So… Grand Rapids Has Tumbleweeds Now?
Darren Carroll/ Getty Images
Have you ever seen a tumbleweed in Grand Rapids? A local restaurant owner recently caught one rolling down a street in a fairly busy part of town...
Chris Andrus, co-owner of The Mitten Brewing Co. on Leonard St. NW shared the photo to Facebook with a truly excellent caption:
"The perfect metaphor for 2020 restaurant life doesn't exi—(tumbleweed blows by shuttered restaurant)."
Oh man, it's funny, but it's also sad. Hopefully if we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, our favorite restaurants can re-open sooner rather than later! In the meantime, The Mitten is offering carry-out, and I did see recently you can even get their popular "pizza flights" to go!
So what about this tumbleweed? The word makes me picture the Old West, with tumbleweeds rolling past the double doors of an empty saloon... but apparently tumbleweeds aren't even native to the Western U.S.? According to PBS, its common name is "Russian thistle" and the weed likely originated in the Ukraine. It's thought that Russian thistle arrived in the U.S. through South Dakota in flaxseed imported from Europe in the 1870s. So how did tumbleweeds spread to other parts of the country? PBS explains: "The weed spread quickly through the United States — on rail cars and through contamination of agricultural seeds. And by tumbling."
According to some of the comments on the post, other folks have been seeing tumbleweeds around GR! So I guess while uncommon, tumbleweeds can be spotted in Michigan, especially this time of year, like back in 2016 when tumbleweeds took over a subdivision on the east side of the state.