What's New

Products come and go, that is a part of being a grocery store. We put a lot of energy into trying to make sure we have the products that you are looking for at a fair price. This week, we'd like to talk about some places you might be seeing new items pop up in the stores.

First off, we have been looking at what we carry, section by section, and have been bringing in new items we think you are going to love and letting go of some products whose sales were telling us it was time to say goodbye. One area we have revamped in the last year is frozen desserts. Our ice cream selection is full of all sorts of your favorites and some we are positive will soon become your next "have to have it" product! We have added brands like Coolhaus and Halo Top and expanded lines you already love like Talenti that we mentioned in last week’s blog.

We have also updated our frozen entree section, which includes PIZZA. We are really excited to be able to offer Field Day Organic Frozen Pizza every day for just $3.99 each. We also now carry Caulipower frozen pizza and crusts. Be sure to check out the whole section to see all that we brought in! While you are taking a look around with fresh eyes check out our frozen fruits and vegetables, canned soups, juices, and digestive enzymes. We updated these areas within the last year. You might have also noticed that our bread, chocolate and cookie selection got some TLC as well.

We are currently bringing all Co-op Deals Flyer items into our Petoskey store. If Boyne City does not have a product you would like, we are happy to transfer it down. Just ask. This means you are going to see a whole lot of new products coming and going each month. We will be keeping the ones you tell us to by how much you purchase them while they are here. Some of these will be found in the sections you would expect them to be in. Others you will find on an end cap at the front of the store by the registers. This display will contain new flyer and coupon items for the month.

You might like an idea of what some of those products are: First off, have you seen the new, blue, 25th anniversary limited edition offering by GT’s Organic Kombucha? It’s called Sacred Life and it’s really tasty and beautiful! It’s a here-and-gone product so get it while you can! Another new item is the Calipower Cauliflower Tortilla, you can find them in the freezer section. One more item we want to mention is the Perfect Snacks Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups in the cooler by the potatoes and onions in Produce. If you think their almond bars are good, you’ve got to try these! Remember these will only stick around if sales show us they deserve a spot on the shelf. That’s the hard part of being a small grocery store—there are so many amazing products…and we can’t carry all of them.

While we can’t carry every product, we sure will continue working hard to carry the products that you are looking for us to have. Make sure to check out that end cap of new items and coupon items at the front of the Petoskey store, and ask Boyne City to do a transfer of anything they didn’t bring in. We are here for you and, most importantly because of you, and it’s a privilege to be your community owned co-op. See you at the stores and the Cafe!

February 12, 2020 by Andrew Cargill

Love is in the air!


Love is in the air and Valentine’s Day will be here on Friday, February 14th—ready or not! We are here to help you sweep your sweetheart off their feet. Don’t worry, if this holiday just isn’t for you, we still think that you will want to know about these goodies. Flowers and chocolate need no special day to be appreciated and it’s always the right time to share a little love!

Speaking of flowers, we've got you covered! Starting on Wednesday, Feb 12, we will have beautiful red roses by the dozen and half dozen at our Petoskey store. We are also bringing in a couple of other bouquet varieties outside of the traditional reds of Valentine’s Day that are truly beautiful and would brighten anyone’s day. Don’t forget we will be stocked up on wine, including some sparkling wines with Valentine’s Day in mind.

Now, onto the REALLY important stuff—chocolate. First off, the whole Chocolove chocolate bar line is on sale 2/$5 and that includes the ever-popular, Almond & Sea Salt bar! These are the perfect treat for everyone at the office so stock up and brighten some days! Talenti Gelato and Sorbettos are also on sale. If you haven’t tried their Sea Salt Caramel or Raspberry Sorbetto, get in here right now and do it! Then pick up some for your sweetie, too! Alter Eco Organic Truffles are on sale and are super fun to keep in your pocket to hand out to all of your Valentines and for personal chocolate emergencies as well. Yes, those are real! For those of you avoiding sugar, we have Lily’s No Sugar Added Chocolate Bars on sale. We think you are going to love them!

