BY JANE BLOODWORTH ROWE
PUNGO — From eggs to make-up, there’s a wide variety of products available at The Farm Life General Store, which opened in the spring at Pungo Square Shopping Center.
Many of the products are created by owner Ashley Grosch and her flock of chickens and ducks at her Creeds home. She also grows the vegetables that she will market at the Pungo store.
For Grosch, it’s about offering consumers a range of items that are derived from natural products and that are free of herbicides and pesticides.
She focuses on personal care, and one of her most popular items is an elderberry syrup kit that includes dried herbs so that customers can make their own elderberry tea.
Grosch offers other personal care items, including body butters, ointments, herbal teas and skin care products, as well as animal feed, herbal room sprays, snacks, totes and t-shirts.
She also sells honey from Golden Angels Apiary, make-up by Beautycounter and meats from Polyface Farm.
For Grosch, the journey to becoming a farmer-shopkeeper began when she was a child growing up in Arlington, Texas. She learned to garden from her grandmother, who raised an impressive amount of vegetables and fruits in her small yard.
Grosch went on to serve as a naval officer, rising to the rank of lieutenant before leaving the military in 2010 and settling in Virginia Beach with her husband, Paul Grosch.
Grosch’s interest in gardening was fed by a developing interest in a healthy lifestyle and sustainable products, which began when her oldest son, Alex, now 12, was born.
“I wanted to use products that I could trace to the source,” Grosch said, “so I finally started making my own.”
Grosch refers to some of her products as “functional medicine,” which focuses upon aspects of health such as diet.
Grosch grows leafy green vegetables, root vegetables, and standard summer fare including eggplants and tomatoes that she will market in Pungo.
She also cares for 200 chickens and a flock of ducks as well as her four sons, including Alex, Sam, 10, Charlie, 8, and Timothy, 5.
She has also done farm-to-table dinners, yoga and cooking demonstrations, foraging classes and gardening classes on her Creeds property, and some classes will now be held in Pungo.
Previously, Grosch marketed her farm products at Old Beach Farmers Market, and some skin care products were sold at The Tar Roof, now Sawdust Road, in Pungo.
Grosch works with Logan Peterson, who serves as her chief operating officer, and Jackie Shorrock, who works as marketing officer, forming partnerships with other brands and helping to plan events.
“I went to one of Ashley’s events, and I immediately fell in love with everything that she’s doing,” said Shorrock, who has a background in nursing. “So I went to her and asked if she had any jobs available.”
“It’s awesome” said Courthouse resident Rebecca Quick, who has bought skin-care products, including eye cream and hand cream, from The Farm Life General Store. “It definitely has an appeal, as opposed to those things that have all sorts of by-products.”
Learn more about the business via thefarmlife.com, which also has an online shop and ways to contribute toward costs of the move into the new shop, or follow the store on Facebook via @thefarmlifemovement.
© 2019 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC