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Fork Fest Dishes Up Fall Flavors

Local First hosted the 4th Annual Fork Fest, spotlighting fall flavors from over 40 West Michigan vendors, farms and restaurants.

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Romence Gardens is located at 265 Lakeside Dr NE

/Tiffany Szakal

The 4th Annual Fork Fest extravaganza took place recently on Grand Rapids’ northeast side. It was orchestrated by Local First and hosted by Romence Gardens, highlighting over 40 local farms, vendors and restaurants.

The event capped off Local First’s yearly effort to refocus West Michigan dollars back into the economy. Challenges like their 10x10 and Zero Waste INsight ask that Grand Rapidians invest $10 of their weekly budget to regional businesses and reduce waste by recycling and composting in the process. The theme was certainly represented with zero waste dishes and a plethora of local goodies.

Fall flavors and produce lined the tables in both annexes of Romence Gardens. Twisted Rooster offered a new take on a comfort food classic with mac and cheese. CitySen Lounge kebobed pork, brussel sprouts and sweet potato, dripping with a cider sauce. Salted caramel and goat cheese beets from Terra were unexpected. The phrase “adult candy” was later heard to describe the pairing. Caramel apples and pecan clusters stole the show at Koeze Company. Coffee from Schuil and a healthy presence of Downtown Market incubator projects offered a variety of treats to sample.

Farm tables were dispersed among the vendors. Dark leafy greens and root vegetables were showcased at Visser, Earthbound and Hope Farms. Although food production slows down it doesn’t cease and shopping at farmer’s markets, such as Fulton Street Farmers Market, will help sustain a balanced diet and regional farms during the fall and upcoming winter months.

Faux Grass Qaurtet strung the night together with live music and poured drinks from Brewery Viviant, Fenn Valley and Vander Mill kept the mood light. There was a steady stream of visitors sampling some of the best flavors that West Michigan has to offer.

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