About Us

About Us

B & B Farms, owned by Dan and Bonnie Blackledge comprises 540 acres of land east of Marion, Michigan.  Most of the land has been in Dan’s family for three generations, some from the Blackledge family and some from the VanderWoude family.  Bonnie can trace her Brink roots back to this same area.  Our parents and grandparents were always “people of the land,” maintaining soil fertility and improving the land.  The canola we grow today is grown in sandy loam and clay loam soils, in rotation with other crops such as corn, wheat, and alfalfa.   

Our family consists of seven children.  Two of them, Carissa and Hayley, are still in school and enjoy helping us with canola planting and harvest. Joel is Marketing Director for the Chicago region.  Lindsay does all our design work.  Planting occurs in late April with four of us taking turns on the tractors.  The same is true in late August for harvest, with everyone well versed in running grain boxes and augers.  

Our interest in growing canola as a food crop started in 2006 when we began to research whether canola would grow in Michigan.  Working closely with Michigan State University we planted our first “test plot” of twenty acres of winter canola.  By 2011 we have expanded that to 100 acres and we have learned that spring canola fits best with our farm in Northern Michigan and that Clearfield (non-GMO) varieties provide the oil profile we are looking for in all natural canola.

We have traditionally shipped all our canola as “food grade” to a processor in Canada.  Two years ago we began talking about ways to avoid the high shipping costs and increase the value of our crop.  We discovered that almost all the canola oil used in Michigan comes from Canada, and that there were no canola processors in Michigan.   We also learned that most of the canola oil available in supermarkets has been chemically processed, bleached, and deodorized.  Since then we have been working with Michigan State University, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and The Starting Block kitchen to develop a process to cold press, bottle, and market a Pure Michigan, all natural canola oil.