Spring is undeniably here. The days are getting longer, the birds are singing, and the pull to be outdoors grows stronger by the minute. More sunshine and warmer days bring with them a very welcomed comfort and familiarity. Yet there is the reality that we are sheltering in place with a world of uncertainty outside our homes. As we venture out for necessities or essential work, that uncertainty tends to grow. All of us are in this together from wherever we are. At the Grain Train we are doing our best to ease that uncertainty while you are in our stores.

We know that everything we have put in place for the safety of our staff and the community also has its challenges attached. We want to THANK YOU for understanding that the health of all has to come before convenience at this time.

Honoring senior hours and restricted numbers of customers is a gift you are giving to your fellow community members and our staff, thank you. Your mindfulness about how close you are to another person while shopping is an act of kindness. Your willingness to pay with a credit card when you are able is appreciated. You recently received an update from us asking you to wear a face covering while shopping and reminding you about the Health Department's Public Health Advisory about self-quarantine after return from an area to have known community spread of the virus. We thank you in advance for your compliance to these requests.  

We are excited to bring back a few staff members from the past, and doing so has allowed us to expand our store hours in Petoskey. It feels good to be able to offer evening hours again and to offer more hours in the day in general for people to shop. We hear you that you would like a curbside option in Petoskey. We are working hard to see if it is possible to offer. Thank you for your patience and understanding around this.

We could not be more proud of our teams working in the stores! Thank you to the community members who have been making our team members masks. Know that you express your gratitude to each staff member when you wait in line for them to sanitize between customers or wait for them to clear out of an aisle. Today, thank you and gratitude come in the form of slowing down and seeing one another and taking a pause.

Speaking of taking pause, we will be closed in both locations on Easter Sunday. Whatever this day means to you and your family, we hope you are able to celebrate in a way that brings you peace and joy. We open on Monday with our current regular hours and look forward to serving you.

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, a heart of grace and a soul generated by love.”

Thank you for being a part of the Grain Train community and for allowing us to be a part of yours.

April 10, 2020 by Mindy Taylor




Hello Grain Train Community! Here we are in a new month, a quarter of the way through 2020. It has not been an easy start to the year and we know that the road ahead will have many challenges. Despite that, we are taking the cue from Mother Nature who is coming out of her winter rest and bringing forth spring. We are moving forward despite uncertainty, and we are grateful you are here with us.

In unsettling times comes stress, worry, fear, and all of the faces they wear, but there is something else that grows out of each of us and weaves its ways through our communities when times are tense—HOPE. Hope can bring out the best in us and tie us together. It grows compassion and support between people. It inspires resources like the Emmet and Charlevoix Helping Hands Facebook pages where people are coming together to support one another. Hope nudges us to check in on our neighbors before we head to the store, or it pulls us towards joining one of the many online community gatherings like the weekly virtual Thursday night  Poetry in the Wild reading, brought to us by the Bellaire Public Library and Crosshatch. Even though we are physically distanced, there are many, many different ways to connect and foster hope.

For all of us at the Grain Train, hope manifests itself in doing everything we can to keep our stores open and continue to be that trusted source you rely on us to be. It also comes in looking forward. There is no denying spring is here. Easter is taking place next Sunday. For some, this is not a day they celebrate. Others will be gathering in their homes around screens for services that are near and dear to their hearts. Easter egg hunts will be a smaller family gathering—each of us finding ways to participate in life while sheltering in place. 

We thought you might like a few resources to look over while you are at home. You can find a number of activity sheets for kids right here if they are starting to fill all the coloring books in your house. We also thought you might like these tips on cooking with kids. For those of you ready to get your hands out in the dirt, check out this gardening with children piece, or this one on starting your own container garden.

