Hi! My name is Penny, and I'm a stay-at-home mom to 3 very active little boys, ages 8, 5, and 3.
I am also an organic vegetable farmer. I enjoy growing heirloom plants from seed, cooking, sewing, reading, crafting, exercise, green and natural living.
I blog about growing and selling vegetables, preserving foods by canning & freezing, sewing & craft projects, healthy recipes, great books, children, and more.
Thanks for reading!
About the farm:
Wishful Acres Organic Farm was founded by Nate and Penny in 2001. Penny's family has lived and farmed for generations in the rolling hills of Stephenson County, Illinois, near the city of Freeport. Although her grandparents had stopped farming by the time she was born, they kept a large backyard garden. Penny fondly remembers eating the ripe tomatoes, seeing the potatoes grow, and watching her grandparents place them in the root cellar. Penny's mother continued the tradition by purchasing fresh, seasonal vegetables from local farmers and taught her children how to husk & freeze sweet corn, can tomatoes, and more. Nate grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and he grew a small backyard garden as a boy. His mother sometimes canned peaches, but his family hadn't farmed for several generations. We met in 1997 and married in 1999. We purchased our home in 2001 and began our first garden that year. This began Nate's initiation into farming, and Penny is proud to say that he can now till, plant, cultivate, harvest, cook, and can as well as any farmboy. She's still working on his dislike of fresh tomatoes.
Our farm originated in 2001 with a backyard garden. We planted, grew, harvested, learned, and had children. 3 sons were born to us in the years 2003, 2005, and 2007. Those were busy years, especially for Penny, who stayed home to raise the boys. Gardening has always been a part of their young lives.
In 2009, we expanded our garden by renting farmland near our home in Freeport, IL. We began with a 4,300 square foot garden and planted over 50 varieties of vegetables. It was definitely a great year for us - we learned so much and discovered our love of farming. In 2010, we expanded our garden to over 10,000 square feet, raised at least 100 different varieties of vegetables....thousands of plants!
2011 marks a huge leap for us with the purchase of our own farm! We will be moving to a 10 acre farm located about 8 miles from the city of Freeport, IL. We will be able to offer more varieties, larger amounts, and expand our farming operation. This will be an exciting year for us! Most of the gardening is done by Penny, with Nate helping out as his work schedule allows. Our sons are now helping as much as can be expected for 8, 5 and 3 years old. They enjoy watering seedlings!
We raise mainly open-pollinated, heirloom fruits and vegetables and practice organic farming methods. No genetically-modified seed (GMO) will knowingly make it's way into our garden. We also prefer to focus on unique, rare vegetable varieties like delicious Moonglow orange tomatoes, hollow stuffing tomatoes, giant Monster sweet peppers, all-blue potatoes, and more... The type of unique, tasteful, heirloom vegetables that you wouldn't normally see or have the opportunity to taste.
Our farming season begins in February, when we begin to grow our garden seedlings indoors & later in the spring in unheated greenhouses. We raise all of our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and more from seed during the spring. We will be raising thousands of plants in 2011, and offer many of these organic, heirloom vegetable plants for sale. If you are a gardener, this is a wonderful opportunity to purchase plants for your own backyard garden or container! These are unique varieties that you won't normally find for sale at your local nursery or garden store. We plan to have a plant sale at farmer's market beginning in May. Of course, you can always email Penny at email@example.com to pre-order your plants and schedule a pickup time. Be sure to check this blog for updates on our plants.
We continue gardening well into November and early December with frost-tolerant vegetables. Our varieties are many, and we have something for everyone to enjoy!
Our vegetables are available for purchase directly from our farm by scheduling a pickup time - email Penny at firstname.lastname@example.org - or at farmer's market in Freeport (Saturday mornings May-October, CVS parking lot on South St). We hope you have the chance this year to try our wonderful, tasty organic produce!
Of course, there are many other farm offerings available for purchase online and in person, such as handsewn aprons, seed-embedded bookmarks, even seed from our own garden! All items are handmade by Penny and can be viewed in her online store, when available.