You might already have reservations made at your favorite restaurant or a tradition you have every year but if not, we have some ideas for you. Treat yourself, your friends or your Valentine to lunch at the Market Cafe. You'll find something for everyone there! If you are working on your menu for a romantic dinner, Welcometothetable.coop has some great Valentine's Day recipes. If it's seafood you are seeking, we are stocked up on sustainably harvested lobster tails, shrimp, scallops, and crab legs. These Rosemary, Pepper and Lemon Spiced Scallops sound too good to pass up! Or the Miso Blood Orange Scallops recipe. You might just want to get two bags! As for shrimp, you cannot go wrong with Shrimp in Lemon Butter Sauce. It comes out perfectly every time! Vital Farms Pasture Raised Butter will make all your seafood dishes pop. Finish the evening off with a Chocolate Strawberry Fool or a slice of Hot Fudge Pudding Cake.

Valentine’s Day is a great time to get crafty! From homemade Valentine’s cards to fun food projects, the options are endless. Check out this tutorial on how to make a strawberry rose. They are a fun and delicious treat for anyone’s lunchbox. Another kid-favorite are these heart shaped Valentine Fruit Kabobs! With a fluffy cream cheese sauce for dipping they are sure to be asking for seconds!
Whatever your plans this Valentine’s Day, we are happy to be a part of them. Angela will have some great Valentine’s tips at her weekly store demos. Come see her at the Petoskey store on Thursdays from 4-6 PM. You won't be disappointed. Until next week, see you at the stores and be sure to stop but the Cafe for a bite to eat!

February 05, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

Game Day


Super Bowl, or as we call it—Game Day—is coming up this Sunday, February 2. Did you know that Game Day is second only to Thanksgiving in food holidays in the USA? According to wikipedia.org, 28 million pounds of chips and 8 million pounds of avocados are eaten before the big kick-off begins. That’s A LOT of snacks! Whether you are a football fanatic or you just like to enjoy a few snacks with 98 million of your closest friends, we have some tasty options that start with quality ingredients so you can indulge for the evening without giving up your values around the foods you like to eat.

Angela, who creates the dishes for our weekly Thursday demos at the Petoskey store from 4-6 pm, has been giving us some great ideas for Game Day recipes you can feel good about loving! One that stands out is the Blackened Tempeh recipe she did a few weeks back. She served it with a kale salad and offered the options of a vegan ranch or tahini dressing. Yum! She also did a Beeler’s bacon wrapped tater-tot that was amazing and the tots are on sale right now 2/$6! Check out more Game Day recipes at welcometothetable.coop!

Another thing Angela has been highlighting the last few weeks are the pre-made dips that we carry. We have a whole cooler of dips to choose from! If you haven’t tried the Dirista line, give them a try! The hip-hoppin' Morokin’ Carrot, Step it Up A Beet Hummus and Que Buen! Piquillo are so tasty! Not to mention their Sweet Po-Thai-To Coconut Curry Hummus. Also you will find your favorite Hope Hummus varieties on sale right now.

How can we talk about dips without focusing on dippers, aka, chips? Our Late July Organic Tortilla Chips are on sale 2/$5 right now and they go with just about anything. We also have Kettle Brand 13 oz sharing size bags of potato chips on sale 2/$7, plus we are stocked up on Simply Organic Dip packets. Just add a tub of sour cream or Greek yogurt and ready, set, dip! Don’t forget baby carrots, red peppers and cucumbers too. They make a mean vehicle for dip as well!

If you are looking for a soft drink that doesn’t have the sugar of regular soda or the sweeteners of a traditional diet soda, give Zevia a try. Made with stevia, it has zero calories or artificial sweeteners and the flavors you love like Cola, Ginger Ale and Root Beer—these just might be your new favorites. We are stocked up on Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted American IPA so make sure to grab a six-pack on your next trip in as well.

