Bringing Home the Bacon

August 2023 View more

By Kelli Ra Anderson

Local farms and markets offer fresh food straight from the source

Pasek Farms in Lindenwood raises and sells beef, pork, poultry, and eggs.
Pasek Farms in Lindenwood raises and sells beef, pork, poultry, and eggs.

From heritage-breed beef, pork, milk, and eggs to same-day-picked produce, many people are scrambling to buy from nearby farms. Farmers’ markets alone have quadrupled over the past 30 years, while the farm-to-table and local-food movements remain strong.

Luckily, buying from local producers is easier than ever. Farmers’ markets, farm stands, you-pick places, CSAs (community supported agriculture co-ops where you buy weekly shares of produce), shops carrying local products year-round, and online ordering and delivery all provide greater access to more sustainable, more humanely raised, more nutritious (and delicious) foods.

Pasek Farms meat

Farmers and the environment benefit too. For Matt Klein—third-generation farmer and owner with his wife, Chris, of Klein Farms and Garden Market in Burlington (with stores in Elgin and Udina)—having his sons work alongside him each day is about as good as life gets. With the Kleins’ passion for bringing life back to the soil, nourishing the bio-environment with cover crops and integrating pest control, their daily picked sweet corn is sweeter and tomatoes tastier than ever, every day. “My dad always said, ‘You have to make the trip worthwhile–our produce has to be better–and the way you do that is daily harvest,’ ” Matt says. “We harvest what we need just for the day. That’s how we do it. Freshness.”

Pasek Farms eggs

Due to growing demand, All Grass Farms in Dundee added online ordering to its business to keep pace with customers’ love of the high-butterfat milk from their purebred Guernsey cows. Meanwhile, Chase and Jessica Pasek, first-generation farmers at Pasek Farms in Lindenwood (plus owners of Pasek Farms General Store in Elgin), now deliver half and quarter sides of their prime-grade, pasture-raised beef and pork directly to customers, mindful of the value of convenience and conscientiousness. “People really want to know where their food comes from and to know their farmer,” Chase says.

CSAs (where weekly harvested produce is picked up or delivered to subscribing patrons) are another way to go local. “A CSA gave us the opportunity to support local agriculture and buy high-quality, organically grown produce,” says Michael Mackey of St. Charles. The goats roaming the farm? Value-added entertainment.

For more information, visit

A guide to fresh local sources

Peppers, zucchini and tomatoes

Farmers’ Markets/French Markets

Naperville, 7 a.m. to noon, 5th Avenue Station
Wheaton, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Main Street and Liberty Drive
Lisle, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., PrairieWalk Pond
Aurora, 8 a.m. to noon, 65 Water St.
Batavia, 8 a.m. to noon, North River Street between Wilson and Spring Streets
Downers Grove, 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Main Street Train Station

Geneva, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Metra parking lot
Glen Ellyn, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Metra parking lot
Oswego, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 15 Main St.
Plainfield, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., library parking lot

Hinsdale, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Burlington Park

Elmhurst, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., 541 S. York St.
Winfield, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Geneva and County Farm Roads

Bolingbrook, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., The Promenade
Clarendon Hills, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Village Hall

St. Charles, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Baker Church


Chickens in a grassy field

Farm Stands, Stores, and You-Pick Spots

Abbey Farms, Aurora,
All Grass Farms, Dundee,
Ed and Judie’s Self-Service Egg Farm, Aurora,
Heritage Prairie Farm, Elburn,
Keller’s Farmstand,
Klein’s Farm and Garden Market,
Kuipers Family Farm, Maple Park,
Mayneland Farm, Naperville,
Pasek Farms, Elgin,
Primrose Farm, St. Charles,
Wiltse’s Farm, Maple Park,
Windy Acres Farm, Geneva,


A sunflower


Chanticlare Farm, Winfield,
Fulbuschel Farms, St. Charles,
Green Earth Harvest, Naperville,
Wellhausen Farms, Wheaton,


Photo: Jessica Pasek (Pasek Farms); iStock (produce)