“I love farming,” says Marissa Brecheisen. “It is my passion.”
At their Brecheisen Farm booth at the Greenville Farmers Market on a recent Saturday morning, Marissa and her husband Jeremy were selling seasonal farm-fresh vegetables, chicken and duck eggs and their locally raised pork products.
“We lived in McKinney before and we wanted some property away from the craziness and growth in McKinney,” Jeremy said as he held one of the Brecheisen’s identical twin granddaughters. “We wanted a farm and we happened to find a place in Campbell five years ago.
“At first, we started with one little table at the Farmers Market. Marissa brought a few things. The first year or two, it was all produce. Then we started the pork. We raise our own hogs. We also added a greenhouse. We sell out of eggs nearly every weekend. Some people have allergies to chicken eggs, so they buy duck eggs. I’ve been told that baking with duck eggs makes baked goods fluffier.”
Jeremy, a native of DeQueen, Arkansas, retired from the Air Force in 2015.
“I was born and raised in the Philippines,” Marissa said. “I was a teacher there. I met my husband in the Philippines in 2005. When I was a kid, I learned to grow and sell vegetables.”
“Her family are produce vendors in the Philippines,” Jeremy said.
At Brecheisen Farm, the pair said they are proud to be organic farmers.
“We’re practicing organic in growing our vegetables,” Marissa said. “We do not use synthetic fertilizer We grow four acres of vegetables from spring through fall. We purchase local organic fertilizer from Steve’s Nursery.”
“Because we don’t use pesticides, sometimes the bugs get our plants,” Jeremy said. “That’s just what happens. Commercial planters use pesticides and you ingest those when you eat the produce.”
Marissa’s edible microgreens remain popular at the market.
“The microgreens such as baby sunflower or baby English peas are vegetables that have six to eight times the nutrients of the big vegetables,” she said. “When these greens are about three inches deep, they are more nutrient-rich. As sunflower greens mature, they become sunflowers. Baby English pea greens eventually become the vines for the peas.
“When you put the microgreens in your salad, it will become five to six times more nutritious.”
Many of Marissa’s herbs and crops come from seeds.
“Spring is my favorite season,” Marissa said. “We grow everything from seeds such as potatoes, onion chives, spinach and carrots. But summer is a good time also. We have tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, okra, cucumber, onions, kale and lettuce.”
Marissa discussed getting their produce ready to go to market.
“We enjoy farming, but bringing in the harvest is hard work,” she said. “During the summer, we might begin at 5 p.m. and work until 1 a.m. picking vegetables, Last year we had our flashlights in the garden. Sometimes we cleaned the radishes in the middle of the night.”
The Brecheisens said they believe that all animals, even their hogs, should be nurtured.
“We raise the hogs with tender loving care,” Marissa said.
“They have a big area to roam around to get to the roots and the minerals from them,” Jeremy said. “In the summer there is a tree line where they go to get cool. They are proudly grown and humanely raised here.”
In addition to the hogs, the couple has 20 goats, 100-plus chickens, 100-plus ducks and “furbabies” — several cats and, at present, five dogs. Lucky, a large, white canine, acts as the Brecheisen Farm guardian.
Kelly Howell of Penny Farm near Commerce sells homemade baked goods, including cakes and her sprouted grain bread at a booth across from the Brecheisens at the Greenville Farmers Market.
“Marissa and Jeremy work very hard,” Howell said. “They grow their microgreens, which are organic and wonderful. They have those up through the late fall and into the winter. Then in the early spring, they get their other gardens going. They have a couple of greenhouses so that they can get started early when the weather’s ugly. They follow organic practices. They also have grass-fed pork. My husband and I have enjoyed pork chops, ham steaks, chorizo and breakfast sausage. They are wonderful people, always sweet and always smiling.”
Monica Lubiani is a Greenville fused glass artist who sells her jewelry and glass pieces at the Farmers Market.
“Jeremy and Marissa make you feel like family,” Lubiani said. “They always have delicious food and recipes to share. They are a wonderful asset to the community and the Farmers Market. We’re so lucky that they make the farm-to-table experience so enjoyable.
“When I started selling my glass at the Farmers Market, Marissa was the first to welcome me with open arms. She brings such joy and life to the market. She and Jeremy are certainly a large reason why the Farmers Market is so successful.”
Jeremy explains how they meld their farm work into a lifestyle.
“Marissa is the real farmer,” he said. “I do the heavy lifting and operate the tractor. We don’t watch TV much. We get plenty of exercise, and we’re out in sun to get our vitamin D. We eat our own produce and pork, but we still shop at the grocery store. Intangibles include meeting great people and producing something of value locally that doesn’t use chemicals. Our small business works with other businesses such as the East Texas Print Shop, Steve’s Nursery and the Bluebonnet Meat Company in Trenton.
“When we started here five years ago, we knew no one at the market. Now it’s different. If you want to get to know good people, come to the Greenville Farmers Market. We’ve been here long enough that now we are familiar with the families, and we learn about the births of their children or grandchildren as well as about the deaths. We’ve seen ups and downs, just the kind of stuff that in a community is the natural stuff. Since 2015, we’ve met many fantastic people just through this process.”
“We love this community so much,” Marissa said. “Everyone is so supportive. There is no place that I would rather be.”