“Get the Dirt on Composting” Class with Smart Farm of Barrington

“Get the Dirt on Composting” Class with Smart Farm of Barrington

 Did you know that 40% of the waste in our landfills is food that can be composted? That’s why Smart Farm of Barrington is inviting all who are interested in learning more to join their “All About Composting” event from 9 to 11 a.m. this Saturday, May 21st. Smart Farm’s comprehensive class will feature master composters and Mindful Waste co-founders, Mike Kainz, Jennifer Kainz and … Read more…

Smart Farm Organic Veggie Plant Sale this Saturday Only!

Smart Farm Organic Veggie Plant Sale this Saturday Only!

 Green Zebras, Earl of Edgecombe and Pruden’s Purple are just a few of the fanciful heirloom tomato varieties that will be available at this Saturday’s annual Smart Farm Organic Veggie Plant Sale. The sale, which will take place on Saturday, May 14th, from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at Smart Farm’s garden on Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital’s campus, features a wide variety of organic seedlings of … Read more…

Get Growing: Help Smart Farm Clean Up Barrington’s Community Garden

Get Growing: Help Smart Farm Clean Up Barrington’s Community Garden

 Now here’s a great way to celebrate Earth Week! All are welcome to join Smart Farm of Barrington volunteers on Saturday as they clean up our community gardens for spring to grow produce for local food pantries. Want to learn a thing or two about gardening? Pitch in Saturday and you’ll be working alongside some of Barrington’s most knowledgeable gardeners! Smart Farm’s spring clean up … Read more…

285. Get Growing: Waste-Free Initiatives Gaining Momentum in Barrington

285. Get Growing: Waste-Free Initiatives Gaining Momentum in Barrington

 Farmers are highly attuned to food waste, whether it be from surplus harvests to failed harvests. For many small farms, creating one’s own composting system is often the way to go. Utilizing crops for their organic material as they breakdown creates an in-house way of making ones very own nutrient rich, organic soil and it reduces the amount going into landfill – of which, by … Read more…

237. Get Growing: Wine and Bees with The Gentleman Farmer

237. Get Growing: Wine and Bees with The Gentleman Farmer

 Farmers in the Midwest have had two extreme weather scenarios to deal with this season. The rainy spring persisted through mid-July and caused, to many fields, flooding, ten-foot tall weeds, and crops that have been late to mature as the temperatures were just not hot enough. Now into August, we are experiencing drought-like conditions with any substantial rainfall happening once every three weeks or so. … Read more…

201. Get Growing: Gentleman Farmer’s Family Goes Glamping

201. Get Growing: Gentleman Farmer’s Family Goes Glamping

 Glamping, a portmanteau blending the words glamor and camping, has become a rather popular alternative to the traditional concept of this favorite summer pastime.  My family and I were recently visiting relatives in England and spent four nights glamping at Manor Farm in Jane Austen’s county of Hampshire.   I felt like a true pioneer woman cooking over a wood burning, pot belly stove and … Read more…

182. Get Growing with Jessica Green: Weeds, Worker Bees & the Weekly Harvest

182. Get Growing with Jessica Green: Weeds, Worker Bees & the Weekly Harvest

 Now that we’ve officially kicked off The Gentleman Farmer’s produce pickup season, I’ll be back to share regular updates about farming, food and family in our Get Growing series at 365Barrington.com. The Gentleman Farmer’s official 2015 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) season started off with a bang with the Annual Hands of Hope Barrington Country Garden & Antique Faire. We were honored to be invited to … Read more…

260. Get Growing: Local Farmers Share the Harvest to Celebrate Community

260. Get Growing: Local Farmers Share the Harvest to Celebrate Community

 One of the most rewarding parts of coming back to Barrington to raise our family and support our business, The Gentleman Farmer, has been seeing community members embrace a movement Dominic and I are not only passionate about, but have decided to make our livelihood: sustainable farming. The enthusiasm for educating the community about local food while helping those in need was abundantly clear at … Read more…

244. Gentleman Farmer’s Guide to Choosing Healthy Eggs

244. Gentleman Farmer’s Guide to Choosing Healthy Eggs

 It’s Farmers Market day in Barrington!  This week’s featured highlights include a performance by Frank Badot, “the best chocolate and caramel sauces you will ever taste” from Grown-up Kid Stuff plus an amazin’ corn children’s activity at 3:30.  Jessica Green of The Gentleman Farmer says we’re going to love this week’s harvest from their Barrington Hills farm so be sure to pay the Greens a … Read more…

222. Get Growing: Barrington Farmer’s Market Etiquette

222. Get Growing: Barrington Farmer’s Market Etiquette

 The season’s brightest colors are starting to emerge as produce like freshly harvested tomatoes, red spring onions and peppers return to the Barrington Farmer’s Market.  The 2014 market is open from 2 to 7 p.m. every Thursday through October 16th.  Be sure to stop by and say hi to Barrington’s own Dominic & Jessica Green of The Gentleman Farmer when you’re there.  For the latest … Read more…

