Welcome to the Trogg's Hollow farm family
Trogg's Hollow CSA and Market Farm is a family-owned and run microfarm doing biointensive urban farming in Poplar Grove, Illinois. We offer 25 year-round veggie CSA shares to Chicago, the Northwest and Far West suburbs, and Rockford. We also sell seasonal veggies at local farmers markets and at our on-farm stand.
We have been growing veggies our entire lives. In 2010 we expanded our personal growing space, in the city of Elgin, IL, to start producing enough to sell CSA shares to other families. By 2012, we needed more land due to demand for our veggies. We moved to a farm in Poplar Grove, IL and since 2013 have been growing here. We've also welcomed in dairy goats, laying hens, turkeys, ducks and guinea fowl. In 2016 we extended to year round shares with a brand new high tunnel, and added honey bees hives to the farm.
All our growing methods are to organic certification standards, but we take it a step further by applying no chemicals, neither organic nor conventional, except those that Mother Nature drops on our farm. This is the way our grandparents and great grandparents grew veggies, and we continue this time tested method. We do this so that our children, shareholders, or anyone, can walk into our field, pick a veggie and eat it there without worrying what may be on, or in it.
All of our pests are taken care of by hand or by our farm animals. Soil nutrition is built through regenerative agriculture so all animal and vegetable waste is returned to the soil. Further green manure is planted and tilled under as we rotate our vegetables and animals through our 8 acres over an 8 year cycle.
It is our goal to grow good food naturally, and to live and farm as sustainably as possible. Thanks for stopping by, Momma Marcy and Farmer Trogg
We grow our veggies without any chemicals, neither organic nor conventional. Our only off-farm inputs are the seeds we cannot save ourselves and an organic dairy cow manure seed starting compost mix from Wisconsin. All weeds are removed by hand or with the help of hand tools. All pests are removed by hand or by our working animals - chickens, guinea fowl, cats and dogs. All soil nutrition is provided by our cover crops and animal manure. If you are interested in becoming part of our 2017 farm family and receiving a weekly (or bi-weekly) share of wonderfully fresh vegetables, read on.
This year we will be offering 2 sizes of our year-round sustainable shares. Last year’s ¾ bushel boxes will be our normal size. These are the brown boxes that every sustainable share received last year. New for 2017 is a ½ bushel box share. Last year these were the white boxes, only for session shares. Both sizes are available in weekly and bi-weekly frequency. We will still be offering session shares, however, they will be by special request only.
We will be accepting 5 sustainable worker shares this year. These shares will be for bi-weekly amounts only; no partial worker shares will be allowed. However, weekly shareholders can request a bi-weekly worker share and pay for a second bi-weekly share, if necessary. Worker shares will be awarded based on need, then in the order requests are received. These shares will require on-farm field work between mid-April and mid-October. This work will range the full gamut of farm work, from weeding to cleaning animal stalls to harvesting, especially weeding. The time and amount of work will be negotiated on an individual basis. If you wish to be considered for a worker share please explain your need for such a share. Please note that we are not going to go through anyone's financials or credit reports. We are just trying to get food to families who need it but cannot afford it.
- Pastured chicken eggs
- Local Raw Honey
- Local Organically Grown Grains and Dry Beans
- Sustainable Pastured Meat
- Sustainable Pastured Chicken
- Local Berkshire Pork
- Locally Roasted Coffee
- Certified Organic Strawberries
- Certified Organic Apples
- Organically Grown Blueberries
- Organically Grown Raspberries
- Local Organic German Breads
- Community Supported Fish
Over the years we've collected quite a few recipes from friends and shareholders, plus Momma Marcy puts one in every newsletter. We are slowly building a searchable database of all these recipes. It will be organized by veggie type, so you can go there every week when you get your share box and see all the wonderful meals you can make. As usual, if there are any recipes you'd like to add, send them in.
Need some seeds? Some soil mix? How about a place to go for some agritourism? Wanna pick some strawberries or blueberries? Or do you want to be a farmer? Maybe you just want to some some more support for you local farmers and producers? We've got you covered. We have put together a list of every resource we use or could think you might use. We'll add to it when we can. Have fun.
What is a CSA?
