9 tasty farm-to-table breakfast tales

Let’s sit down to a farm-to-table breakfast prepared by #MichBnB innkeepers who add culinary magic to fresh and local ingredients.

Give us eggs that come from the ladies in the hen house. Give us a salad like the one above from Farmhouse B&B — which IS a farm — where everything was fresh-picked this morning,

Travelers can get grape-flavored jelly and fake maple syrup at any chain hotel serving whatever they call breakfast.

What Michigan B&B innkeepers typically call breakfast occupies a whole other class of good taste.

And some Michigan bed and breakfasts hold themselves to an even higher standard. They grow their own ingredients or source them locally to the extent possible. They celebrate the bounty of the Great Lakes State. Here are the farm-to-table breakfast stories of nine of them.

Hart House B&B, Hart

Ripe tomatoes at Hart House B&B in Hart
Fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes are sliced and ready for breakfast plates at Hart House B&B.
Avocado toast is topped with Mexican grilled corn, queso and fresh herbs at Hart House B&B.
Avocado toast is topped with Mexican grilled corn, queso and fresh herbs at Hart House B&B.

Innkeeper Patrice Martin says, “We are so blessed that Hart House is located in such a prolific agricultural area.” Hart is about two hours southwest of Traverse City and one hour northwest of Grand Rapids.

The jar beside the sliced tomatoes in the photo above contains the pesto Patrice makes with basil from her herb garden. She uses it in a variety of ways. “Today, for example, I made French omelets with pesto and feta. I also use it as a topping for my grilled corn and tomato quiche. Or, if I serve a sliced tomato as a side or garnish, I will top the slice with a scoop of pesto.”

Inspired by the abundant harvests of Oceana County, serving farm-to-table breakfast dishes is a major value at Hart House, starting in the spring with asparagus, the county’s best-known crop. “I use whatever is in season in one or more of my courses,” Patrice said during a week when blueberries and raspberries were at peak.

“Today’s fruit course was a housemade granola cup filled with fresh, local blueberries, topped with vanilla yogurt and lemon zest. Tomorrow’s fruit course is a breakfast banana split featuring those same blueberries and local raspberries. I also make a Mango and Blueberry Skillet Cobbler for my sweet entrée offering.

“Corn is coming in shortly,” she continued, “and I use that in my Grilled Corn and Tomato Quiche or Skillet Corn with Bacon and Corn Fritters, or an avocado toast with Mexican grilled corn and queso.” (Photo above.)

Peach season brings to the table roasted peaches with a touch of cinnamon, honey, and a lovely stone fruit balsamic cake. Patrice has  about a half-dozen favorite apple season recipes, too.

Get Hart House B&B’s recipe for Stone Fruit Balsamic Cake and nine other terrific Michigan B&B recipes when you subscribe to MBBA’s monthly newsletter.

 

Farmhouse B&B, Gladstone

New in their jars: Raspberry jam made from abundant raspberries grown on the property at The Farmhouse B&B in Gladstone,
Just-made raspberry jam made from abundant raspberries at The Farmhouse B&B in Gladstone.

Featured this summer in Michigan Home and Lifestyle magazine as an agritourism destination, Farmhouse B&B is situated amid 300 acres of hayfields, forest, and cedar lowlands about halfway between Gladstone and Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula.i

The farm has been in the family of innkeeper Renee Richer, a Harvard-educated scientist, since 1908.

The farm-to-table breakfast menu changes seasonally.

“Our farm-fresh eggs are produced by the happiest and best-cared-for hens in Michigan, I’m sure,” Renee said, adding, ‘What other hens get organic pancakes with wild blueberries for breakfast and spend the day roaming about being happy?”

The side salad she served on a recent morning (photo, top of page) included fresh greens — spinach, lettuce, beet greens — with radish, spring onion and strawberries.

Other highlights of meals at The Farmhouse might include:

  • Lemon and mint smoothies, a refreshing combination inspired by Renee’s travels in the Mideast
  • Apple pie made with the farm’s organic apples
  • Organic beef sausage produced by a farm down the road
  • Dairy products from a farm down another road

Lamplighter B&B, Ludington

Baked eggs and homemade potato cakes served at Lamplighter B&B in Ludington.
Baked eggs and homemade potato cakes served at Lamplighter B&B in Ludington.
Space-efficient herb garden at Lamplighter B&B in Ludington offers a closer-to-home take on farm-to-table breakfast..
Space-efficient herb garden at Lamplighter B&B in Ludington.

Last fall, new innkeepers Dan and Jen Hinderer installed two raised beds adjacent to the patio at Lamplighter B&B. This spring the beds were planted with spinach, arugula, basil, potatoes and squash.

On the deck, next to the kitchen door, Dan created a potted herb garden (see photo) for parsley, more basil, mint, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, and lavender.

Jen said, “I use our herbs in nearly every dish I make and garnish our strawberry granita with the mint we’re growing as well.”

