Marshall couple offer farm, food and events at ‘Of The Land’

MARSHALL TWP. —Walking around their farm on a hot weekday morning, Trent Thompson and Bridgett Blough are the first to admit that they have grown in number.

The married couple have three young children, not to mention an equal number of small businesses born out of their shared love of fresh food, community and the outdoors.

Taking full advantage of their 20 acres on H Drive North, the couple have consolidated their respective farming, dining and events businesses into one location under one brand: Of The Land.

“It’s about being in nature,” Blough said Friday while offering a tour of the property. “A big part of us having this farm is nurturing community members and opening it up for people to experience as well, sharing nature with people.”

Partnering with approximately 40 local growers in West Michigan, the couple offers more than 200 fresh produce ranging from fresh produce, meat and dairy to meal kits and prepared meals through their online marketplace The Green Box. .

The online marketplace offers a variety of locally grown produce, meats, eggs, dairy, kitchen staples and whole meals, with customers having the option to customize the items they receive.

Customers can buy “as little or as much as they want”, with the option of buying a single Green Box or signing up for a weekly “Farmer’s Pick” subscription service.

“We grow a lot of this food, we buy some of it from other farmers in the area, then we aggregate it and package it on an assembly line (located on the farm site), and then we distribute it. “, explained Thompson.

The couple don’t select produce until it’s been ordered online, ensuring a fresher product while limiting food waste.

Customers also have the option of purchasing specialty meal kits that include a recipe and all the ingredients to prepare a seasonal dinner at home, as well as a variety of prepared meals prepared by Blough that are ready to eat at home. arrival.

“One of the things I love is that we teach people how to cook with local foods,” Blough said. “There’s an educational component to it and we kind of group things together that make sense, and it’s easy!”

Blough’s passion for fresh food developed early.

As a child, she remembers going to a local farm with her father to buy sweet corn, picking the cobs themselves before returning home to eat it with dinner.

She then worked on this farm as a teenager.

“I fell in love with this idea that people made a living growing food,” Blough said of the experience. “I’ve just kind of enjoyed it ever since.”

Thompson’s love of farming came later in life.

Shortly after earning a degree in forestry from Michigan State University, he agreed to work on a coffee farm in Hawaii. Later stints on farms in Oregon and Arizona solidified his passion for the profession, prompting him to return home to Battle Creek to try it for himself.

Leasing land and a farm near Pennfield, Thompson began growing a variety of vegetables in 2008, selling the produce at Battle Creek Farmers Market under the trade name Green Gardens.

He bought his own 20-acre property along H Drive North in 2012, meeting Blough later that same year as she began buying his produce for his catering business The Organic Gypsy.

The two have since worked together in various capacities – eventually getting married in 2021 – with Thompson’s Green Gardens venture eventually evolving into online marketplace The Green Box with Blough’s backing.

Thompson began dabbling in events in 2017, converting an on-farm greenhouse into a 5,000 square foot wedding venue that can accommodate 150 people. The couple have 35 weddings booked on the site this year.

The venue also hosts weekly yoga sessions and sound baths – a meditative experience where participants are “bathed” in sound waves.

A 4,800 square foot patio garden with flowers and edible plants – including cherry tomatoes, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries – was added to the property in 2021. The space includes a mobile bar coffee/espresso and has hosted concerts, picnics and family game night, among other events so far.

A large kitchen space on the farm dedicated to catering is also almost complete.

The couple typically hold a public event once a month at the farm, opening up the entire property to visitors.

Thompson said what he values ​​most is connecting with local growers and customers in the community.

“I love being outside,” he said. “I love the community of getting to know the people we sell the food to, I love the sustainability aspect of selling food to people here in the community and just the quality we can offer people.”

For more information, visit oftheland.co.

Contact reporter Greyson Steele at [email protected] or 269-501-5661. Follow him on Twitter: G_SteeleBC

About Erick Miles

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