If you missed this year’s 10th Annual LeCompte…Continue Reading
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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 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 Cottage, a 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.
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.
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.
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……
Want to make a difference this Earth Day? Then you and your kids won’t want to miss the Citizens for Conservation’s special Earth Day class in Barrington this Saturday, April 7th. The best part about the class — it’s all outdoors!
To teach the importance of plant restoration, the volunteer group is inviting the public to help them restore Flint Creek Savanna South in Barrington. Because some cutting and lifting brush is involved to make room for native vegetation, participants are encouraged to bring their own work gloves, insect repellent, pruners or loppers (it’s O.K. if you have to look it up!). Citizens for Conservation also recommend wearing closed-toe shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
As a reward for their hard work, kids will receive an educational poster showing native prairie plants, mammals, birds and insects that make a restored woodland and prairie their home. On top of that, there will be marshmallows for roasting on a bonfire and fifty free Sonic Slushies waiting for them after they’ve finished reviving the Barrington creek–Is there any better way to celebrate an accomplishment?…
There’s a super cool fall festival happening in Barrington Hills this weekend, so I wanted to give you the scoop and make sure you have plenty of notice. It’s the 4th Annual “Ignite the Night” bonfire festival hosted by the Friends of the Forest Preserves in Cook County.
The nighttime festival will take place this Saturday, September 25th, between 5 and 10PM within the Barrington Countryside Park District at the Spring Creek Forest Preserve in Barrington Hills.…Continue Reading
There’s a certain mystique about the sport of polo that has always made me curious, especially since it’s played right here in Barrington. So I recently stopped by the Barrington Hills Polo Club’s Oakwood Farms field to check out a scrimmage, learn more about the sport and meet some local players. My husband, two kids and I pulled our car into the farm’s drive and right on up to the side of the field where the players’ families were parked and out picnicking. It was a regular Saturday morning scrimmage, it was a beautiful day and I was struck by how much these players seemed to love the open space, fresh air and the thrill of their fast-paced sport.
One of the greatest things about the Barrington Hills Polo Club is that……Continue Reading
If you’ve always wanted to get a close-up view…Continue Reading
To me, the first day of the month always seems like a great time for fresh starts. So, on this September 1st, we’re trying something new and we’re excited to see how this goes. Starting today, we’re going to feature a contest called “Guess Where Wednesdays” here at 365Barrington.com. If you can guess where in Barrington the weekly “Guess Where” photo was taken, you win a prize. You’ll find details below, but first, here’s our inaugural mystery photo:
Here’s how it works:
On Wednesdays, I’ll post a photo here that has been taken somewhere in Barrington.
You can submit your guesses about where the photo was taken in the comments area for this post.
You have until midnight on Friday to submit your guess.
The following Monday, we’ll draw a name and contact the winner with instructions about receiving the prize of the week.
Only one guess per person is allowed.
Only guesses posted here on this website, not on Facebook or Twitter, will be entered into the weekly drawing.
Your email address must be valid, so we can contact you if you win.
I’m working on coming up with some fun prizes for this contest, but for this week, we’re giving away two free tickets to……Continue Reading
There’s a very special and highly anticipated party…Continue Reading
For the first time ever, the family that…Continue Reading