May 24,  2016
In this Weekly Harvest:     
John Williams manning the PrairiErth Farm booth at the Land Connection Champaign Farmers Market

Until last year, John Williams would have told you he was a photojournalist. But then he took a Farm Dreams workshop held by The Land Connection.

"I took the workshop to begin taking bigger steps in my new sustainable farming career," he says, and so he has. Since taking the Farm Dreams workshop, John has taken our  Farm Beginnings course, been  mentored by the owners of Wolfe Orchard, turned over an acre on his family's land and planted it to specialty crops, begun managing the orchard there as well, and taken on the position of post-harvest coordinator at PrairiErth Farm. 

He plans to ramp up his own operation, Red Crib Acres, over the next few years, and he credits the Farm Dreams workshop for helping him get started. "It made me think deeper about my future plans, explore other farms, and set me up to take more classes with The Land Connection." 

If you have a farm dream like John, our upcoming   Farm Dreams workshops will be a great fit for you. We're holding them in Bloomington, Champaign, Galesburg, and North Salem, Indiana, and we hope that you'll join us. Registration is open now!
Market Corner

Quick rundown:
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Chives with blossoms
  • Arugula
  • Head lettuce
  • Rainbow chard
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • Asparagus
  • Tarragon
  • Cilantro
  • Organic pork & poultry
  • Green garlic
  • Green onion
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Summer squash
  • Flowers
  • Potted trees
  • Plant starts
  • Popsicles
  • Bread
  • Pretzels
  • Scones
  • Flour
  • Oats
  • Buckwheat
  • Popcorn
We've got two new vendors joining us this week:
Legacy of the Land is starting off market season with head lettuce, a great array of greens, green garlic, green onions, cilantro, and radishes. Stop by and learn about this farmers' cooperative that has joined forces to bring you great local produce, and help build more opportunities for small local farms in Central Illinois.
We're also excited for the return of Meyer Produce from Villa Grove, who will be on hand with beets, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, green onions, a variety of plants and strawberries!
Stone Court Farm is starting an Herb of the Week series: you get a sprig of the featured herb FREE, along with a recipe brochure for 5 or 6 recipes that make delicious use of that herb. This week's featured herb is Tarragon. You'll also find green garlic, spinach, and baked goods from Joy of Illinois Farm, right in the very same tent.
In addition to their great array of radishes, turnips, beets, and carrots, PrairiErth Farm will be bringing fresh head lettuce. Sola Gratia Farm will have veggie and herb starts, as well as fresh lettuce. Link card holders--don't forget you can maximize your benefits even more and purchase food-bearing plant starts with your tokens. Get 'em now, and you can have fresh, free veggies from your own garden all summer long.
Three D Tomatoes is also back; stop by the sampling tent for a taste of their summery, juicy tomatoes. Brian Severson Farms will also have popcorn samples at their tent, along with great Memorial Day picnic recipes! You'll also find greens, cucumbers, strawberries, plants, trees, and more from Pheasant Ridge Farm of Urbana, Prosperity Gardens, and Cary's Garden of Eatin'.
Burning Oak Farm will be back with organic pork and poultry - this week they are featuring ham slices. Stop by and learn more about the farm and the benefits of organic fed meat. Pekara Bakehouse is back with an array of breads, pretzels, and pastries. Illinois Willows is bringing plenty of color with peonies, lilies, iris, and baptisia, and you'll find gorgeous bouquets from Old Town Flowers.
The Pop Stop will also be on hand to welcome in this warm summery weather with a great array of fruity popsicles!
This week we'll be joined by Common Ground Food Co-op. Stop by and learn about plans for the new Champaign store, and sign up to become an owner. The Orpheum Children's Science Museum will also be on hand with fun experiments for the kids; be sure to come check it out!

farmfnFarm Fresh Now! Recipe of the Week

Turnip for What?

Spring turnips are a wonderful, mildly sweet, cool, crunchy root vegetable that can be eaten like an apple! Or, made into salads, slaws, or added to a vegetable platter. As the weather warms and the turnips get bigger, and a bit less sweet, use them to make mashed turnips, or add them to your roasted root vegetable dish. And remember to keep your turnip tops--they are packed with nutrients, and can be used in your mashed turnips, or made into soups, or simply sautee them like spinach.

