2018 Farm to Table Memberships

If you can’t know your farmer, you should know the person who knows them.
— Hayes

 

Over the past few months we've been planning for the 2018 growing season. We are incredibly excited for what this year will hold, particularly because we will be able to expand in ways we've long dreamt about.

 

As you may know, in 2017 we offered memberships to a small handful of friends and family. The primary intention here was for us to gain experience in the farming process end to end, from seeding to transplanting, weeding, harvesting, packing and delivery. We are grateful to those who participated in this aspect, provided feedback, and helped set the stage for future growing seasons. 

 

Three big takeaways from last year centered around expansion (feeding more families), maintaining shelf life (better understanding what produce requires special harvest and post-harvest handling), and interest in additional products (grass-fed beef). Our aim is to provide produce and meats that you are familiar with and prepare often, while nourishing your family in the deepest way possible.

 

We plan to address the takeaways from 2017 in the following ways:

 

Over the next 12 months we will continue developing infrastructure (green house, hoop house, tractor, pole barn) for Field and Farm Co, which will allow us to produce at a higher volume. In the meantime, we have decided to partner with our mentors, Janet Gamble and Steve Tomlins, to supply approximately 10% of the produce share as a means to continue providing crops that require special care. Steve and Janet have been growing for 15+ years and their farm, Turtle Creek Gardens, is regarded as one of the best certified organic farms in the Midwest. 

 

The interest in grass-fed beef has been both thrilling and substantial. As we work to establish a herd of our own, we have partnered with neighbors and dear friends, Jeb and Janell McMahon, who run Lowline Prairie of Wisconsin. In doing so we will be able to provide our members with grass-fed and grass-Finished beef, raised on open pasture without any growth hormones. This family farm has the gold standard in terms of how they treat their lowline Angus and how the meat is processed locally in New Glarus.

 

There is a saying that goes, "If you can't know your farmer, you should know the person who knows them." In a world where much of the food readily available is highly processed and wreaking havoc on our bodies, we hold these types of relationships (both with other farmers and with you, our community) in high regard.

 

If you are interested in the food we are working to produce and supply, our Farm to Table Memberships work as such:

 

  • As a member, you can opt to select a produce share, a meat share, or both. In addition, members receive two custom Field and Farm Co campfire mugs and will be invited to one of four private dining events held at our farm.

 

  • Shares will be available for pick up every other week beginning in June and ending in October. Pick-up locations are being Finalized but there will be one in Barrington/Palatine and one in Oakbrook.

 

  • All produce is organic, sustainably-farmed and local. No pesticides or harmful chemicals are used, from seed to harvest. Produce shares will include many fruits and vegetables you commonly use, such as: carrots, spinach, onions, kale, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, corn, salad mix, melons, herbs and more.

 

  • All meat is grass-fed and grass-Finished on open pasture, with no growth hormones. Members opting for a Meat share can elect to sign up for either a full share (10 lbs) or a half share (5 lbs). Both full and half shares will consist of ground beef (50%), roasts (30%) and steaks (20%).

 

  • The cost for your membership will be split across two payments, billed twice during the season: half is due on April 1st and the remaining balance will be due July 1st. Payments can be made via cash, check, or credit card.

 

The number of shares we are able to provide is limited, so at your earliest convenience, reserve your membership below. 

 

We look forward to continuing to cultivate and nurture community, while using our land to inspire others to live a life of freedom and wellness. Thank you for being a part of our farm and a part of our community.

 

Cheers,

Benjamin and Meghan

 

2018 membership form

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Farmhouse Renovation

Of all the things I've greatly underestimated in life, renovating this farmhouse is certainly at the top of the list. The house was move in ready at the time of purchase. It had been vacant for two years but well maintained. There were no structural issues, we simply wanted to make it "ours."

 

To give you an idea of our timeframe, we purchased the house in the beginning of April, 2016. We had an existing lease that extended through the fall, but managed to secure an early exit without paying fees. At the time it seemed reasonable to believe the cosmetic changes we wanted to do could be completed within 4 weeks, so we planned to move the beginning of May. The scope of these changes included:

 

-Painting the house top to bottom

-Removing carpet on First and second Floors

-Updating the (only) bathroom

-Removing upper cabinets and painting lower cabinets in kitchen

-Relocating washer and dryer from kitchen into mudroom

-Adding an island to the center of the kitchen

-Updating the plaster throughout the First Floor to remove existing texture

-Drywall second Floor walls (in lieu of existing wood paneling)

-Drywall bedroom ceilings (in lieu of existing popcorn tiles)

-Updating appliances

 

Anyone who has engaged in this process knows that if you start to pull a thread, often what unravels is the entire sweater. As it turns out, all of the "strange" things in existence within our 150+ year old house were there for a reason.  We REALLY got into trouble in terms of our capabilities, budget, and timeline when we:

 

-Realized the Flooring beneath the carpets had more patching than original wood

-Tried to remove the faux wood beams throughout the front rooms and discovered an unsightly header right in the middle of one room

-Decided to remove the door and a wall to open up the staircase

-Determined that in order to maximize the bathroom we needed to absorb the front room closet, close off two doorways, and relocate an ancient cast iron pipe

-Decided to remove a faux brick wall

-Realized we should probably update the electric system, given we had children

 

In any case, here are the before shots...

 

 

As May came and went, we found ourselves living with Ben's parents and deeply in over our heads. We moved into the farmhouse at the beginning of august. at the time we had dumpster #3 outside, I was mid-way through our second pregnancy and by then everyone was familiar with the make-shift outhouse as the only means of plumbing.   It took us ten months of working literally every spare hour we had to get the main Floor to what it is today.

