GRAND RAPIDS — Andy Sietsema is not one to toot his own horn — he even told us that. We had to drag out of him all the good work he does, and it’s well worth noting.
Apple farmer, businessman and driving force behind Sietsema Orchards and cider, he is a family man who loves what he does and shares his successes with those who could benefit from it. “We know that we are very fortunate, and it wasn’t always like that. When we needed help, people helped us — what goes around comes around,” Sietsema shares.
The community at large is important to the Sietsema family — that’s just how they were raised. Apples are regularly donated, for a variety of causes, from school groups to fundraisers to the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes. Space in the orchards and time have also been generously given for Suburba’s JDRF fundraiser dinner — a cause advocated by the owners of Ada restaurant and fully supported by Sietsema Orchards.
Donations for Christmas dinner to Forgotten Man Ministries carries a history. “My grandfather started donating apples to them. We always do Christmas dinner,” says Sietsema.
Apples make delicious hard apple cider, and the Orchard turns its fermented product into charitable giving as well. Recently, they’ve teamed up with Mercy Health-Saint Mary’s to raise money for their labor and delivery unit, a cause very near and dear to Sietsema’s heart.
“All my daughters were born there. All five of them, though now we only have four. I had a daughter pass away shortly after birth — she would have been three this fall,” he explains.
With a special, limited edition cider called ‘Maggie’s Reserve’ made of a variety of heirloom apples you can’t get anywhere else in the country, Sietsema honors his daughter and provides funding to the hospital that helped support the family through the hardest of times. This 10.5% ABV corked cider sells for $25 a bottle, with $10 of each bottle sold going to support the labor and delivery services at Saint Mary’s.
“As the quantity of heirloom apples we have grows, we envision this going statewide and raising even more awareness for Saint Mary’s,” Sietsema says.
This special, limited edition cider is available only at Sietsema Orchard’s store. Go and visit, enjoy a glass of hard cider while you explore the orchards and enjoy the surroundings in this welcoming, intimate, laid back environment and support a good cause at the same time.