Visit us at the market today to pick up your free radish recipe card and nutrition card! Find all of our Farm Fresh Now! recipes on our website!

mentorWant a Farmer-Mentor? We've got 'em! 

Harold Wilken was born and raised on a conventional grain farm in east central Illinois, and after a brief time away for college, he returned to set up shop in nearby Danforth. In the 1990s, he took an interest in "regenerative agriculture", which he credits to Herman Brockman, another member of a generations-old Illinois farming family which had long advocated for a holistic approach to soil management and still does today.
By 2005, all of his fields had been transitioned to certified organic production, and today he grows 2500 acres of organic grains, from corn and soy to dry beans and distillery grains, on a mixture of owned and rented land. He works closely with his family and is proud to say that his son, Ross Wilken, is such a major part of his team. However, he also cites the whole farm team as one of his greatest accomplishments and strengths as a successful farm business.
His big project this year is establishing an on-farm milling operation, which will be used not only for his own grains but will also be available to other growers through his work with the Grand Prairie Grain Guild.
If you're looking for guidance, our new mentorship program might be a great fit for you. For more information and to apply, go to our new mentorship webpage.

WorkshopsWorkshops, Field Days, and Grant Opportunities

Farm Dreams is an annual workshop series for aspiring farmers like you to discover what it would really take to start your own farm business. From assessing your skills and resources, to meeting successful farmers in your region, to deciding next steps for pursuing your farm dream, this workshop is the perfect setting for you to find out what it takes to own a successful farm business. Each workshop is from 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m and is held on a working farm. Registration costs $20 and includes a light supper and the Farm Dreams Handbook. Register online here.

Promoting On-Farm Pollinators Workshop
June 14, 5 - 8 p.m.
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery
This workshop will show you how you can create and enhance pollinator habitat on your farm, from the perspectives of Thelma Heidel-Baker, IPM Specialist with the Xerces Society, and Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband, owners of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, who have been fostering pollinators on their farm for over a decade. Pollinators are essential to farming and ecosystem health. Bees, butterflies, bats, birds, and more all play a part. With the ongoing loss of pollinator habitat, it is important for conscientious landowners and managers to protect and enhance this habitat. Bringing pollinators back to the landscape is not only beneficial to our prairie ecosystem, but can also benefit the farm's bottom line. Learn what it takes to bring these pollinators back and the tools and resources available to help accomplish this on your farm. Register online here. 

Rotational Grazing Field Day
June 26, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, then Seven Sisters Farm, Bane Family Meats, and Rush Creek Farms
This field day will give participants a comprehensive view of successful rotational grazing strategies being practiced in central Illinois. Thorough tours of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Seven Sisters Farm, Bane Family Meats, and Rush Creek Farms will give participants the opportunity to see pasture rotations in action for goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, and poultry. Our local experts will share their forage and feed schedules, pest and disease control strategies, and the equipment and infrastructure they have implemented in order to be successful. Register online here!

Hay and Straw Workshop
July 10, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery
Most small-scale, and some medium-scale and large-scale, animal farmers need to make or purchase dried or otherwise processed forage products for animal feed or straw for bedding. This half-day workshop should quickly save you the price of admission if you're relatively new to the hay/straw business, and should be valuable even if you've been farming for a while. Dry hay, haylage, balage, silage, and greenchop will all be discussed, with most emphasis on dry hay. Farmers and technical experts will provide the training. Laboratory test result sheets will be explained so the user can make better decisions about how to select hay and enter it into their farming activities. Register online here!


