Farm to mouth
Written by: Ashley Vest
Photos by: Edward Boe
Ed and I recently had the privilege of going to Nichols Farm & Orchard to photograph their diverse acreage.
If you don't know about Nichols, let me tell you, it is something special. What started as a back yard garden with a dream of becoming self-sustaining, has turned into 300 acres of land growing 1,000 different fruits and vegetables. The crops change with the seasons. Corn, beets, tomatoes, and much more were all ready to be picked and eaten while we were there. If we had gone a month earlier, a whole host of other produce would have been available. If we had visited a month later, we would have sampled yet another totally different bounty at Nichols.
The sheer volume and quantity of things grown at Nichols is beautiful to behold and delicious to eat.
And the food world has taken note. Nichols’ client list boasts a who’s who of Chicagoland’s top restaurants and restaurateurs. If you have been lucky enough to snag a seat at one Chicago’s Michelin star restaurants chances are you have eaten something grown at Nichols. More of a home chef? Never fear! You can still buy Nichols produce by visiting one of the farmers markets at which they sell.*
*Pro-tip our favorite farmers market is the Green City Farmers Market in Lincoln Park.
This variety of vegetation all grown by one farm, with their crops in constant rotation, is not the way most farms work. At least not in our modern corporate farming system. Typically a farm will grow one crop, maybe two, over and over again, year after year. While this way of farming works well in some ways, one of the negatives is it's pretty bad for the soil itself.
I love the pride and care Nichols Farm & Orchard takes in not only it what it grows but in how it grows it. And having gotten to sample a bit of what they were growing at the time (straight from the soil), I have to say you can taste the difference.
Is this the way of the future? I don't know. I do, however, encourage you to find farms like Nichols. Buy your produce from them when you can. It's good for you, it's good for the earth, and best of all it tastes great!
Check out this months special project Farm to Mouth to see more images from our day at Nichols Farm and Orchards: https://www.edwardboe.com/farm-to-mouth
Ashley Vest is a Chicago-based producer and writer. She works in-house for Edward Boe Photography as a creative producer and art director.