You may or may not be gearing up for Game Day but most of us enjoy snacks and at the Grain Train we make sure that no matter if you are picking up some fresh kale or your favorite chips, the quality ingredients you’ve come to depend on us for are here. We hope that you have a great Game Day regardless of your traditions and we will see you in the stores and at the Cafe!

January 28, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

Staff Picks for Cold & Flu Season!

Boy do we all know that the cold and flu season has arrived. The Immune Support section of our Supplements aisle has been a high traffic area at the stores! We thought in lieu of this you might like to hear some of the staff favorites here at the Grain Train for immune support. These are just the things some of us like. As always, we recommend working with your healthcare provider to find the right support for you.

Starting any day well rested, hydrated and with a nutrient packed meal is always a plus. This becomes especially important when you are feeling under the weather. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in their article, “Protect Your Health for Immune Boosting Nutrition,” shares tips on foods that help support the immune system. A few that stand out are proteins such as lean meats, poultry, eggs, and beans. Not only does protein support healing and recovery in the body, these foods are also typically high in zinc. You can find vitamin C in more than just oranges—don’t forget the rest of the citrus family, plus strawberries, broccoli, kiwi fruits, and green and red bell peppers. Speaking of red bell peppers, they are a good source of vitamin A that also supports the immune system. Another article from eatright.org reminds us that fresh fruits, when consumed raw or lightly steamed as soon after purchase as possible, are at their peak nutritional value. Chelsea, our Operations Manager and long time Health and Beauty superstar, can often be heard suggesting the produce department as a great place to start looking for immune boosting allies.

Bailey, our Administrative Assistant and member of our Receiving Team, looks to Emergen-C, Elderberry, and Apple Cider Vinegar for her immune support. Regarding Apple Cider Vinegar, she says, “There are lots of recipes online for fire cider which you can make with ingredients we sell at the Grain Train!”

Laura, a member of our Replenishment and Management Team, looks to Wishgarden Herbs’ Kick Ass Immune or Kick Ass Biotic for immune support. She also is a fan of My Kind Elderberry Immune Gummies and Zand Elderberry Zinc HerbaLozenge.

Liz, our Financial Manager, says “Knock on wood, my ritual for prevention has been Host Defence Mushrooms MyCommunity and Garden of Life Elderberry Syrup/Gummies, plus EO hand sanitizer. And if I come down with a cold, nothing beats a Lemon Throat Coat hot toddy.”

Sarah, from our Customer Service Team, who has been a Health and Beauty Associate for many years, also looks to the Kick Ass Immune, MyKind Elderberry Gummies or Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup for Immune Support. In addition, she calls out Olbas Cough Drops, Naturade Herbal Expec and Traditional Medicinals Original Throat Coat Tea. In fact, whatever product you are looking for in the supplement aisle, Sarah can point you in the right direction.

Both Andrew and Jack from our Boyne City store called out Boiron Oscillococcinum, often called Oscillo, when it comes to the onset of flu-like symptoms. 

You don’t get to hear from me very often in my own voice. I’m Mindy, our Events and Outreach Coordinator, and I too love elderberry syrup. Gaia is my tried and true brand. I made some elderberry syrup at home this fall and I’ll be honest, it is still in the fridge and I have gone back to Gaia. My two year old will NOT take the one I made, but happily waits for his Gaia Elderberry Syrup. One thing we do at our house at the first sign of a sniffle, is whip up a couple batches of Onion Syrup. I found the recipe years ago in my very favorite herb book, “A Kid’s Herb Book for Children of All Ages.” My husband adds A LOT more cayenne pepper and some wild-crafted Bergamot, but I tend to follow the recipe. We each have our own batch in the fridge.

Well, we hope there might be something in this week’s blog that sparks an interest for you, but most of all we hope that you and your family are able to stay healthy and happy this cold and flu season. We will say it again—the supplements and recipes shared here are staff favorites but we know that each one of us is different. We always come from the place that your health is something between you and your health care provider. We are here to help you find what you are looking for, and look forward to seeing you at the stores and the Cafe!

