comes partially in the form of generations’ worth of clothing, now a part of The Henry Ford Archive of American Innovation. Visit the new exhibit at The Henry Ford starting November 5. It’s sure to be a fun and inspirational trip! Read below for more information. 

“What’s absolutely wonderful about this collection is it’s from one family and spans many decades and several generations,” said Jeanine Head Miller, curator of domestic life for The Henry Ford. “Often, people don’t save things to this degree — they get dispersed and their stories are lost.”

The Roddis family was a successful middle class family living in Marshfield, Wisconsin, from the 1890s to the 2010s. William H. Roddis moved to this small town from Milwaukee with his wife, Sara, and his son Hamilton and daughter Frances in 1894. There, he turned a struggling veneer business into the thriving Roddis Lumber and Veneer Company. His son Hamilton continued this success. And there, Hamilton Roddis and his wife, Catherine Prindle, raised a family of five daughters and one son.

Photo Courtesy of Gillian Bostock Ewing

Photo Courtesy of Gillian Bostock Ewing

Though living in a small town away from urban centers, the well-educated Roddis family was in touch with the larger world. The Roddis women loved stylish clothes and found ways to keep up with fashion. “Their closets held garments available in the stores of Milwaukee, Chicago, New York or Paris — as well as stylish garments made by Catherine,” Miller said.

Though the family was prosperous, they didn’t have an unlimited clothing budget, stocking their closets very wisely. “Their clothing was tasteful, beautifully designed and constructed, but not pretentious,” Miller added.

Hamilton and Catherine’s daughter Augusta played a key role in preserving the generations of the family’s garments acquired by The Henry Ford, storing items in her family home’s third-floor attic for decades.

Augusta Roddis died in 2011. The Henry Ford acquired her treasured collection in 2014. American Style and Spirit: 130 Years of Fashions and Lives of an Entrepreneurial Family goes on exhibit in the museum on November 5.

Photo Courtesy of Gillian Bostock Ewing

Photo Courtesy of Gillian Bostock Ewing

“Now that The Henry Ford is the custodian of the collection, it is our responsibility to preserve these garments for the future,” said Fran Faile, textile conservator at The Henry Ford. “We do that by housing them in specialized storage areas, exhibiting them only for limited periods of time and ensuring that the materials used for display are safe for the delicate fabrics. We are committed to providing the best possible care for the artifacts entrusted to us.”

Even the most delicate of repairs are considered carefully, she added.

“In the end, what the family appreciated about The Henry Ford was that we valued the context,” noted Miller. “The garments are lovely and interesting to look at, yet they take us beyond, into broader stories of America. So the collection is about more than just fashion. It’s about people — and the American experience spanning more than 130 years.”

Alexa Stanard is a guest writer for The Henry Ford. Her story, along with other facts about American Style and Spirit: 130 Years of Fashions and Lives of an Entrepreneurial Family can be see in the current issue of The Henry Ford Magazine. You can learn more about the Roddis collection of artifacts in our digital collections.