Frequently Asked Questions
Q: DO YOU HAVE A FARM STORE? WHAT ARE THE STORE HOURS? DO YOU HAVE A PRICE LIST?
A: Yes we do have a farm store which is open daily year round, hours are 10 AM - 6 PM on weekdays, and 9 AM - 5 PM on weekends. Items available in the store year round include fresh pastured chicken and duck eggs, raw Guernsey milk, grass fed beef by the cut, and pastured pork cuts, raw local honey, raw milk cheeses, grass-fed organic yogurt, and local organic beans and ancient grains. Seasonal items will include freshly harvested vegetables, pickled vegetables, pastured chickens, and Thanksgiving turkeys. The store is located inside the Brunner Family Forest Preserve, the address is 18N681 IL Route 31, Dundee, IL 60118. We have hundreds of items for sale in the farm store and the inventory is changing constantly so we do not publish a price list.
Q: DO YOU OFFER FARM TOURS?
A: YES, we offer free guided farm tours every Saturday afternoon at 2 PM starting on the first Saturday or May and running through Thanksgiving, weather permitting. Please meet at the entrance to the farm store for your tour guide. These tours will include a hay ride out to the pastures to visit the chickens, pigs, and cows and will take approximately an hour and 15 minutes. You will also see the vegetable plots, orchard, greenhouse, chick brooding area, and the pastures where the chickens, pigs, and cows spend their days. Boots or sturdy walking shoes & long pants are recommended since there is lots of tall grass, bugs, and even some muddy spots at the farm. No strollers will be able to navigate the pasture areas since it it tall grass with uneven terrain. During the winter the Forest Preserve is open to the public and most days you can visit the pigs, chickens, sheep, and cows in their winter quarters from the walking trails.
We also offer private guided tours by appointment only, the cost is a flat $100 per tour, we can accommodate up to 40 people per group on the hay wagon. Please call the farm store at 847-852-7081 or visit the contact us form on the website to schedule a private guided tour. These private tours will take approximately 2 hours and can be scheduled between 10 AM and 3 PM any day of the week except Saturdays.
We also provide a milking demonstration on Saturdays at approximately 4:30 PM. Visitors can watch the cows come into the barn and learn about dairy cow care and the milking operation. All visitors must remain calm and keep voices down to keep from spooking the cows and disrupting the milking process.
Q: HOW DO WE PURCHASE RAW MILK?
A: There are three ways to purchase raw milk from our farm. Most days we have extra raw milk available in the farm store for walk in customers. We also make available a limited amount of milk for sale on our website each day, order up to a week in advance, but at least one day in advance. When purchased in the farm store or online raw milk is $6.50 per half gallon. If a selected day does not show any milk available, that means we are sold out for online sales that day but we may still have milk available for sale in the store.
We also distribute raw milk through a herdshare program, but we are not currently taking on any new herdshare customers. All milk purchased must be picked up at the farm store, Illinois state law does not allow for raw milk to be delivered or distributed off the farm. The herdshare program is a contract between you and the farm that allows you to buy a "share" or portion of the dairy cow herd and be entitled to a percentage of the herd milk production. If you are interested in joining the herdshare please send us an EMAIL indicating how many gallons of milk your family drinks in a week and a preferred pickup day. You may also stop by the farm from 10 AM - 6 PM any day of the week to try a sample of the milk from the farm store. Herdshare owner have a scheduled pickup day every week or every other week and milk is reserved for them.
Participation in the herdshare program is two-fold. First, there is a one-time purchase to buy your herdshare(s). Each herdshare entitles you to approximately one gallon per week and costs $100 per share. The purchase of the herdshares is a one-time event. After purchasing your shares, you will pay the farm a monthly fee to board and care for your share of the herd and to prepare the milk for your pickup. The monthly boarding fee for one Herdshare is currently $45. The boarding fee for two herdshares is $85...the full fee schedule can be found in the Bovine Agistment Agreement below.