January 20, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

2020 Microloan Season



We are so excited to see our 5th season of the Microloan program kicking off in 2020! This is a program that began in 2016 through a partnership with Crosshatch Center for Arts and Ecology. We had been sitting around the table with Crosshatch trying to identify how we, as a Natural Foods Cooperative could support and bolster the local food and farm economy. Both us and Crosshatch saw the microloan program as something that would do just that and so the rest is history.

The way the program works is that the Grain Train supplies the funds to be loaned, manages the loan distribution and payments and covers Crosshatch’s administrative fees for the program. Crosshatch handles the marketing and promotion of the program and sets up and manages the online application system. They also reach out to past recipients to find out how their projects are going and then tell the stories of those farms through the many channels that they have. There is a Microloan review panel made up of representatives from both organizations as well as others in the business world that look over the applicants and the selection(s) for the year.

We have learned a few things over the years. We started off awarding the funds in early summer and quickly learned that this is too late in the season for farmers so now the funds are disbursed by early March. This started off as a low interest rate loan program and since then we decided to make it a zero interest program. We started the program off by offering up to $6,000 in Micro Loans each year and since 2019 that amount has gone up to $10,000. We want to make sure that this program is as accessible to farmers and food producers as possible. Another thing that makes this program really accessible to farmers is that we consider proposals from $500 all the way up to $10,000. There could be one really strong application that we award the full $10,000 to or there might be multiple applications that we award various amounts to each year.

To date we have loaned $30, 557 to nine farms. In 2019, Oryana Community Coop partnered with Crosshatch adding seven counties and another $10,000 annu
To date we have loaned $30, 557 to nine farms. In 2019, ally to the program. This makes the overall reach of the Microloan program 12 countries with a total of $20,000 in funds to be loaned.

Microloan Applications are open and due February 7, 2020.

This project aims to enhance an existing local food or farming venture or to help start a new one. The ideal candidate will propose an idea that would boost a farm or food business and elevate the region’s local food system. Applicants using sustainable practices are strongly encouraged, but proposals are not limited to particular practices or scale


essential tools for the farm or food business

materials, land, livestock, or infrastructure essential to the operation


marketing and distribution

professional development

value-added product production

processing, packaging, marketing for farm products


$500 - $10,000

repayment terms dependent on loan size

0% interest rate

no application fee

We are excited to see what projects come in through this year’s applications. If you or someone you know has an idea to boost, expand or begin your local food or farm business or you are please apply or share this information with anyone you think might be interested! We are honored to be a part of our communities and the Microloan program is just one of many ways we are here to offer support.

Apply Here! 

January 13, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

It's All About You!

Here we are, boldly stepping into a new day, a new year and a new decade—Hello 2020! First off, this year does not need to be any differently than last year. You might be exactly where you want to be right now and that is excellent! You might also be thinking about making a few changes and are not quite sure what that looks like yet. Or you might be hitting the New Year with a new game plan you are really excited about. All of these and anywhere in between are excellent places to be! That’s the thing, it’s all about you.

At the Grain Train we know that a healthy lifestyle, diet and state of mind looks and feels different on each of us. Whether it is January 7 or December 7 we are here to offer you a grocery experience where you can shop knowing that you won’t find a single artificial product on our shelves so you can focus on what you want, not what you don’t. We are a Certified Organic Retailer, and that means we know how to handle our organic products in a way that maintains their integrity all the way from the farm to your shopping cart. We have a knowledgeable staff ready to help you find what you are looking for and our health and beauty section is stocked with vitamins and supplements to support you.

Speaking of vitamins and supplements, we have some new products just in that support a KETO diet that we thought you might like to hear about. Garden of Life’s Dr. Formulated KETO line has hit our shelves and includes the KETO Fit Weight Loss Shake, KETO Meal Balanced Shake, MCT Powder and Butter Powder. Here is what Garden of Life has to say about this line, “The Dr. Formulated Keto line of products is fully transparent, compliant to the keto guidelines, and designed to be convenient—we’ve done the math for you—just mix. Crafted for those seeking to enter into ketosis or stick to a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss and health purposes, all Dr. Formulated products are Keto Certified, Paleo Friendly and clean: Non-GMO Project Verified and Truly Grass Fed.” In addition to these we also have ZHOU Ketone Powder and Ancient Nutrition KETO Fire Capsules. We have a full line of KETO friendly sweeteners in-stock as well and are happy to help you find what you are looking for.

