Take a young woman with a passion for local, organic food and a mission to “get the nation healthier,” add in supportive family and friends, pump that up with tenacity and more than ample energy. The result is Bridgett’s Blough’s Organic Gypsy-- a food truck, catering company, home meal delivery service and most recently, a mobile beverage trailer called Dotty.
The Organic Gypsy food truck
Blough grew up in Southwest Michigan in the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area and earned a degree from Kalamazoo College in economics and business. She fully intended to be spending her days in an office but after moving to San Francisco where she developed a passion for healthy living, she realized sitting at a desk just was not going to make her happy.
She became a personal trainer and a yoga and Pilates instructor, but it came to her that the key to overall wellness was in the food we consume. “We can’t workout our way out of our health problems,” Blough says. She found a Natural Chef program at Bauman College in San Francisco and six months later was ready to figure out how to change the way the world eats. What better place to funnel that passion than back home in Michigan’s fruit belt.
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart and Blough has proven that she’s more than up to the myriad of tasks required to make a food business go. One of the first challenges was to find an affordable food truck. After a couple of missteps, she decided to build her own with the help of her dad and cousin Garrett Spencer who works in his family-owned fire truck and blueberry picker-manufacturing company, Spencer Manufacturing in South Haven.
Spencer Manufacturing at work on the truck!
The 2005 GMC Step Van she found was not quite tall enough so Spencer cut off the top and raised the roof of the truck two feet to both accommodate Blough’s height and the salamander (a professional broiler) needed to cook the food. The bonus was additional storage space. Appliances were added including refrigeration, a cooktop and water tanks, detailing was finished and what began as an idea in April, was finished in June in time for her first gig.
Blough is a pioneer in the Farm to Table movement in Southwest Michigan. She works with local organic farmers and designs her menus to reflect what is in season and available. When there is an excess of a particular produce, she pickles or freezes what she can’t use right away. The food truck travels around to farmer’s markets and festivals and is used to cater weddings and other events of 50-200 guests.
A six-week soup CSA in the winter and a three-week salad CSA in the Spring helps her help the farmers know how much to grow. Dotty is her latest venture. The 1965 Vintage Scotty camper was retrofitted to become a mobile beverage cart that serves coffee and sweets and can also be hired as a cocktail cart. And, as if that wasn’t enough, three times a year she creates a pop-up restaurant with a full service family-style 5-course meal.
Beautiful set-up for a pop-up dinner
“It takes a lot of effort to source local food and devise menus, but I see that the impact on the community is huge. I’m trying to change the conversation so that people learn to eat clean,” Blough says.
Facebook: The Organic Gypsy
Check out the Organic Gypsy's schedule on their website and try some of their delicious creations!
POP UP DINNER COMING TO SOUTH HAVEN:
Saturday, July 13
Location: The Fields, South Haven
Time: 6 PM
Description: Join The Organic Gypsy for a memorable outdoor feast. There will be one long table set up so you will dine next to new freinds and old acquaintances. Our food truck will be an on-site kitchen to serve guests dining with us. The Organic Gypsy will provide a multiple course family-style dinner for you to enjoy while being serenaded by local musicians. A five course farm to table pop up dinner in a blueberry field. Ticket includes: appetizers, dinner, dessert, and gratuity.
Click here for tickets and more information.
About the Author
Nancy Backas has been writing, mostly about food, for more than 30 years. South Haven is a favorite place, and she and her husband Terry visit as often as they can. The rich food and art culture, along with opportunities to explore South Haven's magical natural surroundings is what draws she and her husband to SoHa. She looks forward to sharing her South Haven discoveries. And, while they currently live in Chicago, with moving plans in the works, South Haven will soon be their new home.