May 17,  2016
In this Weekly Harvest:     
The Land Connection is excited to offer a rotational grazing field day on  June 26, 2016.  Participants will tour Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Seven Sisters Farm, Bane Family Meats, and Rush Creek Farms, and will learn how they rotate sheep, chickens, turkeys, goats, pigs, and cattle on small acreages, all while maintaining thriving markets and loyal customer bases.

You will leave the day knowing:
  • How to establish optimal forage and feed schedules 
  • how to control for pests and diseases in rotating pastures
  • How to purchase equipment and infrastructure to optimize your land-base and effectively manage your herds
June 26, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Rush Creek Farms,
Seven Sisters Farm, and Bane Family Meats
Market Corner
This week's market will be positively radishing! You'll find a great assortment of radishes to make our recipe of the week, plus a great array of fresh fruits, veggies, and so much more. And don't miss the premier of our new sampling tent! Stop by The Land Connection to try before you buy and get a taste test of veggies and bread.

Quick rundown:
  • Tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Broccoli
  • Turnips
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Collard Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Red Russian kale
  • Fresh herbs
  • Green garlic
  • Plant starts
  • Bok choy
  • Pork & Poultry
  • Goat Cheese
  • Goat milk gelato
  • Asparagus
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Flowers
  • Potted trees
  • Popsicles
  • Cakes
  • Bread
  • Pretzels
  • Scones
  • Flour
  • Oats
  • Buckwheat
  • Popcorn

We're very excited for the return of Three D Tomatoes, from Sullivan, IL. They'll have plump, juicy hydroponic tomatoes, which means it will taste even more like summer this week! And what could go better with tomatoes than some creamy, fresh ch รจ vre? Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery is back with a delicious array of goat cheeses and gelato. Stop by and stock up! East Place Produce will be on hand with  radishes, broccoli, and lettuce along with vegetable and flower plant starts. Pheasant Ridge Farms of Urbana is all about the greens, with broccoli, rainbow chard, herbs, collard greens, mustard greens, red russian kale, and bok choy (plus potted trees for the yard!). 

PrairiErth Farm will also have radishes, two kinds of turnips (also great for this week's recipe!), beets, green garlic, and loads of great salad greens: from arugula to kale to spinach and more! 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.

Stone Court Farm and Joy of Illinois will have  more gorgeous rhubarb, plus asparagus (but act fast, asparagus is on its way out for this season). They'll also have fresh herb bunches, green garlic, spinach, and delicious baked goods, including currant scones, made with grains from another market favorite....Brian Severson Farms!

They'll have a great array of organic grains and flours, including wheat, oats, cornmeal, popcorn, and buckwheat. They'll also be sampling lemon cornmeal cake and buckwheat chocolate chip cookies. Stop on by and get some great ideas (and great ingredients) for healthy and delicious treats.

Burning Oak Farm will be back with organic pork and poultry. 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, and Hopscotch will have delicious cakes and other temptations. Illinois Willows is bringing plenty of color along with iris, tulips, lilies, allium, and more!

All this sounds pretty appetizing, but don't worry, the Piato Truck will also be on hand to tide you over until you get home to cook all this wonderful food. Stop by for a snack, sandwich, salad, or smoothie, made from great local ingredients.

This week we'll be joined by WEFT, Champaign's very own community radio. Stop by and learn about volunteer opportunities, their great variety of programming and pick up fun freebies! We'll also be joined by Champaign County Bikes, who are providing complimentary bike valet services next to the Piato Truck. 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

Raphnus, Kale's Sexy Sister

R adishes are zingy, crunchy root vegetables that are both spicy and cool, and are deliciously good for you!  The are in the Cruciferous family (like kale and cabbage), and have many of the same health benefits. You can eat the root, the green tops, the flowers, and even the seed pods--so much nutrition for your money!

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

Intermediate Beekeeping Workshop
May 22, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
AC Bees Apiaries, Waverly, IL
This workshop is intended for people who have invested in honeybee hives and would like to improve their hive management skills. Led by Arvin Pierce of AC Bees Apiaries, participants will leave with knowledge of how to better manage and increase their number of hives, and create great forage for healthy, productive honeybees. Register online here.

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!


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.
*Check out the webinar about applying for this grant on May 6! Learn more here.

Red Gate Farm Tour
May 21, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Red Gate Farm Petersburg, IL
Ever wonder what life is like on a farm? Are you fascinated by the idea of homesteading, living more as they did in the days of pioneering? Come out and enjoy a beautiful day at Red Gate Farm to walk about the orchard, meet the goats, ducks, belgian draft horses and learn the philosophy and techniques of farmers Sean and Danielle Londrigan. Hear their story of transitioning from life as the typical All-American family toward that of land stewardship. Come rain or shine. Car pooling is encouraged. Kids are welcome, but please be sure to keep an eye on them. Register online here.

What's the Dirt on Composting?
May 24, 6:30p.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.

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)

bloogNew at the Champaign Farmers' Market
We're a few weeks into our second season out at the Champaign Farmers' Market, and it's wonderful to be back out there, surrounded by new faces, and returning favorites. While we may have lost a few vendors to retirement and job changes, we're happy to report that most have returned. But we were also thrilled earlier this year when applications opened up to see so many new farmers joining the Land Connection fold. This has translated into even more variety out at the Market, so let's take a look at what's new...

agnews Agriculture in the News:
Something you should know
NSAC has just published a new free resource for farmers to guide them through the USDA's Organic Buffer Initiative and take their conservation efforts to the next level. Find the guide here.

Something you should do:
Results from the first ever survey on Honey Bee Colony Loss have come in and show the devastating loss of colonies over the past 2 years. Look over the full results here or find an overview here

Something to be happy about: 
Hawaii aims to be the first state to give tax breaks to certified organic farmers to offset the cost of USDA certification and offer an incentive for sustainable production methods. Read more 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.

Grand Prairie Friends (GPF) seeks applicants for a seasonal land steward to help
manage prairie and woodland natural areas in east-central Illinois. This position starts on or about May 9, 2016 and is expected to run through November 2016.

The GPF Land Steward will perform ecological restoration duties to control and remove invasive plant species using mechanical and chemical techniques in forest
and prairie natural areas. The Land Steward will also be responsible for the general upkeep, maintenance, and repair of tools used in the course of work. These tools include chainsaws, leaf blowers, power brush cutters, loppers, handsaws, hand-pruners, backpack herbicide sprayers, and other hand tools. Other duties may include sign installation and maintenance, fence and boundary monitoring and maintenance, and seed collecting. Send questions to

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