Posted by Tracey Vowell on
As the reality of COVID hit and all the restaurants closed, you can imagine my panic. My tiny farm, until March, dealt almost entirely with Chicago restaurants, and the collapse hit us hard. All we knew was that we did not want to just give up, and if we slowed with spring planting at all, we would have little to offer when things did open back up, so I started posting on Facebook that we were doing home delivery. The task seemed insurmountable, but we embraced our new business model and were thankful for the customers giving us both the opportunity, and patience, as we made many mistakes. I have two men working on this farm that have been with me for over 7 years. Besides my own concerns, I had them and their families on my mind, so we dug in, prepared ourselves, and put our plan in motion. We got some orders, not enough to pay the bills, but enough to convince us to keep going; that it could grow.
The struggle would have been so much worse, but I had someone on my side, a powerful someone, that believes in me, and my little eccentric farm. She insisted on dragging me along in her efforts to save our worlds, at some points, kicking and screaming. Most of you know Sarah Stegner from Prairie Grass Cafe, and if you don’t, you should make it a goal. She is my very closest friend, and I am thankful for her every single day. She told her friends, family, and customers about us, that we needed help, and that we grow some good stuff. In truth, her efforts to get the word out pulled us through the worst of this nasty time. This website is here because she helped me to see the light about what I needed to do to get this home delivery idea to fly, and here we are, officially open for business. The dangerous time is far from over, as we all see what comes next, but it does feel like there is a light, even if I cannot make out the end of the tunnel, just yet. Sarah’s determination is ever-present. She believes in good food made from good ingredients, produced by people with names, and farms right here in the Midwest region. Her commitment to this simple idea, which can be so difficult to execute has been unfailing for so very many years. She has long been our champion, and in light of the current circumstances, she has doubled her efforts to keep local agriculture alive and well.
If you find yourself in Northbrook, maybe to pick up a farm order, to take a stroll at the Botanic Gardens, or out by the Des Plaines River, do yourself a favor, and enjoy a meal from Prairie Grass. They offer curbside, outdoor and indoor dining, all safety protocols in place, offering delicious meals made with ingredients from many tiny Midwestern farms. You will have a wonderful dinner, well prepared from ingredients grown right here at home, and will help to ensure that both Prairie Grass and local farms, keep moving forward in this extremely difficult time.
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