Freshest Produce

Appears in the February 2021 issue.

Although Tracey Vowell hasn’t been a chef for over a decade, her background at Frontera Grill certainly has shaped her organic farm, Three Sisters Garden, on 10 acres in Kankakee.

“I spent my career as a New World chef,” she says, “and I wanted to have a point of focus. Jumping into the wide world of vegetables was overwhelming.”

So in name and in spirit, she dove into a Native American gardening technique where three crops are planted in a symbiotic triad, each benefiting another.

Today she and her employees harvest corn, beans, oats, popcorn, and shelled pecans (grown on her parents’ Tennessee farm) for many Chicago-area restaurants.

Find her corn meal in the coconut grits at the Table at Crate, and her pea shoots in many dishes at CBK Ramen Bar.

Photos by Grant Kessler