A CSA is a farm which sells shares of produce to members. These shares are boxes of vegetables or other products from the farm. Consumers become members by purchasing a share, usually before the season begins, and are rewarded with a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the growing season. There are benefits for both the member and the farmer in this relationship. The farmer receives payments early in the season to help cash flow and to purchase what is needed for the season. The risk of crop failure is also not entirely on the farmer. All the members and the farmer share in the abundance, when it occurs, and the shortages, if they occur. The farmer also gets to spend growing season time on the produce and non-growing season time on marketing instead of having to do both in the middle of summer growing season. And, the farmer has actual contact and relationships with the people he is growing the food for. the members benefit by getting freshly picked produce. Usually the farm is organic or natural and always very local. Members are welcomed by the farmer to visit the farm, to help, to learn and to get exposed to new produce. Members also are able to develop a relationship with the actual provider/grower of their food. For more details please visit the Band of Farmers website.
What is organic?
The term organic has both informal and formal meanings. To many food consumers today, it refers to something more-or-less vaguely natural (grown without pesticides, for example) that’s somehow better (or less bad) for the environment and your health than something that isn’t organic.
The formal definition of organic does have a lot in common with this idea, but there’s more to it than simply the absence of synthetic pesticides. To organic farmers, food processing companies, scientists, and government regulators, the term organic refers specifically to food production that follows the rules of the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program, or NOP. NOP provides very specific guidelines about both chemicals and practices that are allowed in the production and processing of foods that end up being certified as organic by the USDA and other certifying agencies.
It is worth noting that the NOP does allow the use of some substances – including pesticides – that are toxic to humans and/or other organisms, but which are believed to be less harmful to human health and the environment than analogous chemicals used in so-called conventional agriculture. One example of such a substance is pyrethrin-based insecticides, which are derived from flowers (especially chrysanthemums). While pyrethrins are toxic to humans, they break down quickly in the environment into harmless compounds.
Other formal aspects of organic-ness have to do with the use of food additives and preservatives, for example, and with how animals are treated, rather than with what chemicals are used in food production. To determine whether or not a particular compound or practice is or is not considered organic under the NOP, check the NOP web page. In particular, you may want to look at what’s called the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, which tells you what synthetic substances you may and may not use in an organic farm, garden, or food processing setting.
It is also worth noting that some farmers, food consumers, and others do not like the NOP very much – they feel it does not go far enough in specifying an environmentally and socially responsible set of practices for agriculture and the food industry (the NOP says little, for example, about how agricultural workers should be housed, paid, or otherwise treated, such that they can still be exploited in organic food production and processing just as they have long been in the conventional system). However, the NOP is an evolving program and it may in the future tighten regulations about what is permitted in the production of “organic” foods. For now, the NOP represents a substantial step away from the mainstream food system of the last 50 or so years.
What is natural?
The term natural also has different meanings for different people. As with the term organic, to many food consumers, it refers to something grown without pesticides, that's better for the environment and health than conventionally grown produce. To others people it has a more earthy definition. This would be that produce is grown only with what nature provides - water, compost, friendly insects, callused hands, etc.
There is a national certification for naturally grown as well. Ceritfied Naturally Grown, or CNG, is an organization that provides small, local growers with a label and certification system that is an alternative to the NOP and that consumers can trust and understand. This is important because extensive paperwork, plus high certification fees, make it unlikely if not impossible for many small farms to become certified organic.
What is local?
In 2008 Congress passed H.R.2419 which amended the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act. In the amendment locally is defined as ‘‘(I) the locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the total distance that the product is transported is less than 400 miles from the origin of the product; or ‘‘(II) the State in which the product is produced". In May 2010 the USDA acknowledged this definition in an informational leaflet. Even with these federally recognized definitions local is defined differently depending on the person in question.
So, what about Trogg's Hollow?
Trogg's Hollow is not certified by NOP nor by CNG. While we have no issue with any of the certifications, it is not an option we can pursue at this time or at this location. However, we do promise to grow things as organically, naturally and sustainably as we can. All of our seeds and plants are certified organic. And, so far we are putting nothing on our plants other than what nature provides. We reclaim and compost as much organic material as we can to help rebuild the soil and we do water when necessary. As far as local, we like to think of it as within a 200 mile radius or so, but we're not strict.