Homegrown: Salt of the Earth excels in farm-fresh fare

By Kelsey Smith

Short rib pizza
Short rib pizza
Photo: Salt of the Earth

To say that Salt of the Earth keeps things fresh would be an understatement. The restaurant has become a Fennville institution since opening in 2009, specializing in farm-to-fork, New American cuisine.

“We’re passionate about the farm-to-table movement and we’re out here in the country,” said Mark Schrock, co-owner. “We started developing these relationships with some of the local farmers and just started building our menu around that.”

Located in the state’s famous “Fruit Belt,” Fennville is a thriving agricultural region. Because of this, the idea of serving farm-to-table fare came easy to Schrock. 

Veggie burger
Veggie burger
Photo: Salt of the Earth

“We try to cook with a Midwestern style, by using ingredients that are grown around here,” Schrock said. “We also aren’t afraid to go for some international flavors, but generally speaking, we have somewhat classic cooking, and our chef, Henry, is pretty darn creative.”

The restaurant prepares an inventive selection of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes, offering something for everyone. The Miso Tofu is a fan favorite, made with spring onion, swiss chard, wild mushroom and a parsnip purée. And for dessert, the vegan chocolate mousse is a must-try. And on top of it all, Salt of the Earth bakes its own fresh, artisan bread than can be purchased at local businesses.

“One thing I’m excited about is that Chef Henry is really focusing on making sure we have vegan and vegetarian options,” Schrock said. “We’re making sure people with dietary restrictions have something interesting to eat, and it’s really cool.”

Salt of the Earth also honors Fennville’s agriculture and tight-knit community through beverages and roots music.

Schrock is very intentional with the restaurant’s craft beverage program; it has a strong focus on local craft beer as well as wine from the many wineries nearby, including Fenn Valley Vineyards, Modales and Crane’s.

Misu tofu
Misu tofu
Photo:Urban St./Kelsey Smith

“It’s a small community and there’s nothing better than serving your friends’ products in your restaurant,” Schrock said. “We all know each other out here. All these people will come in for dinner, and then we go out to them for wine.” 

During the fall and winter months, Salt of the Earth is a popular live music venue for emerging Midwestern artists. Schrock also is a lifelong musician. 

“I know a lot of people that are musicians, so it’s been nice to take that community and bring it to our community,” he said. “The Michigan music community is really vibrant, especially in the kind of music that we present — it’s more roots, traditional, Americana, bluegrass, blues and original music.”

Salt of the Earth
114 E. Main St., Fennville

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