Dont’ Miss Orchard House Doughnuts!

 

One of our newest vendors at the Farmers’ Market, Orchard House Doughnuts, make their doughnuts FRESH on site, and sell in individuals, 1/2 or full dozens! They are located our farm store, right when you walk in – can’t miss ‘em. The delicious flavors they offered last week, and will probably have every week, were the original cake doughnut, cinnamon sugar coated, apple cider with cinnamon sugar (ordered a 1/2 dozen of these myself!!), glazed, chocolate frosted plain or with sprinkles, and vanilla frosted with oreo crumble! You can’t get any fresher that this! And – bonus – being right in the store, you can order a latté or coffee to go with it from the store counter!

You shouldn’t miss our other great vendors in our heated greenhouse just next to the barn – Burgin Farms, Monika’s Organic Bakery, Mindful Plus, doTERRA Essential Oils, and more!

The Farmers’ Market is every Saturday from 9am-1pm at Heritage Prairie Farm – 2N308 Brundige Rd., Elburn, IL.

Visit our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/heritageprairiefarm

News From the Farm

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We are right in the middle of our Wedding season here at the farm, and since we know some of you have yet to experience a wedding on the farm, we’d like to share 2013 wedding highlights with you!

Thanks to Esenam Photography and Stephanie Maurie Photography for these photos.
Elburn Family Summer Fest
Saturday, August 24th, 9am-2pm
Join us on the farm for some good wholesome fun for the family! Free events include a yoga class, bouncy house, the Magical Balloon Man, wine tasting, wellness screenings, and face painting!
Download the promotional flyer here

Pickling Class with Mary’s Wholesome Living
Wednesday, August 28th, 6:30-8:30pm

Summertime picnics, barbecues, hot dogs, hamburgers and the perfect accompaniment – an ice cold crispy dill pickle to go with all of the above. Can you hear the crunch? Are you puckered up yet? This class teaches you the basics of pickling. In this hands-on class you will learn how to make crisp dill pickles with just the right combination of ingredients. Not too sour, not to salty, but just right.

Farmers’ Market 
Saturdays on the farm, 9am-1pm

Join us for our weekly farmers’ market – our farm store will be open and we will showcase several food vendors, sustainable vendors, handmade goods vendors, and holistic health vendors.

Heritage Prairie Farm Pizza Nights 
Select Thursday evenings June-September 5-8pm
We are very excited to offer wood-fired pizzas throughout the summer on Thursday nights. We will have the Chicago Magic Man, Adam Sean, performing throughout August. Come experience our full farmstead-inspired pizza menu, as well as a build your own pizza option. For a full list of pizza night dates visit our website.
Thursday, September 5th – 6:00pm
Join us as we celebrate the best heirloom vegetables paired with fine meats. Always a popular farm dinner, tickets are already limited, so make your reservation soon! There will be no pizza night September 5th due to the Farm dinner. 

Purchase tickets & view the menu here.

Looking forward to CSA

We are looking forward to the warmer weather Spring will bring mostly because our farm comes alive! Not that it’s dead right now, just sleeping, but we don’t get to reap the rewards of our amazing farm until it awakes from it’s slumber. Our Spring CSA program starts in early May, with great produce like Beets, Radishes, Turnips, Kale, and Chard. We are so proud of our produce, showing it off to our friends in the community who support local farming is the greatest joy. Our program allows you to participate in a Spring share, Summer share (or half summer share), or a Fall share, or all three! You’ll pick up a full box of fresh-picked produce every week (or every other for a half summer share) at our farm. We even have farm fresh eggs to add to any share package for the best in local ingredients in your meals. To learn more about becoming a part of our CSA program, visit our CSA page for the pricing info and specifics. We love our small-scale farm and what we can produce, and we would love to share it with you.

     

        

Winter Farm Dinner Series – November Wine Dinner

Farm Dinners at Heritage Prairie Farm have been a Chicago tradition since 2007.  Our Farm Kitchen delights in tailoring menus to highlight the best of the season’s fresh flavors.  Our most recent dinner, the November Wine Dinner, only strengthened this standard.  Chef Nick took great care to craft a menu that not only showed off the bounty of autumn, but also paired excellently with a number of great varietal wines our team selected.

The evening started with over fifty farm friends gathering together on a cool November night in our heated greenhouse.  Transformed for events and our farmers’ market during the winter months, the greenhouse offers the area’s most unique atmosphere.

Chef Nick and the Farm Kitchen offered guests multiple options to start off the night with including -

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup Shooter ~ Walnut Crème
Pumpkin Butter Crostinis ~ Drunken Cranberries
Roasted Chestnuts ~ Brown Butter, Cinnamon

As we moved to dinner, guests were greeted by one of our famous Bron’s Bee Company Honey Favors -

We love it when groups of friends or family come together and celebrate at our Farm Dinners.

Chef Nick wanted to showcase the “over-flowing” bounty of the fall harvest!

