Food Dance pushes farm to table to the next level

One of the most popular and top rated restaurants in Kalamazoo, Food Dance, was gracious enough to host a farm and foodie tour recently to introduce successful Kalamazoo area businesses and the farm to table movement to a group of media professionals and bloggers. Though we visited places like Bell’s Brewery, Water Street Coffee Joint, and more, we were shown a few different farms that play a pertinent role in the dishes at Food Dance.


Mattawan Farm
Mattawan Farm

Food Dance prides itself on sourcing their ingredients as locally as possible. That being said, dishes on the Food Dance menu come from over 20 different farms and businesses across the state of Michigan. As a special treat, we were able to see three of the different farms in the Kalamazoo area that play host to a number of fresh ingredients at the restaurant.


The first farm we visited was Carlson Farms. Carlson Farms is nestled on a beautiful piece of land with farmland, the family’s house, and a truly spectacular bed and breakfast. Food Dance uses Carlson Farms to source their chicken and their eggs. In fact, the restaurant receives about 600 dozen eggs a week from the farm being used for things like breakfast dishes, as well as the in-house homemade breads and pastries. We took a moment to help Farmer Norm collect some of the fresh eggs as he explained that buying natural and organic is most influential when you take the time to know your farmer and his/her practices.


Collecting eggs at Carlson Farms
Collecting eggs at Carlson Farms

The next farm we visited is the source of Food Dance’s goat cheese, goat milk, feta, yogurt, and more. Mattawan Farms, a traditional creamery in the area, has an old school dairy processing room and fields of goats. An interesting note: they place a donkey in the pen with the goats because the donkey then becomes protective of the herd and wards off potential predators with its larger size. With an impressive output of product, Mattawan Farms sources the majority of retail places in the surrounding areas.


As we had now seen an animal farm and a dairy farm, we rounded out the spectrum of farms to visit with our last stop, Kirklin Farm. Kirklin Farm is an impressive locale of about 1,000 acres chock full of soybeans, tomatoes, melon, corn, and more. This farm provides Food Dance with as many of the fresh produce as they need; in fact, they gave us a great deal of produce later used in our dinner at Food Dance that night!


Tomatos at Kirklin Farm
Tomatos at Kirklin Farm

At Food Dance, the owner and staff place significant importance in providing their patrons with enough information to understand where their food is coming from. Knowing the values and practices of the different farmers providing goods to the restaurant allows for peace of mind in the decisions made about eating healthy and eating local. Sourcing from these different farms benefits the planet, the community, the farmer, the business, and the individual.


What is your favorite dish at Food Dance?


Photo credit: Kristin Coppens

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