Oxford brewery, HomeGrown, has joined an increasing number of businesses turning to their own backyard for ingredients. The locally-sourced movement has taken off – in the US and around the world – and “locavores” aim to develop more self-reliant and resilient food networks and improve local economies by buying from nearby producers. In both the brewing and dining components of the business, HomeGrown predominantly sources local supplies.
“It’s so important to get our supplies close-to-home,” said co-owner Marie Powers.
“Our beers and our food taste better when we can get fresh ingredients, we are more connected with our community, and there’s less environmental impact by reducing transport and packaging,” Marie said.
The brewery sources vegetables from Oxford’s Simple Gift Farms, meats from Oxford’s East River Organic Farm, coffee from Lake Orion’s White Pine Coffee, honey from Oxford’s Golden Apiaries, malt from Motor City Malt House, hops from MI Local Hops in Traverse City, yeast strains from Craft Cultures in the Upper Peninsula, and wine from Old Mission peninsula’s Bowers Harbor. Completing the cycle, spent grain from the brewing process goes to a local cattle farmer to be used as feed.
Head Chef Clifton Booth has been a professional chef for 18 years and said when he heard about the Powers family’s vision for HomeGrown he knew it was something he had to be a part of. He shares their vision of farm-to-table style fare and operates a “scratch” kitchen at the brewery. Clifton and his team make their own bread, smoke their own meats, and source as much as they can from nearby.
“We are in the heart of farm country, so there is an abundance of local farmers and community folks who we can do business with and to grow together,” Clifton said.
Head Brewer Joe Powers said the benefits are obvious when you compare beer quality.
“We had a great response to our seasonal Michigan IPA, which we made from all-Michigan ingredients,” he said.
“To be able to source everything from hops to yeast in our own state is incredible, and makes for an excellent beer.”
HomeGrown is something of a family affair for the Powers clan. Owners John and Marie keep a hand-on approach with John as the master brewer, and their eldest son, Joe, has returned from Australia to work as Head Brewer. Second son, Jeff Powers, oversees the front-of-house as General Manager, Joe’s wife Kate assists as Media Liaison, and the youngest sibling Katie Powers leads the Social Media program.
“Between engineers, cooks, artists, managers, and journalists – we feel very lucky to have so much collective knowledge in the family and we love seeing that transform into a great, local business,” said Marie.
Katie Powers is the Marketing Manager for Homegrown Brewery in Oxford. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Joe Powers of In-situ Photography