There are not as many updates as to what is going on in the stores this week, but we do have a few we'd like to note:

  • We heard you when many asked that we still offer cash payment as an option. We began taking cash again on Sunday, March 29. Credit/debit is still our preferred method of payment but we saw the hardship that limiting cash was causing and we adjusted.
  • We are also transitioning away from packaged items on the Hot Bar to offering some of these items in the Grab and Go case as take-and-heat options.
  • In an act of hope, to better serve the community we are going to try to extend our hours in the Petoskey store, starting Monday, April 6. The new hours will be: 
    • Monday - Sunday 9 AM - 8 PM
    • Senior and Immune Compromised Hours will be 9 AM - 10 AM Daily 
    • Boyne City hours will remain the same.

Lastly, we know that our community is hurting with the recent loss of Larry Cummings. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and all of those who were touched by his life. “The closest bonds we ever know are bonds of grief. The deepest community one of sorrow.” -Cormac McCarthy


April 01, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

We're Here For You


Hi Grain Train Community! It sure is nice to take a moment and know that we are connecting with you. We wish you and your family health and peace of mind today and always. We know that things are not life as normal and they certainly are not business as normal for us, but we want to take a minute and pause with you here to acknowledge that we are all finding our way through uncertain times and that we are doing it together even while we are apart.

We also want to make sure you know that we are open and ready to serve you. Below are the major changes that have taken place since last week that we want to share with you, but most of all we wanted to say hello! We hope that you and your family are finding silver linings in the everyday little moments, just like we are. 

Boyne City: Hours are Monday through Friday 9 AM - 7 PM, Saturday 9 AM - 6 PM, and Sunday 10 AM - 6 PM. To maintain appropriate social distancing we are keeping the total number of customers in the store to 5 people. We will keep track of this, so all you have to do is come in and we will let you know if we are reaching capacity. 

We are really excited to be able to offer curbside pickup and delivery in Boyne City! Thank you so much to the Charlevoix County Transit for making delivery possible for our customers! Delivery is Monday-Friday in Boyne City, Charlevoix, and East Jordan. We are unable to offer weekend delivery service at this time. We don’t have a great way to get frozen products to you via delivery so those will have to be curbside or in person items. If you would like to utilize this option, place your order by noon for delivery the next day. We are able to offer curbside pickup seven days a week. Call in or email us your shopping list: 231-459-4522 or We sure wish we had an online ordering option, but we aren’t there yet. There is no charge for this service and it is limited to the Boyne City store at this time.

Petoskey: Daily Hours are 10 AM - 6 PM, Monday-Sunday. We are keeping the total number of customers in the Petoskey store to 10 people. Just like in Boyne City, we will keep track of this, so all you have to do is come in and we will let you know if we are reaching capacity. 

We are now offering special hours for Seniors and those who are Immune Compromised. These hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 AM -10 AM. We will have someone at the door to greet you, at a safe distance, and they will be making sure that we maintain 5 or less customers in the store during these hours. The reality is that store hours are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. As we said earlier, this is not business as usual but we are finding a rhythm and hope that you are as well. We will keep you updated as changes occur. 

A few more things you might want to know that are happening at the Petoskey store include: We are looking into possibilities for curbside pickup but at this time that is a Boyne City only option. There are some really hard choices we have made to better protect staff and customers during this time such as temporarily stopping accepting cash. We are accepting credit/debit cards and personal checks. We are also temporarily suspending all returns at this time, including products, bottle deposits, and Farmers Creamery bottles. We will be accepting these again in the future, if you are able to hold onto them. With the safety of staff and customers in mind we are no longer serving coffee in the deli. We can’t wait until you can come for a cup of coffee and stick around and drink it with us! 

One last thing to share is that our General Membership Meeting and election will be a virtual event on Sunday, April 26. We are still working out the details on this but we will be sure to let you know well in advance. 

We thought you might like to see that we are still getting food in regularly. There will continue to be out of stocks and product availability issues but know that food is coming in and is here for you to purchase.

Again, thank you for being a part of the Grain Train. You each mean so much to us now and always. We sure look forward to a time when March Madness is in full swing, Easter is just around the corner, and what to plant in our gardens is the biggest question out there. Speaking of that, you will start to see some healthy eating and spring gardening tips coming through our social media pages as we settle into the new normal. We hope you enjoy them and feel free to share with the rest of us any recipes or tips you come across.