It’s not ALL KETO around here though. Amazing Grass Green Superfood powders are in stock and on sale. The single serve packets are 4/$5 so you can easily give them a try. They are a simple way to get more greens into your diet. Garden of Life Dr. Recommended Probiotics and MyKind Elderberry Gummies are great for immune support and the Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal makes a tasty meal replacement shake. We are also excited to add Garden of Life Sport Organic Planted-Based Protein for those of you hitting the gym or looking for a sports shake. You can enjoy savings on all of these today.

We also have a sale on Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides in both the 10 oz and 20 oz size. Here’s what Vital Proteins has to say, “We know that while our bodies’ collagen production slows as we age, our need for it only grows as our bodies become less efficient and we maintain a vibrant life. And Vital Proteins believes that if you want to, you can make the most out of every moment you’re given—that your body shouldn’t be a limitation, but a catalyst.” We will let you decide if any of these supplements are what you are looking for but know if you have any questions, we are here to help!

One last product that just hit our shelves is The Purple Beet Frozen Smoothie Packets made in Boyne City, Michigan. “The Purple Beet is committed to creating convenient, nutritious, and delicious foods for you and your family. Life is crazy. Eating healthy doesn't have to be!” Their products contain only real ingredients and you only need a blender and 1 cup of liquid and you have a nutrient packed meal in minutes! Look for them in the freezer section. We will have them in to do a tasting soon, keep an eye out for more information on that!

No matter who you are and what your plans for the New Year are we are happy to be a part of it! Making a Difference One Bite at a Time is our mission and we are here to inspire healthy choices for both people and planet. We look forward to seeing you at the Stores and Cafe. Happy New Year!

January 07, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

Wrapping Up The Year

As we celebrate 2019 coming to an end and settle in for the start of 2020, we want to sincerely thank each of you for being a part of the Grain Train. We could not be more excited to see what this new decade has in store. One thing we know is that we will be here seven days a week to bring you fresh, local, natural, and organic goodness—just like we have been doing for nearly 50 years. Don’t forget to stop by between now and the New Year for your New Year’s Eve supplies.

The Cafe is the perfect spot to bring family and friends for a delicious breakfast, lunch, latte, or snack. When stopping by the stores make sure to stock up on all your favorite dips, chips, and crackers along with everything you need for a festive holiday cheese tray! Of course we have champagne (at the Petoskey Store) and sparkling juice for the kids to toast the New Year!

For those of you thinking ahead. We know that many of you take the New Year as a time to focus on goals and resolutions and we are here to help you with those, but we want to be sure to say that we know that healthy looks different for each of us. So whatever your new year brings, we are excited to be a part of it.

Next week we will talk about some of the great new products we have coming in to support your New Year. Until then, enjoy your time with family and friends, celebrate safely, and make sure you come see us! We are open regular hours at all our locations through New Year’s Eve and then closed New Years Day.

December 30, 2019 by Mindy Taylor

Stocking Stuffers

One of you recently asked if we would take a little tour with our blog this week and talk about stocking stuffers ideas from around the stores—so let's explore what you’ll want to know when doing some holiday shopping at the Grain Train.

First off, Gift cards. With cards from our stores or the Cafe you can give the gift of natural, local, and organic food to you and yours. Need something for that neighbor who always lends a helping hand? Maybe they haven't had lunch at the Cafe yet and it's time to treat them back. Store gift cards can be used at both our Petoskey and Boyne City locations, and we also have special gift cards for the Cafe as well.