Food Safety Outreach Program
Deadline June 2
Following recently finalized federal food safety requirements for  produce farmers and  food processors, there is a critical need for targeted food safety outreach, education, and training. In fact, when Congress passed the  Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), it authorized the development of a brand-new competitive grants program specifically dedicated to providing farmers, processors, and wholesalers with the education and training needed to prepare for and adapt to new FSMA requirements. This program - the Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP) - received its first-time funding in fiscal year (FY) 2015.  Learn more here and  apply online at

Value Added Producer Grant
Deadline June 24
Whether helping farmers  turn organic grains into shelf-ready items  or providing capital for the creation of  farm-identity preserved regional supply chains , the  Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program  has served as a valuable resource for farmers looking to grow their businesses through value-added products. Learn more here and check out this great Guide for Applying.

What's the Dirt on Composting?
May 24, 6:30 p.m.
Eureka Public Library
Join University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners for a fun evening learning about composting. Participants will learn how to convert yard and garden trimmings, food scraps, and fall leaves into compost in order to improve soil structure. 
Compost provides nutrients back to the soil without using chemical fertilizers and reduce your family's contribution to the landfill by up to 20%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A mix of browns and greens is needed to start the composting process. Learn which materials are the "browns," which are the "greens," and the ratio to combine them for successful composting. Woodford County Master Gardener Kenneth Smith says, "We are helping mother nature put the resources back where they belong." Please register by calling the Eureka Public Library at (309) 467-2922.

Value of Habitat for Pest Management Webinar
May 25, 2016, 
1 p.m. CST
This webinar is free and available to the public, and is being hosted by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) as part of their Conservation Webinar series. Thelma Heidel-Baker of Xerces Society will cover the most current scientific research on enhancing native beneficial insects and why maintaining habitat is so critical to these insects. She will also talk about how adding diversity into agricultural cropland can provide the basic requirements to support these insects and how other farm management practices may have an impact. Join the webinar here.

Farmers Market Fresh Cooking Classes
June - August
Illinois Stewardship Alliance
Classes will be held the second weekend of the month in June, July and August and will feature fresh, seasonal produce from Springfield's Old Capitol Farmers Market. Limit of 10 students per class so please register early. For kids cooking classes, parents may drop off or stay in Copper Pot's waiting room while kids enjoy their cooking class.
1 hour cooking classes, kids age 3-5 - $12 (includes all supplies and snack)
1.5 hour cooking class, kids age 6-12 - $20 (includes all supplies and light meal)
2 hour cooking class, Adults, $30 (includes light meal and/or take home food)

bloogGet the MOST Out of the Champaign Farmers' Market
Going to the Farmers' Market after work on Tuesdays is a great way to unwind, chat with neighbors and friends, and find delicious items for the week ahead. I know I always go to purchase some beautiful flowers, produce, cheese, and maybe a sweet treat or some meat for the week. There is already a lot of variety at the market, and it will continue to grow. From community organizations to food trucks, to kids activities, to new produce, there is always so much happening at the market and I don't want to miss anything! Here are some tips to make the most out of the Tuesday evening Downtown Champaign Farmers' Market...

agnews Agriculture in the News:
Something you should know
Kashi is rolling out a new certification label for farmers in the process of transitioning their land to organic to help them earn premium prices sooner. Read more here. 

Something you should do:
WATCH: A new show will focus on the lives and struggles of female farmers.
Learn more about it and when to watch here.

Something to be happy about: 
As interest gains in fresh, local food, developers are beginning to plan neighborhoods centered around farms. Read more about these 'agrihoods' here.
You can post your ad or search for more listings in the  classifieds section  o f our website. To have something listed in the Weekly Harvest, email us at or call 217-840-2128.

Employment Opportunities:

Help wanted for the Urbana Market at the Square during 2016 season. Looking for a trustworthy and motivated individual who will work at our market stand. Must have good customer service skills, be able to handle money, and must be comfortable using tablets to track sales.  Hours are Saturday mornings, 7 am-12:30pm, May through October.  Pays $15/hour. 
Contact Stan Schutte at Triple S Farms at 217-343-4740 or send resume to

We are hiring for farm hands. This is part-time work starting in May or June running into December. You would be doing all kinds of manual labor: harvesting, weeding, washing, occasional transplanting and general cleanup. The benefits are hard to beat: lots of produce, exercise, and interesting people to talk to. No experience needed. For an application, visit our website. Please fill it out and send it to

This is a part-time job opportunity to work with Jones Country Gardens of Pontiac, Illinois. One day per week the employee will work in a group setting for the duration of Urbana's Market at the Square 2016. The Farmers' Market Sales Associate will gain experience operating a farmers' market stand at one of the oldest and busiest farmers' markets in the State of Illinois. The position will involve a high level of engagement with coworkers and customers in the midsts of the hustle-and-bustle of the farmers' market.

