On a mission to carry on the tradition of American farms educating and bringing fresh quality produce to the plates of families all over the country, Foxtrot Organic Farm in St. Charles, Illinois, is on our radar for excellence in bringing sustainable local fruits, vegetables, and greens to the Fox Valley. PB Kitchen Design interviewed Ellen Kamps, Community Cultivator and Farmer of the twelve-acre USDA certified organic farm.
PB Kitchen Design – We love the connection food brings to people and spaces. Foxtrot Organic Farm has a similar love. How powerful is this earth > seed > table connection?
Ellen – As farmers we feel responsible for educating our community on how real food is created. We especially enjoy the conversations that arise around eating seasonally in northern Illinois. When we launched our farmstand, we had this idea that it would become a communal hub, and we’re glad that it came to fruition so quickly. Often people stay for 30 minutes after they’ve made their purchase, just to talk; sometimes with us, sometimes with other customers. We believe in creating safe spaces, where people can learn about gardening, real food, agriculture, and health! We also want to learn; our customers teach us new things every day.
PB – How are you helping people get more “connected” with their food?
E – Along with creating a forum for sustainable agriculture, we are also just obsessed with eating. We constantly are sharing recipes from our kitchen, and each item we have at the farmstand comes with 3-5 recipes. We’re so excited when our customers bring us recipes too!
PB – Who do you like to cook for?
E – We love cooking for our family and friends, and for each other. Our ideal date night is being able to harvest from our fields, forage in the woods for wild edibles, and cook a big meal together.
PB – Are you a social cook or do you prefer to prep meals alone?
E – We love cooking together! On Sundays we prefer to cook and chop for the busy week. We eat a lot of raw fruit and vegetables just because we’re so busy.
PB – Tell us about your home kitchen space. Is it full of the latest gadgets or do you prefer the simplicity of a simple burner and a few sharp knives?
E – We have a pretty standard kitchen, nothing too fancy, but we’ve invested in a few gadgets so we can eat healthy on the go. We love our Blendtec for smoothies and soups, and our rice cooker/crock pot combo. For the last 4 years we’ve only used cast-iron pans, we think it’s easier to clean and safer than Teflon.
PB – What is in your dream kitchen?
E – In our dream kitchen, we have 8 burners and a griddle!
PB – You’re stranded on a vast Midwest prairie, what 3 kitchen tools would you want with you to survive?
E – Umm…a cast iron pan, a spatula, and some matches.
PB – What’s the most unusual meal/item you’ve made in your kitchen?
E – We grow 135 different varieties of all organic and heirloom produce…so our kitchen is often stocked with unique stuff! Examples would be purple cosmic potatoes, indigo apple tomatoes, red Russian kale, rainbow carrots, sugar pea shoots, candy cane beets..the list goes on. We like to keep the inside of our refrigerator colorful.
PB – What is your favorite dish to prepare? Have any recipes you’d like to share?
E – We really like to make spicy Indian or Thai vegetable curries. We love white bean and thyme cassoulet. Soup or stew…anything that you can eat with a spoon that becomes more flavorful as leftovers. We’re also obsessed with our magenta kohlrabi and have been preparing it with apple slaw, parmesan fries and scallion pancakes! We love breakfast and eat a lot of eggs and avocados. One of our favorite things to make for brunch is shakshuka – visit us in July and we’ll hook you up with all the ingredients!
In addition to partnering with Mother Earth, the Foxtrot Team works diligently to spread the word about farming and being self-sustainable, and is an advocate for new farmers in Northern Illinois via Chillinois Young Farmers Coalition.
During the months of May through November, Foxtrot hosts a Farmer’s Market two days a week at 5N726 Crane Road in St. Charles. (Wednesdays from 3 PM – 7 PM & Saturdays from 9 AM – 1 PM.)