Step into the new Horrocks Farm Market and the options seem limitless.
Do you start with the rows of produce or go straight to mountains of candy? Do you head to the back to get a beer or wine to sip while you shop? Or do you grab lunch and sit at the bar?
Horrocks has been a Battle Creek institution for more than two decades. It’s outgrown the original store near downtown and moved to Lakeview Square Mall.
The new store is certainly bigger — they fit a small airplane near the bar! It offers all of the comforts already associated with Horrocks in Battle Creek and adds some new ones.
Outdoors is inside
Walking down the center aisle of Horrocks is like strolling through a verdant garden. Leafy plants surround a tall fountain and gather in green, ferny clusters among the aisles. The houseplant section is so thick, it’s a forest.
April means flowers, though, and there are already racks of planters for the early birds. Horrocks has everything, no matter what kind of gardener you are.
There are seeds for those who are ready to start sprouting seeds indoors before moving them to fertilized ground outside. Or go with a pot of purple and yellow pansies that only need watering.
Once we get closer to Mother’s Day, the Horrocks greenhouse will fill up with perennials, shrubs, trees, vegetable vines and more.
Speaking of Mother’s Day, you can build your own bouquet in the floral department. Carnations and roses come in a rainbow of colors, or choose something spring-y, like irises with some green and purple fillers and yellow puffball flowers.
DIY is a theme at Horrocks. Go to the coffee section in the back of the store to pour yourself a free cup of coffee, and pour coffee beans into a bag to make your own blend at home.
Grab an empty bottle and fill it with your choice of oil or vinegar. Add a taste of Italy or Spain to your cooking with specialized blends. Cook with less butter by using the butter-flavored olive oil in the pan.
The new bar
Take a moment to relax in the gathering area. They call it a tavern, but it feels more like a day by the lake. The bright lights, picnic tables and lawn furniture give it a festive vibe for any time of the year.
Pull up a chair at the long bar, where the bartender will pour you a beer (or a root beer). We recommend a glass of Handmap Brewing’s Rye of Sunshine IPA, made here in Battle Creek.
Before that, though, swing by one of the other bars for some food. There’s a soup bar, salad bar and sushi bar – all self-serve. Pick out some marinated olives from the appetizer bar and enjoy an aperitivo with wine from the tavern (just make sure to pay before you eat anything).
It’s worth the trip to the store just to hang out.
Anyone with a sweet tooth will be blown away by all of the candy at Horrocks. The shelves are packed with everything from gummy sharks to chocolate-covered ginger to candy bars from around the world. One of our personal favorites is the bags of tiny marshmallows that can be added to cereal.
There’s also nature’s candy, with all kinds of dried fruit. It’s alongside the snack mixes and other salty, crunchy goodies. Horrocks is known for its popcorn department, with fresh popcorn made daily.
Or get your protein in the Carnivore Corner, which has gourmet jerky and meat snacks.
You never know what you’ll find
The real joy of Horrocks is discovering the unexpected. You can certainly get milk, bread, tomatoes and meat for dinner during a shopping trip.
But what about a block of beeswax? Dip into the pickle barrel — or a pickle-flavored taffy. Try a bag of iced tea candy. Look up how to peel a dragon fruit. Decide between three different kinds of garlic. Definitely get that spiky houseplant.
Horrocks is an adventure as much as it is a grocery store.