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When you dine at the Boathouse, you get the best of both worlds, culinarily speaking. We are locavores to be sure, but also connoisseurs of what the rest of the world has to offer, which means that our menus feature the freshest, finest ingredients from near and far. We procure as many local, seasonal products from the Grand Traverse Region as possible, and when we must go further afield (for our amazing Kobe beef or seafood, for example), we look for sources that practice sustainable agriculture and fishing.


Owner Doug Kosch adheres quite literally to the “farm to table” concept. He and his wife Erin own ten acres on Old Mission Peninsula, where they grow many of the restaurant’s vegetables, fruits, and herbs using environmentally friendly practices. Malem Farms, named for the Kosch’s two daughters, Mallory and Emma, is home to over 700 apple trees as well as a large garden. The family also raises chickens and Muscovy ducks. Several months before Thanksgiving each year, Doug receives a shipment of 25 poults (young turkeys) that he raises to provide the holiday main course at the Boathouse. Erin logs many hours in the garden from the time the first sign of spring arrives until late in the fall, and the girls enjoy taking care of the animals. All raw vegetable scraps are saved to feed the turkeys, ducks and chickens.


Organically grown, hydroponic microgreens are the most recent addition to the Malem Farms repertoire. These beautiful, crunchy, flavor-packed little plants are the perfect complement to the Boathouse’s bold, innovative cuisine, which emphasizes extraordinary tastes, textures and presentation. While microgreens are not new to our menus, Doug found it a natural next step to grow them himself to be able to harvest them at the peak of freshness. Varieties grown include arugula, bull’s blood beet, daikon radish, dark opal basil, kale and purple kohlrabi, among others.


The restaurant follows the environmentally friendly theme established on the farm. Recycling is a major part of our “green” program. Recycling all plastic, glass, cardboard and tin/metal not only saves money, but also helps to reduce landfill volume. In addition, we are gradually replacing all of the restaurant’s incandescent bulbs (as they burn out) with energy-efficient fluorescent lighting. Our long-term goal is to replace our kitchen equipment with more modern and efficient convection ovens, grills and refrigeration equipment.



Click here to read a great article about proprietor Doug Kosch and his family in the summer issue of Family Circle Magazine titled “Farm to Fork.” The story highlights six of the Kosch’s family recipes using simple, in-season ingredients from their home garden!


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