180. “Get Growing” with Jessica Green: It Takes a Village

180. “Get Growing” with Jessica Green: It Takes a Village

 A few weeks ago, we introduced you to Jessica Green, our latest community contributor here at 365Barrington.com.  Today, we’re giving her new series a name.  Jessica and her husband Dominic run The Gentleman Farmer, a CSA program based on their Barrington Hills family farm.  Be sure to watch for Jessica’s latest posts here at 365Barrington.com about farming, gardening, food and family with our regular new … Read more…

163. A Gentleman Farmer Father’s Day

163. A Gentleman Farmer Father’s Day

 We’re excited to introduce a new voice here at 365Barrington.com.  Jessica Green of The Gentleman Farmer grew up in Barrington Hills.  Just this week, she and her husband Dominic moved their young family from Chicago to a new home in Barrington to focus on growing The Gentleman Farmer, the local farm and Veggie CSA they run as a family.  Over the next few months, Jessica … Read more…

144. The Gentleman Farmer Returns to Barrington Roots

144. The Gentleman Farmer Returns to Barrington Roots

After five years of reverse commuting from the city to their Barrington Hills farm, The Gentleman Farmer, organic farmers Dominic and Jessica Green are relocating their family to Barrington–and returning to Jessica’s roots. As they begin their fourth year growing for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members, they’re also expanding their offerings and looking forward to selling their delicious, locally-grown produce at the Barrington Farmer’s Market.

Dominic and Jessica Green at the farm with their boys Henry and Oliver - Photograph courtesy of Christina Noel
Dominic and Jessica Green at the farm with their boys Henry (5) and Oliver (3) – Courtesy of Christina Noël Photography

Dominic and Jessica didn’t always plan on becoming farmers, nor did they envision a move to Barrington. It’s home for Jessica, a Barrington High School graduate, but Dominic hails from the South of England–and both are dyed-in-the-wool world travelers. They each had careers in the arts – Dominic as an actor, and Jessica as a dancer and Pilates instructor – but were looking for a lifestyle change. As new parents to their son Henry, born in 2008, they craved a more direct connection to food and community.

They also had access to Jessica’s family’s land in Barrington Hills–beautiful, fertile land just 35 miles from the city. As Dominic and Jessica sought direction for their next move, farming began to emerge as a strong contender.

It was during that time that the couple fell hard for the lifestyle and ethics of the River Cottagea self-sustaining farming community founded by British chef and journalist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Jessica began researching the Stateline Farm Beginnings program through Angelic Organics, and the couple decided to apply.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dominic says that the program provided them with invaluable training, but nothing compares to the farming experience itself. The Gentleman Farmer was certainly born in the Stateline Beginnings program, but has grown only through seasons of work in the field. “I’m like a toddler learning to walk, gaining stability each year,” he says. In his first year, he farmed a third of an acre, and grew vegetables for fifteen families and friends (Dominic and Jessica affectionately refer to that as year zero).

As their farm grew, so did their CSA membership and their following at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market, where loyal customers sought them out each week. Dominic increased his yields, and Jessica managed CSA subscriptions, maintained the website, and crafted newsletters each week.

Now in his fourth official year, Dominic is farming seven acres, two and a half of which will rest each year, planted with cover crops. The Gentleman Farmer is offering 100 twenty-week CSA shares this year (click here to sign up). “I’m planting 130 varieties of about 45 different vegetables,” Dominic says. This diversity is a key component of sustainable farming practices, and also ensures gorgeously varied boxes for CSA members.

A summer CSA share contains veggies ranging from staples to exotics - Photograph courtesy of Christina Noel Photography
A summer CSA share contains veggies ranging from staples to exotics – Photograph courtesy of Christina Noël Photography

Full Share CSA members receive a box each week; Half Share members receive a box every other week. The boxes – which members can either pick up at the farm or at Norton’s USA – each contain about 7-10 fresh, organic, seasonal vegetables. Members also receive a weekly CSA newsletter including notes from the farmer, recipes, nutritional information, photo and video updates on the crops and weekly harvest, and usually a fun farm anecdote.

Dominic and Jessica are also offering a new membership option this year called Worker Shares. In exchange for one shift of work at the farm each week of the season, Worker Share members will receive 1 full Vegetable CSA Share (worth $595). This is a formal commitment to work on the farm for one morning or one afternoon per week (4 – 5 hours). The work will include everything from seeding, planting, weeding, harvesting, washing and packing etc. It’ll be hard work, but the rewards will be delicious–and made that much sweeter by your labor.

Dominic and employee Scott Speer discuss the next wave of transplanting - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Dominic and Scott Speer discuss the next wave of transplanting – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

Barrington resident Cory Flahaven tried two CSA programs before finding The Gentleman Farmer. “We really think that three times is the charm,” she says. “This is true Barrington local, and the communication Jessica provides is unsurpassed. Her recipes range from simple (which is sometimes perfect) to more sophisticated, and they’re always good.”

Cory and her husband have a four-year-old daughter, Kendall, who adores her weekly trips to the farm…

Read more…