 

The only work we contracted was for the plumbing, electrical, and plaster. The rest of the manual labor was primarily completed by Ben, myself, and my dad. Ben's parents, his grandmother Betty, and a handful of friends also spent countless hours helping us complete critical stages of painting and cleaning. To all of you, we are forever thankful.

 

In the end, here are the changes we made:

 

Front Rooms

  • Closed doorway to bath
  • Opened stairwell
  • Removed faux brick tile
  • Removed faux wood beams
  • Closed off closet doorway
  • Painted
  • Skim coated existing plaster to remove texture
  • Updated trim for windows
  • Painted windows
  • Updated light Fixtures
  • Removed carpet
  • Installed wide-plank Flooring (from sawmill)
  • Made custom vent covers (due to non-standard sizing)
  • Updated baseboards

 

Kitchen

  • Installed wide-plank Flooring (from sawmill)
  • Removed upper cabinets
  • Painted lower cabinets
  • Made Custom wood countertops (from sawmill)
  • Relocated washer and dryer, removed cabinet and hookups
  • Updated appliances
  • Updated sink/faucets
  • Updated trim for windows
  • Painted windows
  • Installed antique door
  • ReFinished salvaged workshop bench for an island
  • ReFinished salvaged jelly cabinet for storage
  • Custom hood for vent (A Friend Made this for us)
  • Updated light Fixtures
  • Added pendent lights over island
  • Updated baseboards

 

Bathroom

  • Demoed entire existing bathroom
  • Dropped sub-Flooring a few inches
  • Absorbed front room closet
  • Relocated cast iron pipe
  • Added clawfoot tub
  • Added European open shower
  • ReFinished antique buffet as vanity
  • Updated Fixtures
  • Added canned recessed lighting
  • Plastered ceilings
  • Added sliding Five panel door
  • Added large window for more natural light
  • Updated baseboards

 

Mudroom

  • Installed wide-plank Flooring (from sawmill)
  • Relocated washer and dryer
  • Painted

 

Bedrooms

  • Removed carpet
  • Sanded and painted original wide-plank Floors
  • Removed faux wood paneling
  • Added drywall for walls/ceiling
  • Updated trim for windows (in progress)
  • Painted windows (in progress)
  • Painted original doors
  • Custom shelving in closets

 

Many lessons, tough conversations, and years later, this is where we stand. The second Floor still needs trim work for the doorways/windows/baseboards, as well as crown molding and vent covers, but the major components are complete.

 

 

 

I'll leave all the exterior work for a separate post!

 

-Meghan

 

Falling Back Into the Habit of Reading

Cool air and cloudy skies have us all kinds of happy over here. When you are in the business of depending on nature's life cycles, weeks without moisture will ruin even the best-made plan. So, although we are slightly delayed in harvesting our fall crops, we'll gladly take the alternative.

 

While we love being outdoors (even in inclement weather), sometimes it's nice to use the change of season to make being indoors a more enjoyable experience. One of the habits we stumbled upon prior to farming was selecting a few books to dive into once the weather turned. While thinking about what I'd like to read in the coming weeks, I figured it might be nice to share some favorites with you. If you are anything like us, you'll have these in your Amazon cart and arriving on your doorstep in a matter of days.

 

1. HALF BROKE HORSES

by Jeannette Walls

If you've read The Glass Castle you are no stranger to Jeannette Walls. I wasn't particularly crazy about the well-known memoir, but it adds an interesting layer that allows one to fully appreciate this book, given what the future holds for these individuals.

Half Broke Horses tells the story of Jeannette's grandmother, Lily Case Smith, an extraordinary woman who weathered several troubling familial situations. Lily is able to make a way when there is none in a place and time that has yet to see much development by way of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

This is by far the best book I've read in years. I'll be honest, before noticing the author, the first line of the book sold me. It reads, "Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did."  

We recommend this book far and find it's been a favorite no matter who the audience is. If I had one pick, no doubt this would be it.

 

2. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

by Harper Lee

I don't know how anyone (cough, my husband, cough) made it through elementary school without reading this book, but something about it shakes me to my core each and every time I read it. Given the epic ham costume, how could it be excluded from a fall reading list? 

There are so many profound lessons buried within the fabric of this story. I often return to the scene where Scout finds herself outside the jailhouse the night a mob decides to lynch Tom Robinson. These lessons are perhaps more applicable than ever. Mob mentality has by no means diminished; it simply evolves into a contemporary facade.

 

3. A BEND IN THE ROAD

by... See Below

I'm going to preface this next one by saying I have a background and a degree in literature, so please don't think I'm the People magazine type. That said, some might gawk at this recommendation because it's authored by Nicholas Sparks. Just quickly move past that fact... This is a leisure reading list, after all.

What is fall without the tender feeling of deep regard for another human being? This tells the story of high-school sweethearts. The wife, Missy, is tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident that goes unresolved.  Her husband, Miles Ryan, happens to be the deputy sheriff and does everything in his power to sift out details of the crime. He eventually starts to move beyond it and begins dating his son's second-grade teacher. I've lost most of you by now, I'm sure of it. I'll wrap this up by saying if you are remotely into love stories, this is my favorite of them all.

 

4. AGRICULTURE

by Rudolf Steiner

I'd only recommend this if you are into either agriculture or philosophy. It can be a heavy read, which is why dark quiet hours make for a good time to ruminate on the concepts presented here. Nevertheless, mindfulness regarding food production and farming practices are priceless these days, and this is a good place to dive in.

 

5. WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS

by Wilson Rawls

Ben recently started reading this with our daughter, which I adore. He chose it as their first book, because he wants her to have the memory of them reading it together. What more can one say than that...

-Meghan

 

 

 

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