Food sources continue to make headlines as small farms struggle to compete with Big Agriculture. If you are at all curious about or concerned with where your food actually comes from and what are the best sources, it pays to do some research. Sometimes the best way to learn is hands on. I had the pleasure of touring All Grass Farms in Kane County this week and delighted in meeting the folks behind the Fresh Picks Farmer Alliance.
Irv and Shelly founded the alliance to assist local farmers get their organic, pesticide-free, non-GMO foods in to the hands of consumers, restaurants, institutions and more. Their network currently consists of over 100 urban and rural Midwest farms and their distribution system makes getting the freshest foods delivered right to you so very easy. Fresh Picks also assists the farmers in many ways to help them continue to expand and offer the best, freshest, healthiest foods for their consumers.
Farmer Cliff McConville, owner of All Grass Farms, gave up his career as an insurance executive in downtown Chicago and started his farm, located in the Brunner Family forest preserve. All Grass Farms is all natural from the crops they grow to the pigs, turkeys, chickens and cows that graze naturally from the land. Tours (family friendly!) are given every Saturday at 2pm (weather permitting) to learn firsthand why grass-fed is the best, or why fresh eggs taste better, or just why pesticides, added hormones or enzymes are harmful not only to you, but to the food you eat, and the environment. You get to tour the farm on a hayride and can get up close and personal with the animals, learning just what free range actually looks like.
There is a small farm store right on site that is stocked with not only fresh milk, eggs, produce and meats from the farm but other items such as preserves, sauces, soaps, and raw honey just to name a few.
The choices for food seem unlimited if you shop at a chain grocery store, but learning where the food you eat comes from, how it impacts the environment, and shaking hands with the folks who earn a living providing us with our food makes for a better, healthier and happier world.