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Friday, January 29, 2016

We're Expanding! Our Farm Brewery & Name Change!!!

Our Name is Changing!  No longer will we be just "Wishful Acres Farm".....

we're now "Wishful Acres Farm & Brewery"!

It's been almost 6 years of planning, and yes of course more "Wishing", to reach this moment!

My husband Nate has been brewing craft beer for 10 years, both professionally and as a hobbyist.  This is his passion, just as mine is farming.  Our passions are now combining into one grand adventure!  Our organic farm will soon include an artisan craft brewery.  Many of the crops grown here, including our hops, apples, peaches, pumpkins, herbs, and much more, will be used in our artisan craft beers!  To stay updated about our plans, make sure to sign up for our email newsletter here!

The moment has arrived.  Last fall, as required by the state of IL, we: hired an architect who drew up our plans, we completed paperwork with our County Zoning officials to begin the process of allowing for a Micro Brewery on our farm (Special Use Permit), and we submitted our business plan.  3 weeks ago we were approved by the Zoning Appeals board, and just 2 weeks ago, we were officially approved by the County Board.  Our heartfelt thanks to our local officials for their help & support through this process!

In the meantime, our Federal Brewing License paperwork has been filed, and construction began in February!  We hope to be up and running by early fall.  Here is some info on our upcoming Brewery:

- We'll be Community Supported!  Just as our farm's products are sold through our Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA), our artisan handcrafted beer will be sold through a Community Supported Brewery program (CSB)!  We will offer "shares", which is basically a 6-month membership to our brewery, and in return Brewery members will receive a specified amount of beer (at great prices).  There will be 3 membership categories to choose from, Gold Membership, Silver Membership, and Bronze Memberships, and each will feature different amounts of beer.  Beer will be provided to members as growler fills here on site.  Members will have first rights & access to all of our beer!  Nate will be brewing new fresh recipes all the time, so there will be something new & fresh on tap for growler fills frequently.  Additionally, members will receive other benefits such as discounts in our store & farm programs, access to member's-only events here on our farm, and more!  (These extra benefits will also be extended to our farm's CSA Members!)

- We'll have an on-site store!  We plan to have a store (in a newly renovated location on our farm) open to the public on Saturdays year-round.  In the store, we plan to sell some of our farm's produce as well as packaged beer (bottled beer and growler fills).  In addition, the store will serve as a new & improved pick-up site for our farm's CSA Members and our brewery CSB Members.  We will not be serving any of our beer for on-site consumption (meaning no bar/tavern/taproom).  However, we will be able to offer small sample tastes of our beers in the store to assist customers in deciding which beer they'd like to purchase in a bottle or growler fill!

- We'll be sold in stores!  We will have a limited amount of our bottled artisan craft beer available for sale in stores.

We're really excited about our expansion project!  To stay updated about our plans, make sure to sign up for our email newsletter here!

We hope to see you soon!  Best Wishes from Wishful Acres Farm & Brewery.

A sneak peek at one of our beer label designs!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Winter crops growing away, and below zero weather!

Pictured here on our Facebook page, ( ) today's harvest of our indoor-grown micro-greens.  From December through April, our farm offers a Winter CSA program (Community Supported Agriculture).  Customers join on for a season, and receive a "share" of our harvest on a scheduled basis all winter long!

Want to learn more?  Visit the Winter Micro-Greens CSA page on our Web site here:!microgreens-csa/c4f1

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January Newsletter from Wishful Acres Farm!

Do you receive our email newsletter?  You can subscribe here on our web site.

If you missed our January newsletter, it can be viewed below.

Best Wishes from Wishful Acres Farm!

In this edition of the Farm Fresh newsletter from Wishful Acres Farm: 3 super delicious recipes, farm news, and more!
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Welcome to this edition of the Farm Fresh newsletter from Wishful Acres Farm!  We hope you had a Happy Holiday season!  The weather has been warm thus far, but it's still undoubtedly winter outside so I hope you enjoy the winter comfort recipes included today.