The Hinderers also frequent Orchard Market in Ludington, which offers a variety of local produce from the Mason County area. On Friday afternoons, either Dan or Jen also will head for the Ludington Farmer’s Market. Recent purchases for the breakfast table included “some really good-looking” gruyere cheese from KandyLand Dairy in Scottville and maple syrup from Merten Farms in Hart.

Loghaven B&B, West Branch

If you stay at this country B&B adjacent to the Huron National Forest in Northeast Michigan, you’re likely to be treated to the jams and butters innkeeper Gail Gotter makes from  local strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and apples.  Syrup comes from Reetz Family Sugar Bush in Rose City, and honey is from Applebee Farm in Fairview.  In the fall we make sauerkraut from local cabbage, Gail said, adding, “I sell this to my guests but don’t serve it because it’s not really a breakfast item.”

House on the Hill B&B, Ellsworth

Herbed Frittata served at House on the Hill B&B
Herbed Frittata served at House on the Hill B&B

Guests dining on the elegant front porch of this B&B near Charlevoix almost always assemble several minutes before the stated breakfast time. Maybe it’s the great coffee. Perhaps it’s the peaceful view down the hill to one in the area’s chain of lakes.

But the real reason just might be Innkeeper Marci Palajac’s success in impressing diners with farm-to-table breakfast dishes such as her Herbed Frittata with whipped ricotta and sausage patties from Ebel’s Farm in Falmouth.

Marci gets asparagus and other seasonal produce from the Charlevoix Farmer’s Market. The herbs are right out of her herb garden.

If you’re visiting during morel mushroom season, it’s entirely possible that the morels were found right on the innkeepers’ 50 acres. We can’t confirm or deny that.

Saravilla B&B, Alma

Pineapple cut Filipino style by innkeeper Rolando at Saravilla B&B
Innkeeper Roland at Saravilla B&B serves pineapple cut the way he learned in the Philippines.

Full disclosure: Pineapples don’t grow in Michigan. You knew that.

But we think this fruit course merits inclusion in a piece about farm-to-table breakfast dishes because we’re so impressed with the way that Saravilla B&B innkeeper Rolando Labadan presents it. He cuts pineapple using a method he learned in the Philippines, his native country. Very inviting.

And unquestionably those are some very large Michigan strawberries.

Bridgewalk B&B, Central Lake

Strawberry-rhubarb fruit course at Bridgewalk B&B
Strawberry-rhubarb fruit course at Bridgewalk B&B.

King Orchards, a sprawling family-owned operation since 1980, is a magnet for tourists and cottagers throughout Northwest Michigan. But for innkeepers Janet and Tom Meteer at Bridgewalk B&B, it’s a valued local resource from rhubarb and strawberry season through apples and pumpkins since it’s practically around the corner from them in Central Lake.

(Pssst: Want to know how to make that pretty decoration in one of your soups? Add three drops of whipping cream or stirred sour cream and lightly drag a toothpick or similar kitchen tool to connect them.)

Check out Bridgewalk’s recipe for Apricot Stuffed French Toast, using fresh-picked apricots.

Glen Arbor B&B and Cottages, Glen Arbor

Breakfast at Glen Arbor B&B uses locally sourced ingredients.
Innkeepers at Glen Arbor B&B serve sausage patties made nearby according to their own recipe.

See if you can resist this breakfast that might be served on a typical Monday morning at this seasonal B&B in a charming village close to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore: A goblet containing sorbet made from local Michigan strawberries, maple syrup from nearby Stillpoint Farms, and turkey sausage custom-made with their recipe at RRR Processing in Buckley.

Maple Cove B&B, Leonard

Farm-to-table breakfast apple fritter dish is a hit with guests at Maple Cove B&B in Leonard.
Apple fritter dish is a hit with guests at Maple Cove B&B in Leonard.

Innkeeper Mark Smith grew up just down the road from Maple Cove B&B on a farm that had 6,000 chickens. “Yes, that is right: 6,000,” says his wife Jan.

“When we married, we purchased a house close to his parents and on our little farm we had chickens as egg layers and meat birds, pigs, sheep, cattle, horses, goats, dogs, cats, ferrets, Guinea pigs, birds, a few reptiles and a very mean Angora Rabbit named Hiss.

“When we moved to Maple Cove, there was not a barn that could house our two horses, so a friend took them and all we brought over were the dogs and cats as the other livestock had gone to heaven or elsewhere.”

Recently, though, Mark built a small chicken coop so he and Jan can serve fresh eggs to their guests.

Unlike the chickens on the farm where Mark grew up, these chickens have names. The Rhode Island Red is Ginger, the Barred Rock is Porsche, the Whiting True Blue is Ruby, and the Dark Brahma is Blue.

Maple Cove’s location in North Oakland County, with proximity to Macomb County, gives Jan access to farm and specialty markets for the farm-to-table breakfast recipes she favors. She says she’s looking forward to making this apple fritter dish (above) with apples from nearby Big Red Orchard or Stoney Creek Orchard.

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These are just a few of the Michigan B&Bs that make an effort to serve farm-to-table breakfast dishes. So you don’t miss out on B&B news and recipes, sign up for our monthly newsletter. Click the button.