Farmer Harold Wilken and his farm crew raise certified organic crops including corn, soybeans, and small grains. Harold is keenly aware of the impact crop production can have on the environment. Janie’s Farm uses organic inputs, a longer crop rotation, and cover crops to build the soil and steward the land.
Everyone loaded up onto hay racks and toured around the farm. Harold showed the trial plots he is hosting for a University of Illinois wheat study, the weed zapper they use to electrocute weeds that grow above the crops, and the consequences they are navigating from this record wet spring. Harold strongly believes in the power of showing the challenges as well as the successes.
This spring, Janie’s Farm won’t be able to plant many of their acres – so their sights are turning to perfect timing for sowing fall crops and covers.
As an organic farmer, Harold thinks about marketing a bit differently than most grain farmers. He values growing crops that feed people, so in 2016 he installed a certified organic commercial flour mill three miles from the farm in Ashkum. There, miller Jill Brockman works with artisan bakers to make delicious flour blends from grain grown by Janie’s Farm and other surrounding organic farmers.
Each of their flours are named after rivers of Illinois, and the field day tour included sampling breads made with each of their flours. The Mill at Janie’s Farm sells online, to local bakeries, and to several retail outlets.
By the close of the afternoon, everyone left with full bellies and uplifted hearts at having toured an innovative and dedicated local farm and food supplier.