Until next week, stay safe and we will see you—at a distance—in the stores.

March 26, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

Where We Are Today

Wow, what a week it has been. We have a lot of gratitude going around at the Grain Train. Gratitude for our staff who are showing up for the Grain Train community in so many ways that it makes our hearts full to the brim. We could not be prouder of our team! There is so much gratitude for our greater community and the web that is being cast to make sure that everyone is cared for. Gratitude to all who are working to get food to us and all the grocery stores to replenish shelves. Perhaps most of all, so much gratitude to all those out there working the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our gratitude is also extended to you and your understanding that it is not a business-as-usual-world right now.

There have been a lot of changes to our three locations in relation to COVID-19 and more are undoubtedly coming. We are updating our website daily and you can stay connected with what is happening at the Grain Train here. Below you will find a summary of our COVID-19 response to date.

We know that there are not any easy answers right now. Everyone is doing the best they can in the moment and from there we move forward. We will leave you with a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien's, The Fellowship of the Ring: “The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.

In Compassion and Cooperation,

Grain Train

March 18, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

COVID-19 Update

As the new coronavirus known as COVID-19 has reached the United States, there is a lot of conflicting information out there about the risks and what we can all do to prepare. At the Grain Train, the health and well-being of our community is a top priority for us, so we wanted to share with you a few of the things we are doing to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak here in Northern Michigan, as well as the sources we are following to stay up-to-date.

There are currently two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, both in the Detroit area, according to the most recent data from the Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Because of the likelihood that it will eventually reach our area, we are following food industry guidelines to create a contingency plan so we can continue to serve our community while limiting the spread of illness and keeping our team and customers safe. 

In the meantime, while good hygiene is foundational to all of our processes, we are doubling down on emphasizing the importance of proper hand-washing techniques to our team as well as increasing the frequency with which surfaces and utensils in the stores and cafe are sanitized. We are also temporarily suspending our sampling program out of an abundance of caution; this will include the tastings that Angela does each Thursday. Although sampling is a favorite at our stores, we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep our community safe. We're monitoring the situation closely and as circumstances evolve, you will likely see more changes around the store designed to help prevent the spread of illness.

We are working to stay in stock for as long as possible on key items that have been in unusually high demand nationwide. If we are out of stock, check back soon as we will continue trying to get these products. Even as these become harder to get, please know that we will continue to try to find products that meet our product guidelines, because we believe you should never have to choose between your family’s health and the health of the planet.

We will also never engage in price gouging. In the broader market, some high-demand items have become prohibitively expensive as companies take advantage of people’s fears. We work hard to bring high-quality products to our community at affordable prices at all times, and that is as important to us now as ever.

For more information, you can find daily updates from MDHHS at and their most recent FAQ here. We’re also paying attention to the World Health Organization’s advice for the public, including recommendations for how and when to use face masks.

We share this information in hopes of instilling comfort and confidence that as your community grocery store, we are paying close attention to the world around us and taking extra precautions to keep our team and customers safe. We can’t know how this outbreak will look when it reaches Northern Michigan, but the Grain Train will continue to do everything we can to support the health of our community.

March 11, 2020 by Elizabeth Meeks

Alternative Options


We are all faced with the challenge of finding out what an optimum diet looks like for each of us. For some, this stays very similar over a lifetime. For others, what used to work well no longer does. Things like food allergies, environmental impact, and overall health all play a role in what we eat. The Grain Train is NOT here to tell you what your diet should look like, we will leave that between you and your health care provider. What we ARE here to do is support YOUR dietary needs. With that in mind, we thought you might like to know about some of the alternative products that are showing up in our sales flyer right now.

For those looking for dairy alternatives or lactose-free options, we have a few things you might want to try. Check out the Kite Hill's Blissful dairy-free, vegan yogurt with flavors like Blueberry Limoncello. We think everyone is going to love this one—Coolhaus Peanut Butter Fudge Chip Ice Cream! It's dairy free and sounds super tasty. For those of you avoiding lactose but not dairy, Green Valley Creamery’s Organic Lactose Free Cream Cheese is also on sale right now.


Functional Beverages is grocery store jargon for beverages that have implied health benefits such as probiotics, electrolytes, or vitamins. One line from this category is Rebbl Elixirs, with their Turmeric Golden Milk beverage made with coconut milk, turmeric, ginger, and forest honey. We think they are worth a try. Kor Wellness Shots are another new product you might enjoy. Their motto is “Simply shake, shoot and feel your way to supreme health!” If you haven’t tried any of the Evolution Fresh Organic Juices, now is the time while they are 2/$7. Their Organic Defense Up is a favorite and right now we also have their Organic Sweet Burn that sounds like the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. Kombucha is always a popular drink and we have two lines of it on sale this flyer period, Health Ade and Brew Dr. It’s hard to go wrong with the fermented goodness of Kombucha.

One last area we thought you might be interested in is the Cauliflower craze! Make sure you grab a bag of From the Ground Up Cauliflower snacks next time you are looking for something crunchy. We also have the Caulipower line on sale with Cauliplower Tortillas, Caulipower Sweet Potatoasts, Caulipower Veggie Pizzas and Pizza Crusts. Their motto ist “You should never have to choose between taste, nutrition and convenience. Everyone at the table can love what they eat...and finally be able to share from the same plate.” Give them a try!
Well, we think that gives you enough to chew on for this week. Remember, some of these items are here now and will be gone after the flyer sale ends. So now is the time to vote with your purchase if they are something we should have on our shelves every day. We hope you are enjoying the first signs of spring! Until next week, see you are the stores and the Cafe!

March 04, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

Shaping Our Future

Everyone is Welcome at the Grain Train! You don’t need to be a member/owner to shop our stores, dine at our cafe, or be a part of the Grain Train community. We love having you here and appreciate your business. We love our member/owners, too. One of the really cool things about our member/owners is that some of them become a part of our Board of Directors and help to shape the future of the Grain Train. Since we are taking applications for candidates RIGHT NOW, we thought you might like to know more about what membership/ownership looks like—

First off, we are a Natural Food Cooperative. That means that rather than being owned by one person, we have roughly 2,500 active (active means they shopped in 2019) member/owners. As a member/owner there are some perks for sure:

  • 10% off your entire purchases one day each month. You pick the day and it’s your Member/Owner Day all day. And if you find you forgot something on your first trip, just stop back by that same day and grab it and you still get your discount
  • 10% off EVERY DAY at the Grain Train Market Cafe
  • Patronage Rebates where the Board redistributes profits to our member/owners in relation to their purchases
  • Discounts on items you order in bulk or by the case
  • Your right to vote in our annual election
  • The opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors

As a cooperative, we have a bit of a different business model that we follow. Check out this article on the 7 Cooperative Principles if you want to know more. The second principle, Democratic Member Control, is very relevant to us right now as we head into our annual General Membership Meeting and Board Election to be held April 26. Our Board of Directors oversees the long-term vision of the Grain Train. The Board is elected by the co-op's owners to represent them in carrying the cooperative forward into the future. They use the Policy Governance model to hold the General Manager accountable for the organization's performance and ensure that the cooperative remains fiscally healthy while focusing on providing visionary leadership for the future. We are sharing all this with you in hopes that YOU might like to be a part shaping that future and consider running as a candidate. 2021 will be our 50th year here at the Grain Train and having strong visionary leadership is more important now than ever.

If you would like to be a part of shaping the future of the Grain Train, the first step is becoming a member/owner. You get all the perks noted earlier and we can set you up with an easy $25 every 6-months payment plan. You will be able to vote in our election on April 26, and be well on your way to making a difference. And, if you are thinking you might just be one of those people interested in becoming a Board director, once you become a member/owner, you can apply to become a candidate right here. As we said earlier, there is no pressure to become a member/owner. We like you just the way you are! The thing is, we are really excited about being a co-op. We know there are some really great things in store for our future and we want to make sure that YOU know about the opportunities there are for being a part of shaping where we go next.

Until next week, see you at the stores and the Cafe!

February 27, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

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, 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, 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!

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