Located roughly 10 minutes outside of Geneva, Heritage Prairie Farm is a Metra ride away from downtown. But the minute you’re there, it’s clear you’re in another world — one that’s becoming increasingly popular and important to the Chicago restaurant scene.
“We supply food for a lot of Chicago restaurants,” explained Farm Manager Ted Richter, who took us through the greenhouse Friday night, explaining the particulars of their planting method. “Chefs have a real interest in buying good food locally.”
Farm staffers mentioned Naha, Alinea, and even one of our favorite caterers, City Provisions, although we never saw an official list of restaurants. Ted said many chefs they work with have customers that don’t mind paying a little more for quality food done right.
That’s the primary goal at Heritage Prairie — to do things right. Once a horse farm, the land was already primed for organic farming, and now it’s farmed year round. It’s not economically beneficial for the farm to become certified organic at this point, but that doesn’t stop them from using organic methods whenever possible and diversifying their crop. They even have beehives you can purchase for your own honey supply!
After touring the farm, we settled down in the barn at a gargantuan trussell table for a buffet style dinner with a jovial group of fellow diners. The Earth Dinner, which included the farm tour, was priced at $65 per person and was a worthwhile experience. Several more dinners are planned throughout the summer — check out the farm’s Web site for details. Both the farmhouse and the barn are well suited for events and can be rented out for weddings and such.
So if you need a respite from the city head out to the farm. It’s one of the benefits of living in the Midwest — wide open spaces are just a stones throw away.
We were invited to the Earth Day dinner as members of the media and attended free-of-charge.