We're planning for spring here at the farm, the seed catalogs have poured in and our vegetable seed orders will be sent in soon.  Do you want to eat Fresh, Local, and Organic with food from Wishful Acres Farm for 30 weeks in 2016?  Join our 2016 Community Supported Agriculture Program!  We have new payment options, including credit/debit cards, and even interest-free financing options through PayPal!  Read below for details.  But first, on to the recipes...
Oh. my. goodness.  I made this recipe today, and I'm in heaven.
I still have plenty of rutabaga & turnips in my refrigerator from our farm fields, and I'm betting many of the 2015 CSA Members also still have plenty.  Time to pull those turnips & rutabaga out of your root vegetable storage!  This recipe is called Turnip Gratin, but you can substitute Rutabaga or even use a mixture of Turnips & Rutabagas!

The Pioneer Woman's  "Turnip Gratin" recipe, with pictures and step-by-step recipe right here: .  You won't regret it!
Click the image above to watch a video of all 30 shares in our CSA program.

Join our 2016 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program & receive 30 weeks of USDA Certified Organic vegetables!  The video above shows our 2014 CSA season, week-by-week, for a perfect example of what our weekly CSA "shares" look like.

The CSA Price is always paid in a lump sum, but the price per share breaks down to just $36 per share.  When you see our shares, you'll see that it's a great deal, and the retail value is always valued at more than what you pay.

We now offer 3 methods of payment for your convenience:
  • Credit or debit cards (via PayPal)
  • Financing (including special interest-free options & longer payback options, via PayPal)
  • Personal Check 
News from the Farm

Planning for spring is the subject at the farm lately.  In late December, the seed catalogs begin filling our mailbox, and the dreams begin.  I spend many hours each year sitting in front of the woodburning stove with the seed catalogs and my prior year farm journal, selecting varieties of vegetables.  There are many tried & true varieties that I love and will grow every year, but I also add a few new varieties each year.  It's fun to leaf through the pages & descriptions of vegetables, dreaming of the year to come.  
Coleslaw with Black Radishes & Carrots

Time to pull more of those storage vegetables out of the root vegetable storage bin in your refrigerator!  Late in the fall, our CSA Members receive lots of "storage vegetables" - vegetables that are good keepers, vegetables that our ancestors kept in cold storage (like a root cellar) through the winter.  Not too long ago, these types of veggies were the only fresh vegetables available during winter!  Here at the farm, we keep many storage vegetables that we harvest here for winter eating.  Here is a fine example of how to use the storage vegetables, in this coleslaw.  These veggies were all harvested here at the farm over 2 months ago, and I just pulled them out to make this coleslaw yesterday!  Amazing storage vegetables like these will keep for even longer in storage.
  • 1 head cabbage, shredded (I used a Savoy cabbage)
  • 4 black radishes, shredded on a cheese grater
  • 2 carrots, shredded

Combine all the vegetables, then stir in your favorite coleslaw dressing.  I combined mayonnaise, dijon mustard, celery seed, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt.  The amounts for the dressing will vary depending upon the amount of your vegetables and personal preference.  

Frittata Recipe - a great use for our Microgreens!

This recipe idea came to me last year from a CSA Member: using micro-greens in a frittata!
Here at the farm, we're in the midst of our Winter Micro-Greens CSA program.  The members have been receiving weekly shares of Sweet Pea Greens, Sunflower Greens, Micro-Greens Spring Mix, and optional wheatgrass, all grown here within indoor greenhouse conditions... we really do grow year-round here at Wishful Acres Farm!  If you're not a member of our Winter CSA Program, you can find our micro-greens for sale at Choices Natural Market in Rockford, Illinois.

If you're unfamiliar with a frittata, it's an egg dish similar to an omelet, but I think it's even easier to make.  You can put just about any vegetables, meat, or cheese into a frittata.  In the link & picture this week, I found an Alton Brown recipe from Food Network that even includes a short 3-minute video on how to make a frittata.  He uses asparagus & ham, but any of the micro-greens work great in a frittata, just remember to add them at the very end as they don't require much cooking.

