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Openfields Farm Tour opens door to local production landscape

May 12, 2010

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

Local producers, together with the University of Illinois Extension, will present the second annual Openfields Farm Tour from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, May 16.

The event is an opportunity for participating farms and ranches to open their land to the public and give visitors a glimpse into the craft of farming. Visitors will have the opportunity to ask questions about the history and economic impact of what men and women are producing locally.

Eleven area farms will be featured in Sunday’s tour.

According to Andrea Hazzard from Hazzard Free Farm in Pecatonica, Ill., everything from cattle to corn will be on display. Hazzard said the tour is important for the area and opens the door to a rural world unfamiliar to many people.

“The tour provides an insight to a wide variety of farming in our area,” Hazzard said. “Most people have a traditional vision of a farm. Here, people will see that some have animals; however, some have herbs and grains. And most people have never been on a working farm.”

Children today, Hazzard said, are not exposed to the importance of farming. Openfields, in turn, helps bridge the gap created by an urban influence that tends to leave the rural landscape in its wake.

“It is important for children because they need to know a carrot comes from the ground,” Hazzard added. “So much about who we are comes from the earth.”

Participating farms

Caledonia

Wind Ridge Herb Farm, 466 Quail Trap Road, Caledonia, IL 61011: More than 400 varieties of culinary and medicinal herbs available, along with honey/maple syrup, herbs, plants and flowers.

Dakota

Cedar Creek Organics, 2744 E. Factory Road, Dakota, IL 61018: 80 acres of One Cert Certified Organic farm ground with 3 acres currently dedicated to organic vegetables and fruits. More than 60 different varieties of heirloom and organic vegetables and fruits, including sweet corn, peppers, beets, beans, strawberries, raspberries, melons, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, squash, broccoli and spinach.

Freeport

Famous Fossil Vineyard & Winery, 395 W. Cedarville Road, Freeport, IL 61032: A Certified Biodynamic vineyard producing red, white and fruit wines. Tasting room features local cheese, meats, eggs and more.

Garden Prairie

Susie’s Garden Patch, 10258 U.S. Hwy. 20, Garden Prairie, IL 61038: Celebrating 25 years. U-Pick vegetable farm with no membership fees. Featuring asparagus, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach and so much more.

Pecatonica

Hazzard Free Farm, 5111 Ahrens Road, Pecatonica, IL 61063: Certified Naturally Grown CSA and U-Pick CSA. Fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers, display gardens, chickens and guineas.

Irish Grove Farm, 9027 Best Road, Pecatonica, IL 61063: A fourth-generation family farm that raises Murray Grey beef cattle, chickens and eggs on 255 acres of organic and transitional pastures and fields. The farm also raises chickens, goats, cattle, horses, alfalfa and corn. Direct market meat, poultry, and eggs are available.

Open Range Products, 14081 Berglund Road, Pecatonica, IL 61063: A small niche farm established in 1977. All critters are pasture-raised, naturally and humanely. Eggs, meat and poultry sold by direct market to customers who can also place orders at the Edgebrook Farmers’ Market throughout the summer. State licensed and inspected. Also raise chickens, cattle, goats, pigs and sheep.

Poplar Grove

R Family Farm, 6501 N. Boone School Road, Poplar Grove, IL 61065: R Family Farm pasture raises cattle, Berkshire pigs, goats, chickens and turkeys. Eggs and honey for sale at the farm store.

Roscoe

Margie’s Grass Kickin’ Chicken, 8709 Elevator Road, Roscoe, IL 61073: CSA, pasture-raised chicken and pork sausage. Vegetables, chickens and pigs.

Pine Row Farm, 11449 Ravenswood, Roscoe, IL 61073: Certified Naturally Grown produce that is marketed through First Hand Harvest CSA. Chickens, goats, vegetables, farm-fresh eggs and goat’s milk soap products in season.

Winnebago

Harrison Market Gardens, 9024 Harrison Road, Winnebago, IL 61088: U-Pick Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) featuring fruit, vegetables and herbs. CSA farms offer a certain number of “shares” to the public. Interested consumers purchase a share (also referred to as a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

Admission is free. For more information, contact Andrea Hazzard, Local Foods Systems coordinator, U of I Extension-Winnebago County, at (815) 986-4357.

From the May 12-18, 2010 issue

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