Tag Archives: West Michigan Cooperative

Pork Steak – Electric Cheetah Style


Photo by Ian Davis

In February, Bill and I missed our monthly trip to the West Michigan Co-op since we were leaving for Cuba the next day, but we just made our March run for some of our favorites: pork steak, nitrite-free bacon, and grassfed beef from Creswick Farms; McIntosh apples and Bosc pears from Wells Orchards; and, we picked up some lamb for the first time from S&S Lamb. All this meat to stretch us a little further into the year, until our meat order from Lubbers Farm comes in (beef, pork, and lamb). And we brought my stepson, Ian, with us for his first visit to the Co-op.

As is our ritual, we stopped at the Electric Cheetah for dinner and I saw a new item on the menu: Fried Free-Range Pork Steak (from Creswick Farms). A boneless cut of beautiful pork loin with a light breading, it came with crisp French green beans, buttermilk mashed potatoes, and black pepper country milk gravy. The caramelized onion on top was the perfect complement to all the flavors on my plate.

Way to go, guys. Another happy dinner for me!

Michigan Macs in January?


Yesterday I published a blog post about how to find local produce where you live. I also mentioned how tough it is for us Northerners to get local produce this time of year, unless you plan ahead by storing your summer and fall harvest or find a producer who stores it and is willing to sell.

Because both Bill and I love McIntosh apples, we were thrilled to find that Wells Orchards, one of the producers who belongs to West Michigan Co-op where we buy local produce and meat, had a stash of Macs this month. So we ordered a peck and put them in a cooler in the garage, which is what a local farmer suggested to me last fall.

When berries are available, we love mixing them into our oatmeal, as I blogged about in September. In the fall, we switched to apples and were just about out of the bushel of Cortlands we bought at the Holland Farmers’ Market when we found our treasure at Wells Orchards.

Now we’ve got plenty to get us through Saturday morning oatmeal (cooked, not instant) for the rest of the winter.

Just cook the oatmeal for about five minutes; meanwhile, peel, core, and chop up an apple.

Add the chopped apple to the oatmeal, then mix in some cinnamon sugar and walnuts.

Stir it all up with a little cow’s milk, rice milk, soy milk, or almond milk–take your pick.

It makes a hearty breakfast!

Belly Up to the Bar to Warm Your Belly at the Electric Cheetah


And when I say “bar” I mean the counter adjacent to the kitchen. What a great place to eat, especially if it’s just two of you, so you can easily have a conversation while watching the cooks prepare the food. It’s fun for me, at least, because I like to cook. (Plus, the lighting is really good for photos!)

It was pick-up night again at the West Michigan Co-op, so Bill and I have continued the ritual of stopping first at the Electric Cheetah for dinner before getting our loot on the other side of town.

We both enjoyed the soup of the eve, which was a chickpea-lentil. It was a bit on the spicy side, but still flavorful and loaded with veggies and legumes.

Since it was Burger Mania night–a 1/2 lb Creswick burger with all-you-can-eat hand-cut fries and malts–Bill ordered the burger (sans the malt, due to his dairy allergy).

I didn’t think I could go for that much meat all at once, having just wrapped up a diet detox the last week and a half, so I opted for the half sandwich and soup combo with the Creswick East Coast Pulled Pork and Napa Cabbage Slaw. Delicious.

The place was packed tonight–was it the Burger Mania?–and we were hungry, so the bar was an excellent option for us to perch near the kitchen, watch the cooks do their thing, and enjoy the cozy ambience on a cold winter evening.

Why not give it a try next time you’re there?

(To read my previous posts about the Electric Cheetah, check out my lunch experience last month and dinner the week before Christmas.)

Buying Local at the West Michigan Cooperative


Creswick Farms truck at the loading dock

Bill and I just joined the West Michigan Co-op this month and last night was our first order pick-up. It was loads of fun.

After dinner at one of our favorite Local First eateries, the Electric Cheetah in Grand Rapids, we headed over to a nearby warehouse for the pick-up, which is a designated day and time once a month. To become a member, you sign up online and pay $35 per year. Then you place a monthly order online during the shopping window (first week of the month), print off your invoice, bring it with you to the warehouse, and pay for your goods that night.

Our first-time order included ground beef, ground lamb, and lamb chops from Creswick Farms; fingerling potatoes from Groundswell Community Farm; and yellow onions from Funny Farm Organics.

Inside the Creswick Farms trailer, where the meat is stored

Our meat order from Creswick Farms

Veggies bagged up at Funny Farm Organics

Our fingerling potato order from Funny Farm Organics

Veggies bagged up at Groundswell Community Farm

Our onion order from Groundswell Community Farm

But there’s way more to choose from than meat, onions, and potatoes.
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Buying Local Produce in Winter Climates


Today was the last day of the Holland Farmers’ Market. As I loaded up on what I thought were the last local veggies available to me this season, I was thrilled when Cindy Visser of Visser Farms said, “Come visit us during the winter!” It really made my day.
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Pork Chops with Potatoes and Leeks


Although we ran out of pork chops earlier in the fall, I was able to snag a few packages at the Summertime Market in Douglas, Michigan before they closed for the season.

The ones we ate tonight are from Creswick Farms, from whom we’ll order more meat through the West Michigan Cooperative until we receive next year’s meat order from Lubbers Farm. It’s a great way to supplement our meat and organic vegetable supply, especially during the winter. Watch for a blog post about it around December 22, when we pick up our first order.

Pork chops are so easy. Here are instructions for the way I prepared them tonight:
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