I n collaboration with the Produce Manager and other staff, the Farmers' Market Sales Associate will work to market fresh produce, flowers, potting and bedding plants, eggs and frozen meats. Responsibilities will include:  Helping with setup and teardown of the stand,  assisting with display and marketing aspects of the operation,  engaging and conversing with customers and p rocessing transactions. Please email a brief cover letter and resume to, including "Farmers' Market Position" in the subject line. Feel free to contact our Produce Manager, Bryce Davis, with any questions at 815-674-8235.

Mint Creek Farm is a 230 acre, Certified Organic, grass-fed livestock farm located about 80 miles south of Chicago. We have a wide diversity of livestock including sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, chickens, ducks and seasonal turkeys.

We are seeking interns/crew members to start immediately.  This is a paid, full-time position with room and board available. Come learn and gain an understanding of how to raise livestock and poultry organically on pasture. If you're thinking of starting your own farm, there is no substitute for hands-on experience like what you will receive here. If you're wondering whether farming is right for you or just want to see what life on an organic livestock farm is like, we would love to have you.

No experience is necessary, but experience in physical labor or mechanical work and animal care is helpful and a great attitude is a must.  Please send your resume or work history to

Full time Academic Hourly position starting as soon as possible. Need a Bachelors Degree, experience with small-scale organic vegetable/fruit production and or research.

The SSF is a 6-acre Vegetable and Fruit farm that is an educational space for University of Illinois students to get hands on experience with small-scale organic vegetable production. The Assistant Manager will help the Manager run the farm; coordinate student volunteers and workers through a wide range of tasks, keep records, coordinate all levels of production; greenhouse work, planting, cultivation, harvest, irrigation, equipment and tool maintenance and repair, marketing and delivering, small building and infrastructure projects.  We also give tours and host classes and ideally are a resource for Illinois Extension and other educational entities. We are looking for someone who is able to handle physical work, who works well with a diversity of people, who is observant, can see many steps ahead in work processes, problem solve, and has interest in working with us for a couple of years if possible. For more information and to apply, contact Matt Turino at or  217-722-3316.

Land, Equipment, and Other:

One June 11, 2016 Live Springs Farm will have an auction for all farm equipment and pastured live stock equipment.  Live Spring Farm is also selling its Golden Nugget-laying hens, Berkshire and Large Black feeder pigs and sows, as well as a Southpoll cattle herd and a St. Croix-Florida hair sheep flock.   Learn more  here  and  here.

Selling at least 8 pastured, non-GMO fed, antibiotic-free pigs for around $1 a pound. Also available are a few  Red wattles which are antibiotic free, grown outside and will sell for 85 cents per pound. If you are interested contact Ammon Troyer at (217) 543- 2979.

Small organic farm in Clintonville, Wisconsin. Chemical free for more than 15 years. Two tillable acres on quiet property (~ 4 acres) located on the wooded banks of the Pigeon River Watershed. Perfect for family who wants to enjoy nature, grow their own vegetables and fruits (apple and pear trees on property), fish and hunt, and live near a small community. Used for market gardens. Room to build a house. Two car garage, electricity, drilled well, septic system, greenhouse (house?) foundation, large compost bins on farm. Call 920-788-2445 or email

LAND USE OPPORTUNITY:  2.5 acres on north side of Aurora, IL
Landowner is making land available for garden/farm use. Has been in grass
since 1981. Located near Indian Trail and Mitchell Road. Call owner Bill
Robinson at  630-927-0519.
Thank you to all the sponsors, donors, and supporters that make the daily operations and programs of The Land Connection possible. We couldn't do it without you!


 And thanks to all of our 2016 Market Sponsors!

 Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church