Historic Grand Rapids farm looks back on romantic beginnings for Valentine’s Day

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Bela Golden

The restaurant’s recently reopened indoor dining features live music on Fridays. (Courtesy/ Ed Dunneback & Girls).

Autumn Pitchure, Staff Reporter

Love was in the air last week at the Ed Dunneback and Girls Farm Market in Grand Rapids. With Michigan restaurants regaining the ability to open their doors, the market is once again open for indoor dining from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Its namesake, Edwin Dunneback, purchased the farm in Alpine Township in 1922. He farmed 170 acres of apples, peaches, corn, hay and a herd of dairy cows. Edwin had four sons and one daughter. He and Joseph continued on with the farm adding strawberries and the cold storage, now known as the farm market.

“My family has farmed this land for nearly 100 years with four generations,” said Stephanie Ginsberg, a fourth-generation family farmer. “My mom, sister and I currently run the farm. We offer a full menu, great drinks, you-pick in season, events and festivals throughout the year.”

The barn is home to their own fresh produce market, gift shop, bakery, kitchen and taproom. In October of 2019, they opened Pink Barrel Cellars, serving their own hand-crafted beer, wine, hard cider and seltzers. Since then, they have started to host live musicians on Friday nights to create a more energetic and fun atmosphere for their customers to enjoy.

“We are excited to bring this back now that we can have some indoor seating,” Ginsberg said. “We hope to have live music every Friday night for the rest of the year along with our Farm Concert series. This is a ticketed event that will bring bigger bands once a month to the farm starting in May.”

The bands on Fridays are usually solos or duos that play on the original stage built with the barn in 1938. Local musicians play from 6-9 p.m.

This tradition started before the restaurant when Ed and his family would host dances and hayrides every Saturday night in the barn, which is now home to the farm market. Bands would come from all over West Michigan to play for friends and family, like the Ada-based band Ma Loveless and the Boys.

Ma Loveless brought her daughter Helen along for the gig to watch and enjoy the music. It was that very night that Ed met Helen, asked her to dance and the rest is history.

Ed Dunnenack and Girls Farm Market celebrated the 2021 romantic season with three unique Valentine’s Day gift baskets that people. “For the woman you love” featured a bottle of wine, cheese pairing, crackers and chocolates for $30. “For the man you love” included a bottle of wine or four pack, cheese pairing, crackers, salami and chocolates for $45. Lastly was “The cake lover,” which included a bottle of wine and a chocolate or caramel nine-inch cheesecake, for $30. To top it all off, they also offered savory chocolate-dipped wine bottles.

If you missed Valentine’s Day, you certainly didn’t miss out on all the fun. Ed Dunneback and Girls Farm Market offer several dining options such as apple BBQ pulled pork, loaded french dip, apple bacon gouda grilled cheese that you can sink your teeth into. While enjoying your lunch or dinner, you can listen to upbeat jams, something many haven’t been able to do in person for about a year.

From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Feb. 16, the business will be open for Fat Tuesday. They will be taking bakery pickup orders featuring a drink and doughnut special (free doughnut with a pint or a glass of wine). The Market is located at 3025 6 Mile Rd. NW in Grand Rapids.