fueled by

an appetite for adventure

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Gina Ferwerda is fueled by voyaging to places others won’t go — and eating good while doing it.

Gina Ferwerda is fueled by voyaging to places others won’t go — and eating good while doing it.

Gina Ferwerda thrusts herself out into the world at full velocity. It’s been that way since she was a kid — first running then driving around the expanse of her grandparents’ commercial farm. There was an abundance of Jeeps, snowmobiles and dirt bikes — all built to handle the terrain around the farm. Ferwerda forged a lifelong relationship with vehicles that defy obstacles presented by her immediate natural landscape. Now, she and her husband of 24 years use them to uncover natural beauty in hard-to-get-to places all over America.

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Gina and Ted Ferwerda share a passion for outdoor adventure.

“I’m fueled by the exploration of doing something that not everyone can do,” she says. “Where we go out snowmobiling, it takes a lot. You’re not just riding some trail. No. If you want to get to the top of a mountain — 10,000 to 12,000 feet off the ground — you’re going through powder, working your sled, never sitting down; you’re standing up and shifting from one side to the other working your way through all these trees and just trying to stay focused on what’s in front of you.”

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The Ferwerdas have the gear that helps get them to hard-to-reach places — no matter the terrain.

No matter how far out they go, navigating deep snow around Jackson Hole or exploring sparse corners of the Moab Desert, the Ferwerdas never go hungry. Gina’s time on the farm inspired her to follow yet another passion. “I’ve always had a love of culinary and a respect for where our food comes from, who farms it, who harvests it and how hard it is,” she says.

But how could she combine outdoor motorsports with the culinary arts?

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Gina Ferwerda's "Muffler Meatballs" are made completely from scratch.

About 10 years ago, Gina became the foodie adventurer she always envisioned. A friend introduced her to a product that allowed her to use the gas-powered engines of her vehicles to cook on the go. With an airtight metal box affixed to the internal portion of her muffler, she started cooking up scrumptious, hot gourmet meals — filet mignon, tomato basil gnocchi, spinach artichoke dip — while roaring through powder on her high-octane sled and climbing rocks with wildly modified off-road-ready Jeeps.

“There’s nothing worse than spending the entire day having fun during your adventure and eating a cold sandwich or just grabbing a granola bar,” she says. “So I thought, let’s do something about it.” There was no going back.

From October through April, the Ferwerdas are trekking across America’s boulders and alpine snow drifts, seeking out breathtaking views while enjoying hot, homemade eats. That’s only possible because of the incredible (and incredibly fun) amount of work they put in during the summer. Gina and Ted operate a summer resort on Lake Michigan, complete with a marina and boat rental. They say their seasonal employees are mostly high school- and college-aged guys with huge appetites. Their hunger inspired Gina to up her game in the kitchen. “My husband was like, ‘how can we get them fed so they’re not having to take an hour here, an hour there to eat while we have boats coming in and out?’”

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There's nothing like a hot, homemade meal after ripping around the trails for three hours on a cold day.

That’s how Gina became a self-described “burger guru.” How many different varieties could she make to keep her employees happy — and busy? It turns out, she found a way to make dozens of different burgers, which became the genesis for her food blog. She delved deeper into her culinary passion and published a celebrated cookbook inspired by regional ingredients. Now she’s a fledging culinary personality, having made several appearances on local television stations in western Michigan and Indianapolis, Ind., as well as Tampa and Sarasota, Fla. Ferwerda has even appeared on one of the biggest network morning shows in America.

Gina Ferwerda is fueled to go wherever life leads her — whether that’s her next national TV appearance or riding a snowmobile 12,000 feet up the Rocky Mountains to enjoy some tomato basil gnocchi.