“We are not a restaurant,” says chef and cookbook author Abra Berens, who runs the dinners at Granor Farm in Three Oaks, Michigan. “We are truly a farm that happens to host meals and experiences to give people an opportunity to understand what we do.” And what they do is, well, a lot — from growing vegetables and grains to operating farm tours and a store that sells produce, grains, local meat and dairy products, olive oil, and housewares. Less than an hour and a half from downtown Chicago, the organic farm is a worthwhile trek for those wanting to experience the autumnal beauty of southwest Michigan while snagging some seasonal produce.
That said, the dinners are the real draw. They are held most Fridays and Saturdays in Granor’s greenhouse, whose glass walls offer views of the fields. (The “Taste of Granor” dinners start at $150 and must be purchased in advance.) Berens typically serves seven courses of family-style dishes that showcase the vegetables grown a hundred yards away (you can partake in an optional 30-minute farm tour before dinner if you’d like), along with proteins like smoked fish and housemade pancetta and cheeses and fruits from nearby farms. Beverage pairings are included, and the dinners occasionally feature special guests such as chefs and food writers. You won’t be able to get a peek at what you’ll be eating ahead of time, though: Produce is plucked the day of the dinner. Says Berens: “The menus are tailored to that moment in time on the farm and who’s coming.”