Someone pinch me, I think my dreams are coming true! For the past few years I’ve been a member of Trillium Haven Farm’s CSA program. At all of the cooking classes and events, I’ve always come away wishing for a restaurant that would offer that kind of food: pure, fresh, and delicious. And it’s coming!
OK well, maybe in my dreams it would be in Jenison or Grandville (WE ARE DESPERATE FOR NON-CHAIN RESTAURANTS ON THIS SIDE OF TOWN, PEOPLE!). But Eastown isn’t so bad.
Here’s the scoop:
T r i l l i u m H a v e n: A Farm-owned Neighborhood Eatery
Anja Mast and Michael VanderBrug have a long history with Eastown, both having lived in the neighborhood during and after their time spent in school at Calvin College in the late 80s to mid-90s. (Michael spent hours at Kava House having conversations and working on his writing!)
Before starting up Trillium Haven Farm, in Jenison, MI in 2001, Anja and Michael bought their first house on Carlton, right around the corner of the Kingsley building. After moving to Jenison to farm, Anja and Michael continued to stay close to their Eastown neighborhood through their farmer’s market booth at the Fulton Farmer’s
Market. In addition, the core supporters of their CSA came from the Eastown and Uptown neighborhoods.
For 11 years we have devoted ourselves to growing a wide variety of fabulous vegetables, marketing them to a diverse population of consumers, and educating our community on how to cook and prepare healthy vegetable dishes.
Our restaurant will obviously fall into the “farm-to-table” category of eateries, with the focus primarily on the freshness and quality of the vegetables. Over the years we have made many great contacts with other quality growers, and our menu will highlight the best that our region has to offer.
In addition, Trillium Haven Farm has always focused on training the young farmers of the future: four former interns of ours are now operating CSA farms of their own, and we feel that our restaurant will provide the opportunity for us to mentor and train other young farmers interested in growing for restaurants.
We believe that Trillium Haven restaurant will be able to genuinely promote and celebrate MI farms and farmers based on our experience as passionate organic growers. We will highlight the beauty and flavor of all our favorite vegetables, and offer vegetable focused dishes, but we won’t forget to add dishes highlighting some of the best local meats being grown using ethical and sustainable practices.
We plan on having a reasonably priced lunch and dinner menu, with the opportunity to indulge on special occasions with tasting menus and special farm dinners.
The Kingsley building’s 6’ ceilings and large windows naturally give the space an open and airy feeling. There will be trees and potted herb planters in the main dining room, connecting diners to the beauty of nature.
The kitchen will be open, allowing patrons to see how it all comes together, with the focus on raw ingredients delivered right from the farm. The handcrafted nature of both the ingredients, and the food will be symbolized by the wood-fired oven in the center of the kitchen.
The rustic nature of the huge concrete pillars, old brick walls, and handcrafted barn-beam tables will evoke a natural, yet non-sentimental rustic vibe. We want to connect our customers to the natural elements of wood, stone, living plants and light. Everything will be simple, clean and authentic; reminding people of the timeless quality of the seasons, but also looking forward to a healthier, greener future—what life could be as opposed to what is.
Beer: A wide variety of local beers, and a few kitchy American Classics
Wine: Local wine, grower-produced new world wines, as well as grower-produced old world wines, about 1/3 each, most of them priced within reach. All wines will be chosen for their affinity for food.
Spirits: the classics, with some top shelf options, plus some garden inspired seasonal drinks, like heirloom tomato bloody marys
Wine dinners– Customers will get to know their local MI growers and have a chance to buy directly from the vineyards. Promoting what we’ve got right here is the point!
Farm dinners—We’ll highlight times of the year when the farm and produce is at its best. Customers can visit the fields to see where the vegetables come from and learn about what it takes to get them to the plate.
Cooking classes– Seasonally focused classes that will highlight seasonal cooking techniques to make the most out of what the farmers’ market has to offer.
Monthly Seasonal Celebrations–The firsts of the season will always be celebrated all over the menu, whether the first asparagus, heirloom tomatoes or peaches.
No scheduled opening date yet, but if you’d like to get a CSA-type of “share” in the restaurant, they are offering Farm Memberships and Restaurant Memberships.
Be sure to check the update that I wrote for The Rapidian!