More ideas? Make sure you sniff out our line of Pranarom diffusers and essential oils. The 2020 WeMoon datebooks are here and we also brought in the WeMoon anthology book for this holiday season. From Juniper Ridge we have wildcrafted Douglas Fir tea, sage bundles, and sweet grass braids. The three would make a beautiful gift together or any one of them would add beauty to a stocking.

Bring in the light of Solstice with Poppy Candles. These 100% percent pure beeswax candles make excellent gifts, add a natural beauty to any holiday table, and are perfect for bringing in the light on Solstice. Speaking of your holiday table, we just got a delivery of Open Sky Farms’ holiday arrangements. We also are stocked up with Poinsettias, Christmas Cactus, and more! Grab a bottle of Riojana wine and a tuck it in with any of these items and you have a perfect hostess gift.

They were so popular last year we have brought back Terra Natural Designs scarfs. We have their Cotton Square Scarves and the Alpaca Infinity Scarves that are so soft and colorful you might as well just get one for yourself, too. You can feel really good about getting and giving these works of beauty. Don’t just take it from us though, Terra Natural Designs says that, “When it comes to shopping for fashion accessories, there are always plenty of options; however, not every option has a positive impact on society or the planet. We are here to offer a real handmade indigenous product, that will help keep your vibration high, with natural and intelligent materials.”

Sometimes we forget the practical in gift giving. A bottle of local maple syrup or honey will surely sweeten up a stocking. Chocolove chocolate bars are on sale right now and are always a welcome gift. Higher Grounds Highland Humanity coffee is a local product that is organic and fair trade, it tastes delicious and as they say, “High quality coffee is sustainable only through a human-centric approach. It's a simple idea. And as we like to think of it, our secret recipe for the best cup of coffee in the world.” We think you can taste that difference in every cup! Filling one of our beautiful African Baskets with goodies or staples like these from the Grain Train is a perfect gift option.

NOTE: Some popular gift items will be on sale this Friday-Sunday in our next Weekend Flash Sale. Keep an eye out in your inbox to see just what those items will be!

We hope this gives you some ideas for holiday shopping at the Grain Train. We are still taking pre-orders for fresh Duerksen holiday turkeys and our house-made, veggie trays. It's easy to pre-order online just by clicking on the links above.

One last item we want to bring to your attention—to help support local community members in need this holiday season, please consider ROUNDING UP at the register as you check out at the stores.

And, remember Solstice is on it’s way Saturday, December 21 at 11:19 pm—and bringing with it the light! May it reach each one of you this holiday season!

December 16, 2019 by Mindy Taylor

Making A List and Checking It Twice

This time of year has everyone making all sorts of lists and checking them twice. There are a few opportunities coming up at the Grain Train that we know will make planning your holiday festivities a little easier and a whole lot tastier!

First, we have a limited quantity of fresh Duerksen turkeys coming and we are currently taking pre-orders. These will sell out fast so get your orders in now! These holiday turkeys are raised on pasture in northern Michigan and never frozen, so they arrive on your table supremely fresh and delicious. Whole turkeys are $3.99/pound and have a use by or freeze by date of December 26. These turkeys will arrive on December 19 and you can pick them up anytime between then and December 23.

You can also pre-order a veggie tray made with organic vegetables for your holiday party, gathering or dinner. We are offering size small (serves 8-12), medium (serves 25), and large (serves 50). These range in price from $14.99-$49.99 with an additional $5 charge for ranch dip or hummus. Pick up dates range from December 19-23. Let us make this for you so you have a little more time to spend with family and friends.

We know that seafood holds a special spot in numerous holiday traditions and we are so excited to be bringing you a Dock Fish Sale on December 23. We have been working hard to find you the most delicious, sustainably harvested seafood available. More details to come but you can expect to find Maine Coast Lobster Tail, Wholey YellowFin Tuna, Cannon Fish Company Salmon Fillets, King Crab Legs, Wholey Cooked P&D Tail On Shrimp, Louis Select Raw Shrimp Shell On, Wholey Red Argentine P&D Shrimp, and more. All products are wild and sustainably caught and backed by the Marine Stewardship Council. Make sure you add to your list our house-made tartar and cocktails sauces for this special event!