The purchase of a herdshare is a little more involved than buying a gallon of milk from the store. You will need to review and sign two contracts: a Bill of Sale for your share of the herd and a boarding agreement (Bovine Agistment Agreement) that outlines our farm's commitment to taking care of your herd. If you are comfortable with the contract terms, you'll need to return the completed forms, along with your payment, to get your first share of milk.
All herdshare owners are required to bring or purchase their own containers. We recommend the 1/2 gallon wide-mouth glass mason jars to store the milk. They can be purchased at most Ace Hardware stores, Meijers, Woodmans, and online. Herdshare owners can also purchase them from us already cleaned for $3 each. Gallon size jars are too big and unwieldy for most people to pour from, and the plastic milk jugs are very difficult to fill and keep clean with the small openings.
Q: HOW DO WE ORDER GRASS FED BEEF, PASTURED PORK, AND CHICKEN?
A: We usually have a good selection of grass fed beef and pastured pork cuts available in the farm store year round. This includes a variety of steaks, roasts, ground beef, bacon, pork chops, shoulder roasts, hams, and even hard to find items like beef bones, organ meats, hocks, etc.
We raise chickens on pasture starting in early April through late October. Customers may reserve chickens by ordering in advance from our website based on processing dates. Any chickens not pre-ordered or distributed through the Full DietCSA program will be sold in the farm store, beginning in June.
We also sell bulk beef and pork packages, from a 15 lbs. beef sampler all the way up to a half cow. These bulk packages must be ordered online. To reserve a bulk package please click on the PRODUCTS tab above and visit the online store pages for our beef, pork, and poultry products.
Once we receive your order, we will call or email you to confirm your order and setup a convenient time for you to pickup your order from the farm or arrange for home delivery. .
Q: HOW DO WE PICKUP OUR BEEF, PORK, AND CHICKEN ORDERS?
If you order a half or whole hog, you will deal directly with the processor/butcher shop to customize your meat order. We will contact you shortly before or after we take the animals into the processor so that you can contact them directly with your cutting instructions, such as the thickness of steaks, size of roasts, bone in or bone out, size of packages, etc. These large orders you will pickup directly from the processor, pay them for the processing fees, and we will bill you directly for the remaining meat costs. We use several different local processors so we can't tell you which one has your meat until we take the animals in and assign them to customers. Our current beef and pork processors are Lake Geneva Country Meats in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and Eickman's Processing in Seward, Illinois.
If you order one of the 50 lb. or less beef or pork packages, we will pick those up from the processor, bring them back to the farm to store in our freezers, and contact you via email to setup an appointment to pickup your order from our farm.
All chickens will be processed at Twin Cities Pack in Beloit, WI this year. We bring them all back to the farm in coolers and customer pickups will be at the farm store starting Friday afternoons and extending through Sunday. If you order chickens for a particular pickup date we will send you a reminder email 2-3 days before the pickup date.
Q: WHAT IS INVOLVED IN PURCHASING A CUSTOM BEEF OR HOG ORDER? WHAT ARE THE CUTS AVAILABLE?
A: If you want to order a quarter or half beef, or half/whole hog, you can select from available butcher dates in upcoming months. We usually butcher beef once month, and hogs every quarter. You can choose to pickup your order either at the processor (Eickmans or Lake Geneva Country Meats), or pay an extra fee and we will pickup your order for you and store at the farm until you pick it up. When you order a custom beef or hog you will be able to choose all your cuts.
Just prior to us taking the livestock to the butcher, we will send you an email with a sample cutting sheets for your order, as well as contact information for the butcher. You can either email or call them with your cutting instructions, and they will walk you through all the options.
Q: IS GRASS-FED BEEF HEALTHIER FOR YOU THAN GRAIN-FED BEEF?
A: Definitely, grass-fed beef is lower in fat and calories. There are a number of nutritional differences between the meat of pasture-raised and feedlot-raised animals. To begin with, meat from grass-fed cattle, sheep, and bison is lower in total fat. If the meat is very lean, it can have one third as much fat as a similar cuts from a grain-fed animal. In fact, grass-fed beef can have the same amount of fat as skinless chicken breast, wild deer, or elk. Learn more about the health benefits of grass fed meats.
Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR PASTURED/FREE RANGE EGGS AND THE ORGANIC CAGE-FREE EGGS FROM THE SUPERMARKET?
A: The amount of vegetation - "greens" - they get in their diet. Most organic "cage-free" eggs from the grocery store are produced by hens roaming "free" inside a giant confinement facility, usually along with thousands of other hens. They may be "cage free", but they are certainly not free-range. They may have access to a small yard, but most will not ever go outside during their lifetime. They do eat certified organic feed, but that is the only similarity with our free range pastured hens. Our laying hens spend virtually their entire lives outside on grass, and their eggs tell the difference. Our eggs have a firm, rich orange yolk from all the chlorophyll in their diets, the grocery store organic eggs will have pale yellow yolks. Our girls eat their veggies, and it shows up with healthier chickens, who lay healthier eggs for health conscious consumers. For a nutritional comparison of pasture-raised eggs vs. conventional factory eggs, see this chart compiled by Mother Earth News.
Q: ARE DEPOSITS PAID FOR CHICKEN, BEEF, PORK, TURKEY, AND CSA ORDERS REFUNDABLE IF WE WANT TO CANCEL OUR ORDER? WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON'T PICKUP OUR ORDERS?
A: Deposits are not refundable. If you would like to cancel your order we will credit your deposit toward any future purchases of our products. For example if you put a $100 deposit on a 25 pound beef sampler order and later decide to cancel your order, we will apply that $100 towards the purchase of milk, eggs, chickens, beef, pork, vegetables or whatever products are available in the farm store.
We have a limited amount of refrigerator and freezer space to store beef, pork, and chicken orders for customers. When your order is ready we will reach out to you via email to setup a pickup date and time. We will attempt to reach you three (3) times, if we do not receive any response we will offer your order to other customers on the waiting list. Orders not picked up within two weeks of contact will incur a 10% weekly storage fee.
Q: WE SIGNED UP FOR A CSA SHARE PROGRAM AND WOULD LIKE TO CANCEL IT. CAN WE GET A REFUND?
A: CSA is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture. By signing up for a CSA share for the season, you are agreeing to support a local family farm and sharing in the risks and rewards that accompany the farm. Crop failures are always a possibility. As your personal farmers, we will work very hard and use our years of experience to grow the healthiest, most delicious, most nutritious food possible for you and your family. However, unforseen weather events, insects, diseases, predators, and other challenges may jeopardize certain crops, milk, eggs, or meat production from the farm. For this reason we are not able to provide refunds for CSA share purchases, however if there are shortages of certain items we will do our best to substitute other items that are most plentiful.
Q: HOW MUCH FREEZER SPACE WILL WE NEED?
A: A 1/4 Beef (Split Half) will require about 5 cubic feet of freezer space; a side (1/2 Beef) will require 8-9 cubic feet of freezer space, and a whole beef will require approximately 12 cubic feet of freezer space.
Q: ARE YOUR PRODUCTS CERTIFIED ORGANIC?
A: No, although we do practice organic principals and go beyond organic standards with our pasture-raised livestock. We looked into the certification process and decided it was not worth all the hassle as we would have to get each of our products certified separately (i.e. eggs have a different certification process than beef, pork, or milk). For EACH product we would have to complete a separate certification application (20+ pages!), pay an upfront certification fee and annual ongoing certification fees, and fill out lots of paperwork every day about what we are doing on the farm.
Instead we have opted to provide FIRST PERSON Certification - we let our customers inspect us and ask all the questions they have about our farming practices. We do practice organic farming principles, in fact we go "Beyond Organic" in most cases because of the way we raise our animals outdoors on pasture. For example, most "certified" organic chickens are raised in a huge confinement building and never see the outdoors, much less eat any greens or free range on pasture. Our hens may not be "certified", but we can assure you they are the happiest, healthiest hens around and lay the most nutritious eggs available!