Dinners are always welcoming to farm friends who choose a plant strong diet,

with vegetarian options such as this Grilled Radicchio

My personal favorite of the night -

Walnut Oil Roasted Brussel Sprouts with
Roasted Parsnip Puree, Salted Walnuts

Always a treat to see guests becoming fast friends when breaking bread together -

But we can’t forget the -

Brown Ale Braised Short Ribs resting on
Stone Ground Grits, Caramelized Cipollini Onions, Potato Thyme Aioli

Throughout the meal, Chef Nick was kind enough to share with everyone some of his choices and a little history of each course.  We were also able to drag him out at the end to offer up a much deserved round of applause!

Finishing the night with an -

Apple Mousse dressed with a
Cinnamon Cranberry Biscotti

Glad to see everyone enjoying themselves!

Heritage Prairie Farm also hosts a wide range of private and corporate events and would be happy to help you plan your holiday party on the farm! Contact us today!

Wedding Photos

Every year Heritage Prairie Farm is blessed to share in the joy of a multitude of wedding celebrations – each couple becoming a life long member of our farm family.  Here we are able to highlight just a few of them, but they have all become part of the story of the farm…

Robin & Kevin – http://www.esenamphotography.com/

Michelle & Joe – http://iklikphoto.com

Brooke & Tony – http://www.kinawicks.com

Kira & Johnhttp://www.willowlanephotography.com/

Mel & Dom – http://www.coupleofdudes.com

Shelly & Donny – http://www.ellagraphstudios.com/

Stephanie & Luke – http://blog.melissahayes.net/search/label/weddings

Jillian & Chris – http://thebeautifulvoyage.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections of a farm chef

The night sky and cool October air greet me as I walk from the barn back to my kitchen. It is shortly after dinner service for the second to last wedding of the season; I’m knocking off for the night but by the sounds of merriment coming from the tent I can tell the reception is in full swing. I come across the bride chatting with some friends, and congratulate her. We hug and I wish her and her new husband all the best; they’re ecstatic and I am honored to have been a part of their union.

 I pack up my things and head to my car; reflecting not only on the day’s work as I do after every event, but also on the season as a whole. Wedding season is almost done, and I remember all the wonderful couples and farm dinner guests, I have met this year. Witnessing their creativity, passion, and love has made all of our hard work worth it.  It amazes me to see just how many people share my passion for good food, good company, and good times.

We have had all of those in abundance this past season, and no matter what your reason for visiting us it has been my pleasure to share in them with you. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you; I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be a part of so many wonderful experiences. We have plenty more to come, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all out on the farm!

Sincerely,
Chef Nick

A Story of Two Farms & Whole Foods Market

Guest Blog Submission~Heritage Prairie Farm

by Bonnie T. Summers, Concierge

Whole Foods Market Naperville

May 2012

 

I keep a large wooden tray in view in my workspace at Whole Foods Market Naperville. The tray is rough and sturdy, darkened with years of use on a farm where it held grapes becoming raisins in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Arm-length, weighty, lush bunches were spread across rows of trays like this between vines in the dry, 100 degree heat of late summer. The same process is still used, grapes now spread on lengths of paper instead of trays.

David Mas Masumoto writes about growing organic peaches and raisins in that valley. Through him I revisit the places where I grew up just miles from Masumoto Family Farm. And I renew my appreciation for the treasure Bron, Bob and the staff have shaped at Heritage Prairie Farm. Here on the edge of urban sprawl, I can stand on another variety of plowed earth, taste comb honey, see the sweat and satisfaction on the faces of their crew, and ask questions.

These very different farms–both local vendors for Whole Foods Market–are similar in artistry, inventiveness and mission. To succeed, farmers must work in enough harmony with a fluctuating network of seeds, weeds, creatures, weather, laborers, policies, tools and tractors, history, markets, soil and their own intuition. This choreography continues daily on farms around the U.S. and the world daily. Fortunately for us, farmers like Bron and Masumoto are as articulate about their work—and as creative in drawing people, organizations and ideas together—as they are with their farming. Whether Bron is speaking as a Good Food Festival panelist, crediting the chefs who arrange food on platters at farm dinners, or explaining microgreens to kids, her heart for Heritage Prairie Farm and for sustainable food and community is evident, and echoed by each of the staff.

When I began to work with potential local producers, one of the first I met was Bron.She introduced Heritage Prairie Farm to us through exquisite raw and infused honey. Bron and Joel, then Naperville’s Store Team Leader, immediately synced into a creative buzz about labels, recipes, and steps to becoming an effective Whole Foods Market vendor. Our current Store Team Leader Steve continues that support for Heritage Prairie Farm and local producers. Bron and Deb, our Marketing Specialist, have expanded the reach of both our store and the farm through amazing partnerships.

Heritage Prairie Farm’s first Red, White and Bluegrass Festival on June 9th benefits the Farmer Veteran Coalition—another mutual, innovative partner. We’re proud to be a cosponsor of this event. Soon after, they’ll host a retreat with our Health Starts Here partner, Engine 2. Imagine what will sprout up next!

Many dreams and hands are joined behind signs that say “heirloom,” “seasonal,” “organic,” or “Buy Local”. Thanks, Heritage Prairie Farm—and all farmers, especially small artisan farmers—for helping us remember our common ground.

The raisin drying tray that sits in Bonnie's office.