Speaking of made in-house, keep an eye out for more holiday offerings from our Bakery/Deli showing up further into the month.

While you are out holiday shopping, make sure you stop by the Cafe for lunch, a coffee, or one of our holiday smoothies like THE SUGAR PLUM, made with almond milk, spice syrup, raisins, cherries, red grapes, raspberries, coconut date rolls, walnuts, orange zest, cranberries, or the CRANBERRY-APPLE made with organic cranberries & apples, coconut milk, banana, maple syrup, cinnamon. Yum! See you there!

Don’t forget to grab a tag off any one of our three giving trees and help spread holiday cheer this season.

Speaking of the holidays, you might be wondering what our holiday hours are? Here you go:

December 10, 2019 by Mindy Taylor


As we are still basking in the light of gratitude from our time of Thanksgiving with friends and family, we want to share some opportunities to spread some JOY as we continue into this holiday season.

Tomorrow, December 3, is Giving Tuesday. This day which follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday, has become a “Global Generosity Movement” where people across the world are helping others through the gift of their time, donations, goods, or voice. A few of the ways we are supporting the movement this year are: Round Up at the Register for Manna, the Giving Trees, the Community Winter Wear Bank, and the Women’s Resource Center’s Safe Home Food and Household Donation Cart. Each of these opportunities to give begins and ends with your generosity.

This is the perfect time of year to remind you about the option in the stores to Round Up your purchase to the nearest dollar for the Manna Food Project. We don’t always ask you if you would like to participate in this program, but we want to remind you that all you have to do is tell us you'd like to participate and we will make sure those cents are donated. They really do add up and we are honored to support this organization: “Manna Food Project (Manna), a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, helps feed the hungry in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet Counties. Over 250 committed volunteers, partnering with a staff of eight, work together to achieve our mission. Manna is a partner organization of the national Feeding America Food Bank Network. Manna operates a food bank (distribution center), a food rescue program, a weekly food pantry, and the “Food 4 Kids” backpack program.”

An annual tradition at the Grain Train is the Giving Tree. The Women's Resource Center and other community resources provide us with a local family's wish list and we, along with your help, make sure it gets fulfilled. We are very excited to be adding Giving Trees at our Boyne City store and also at the Cafe this year. Next time you are in, just select a tag from one of our Giving Trees and bring back each gift wrapped and with the tag attached to whichever location the tag was picked up from (Petoskey store, Boyne City store, or Cafe). At the Petoskey store and the Cafe, gifts are due back by December 12. In Boyne City, presents are due December 16.

You might remember the Coat Tree that was on the corner of Petoskey and Michigan Streets last year? It was a community project where coats, hats, gloves, and all sorts of winter wear were dropped off for anyone who needed them. It was a great idea that had one drawback, the clothing froze out in the elements. In 2018, a Public Safety officer asked us if we would house the project and we thought the back porch of the Cafe was just the spot. The Winter Wear Bank is up and running again this season. This is still a community project and we are asking for your help in keeping the rack and bins full, neat, and orderly. If the area is full, kindly donate elsewhere.

One last way to give that we want to touch on today is the shopping cart in the entryway of our Petoskey location. All of the donations that go inside the cart are collected for the Women’s Resource Center’s Safe Home. Purchasing one item to donate per shopping trip can really go a long way to making sure that the Safe Home is fully stocked and ready for those in need. Should you wonder what items they are accepting, here is their needs list.

So, in the spirit of giving, we hope you will participate in these opportunities as you are able. We love Giving Tuesday but let’s keep that caring for our community alive and well all year long.

As for what is happening at the stores and Cafe this week, we are gearing up for the rest of the holiday season! More details of that to come. We are excited to extend the Cafe’s hours this Friday, December 6, for the Downtown Petoskey Open House. We hope that you will come in, warm up and enjoy what we have to share with you this festive evening! See you there!

December 02, 2019 by Mindy Taylor