• Season 4 | Episode 6 | Donut Worry, Be Happy in Michigan | Dunneback and Girls Farm

October 07, 2019 1 Comment

Ed Dunneback and Girls didn’t always look so...pink.  Many decades ago, the only son and heir to the Ed Dunneback and boys farm went to war in Vietnam and devastatingly, was killed in action.  Following the passing of her brother, Suanne, one of the other two daughters in the Dunneback family returned to the farm and is still flourishing there today.  The can’t miss, pink-clad farm sits on 6 Mile Road, on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids and just miles from Lake Michigan, giving it the perfect climate to grow sweet cherries, apples, strawberries, and many other fruits and vegetables.  While the farm focuses on fruit production and does sell some of the fruit commercially, much of it is kept and sold on-farm or used in the farm kitchen. Over the years the Ed Dunneback and Girls farm has transitioned into not just a working farm, but also an agri-tourism attraction, offering activities for kids, food, a farm market, corn maze and plenty of u-pick fruit.  

On my visit to the farm, I was greeted not just by the very pink antique truck parked out on the road, but a fun welcome FarmHer sign out on the road!  From the minute I stepped foot on the farm that was bustling with Dunneback women, all wearing pink, I knew it was going to be a fun day. From the freshly made apple cinnamon doughnuts to the beautifully and thoughtfully decorated historical barn, the atmosphere was a welcoming one. 

There I met Suanne, her two daughters, Stephanie and Sarah and their crew of kiddos. It was clear that the farm wasn’t going to wait for me, so I started with Suanne, out in the barn as she got the feed for a few animals that are part of the farm.

From there, we set off across the road into the acres of apple trees that Michigan is so well known for.  We drove up and down the rows as Suanne pointed out the varieties. She even found one that looked like it might be ready to eat...but let me tell you, it definitely was not! Along our tour I learned how apple trees are grafted to create the desired varieties such as Honey Crisp or Pink Lady AND that you can always tell a Red Delicious apple because it will have five bumps on the bottom!  

We made quick stops at a greenhouse where Suanne grows heirloom tomatoes that are sold in the farm store and to the recently harvested cherry trees and strawberry field.  It turns out that I had just missed the height of Michigan cherry season which was a bummer, but is the way things go!  

Suanne and I then headed back across the road and back up to the barn, where I joined up with Stephanie who runs the farm store and heads up the agritourism activities.  She drove me down through the growing field of Sunflowers that will soon be a fun fall attraction on the farm, on our way to the corn maze. Now, I’m from Iowa and we have A LOT of corn, but somehow I have made it through 39 years of life without ever stepping foot in a corn maze!  I was pretty pumped to give it a try! Stephanie explained the process for mapping out and mowing the design into the maze and explained that they would be opening the attraction in just a few weeks. She and I headed into the maze...without a map, which maybe wasn’t our best decision.  A lot of drips of sweat and a few laughs later, we finally made it out.

We finished up the trip with a stop at the soon to be Pink Barrel Cellars. With this new project, Stephanie will begin brewing cider and beer right there on the farm. While a work in progress, I have no doubt that it will be a great addition to an already bustling farm!

Bustling is just about the perfect word for the Ed Dunneback and Girls farm.  Between Suanne, her daughters and the whole host of other family members who work so very hard to keep the tradition alive and make the farm work, they are a bustling family.  From sun-up to sun-down they go, go, go. All for the love of family, love of the farm, and a passion for spreading that love to their community and anyone else who might find themselves driving down 6 Mile Road in Grand Rapids.  

1 Response

Carol myers
Carol myers

October 12, 2019

I think this farm market is one of nicest! The family girls & women that run it are so hard working! They might not think so but the awesome work they do is hard work! Thanks Sueann Stephanie & Sarah. 🌻🎃🍷🍺🍩🍎🍒🍓🍅🌽

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