I find the Sweet Pea Greens to be especially delicious in a frittata.
Here is the link to the recipe & video, and I hope you enjoy!
Our 2016 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program begins on May 19 & runs through December 8!  Sign-up is now open, and you can reserve your spot by signing up soon. Visit our web site CSA page here to learn more & select your payment option.
Thank you & Best Wishes from Wishful Acres Farm!
You can contact Penny at: or 815-990-2380


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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Winter Harvest Day

A great day to harvest in the passive-solar-heated greenhouse!

A lovely Italian Salad Mix with green & red lettuce, arugula, and spinach is being offered as an add-on item to the members of our Winter Micro-greens CSA members this week.

Having a great extended harvest season here at Wishful Acres Farm!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Power of the Sun-heated greenhouse!

LOVE the passive-solar-heated greenhouse here at Wishful Acres Farm!

Just 3 days ago, we received over 12" of snow.  The snow was followed by frigid temperatures down to 5℉.

And look inside the greenhouse today!  Amazing, all the USDA Certified Organic salad greens are still alive & growing away!!!

There are still 2 weeks left in the CSA regular growing season.  All of the farm's members will still be receiving fresh salads, tons of root vegetables, and much more all the way into December!

Then in December, the farm's Winter Micro-Greens CSA begins and runs through April.  

Yes, Wishful Acres Farm grows year-round, even way up here in Northern Illinois along the Wisconsin border!

You CAN eat fresh, local, and organic year-round!

Wishful Acres Farm

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Asian Greens Stir Fry & Fried Rice recipe step-by-step

Each fall, there are dozens of varieties of beautiful greens grown here at Wishful Acres Farm.  Sweet lettuce, spicy arugula, crisp spinach, and my specialty: over half a dozen Asian greens: Pak Choi (aka Bok Choy), Tat Soi, Mizuna, red spoon-leaf spicy mustard, gorgeous red frilly mustard, and wavy green Asian mustard greens, too!  While all of these greens can be eaten raw in salads, they are also delicious cooked!  

It's very simple to stir fry Asian greens.  Simply chop them all about the same size (bite size pieces work nicely).  It also helps if you keep any thicker or crunchier portions separate as those take longer to cook (for example, the pak choi stems are thick & crunchy and take longer to cook than the top leaf portion of the pak choi.

After chopping all your Asian greens, prepare a pan for stir fry by placing it over a low-medium heat with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the thicker parts first (stems, also any onions etc that you may wish to add).  Stir fry the thicker parts, stirring frequently, until they begin to become tender.  Then add the leafy greens next.  Stir it all until everything is tender.  Now is also the time to season it.  Some options include: garlic powder (or fresh chopped garlic can be added with the greens), soy sauce or salt, and if you like it spicy you can add some red pepper flakes or Asian chili sauce.

That's it!  It's done, and so simple & easy.  How about a starch along with it?  You could use pasta to make it into a lo mein or rice, or even fried rice as pictured cooking  below.  I make fried rice by using leftover pre-cooked Brown rice.  I scramble a few eggs in a dish, add the rice to a pan, stir the scrambled raw eggs into the rice, and allow it to cook (stirring frequently) until the egg has cooked through completely.  I season it with soy sauce.  

Pictured below, finished stir fry on the right includes a bag of Wishful Acres Farm Asian Greens & an onion.  On left, the fried rice is cooking. 

I hope you enjoy!

Best Wishes from Wishful Acres Farm!

Some of the Asian Greens pictured below, grown in the fields right here at the farm.  So beautiful!

Wishful Acres Farm

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Beautiful Asian veggies here at the farm!

This week, all the farm members are receiving some beautiful Asian greens in their shares.  Like edible floral arrangements!

Wishful Acres Farm