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Cultivating Troemner Farm

My favorite part of my work is visiting farms. When you’re hiking through mud and tick-filled fields to get the right shot, conversing over the trials and tribulations of farm life, sharing in a homemade parcel fresh off the field or oven, partnerships are quietly formed that transcend paper, pixel and print.

I first had the pleasure of working with Claire and Matthew when they were still Menagerie Homestead and vending their first season at the farmer's market in 2023, offering homemade bath bombs, mixed nuts, Pfeffernusse cookies, and other carefully crafted labors of love at the Houghton farmer's market.

Over the past year, this couple has put a lot of work in: acquiring goats (from Ghost House Farm - many community members now have an affinity for Stewart, who we got to cuddle when the baby goats came), establishing their growing space, and most importantly, acquiring a new-to-them but very old property. Once a potato farm in the 60's, the Atlantic Mine acreage is now theirs to farm and steward.

Though both these farmers could seriously model, Claire and Matthew are also both Illinois Tech alumni engineers, where they met on a ski trip. While Matthew holds a PhD in Civil Engineering and works in research and design, Claire invented three electromechanical devices now patented and used in power systems, but says that she still considers herself more of a farmer.

"Every year I’ve multiplied the amount and kind of plants under my care, so farming was the next natural step," said Claire. "I also grew up in a Sicilian family with a mom who valued fresh ingredients. Wild food excites me because it combines unique, delicious ingredients with the natural world. I’m a sucker for cuddles and fresh ingredients, so animal husbandry is also a dream!"

It's been a pleasure to see them progress not only as farmers and vendors, but also in the social media atmosphere: Claire was the first to reach out to me about a social media audit after I started to offer them independently, hoping some of my extensive social media knowledge might translate to small business successes and, by proxy, some wins for the food system. The Troemners received from me a social media & photography "package", specially priced for farmers, packed with the latest social media best practices and a jumpstart on content with an arsenal of shots from the farm.

Troemner Farm also acquired their branding from an artist local to Marquette: Sarah Reynolds of Studio Couturra.

Troemner Farm will be ready to launch a CSA within the next couple of years. The food system needs considerate and smart land stewards like the Claire and Matthew; buying from up-and-comer farms are a great way to support that. In return, you get fabulous nutritious goodies.

And a true, Lilified tip from me to you: Try their garlic sourdough. Trust.

Troemner Family Farm Atlantic Mine, MI Facebook Instagram


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