Honey Bear went down to Georgia

Honey Bear went down to Georgia,

he was looking for some bees.

In a need for speed,

cos’ he had a queen to feed.

___________________________________________________________

A queen bee in her royal apartment.

10,000+ bees ready for the new hive

 

500,000 bees direct from Georgia

Farm friends enjoying the view

 

Farmer Nate ready to keep some bees

____________________________________________________________________

Farmer Nate opened up a hive and he said: “I’ll start this show.”
And smoke flew from his fingertips as he fasten up his suit.
And as he sprayed the sugar across his bees they made a joyous buzz.
Then a band of ladies joined in and it sounded something like this.

Buzz buzz

When Farmer Nate finished, Tony said: “Well you’re pretty good ol’ son.
“But sit down in that chair, right there, and let me show you how its done.”

____________________________________________________________________

Getting ready to introduce the bees to the new hive

The bees move in quickly

Already started unpacking

Another beautiful day on the farm...

___________________________________________________________

Bees in the hive, run boys, run.

Honey  in the house of the risin’ sun.

Chicken in the bread pan, pickin’ out dough.

“Granny, does your bee sting?”

“No, child, no.”

 

The Charlie Daniels Band – Devil Went Down to Georgia

 

Winter Weddings and My Great Horned Owl Returns

This morning I watched the first snowflake of the season float past me. No more Indian summer weather. The season has changed for good.

And good it is.

Thursday mornings start early for our microgreen harvest. We harvest, wash and pack our microgreens so that when delivered to Whole Foods, they are less than four hours old—talk about fresh!

An early start means coffee at 5AM. This morning I was greeted by a beautiful moon in the west.

Its light cast shadows all over the farm. The air felt crisp and a deep breath awakend me thoroughly. And then I heard him. My owl. It may be a female, but call me old-fashioned, I like to think of him as a him, watching over me and the farm.

For eight years now I’ve heard him—a Great Horned Owl—hoot from up in the trees around the farm house. In January he will begin to call to a mate and the pair will hoot back and forth to each other for a couple of weeks until they nest. Although mated for life, they live a solitary existence most of the year coming together only to raise their chicks.

And they are such magnificent creatures. I’ve even had the honor of seeing one up close.

A couple of years ago I was driving in a snowstorm between Marengo and Rockford on Interstate 90. It was really early in the morning. Heading west, in front of me, a big rig hit something that flew up in the air and landed on the shoulder. The snowfall made it hard to see, but I thought it was a big bird—either a hawk or an owl. I wrestled with my conscience for a few seconds and then pulled over. I had to walk back about a quarter of a mile along the shoulder. There in the snow was a Great Horned Owl. Its penetrating, lifeless eyes stared past me. Such a magestic creature, so tragic. I found myself getting choked up as the owl’s delicate, beautiful feathers blurred in front of me.

I held it in my arms hoping it would come back to life. About a foot and half long, it must have weighed four pounds. Oblivious to the solemn scene, cars and trucks passed us at 70 miles an hour. It’s a felony to drag a bird-of-prey carcass off a roadway, but I couldn’t just leave. It’s so rare to see an owl up close. Children should see this bird to appreciate its beauty—a computer screen image or a picture in a book can’t do it justice. Then I remembered an ecologist friend of mine had a scavenger’s license. The license would enable him to take the owl to a taxidermist and preserve it. I made the call and decided that if I couldn’t get through to him, I would risk it and bury the beautiful owl myself in the woods—to rest in peace. My saga ended well, this regal bird was preserved for all to appreciate in a children’s museum in Chicago.

So this morning I felt blessed to be greeted by my owl.

And the blessing keep coming today. Chef Nathan from Vie (a marvelous restaurant in Western Springs) came out to the farm to pick up spinach. I tasted some of the harvest, and oh my, the freezing weather has brought out the sweetness. I love winter spinach!

Nate and the farm team harvested thousands of pounds of root vegetables from the field before it froze, filling up our walk-in cooler to the brim. Have you ever tasted a watermelon radish? It’s a gorgeous pink on the inside and tastes delicious!

All during the fall, the events team has been busy meeting with prospective brides and grooms. It’s like there is a big happy bubble around Daryn. All of his meetings are filled with MMMMs over menus that Chef Jeremy’s come up with and laughter or giggles over all the plans.

There’s nothing more fun than planning a wedding. And on the farm, couples are free to tailor it to their vision. Some are formal, others more casual, and some are just plain fun.

But the big excitement today was over plans for the farm’s first winter wedding—sleigh bells and wedding bells! Winter events are new this season. We’re all getting excited about decorations and, of course, the wonderful food we’ll feature. Our greenhouse by the barn is hosting our Winter Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. It’s so warm and sunny—even on a grey, cold day. And the bigger greenhouse (site of last year’s Valentines Day Farm Dinner) is getting decked out and decorated for its big launch for the November Farm Dinner on Saturday, the 19th. Bring on the holiday cheer!

A day that begins so happily should end with something tasty, don’t you think? I think I’ll make chicken stew and corn bread soaked in honey. The chicken will be in honor of my owl—as I know for a fact he likes my chickens too!