WRITER | JEANINE MATLOW
PHOTO | FARM CLUB
Northern Michigan gained an agricultural gem in 2020: Farm Club. Nestled on 35 acres in Leelanau County, the comprehensive concept features a farm, restaurant, brewery, bakery, and marketplace all in one attractive package. Conveniently located just seven miles from downtown Traverse City, the unique site is accessible by the TART trail, a paved urban transportation and recreation corridor.
The clever endeavor comes from Gary and Allison Jonas, who own The Little Fleet bar and food truck/entertainment venue in Traverse City, and Sara and Nic Theisen of Loma Farm, known for its high-quality produce. Their collaboration celebrates the land, local fare, and community. With about seven acres dedicated to farm production, including five on Birch Point Road less than a mile away, the restaurant, brewery, and marketplace have already become a popular destination.
The creative menu contains a healthy mix of soups and salads, sandwiches, rotating entrees, and desserts. Carryout and outdoor dining continue while indoor seating has been restricted during the pandemic. At the marketplace, grab-and-go options include prepared foods and pantry items like eggs and pancake mix. Shoppers can also get tahini dressing, cranberry mustard, and more, along with locally made wares from candles and soaps to coloring kits and ceramics.
As partner Gary Jonas explains, the creative concept came about a few years back among like-minded friends, two who owned a farm and the other two with a hospitality industry background. “We wanted to open up a place that celebrates the land and the food in the area. The idea comes from taking an existing farm and growing on that by pulling from the fields and doing intentional things with the produce by utilizing it to its best potential,” he says.
“We’re primarily a farm that also has a kitchen with really approachable food that changes often. The marketplace has grab-and-go gift items and cookbooks, cards, and pieces from local potters. The brewery has really simple, well-made beers that are also served in the restaurant, sold at the market, and distributed throughout the state of Michigan.”
Highlights include a Bon Fuego fireside stew every Sunday that changes each week. “The magic in this place is that it’s tied to the agriculture. Seeing the cycle of ingredients carried out of the field, we’re forced to be creative, and we’re proud of using everything we have,” says Jonas. “We have a respect and a love for the land.”
Their seasonal menu varies more during the summer months. In the winter, they rely on storage crops and active harvest greens and microgreens from their greenhouse. On Saturdays, people can buy the latest produce from the market as well as special treats like barley donuts, apple fritters, and breakfast sandwiches made from local organic eggs and cheddar biscuits.
In addition to the distinct food, Jonas says they’re proud that they’re on the TART trail that goes through Traverse City up to Suttons Bay and beyond. Because of the coveted location, people bike, run, and cross-country ski right to the site that supports the active lifestyle they advocate. They also have a small hiking trail that they hope to expand at some point and a kids’ play area with wood stumps and boulders discovered on the property.
Farm Club has been well received for good reason. “People are just super excited. They can feel that we care about this place, and they appreciate that we’re here. It’s been a real focal point,” says Jonas. “Local people say they were waiting for something like this to open in the area, which feels really good.”
10051 S. Lake Leelanau Drive, Traverse City MI 49684
231-252-3079 / FarmClubTC.com