Trick-or-Treating at Deer Park Town Center

Trick-or-Treating at Deer Park Town Center

Deer Park Town Center Trick-or-Treating – Starts at Noon October 29 Deer Park Town Center shops and restaurants will be hosting FREE Trick-or-Treating on Saturday, October 29, starting at noon, while supplies last. Look for pumpkin decals on participating stores doors or windows, and grab a complimentary treat bag at Brilliant Sky Toys & Books. … 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 … 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.

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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…

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20. Barrington EATS: The Forbidden Fruit for Tasty Tuesday

20. Barrington EATS: The Forbidden Fruit for Tasty Tuesday

It’s Tasty Tuesday time again at District 220 schools, and the ingredient of the month for February is grapefruit.  Tasty Tuesday is a new healthy eating initiative in our elementary schools where students are served a sample of a fruit or vegetable on the first Tuesday of each month.  Then, the same food item will be offered intermittently on the school lunch menu for remainder of the month.

Tasty Tuesday at Barrington District 220 Schools
Tasty Tuesday at Barrington District 220 Schools

Since the district also recommends we try to serve our kids the food of the month in our own homes, we have a family-friendly recipe for you try, starring the ingredient of the month.  I couldn’t be more excited to share a few tips about serving grapefruit, which is my favorite fruit and affectionately known as “The Forbidden Fruit” by those, like me, who love it.

Grapefruit is the Tasty Tuesday Ingredient of the Month for February
Grapefruit is the Tasty Tuesday Ingredient of the Month for February

Others may just remember the grapefruit diet fad and perhaps only think of grapefruit as a cleanser for the fruit’s low glycemic index, which helps the body’s metabolism burn fat when digesting. It’s also a great provider of Vitamin C, fiber and lycopene and can help lower cholesterol. These are all good reasons to incorporate grapefruit into your diet. But how about because it tastes great? And I find it truly reliable in texture and flavor in all seasons.

I agree with District 220’s Tasty Tuesday program that we should all try to get our families to eat more grapefruit. Grapefruit has a reputation for being bitter, which happens if you get a bite with too much of the abundant pith, the part that surrounds and separates the segments. Here is a way to cut the fruit that eliminates the majority of the pith, and allows you to easily eat or carve out just the juicy pulp…

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13. Barrington EATS: Heinen’s Fine Foods for Better Health

13. Barrington EATS: Heinen’s Fine Foods for Better Health

With the season of New Year’s resolutions in full swing, Heinen’s Fine Foods in Barrington is making it easier for us to stay on target and reach our health and wellness goals in 2013. In fact, they have a whole department in the store dedicated to subject, their Wellness Resource Center, and we decided there’s no better time than now to get to know the center’s resident wellness expert, Kadi Shipley.

Heinen's Wellness Consultant, Kadi Shipley - Photographed by Julie Linnekin
Heinen’s Wellness Consultant, Kadi Shipley – Photographed by Julie Linnekin

With a degree in dietetics from the University of Akron, Kadi is in charge of answering questions about the thousands of products Heinen’s carries to help us improve our diets for better health.  “The research is there for why eating healthy is important, but what people need to embrace individually is how good eating-well makes you feel. If people experience stress, fatigue or discomfort with their bodies, I want them to understand there are ways to eat that can solve these problems.”

When it comes to the latest health foods, drinks, vitamins and supplements available today, Kadi’s tried and tested hundreds of products.  So we asked her to share a short list of things to know and products to help improve our daily diets.  She boiled it down to eight great recommendations…

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