Originally populated by the Potawatami Indians, Van Buren County, Mich., is considered “Michigan’s Fruit Basket.” Sometime in the mid 1800s, settlers determined the soil in the region was perfect for growing fruit, including apples, peaches, pears, grapes and cherries. Naturally, wineries began to arise and today the county still boasts a hearty supply of both quality fruit and fine wineries.
Van Buren County is rich in lakes, rivers, orchards, rolling sand dunes and fertile prairies. Paw Paw village is the county seat of Van Buren, and thrives today as the center of Michigan’s “Wine Country,” drawing tourists from all over to sample their fine products. In addition to fruit and wine production, lakes and rivers provide an abundant supply of water recreational opportunities year-round—from ice skating and ice fishing to skiing and boating. Tourism has become one of Van Buren County’s most prominent and natural industries. Food and auto part manufacturing are also at the top of the list.
In the 2,000 census, the county’s population was recorded at 76,263. Approximately half of the entire region is farmland. Forty-four percent of the total 1,090 square miles that make up the county is covered in water. Many of the lakes and rivers are dotted with homes owned by year-round residents and vacationers.
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