June 5, 2022
June 20, 2015 was opening day for us. We hosted a Fetching Market and launched, Dine on the Land. At four separate time slots, we sat 100 guests each - overall we fed 400. Moments before our first seating, as guests began to sit around the table, my cousin who was helping out whispered in my ear, "Grandpa passed away." I mustered all the strength I could when I got on the microphone to greet our guests and with a shaky voice dedicated our efforts to my beloved patriarch. Last week, my grandmother (his bride) joined him. And so, we dedicate this seventh year to her.
Honestly, she may be entirely responsible for my love of feeding people, putting on a party and gathering around the table. My grandmother had six kids, lived in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago and spent every hour before Wheel of Fortune in the kitchen, making meals from scratch and inviting whoever came through the door to stay for dinner. Her round kitchen table sat 12 with a custom-built Lazy-Susan and her dining room table sat 24 with the extension. She despised the use of condiments because her food was perfect already.
She was selfless, yet always wore her red lipstick and a pair of kitten heels. Her beautiful home was a resource to serve others. She taught me that the goal of hospitality is for your guests to leave feeling better about themselves than they are impressed about you, your things and what you've done. Isn't that a wonderful sentiment? Imagine thinking this way every time you prepared for a party or invited someone over for supper. This mindset takes the anxiety out of getting ready and makes preparation for a gathering a joy, considering each detail as a touch of encouragement and beauty for another.
I loved her very much and she thought I was great. She fought for me in the difficult early years of my life. She believed in me when my mistakes marred my reputation. She said I could do anything. She breathed confidence and grace into my life.
After my grandfather passed, grandma started to lose it. In 2017, she came to one of our farm dinners. In her mind, all our guests were close friends over for dinner. She was impressed. When she saw a long line forming outside the port-a-pots, she invited all in line to come in to our house and use any bathroom they wished. If you're reading this and you were one of those many, many guests who came in the house that night to use the restroom, sorry for the mess and I'm glad you met her and experienced her welcoming spirit!
Until next time,
Over the next week, we will button up the event barn and complete all our inspections to receive our approval to open. We have transformed this 30-acres, incorporating a wish list created over the last seven years and making it a reality.
Yesterday, I stood on the edge of our new gravel lot and walked the path of our future guests with extreme joy and excitement. I traveled up the drive to our happy little check-in shed, through our raised garden beds and past our farm-stay cottage. I took the newly excavated lit path through the evergreens to the patio of our expansive event barn with indoor and outdoor bar access and restrooms. Then I headed out to the vast pasture, surrounded by freshly painted fencing and hundreds of feet of string lights to brighten the table, which is artfully situated for a 360-view of countryside. We can't wait to share this all with you!
Reserve Your Seat at the Table
We want to share stories and dinner with you this season. Come see us in the new space. Make your reservation soon at https://www.exploretock.com/locavorefarm
We have listed our one-of-a -kind farm-stay experience on VRBO. Our cozy cottage on our new 30-acre farm estate is ready to be booked. Enjoy a rural landscape and the simple beauty of country living. Harvest vegetables, herbs, and flowers from the gardens, as well as stock your fridge with the farm’s pasture-raised meats, local grass-fed dairy (milk and cheese) and scratch-made baked goods. Each morning, you’ll fetch your own eggs and experience the bounty of having your own homestead. Relax and enjoy the farm as your own - choose to participate in chores or just slow down and let the rural landscape nurture your soul.