Guest Blog Submission~Heritage Prairie Farm
by Bonnie T. Summers, Concierge
Whole Foods Market Naperville
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.