A Trip To Virtue Cider And Salt Of The Earth In Fennville, Michigan | Chicago

Now's the time to visit Virtue Cider's hometown

To those in search of an easy food- and foliage-filled getaway: Meet Fennville, a 1,000-person town in Southwest Michigan that's home to some culinary heavyweights.

Cider House Rules
Virtue Cider founder Greg Hall has had a busy summer; construction is almost complete on a second cider house, which will store ciders 15 feet underground, at 55° year-round. Informal tours of the 48-acre farm are available daily, as are tastings of Virtue's Asturian, English and Norman-style ciders made from Michigan apples. Fans of yeasty French quaffs will like the Percheron, a cider aged in French oak: "It's pretty funky, but it's got the nice crushed apple juice and sweetness to it," Hall says.

The gents of Virtue Cider (Photo: Grant Kessler)

Chez Midwest

The anchor of Fennville's Main Street is Salt of the Earth, a four-year-old bastion of local cooking that sources most of its ingredients from within 50 miles. It's a region fertile with producers like Queso Cabeza Farm, which raises a rare Icelandic breed of lamb. "It's outlandishly delicate," says chef Matthew Pietsch. "It blew my mind the first time I tasted it." Go for crisped local pork belly ($12) with polenta and heirloom bean chili–and don't leave without a house-baked artisan loaf.

Salt of the Earth (Photo: Green Frog Photography) | Crane's pies (Photo: Hillary Proctor)

Sweet History
A fruit pie from Crane's Pie Pantry is an ideal souvenir. The local legend has been in operation for nearly 100 years, producing 15 varieties daily. Also on site: a U-Pick orchard, currently loaded with apples.

Thirsty for something hoppy? Head to Fennville's northern neighbor, Holland, MI, to visit New Holland Brewing.